Vintage postbag, May 1993

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100

How green is my Napier?

Sir,

I was very interested to read last December’s article on the Brighton Napier. There is a part which I would query at the bottom of page 1160. It is stated that the Napier was the first racer to wear the green for England.

I have always understood that the 1903 Gordon Bennett race was the first truly international event to be run on closed roads and the first tirne cars were, painted in a national colours. I quote from a report of the race from the Automobile Club journal of 1903: “The enthusiasm of the sporting Irish crowd knew no bounds when it was seen that the British team Napiers were all painted green, adopted by Britain as its racing colour as a tribute to the Irish who had made available the course for this first British race.”

I believe that Charles Jarrott refers to this in his book Motors and Motor Racing.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the race and we are having a special rally to commemorate.

Peter Thomas,
Irish V & VCC,
Dublin.
The 1902 GB Napier was painted green, according to Lord Montagu’s book The Gordon Bennett Races, and the chapter describing this is titled The First To Wear The Green. The recognition of cars by national colours had been used for the 1900 GB race but did not stabilise for some years thereafter. Good luck with the anniversary rallyW B.

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