I have this thing for branding, logos, and typography. I think it all started as a child, watching NASCAR races on Sunday afternoons, seeing the Petty’s in their STP cars, Michael Waltrip’s Pennzoil car, and of course, the Intimidator’s black Chevy. I was researching some liveries on Instagram for a future art project of mine. There’s something pretty spectacular about a race car livery done right and these are some of my favorites:
Simoniz BRE Datsun
There’s something about the diagonal stripes or perhaps the era of Datsun domination in road racing that sets these cars off for me. The 240z looks good in this livery, but it’s really the Datsun 510s that set this off. It doesn’t hurt that an L-series motor is on my list of must own motors.
Penske Sunoco Camaro
It’s also perhaps the legend of Mark Donohue and Roger Penske pairing up that makes this livery special, but there’s something remarkable about the simplicity of this ‘67 Camaro. The red splitter takes the cake.
Mostly black, but perfect for a man nicknamed “The Intimidator”. Much of my childhood was spent looking for this car on the screen and wanting for it to be in the lead.
RWB Stella Artois
Alright, so this isn’t really a “race car livery”. The Stella Artois car was the one that started it all for Rauh-Welt Begriff. The flat black is set off by the white tire markers and the gold lettering on the rocker panels. Why Stella? Because the car’s creator, Nakai-san, loves the beer. Some hate what he’s done to the aircooled classics, but it’s hard to argue with how mean bronze on matte black looks.
John Player Special
Noticing a trend? The Lotus 77 carries that gold on black so well, with that Union Jack flare. The JPS livery just does it right.
Beer. Beer is good. I find that most companies dealing in vices also have damn good liveries. I actually abhor the site of the Jágermeister orange BMWs, but the BMW Motorsport stripes and the Warsteiner logo are 💯.
Speaking of vices, in the days before the ban on tobacco sponsorship in F1, the Marlboro red livery was always my favorite F1 livery. I still remember being a young child and thinking my uncle was the absolute coolest for smoking Marlboro’s. It doesn’t hurt that it was Senna and Schumacher behind the wheel.
Who knew that sky blue and orange could look so good on so many cars. Porsche 917s, new and old Ford GT40s, and Aston Martins all wear it so well.
Later this year I’ll be embarking on a series of art projects based on some or all of these race liveries. Stay tuned!