From Lipstick to Lava: the greatest reds in automotive history

The colour red is often associated with beauty and passion, so it’s little wonder that it suits sports cars so well. Here are our favourite shades of the colour that has clothed some of the best-looking cars of the last century…

Birkin Bentley Red

British racing cars have long been known for sporting British Racing Green, but the 'Birkin' Bentley sold last year by Bonhams for a record-breaking £5m was painted a refreshing red – and looked all the more striking for it.

 

Rosso Speciale

In the late 1960s, Woolworth heiress Barbera Hutton ordered the very last 365 GTC to leave Maranello, specifying Rosso Speciale paintwork – otherwise known as ‘Lipstick Coral’.

 

Rosso Rubino

As if the 250 TDF wasn’t beautiful enough already, the LWB Series III sold by RM in Monaco a few years ago was finished in a beautiful burgundy, most likely Rosso Rubino.

 

Guards Red

Porsche’s famous Guards Red is a particular favourite in the Classic Driver office. In the 1980s it was THE colour of choice of Gordon Gekkos worldwide. Just look at this Targa and we’re sure you’ll agree. It looks good on modern sporting 911s, such as the GT3, too.  

 

Lava Red

A few years ago, the 4C concept hinted at a possible return to Alfa’s glorious sports car roots, and just as captivating was its 'anodised' Lava Red paintwork, which seemed to add further depth the coupé’s already stunning curves. A few years on and the launch of the production 4C is imminent. But, as yet, the volcanic colour is notably absent from the options list.