About "that blue". | GT Colour Lab™️ #1

About "that blue". | GT Colour Lab™️ #1

 Atelier one day. The chat of the day was, as usual, about "color.

The designer is always full of curiosity like a boy. "S"and a young sage who has traveled the world of racing, rallying, and classic cars around the world. "K"They are good mentors, friends, and the best traveling companions who have shared many countries together.

And the topic of the day was.About "that blue."
The conversation, which was supposed to last a few minutes, got sidetracked, as usual...

The Cunningham Stripe, a symbol of American Racing


S: Just a quick question, do you know anything about the car in this photo?

K: Oh, sure. This is.Briggs Cunningham.was racing when he was racing. Maybe it's from the 50's. This blue stripe on white is a truethe national color of the U.S. at that time.I guess. Why this car again?

S: Actually, I recently had two new colors of coated split leather made by Tannery in Italy, and my image is exactly this blue. However, I am curious because I don't know what the color name of this blue is. Do you know what the name of this blue is?

K: The color blue, I wonder. The white body at this time is named after him.Cunningham White."or sometimes"American White."I don't know the exact color name of the blue used for the stripes at that time. However, in those days, it was common to have someone else's car in the same color in various categories, and in some cases, it was possible to tell whose team's car it was by its coloring. By the way, the car in this photo has a distinctive front design.C-4RThe car in the photo is the C-4R, which has a distinctive front design. Philadelphia. *Simion Foundation.Is the car in the collection of the

S: It is amazing that you can tell where the car belongs to just by looking at the photo! By the way, was it common in those days to paint your race car in national colors like this?

K: No, it was rather common at the time to paint your own race car in the national colors that Cunningham had set up.K: No, it was more like the "white with two blue stripes" that Cunningham had set up at the time.became one of the national colors that symbolized American racing.... And in the U.S., the "racing stripe" itself is called "racing stripe".Cunningham Stripe.in the U.S.

©️Goddard Automotive

S: Oh, is it really that paradoxical? It is true that the national color in the UK is British Racing Green, and in Italy Rosso Corsa (red) is strongly associated with the US, but I can't think of too many keywords that remind me of the national color in the US.

Origin of the National Color

K: What was the first time that national colors were established in motorsports?Gordon Bennett Cup (K: It is said that the Gordon Bennett Cup, the world's first internationally regulated international automobile race, was the first time that national colors were used to identify the cars competing in a race. It was the world's first international competition held in accordance with international regulations, and the colors used to identify the cars competing in the race were chosen to represent each country. The national color of the United States at that time was red.

S: Yeah, red sounds like Italy...?

©️National Museum of American History / Gift of The Winton Engine Co. 
A large crowd gathered around the Winton Bullet. It was impressive to see the boys who looked at it as if it were a rarity. (1903)

K: The Gordon Bennett Cup was held six times between 1900 and 1905. In Japan's Meiji Era (1868-1912), automobile races were held using such large-displacement cars, so to speak, and I believe that at that time, the race was a prestige challenge for a limited upper class, such as aristocrats, royalty, and prominent businessmen. From the U.S., Alexander Winton, a businessman who achieved the first automobile sales in the U.S., developed his ownWINTON BULLET (Winton Bullet, which was developed by his own company.

...in the national colors that had just been decided at the time, by the way,Italy was still black.He said it was.

S: I see, so there are cases where national colors also transition. I honestly can't imagine Italy being black.

K: However, in 1907, right after the Gordon-Bennett Cup, Prince Borghese, an Italian nobleman, rode in the "Peking-Paris 10,000 Mile Crossing Race".A bright red *ITALA 35/45HP won the championship, and Italy began to claim red as its national color for a change.

S: I mean, crossing 1,000 miles by car between Beijing and Paris in that era...the scale is too big to get into the story!

ITALA 35/45HP in 1907.
Prince Borghese at the steering wheel.


K: It's just like in the movies. lol 

On the other hand, after the disastrous loss of the Gordon-Bennett in 1904, the U.S. shifted its main competition to international races held in the U.S. to further strengthen its own auto industry. As the U.S. reduced its participation in Europe, it may have lost its centripetal force to maintain its national colors.

And then..,Around 1920, Italy began to use Rosso Corsa (red) as its national color in earnest. The tradition from this time has been handed down to Ferrari and Alfa Romeo today.

Driving the Alfa Romeo P2 8C/2000 is Antonio Ascari.French Grand Prix (1924)
©︎Look and Learn / Frederic Gordon Crosby

S: So this is where the Rosso Corsa came from. I had no idea... And over time, did the national color of the US change from red to white & blue, which is the image of the Stars and Stripes?

K: Certainly, if you subtract the red from the stars and stripes, you are left with blue and white. lol Honestly, there are many theories from here, but in the early 1900s, many automobiles still did not have a hood mechanism, so the chassis was bare, so to speak. So.The body, chassis, and entry number were identified by painting them a pre-registered color.This was in an era when it was impossible to judge by video images. Of course, since it was an era when it was not possible to judge by video images at all, it was necessary to set colors in advance that were easy to see. In the documents from that time, the color of each part was registered in detail as the national color for identification.

In 1909Blitzen-Benz. From body to chassis.It can be seen that it is painted in the German Reich registered color white. ©︎ Thesupermat

 However, there are still stories of some American bodies after 1910 that were painted white for the body and blue for the chassis... but unfortunately not many clear national color descriptions remain.

S: So there is a gap of almost 40 years? That period also coincides with the First and Second World Wars, doesn't it? Did the American national color tradition die out here?

K: I think it was still a geopolitical issue, as the continents were far apart from each other. If you calm down and look again at the competing countries, there are usually entries between enemy countries during wartime.
So, of course, the colors of racing cars, but also aircraft and ships originally had the concept of "national colors" to identify countries and ranks, and especially during wartime, these were used to identify friend and foe, affiliation, and nationality. The national flag is one of the elements that represent the national colors. And white and blue are in the United States.important colors for the country, used for military and ships.and were used for military and maritime purposes. It is possible that these colors have been adapted to the world of racing.

However, it was undoubtedly white and blue that established the world of motorsports as the new national colors.Brix Cunninghamis said to be Brix Cunningham.

S: Who the hell is this Cunningham who reestablished the national colors of the United States?


Cover of TIME magazine, April 26, 1954.

Who is Blix Cunningham?
©︎ernest hamlin baker


Next story.GT Colour Lab™️ #2 "The Monster of Le Mans" is here


*Simeone Foundation 
Simeone Foundation 

Foundation of the late Dr. Frederick Simeone, a neurosurgeon and renowned classic car collector. The foundation operates an automobile museum in Philadelphia.

*ITALA Itala
An automobile company that once existed in Turin, Italy from 1904 to 1934, Itala was instrumental in the manufacture and development of racing cars such as the Targa Florio in the early 1900s, but was later acquired by several companies including FIAT.
Cover Photography
©️The Revs Institute