Saturday, 19 June 2010

The money of colour

Jaguar's X300 - doesn't look so bad in odd colours as you'd think.

Just had a text message through from my old mate Jon Sellars. Regular readers of the blog and website will remember Jon as a chap with a taste for all that's classy about British motoring, and a chap also who'd offered me a go in his borrowed Jaguar X300 XJR if we got an opportunity. Sadly, the key word in that sentence is 'borrowed'. The keys are due to go back tomorrow and I'm not able to get down and see him beforehand. Sadly, this means that I'm not going to get a spin in the ultimate supercharged six cylinder rocketship in the near future.

I tried thinking of things to make the pain of losing an XJR drive go away. The Rover Sterling I've been offered a spin in, for example. Remembering the SD1 VP EFi I recently borrowed. Looking forward to potential future Jags of my own. But none of it really managed to take the twinge of regret away - until Jon's second message told me what the rocketship's replacement was likely to be, sparking an intriguing train of thought.

An XJ8 4.0 Sovereign LWB in Royal Blue. Just as quick a car, but with more of a walnut and leather 'Gentleman's club' feel than the overtly sporting XJR. Very much, I thought, a car that would suit Jon. But his preferred choice of colour was the bit that gave me food for thought.

You see, I'm a fan of what we could call 'obtuse' colour schemes - let's face it, any man who wants a brown Bentley with a tan interior isn't quite right in the head. And whilst I appreciate the subtle class of a Royal Blue Jaguar with cream leather, it's a bit... I don't know, on the acceptable side. You see, there are some less established shades that really work on Jags, but are a bit too Marmite for most people's tastes.

Jon's suggestion of a V8 Sov got me thinking of an Alpine Green car I spotted for sale the other day in that spec. Alpine Green is a slightly musky pale metallic silvery-green colour with a hint of gold, which in the right light really manages to look the part on the leaping cat. I know what you're thinking, it sounds awful - a car dealer associate had an Alpine Green S-Type on his lot for months with little interest. However, something inside me really wants an Alpine Green Sovereign or Daimler, as it looks upmarket, slightly tweedy, and very 'old-money' to my eyes.

Signal Red also works on the X300 shape, somehow. I've seen one or two - OK, only one - Sovereign in Fire Engine red, and I desperately wanted it. I thought that somehow, despite the blatant wrong-ness of the idea, it worked surprisingly well. It especially would with a black interior; which on a Jaguar is like ordering ice cream with your roast beef. So rare are they, however, that I had trouble finding a pic to head this article - a lengthy root through my archive yielded the original ad. Sorry for it's less-than-perfect quality on-screen, the original was barely two by one inches.

I may have a soft spot for dodgy colour schemes, but everyone else would be sticking their fingers down their throats as I wafted past in complete serenity. They'd think me mad to have chosen such an emetic shade for my upmarket British barge. And because several people are of this mindset, the red Jag at the top of the page - and any car in the 'wrong' colour - is worth less than many others. More desirable colour combinations - dark blue or green with a cream interior, say - attract a premium. As a Yorkshireman, I'd never buy a brand new car for depreciation's sake, so the whims of fashion ensure I save money on my purchase by choosing a less widely revered shade.

Perhaps this is the root of my love of brown cars, as well. My wallet is covered in moths and dust, such is the rarity of it's emergence from the black hole I call a pocket. So by choosing the ones no-one else wants I could save a fortune. The only problem is when I tired of my questionably coloured possessions, nobody would want to relieve me of them without a huge discount. But so what - if I like a car, chances are I'll keep it a fair while. And even if I did sell at a loss, the saving I made initially would mean I'd had a better spec car than I could have afforded had I played it safe in the first place.

Vive le difference!

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