Red. Even the word says something. Short. Clear. It says something important quickly, somehow. It seems to link with the translations – rot, rouge, rosso, rojo, rood, rød. Red the colour links with many things – blood, the sun and the sunset, parts of the earth itself, fire, religious authority, monarchy and affluence, Mars, and the flags of many nations. Raw meat even, Wherever it is used, it is a sign or indicator of something. All things John Haynes seemingly understood, and part of the Haynes Museum is devoted to purely red cars.
Apparently, over a quarter of major company logos, including Haynes’s own, feature red in some way. It is the colour of socialism and communism (and other political movements of course). And something like 75% of national flags feature red. Apparently, we’re programmed to respond to red by the raising of heart and respiration rates, and of blood pressure. And of course, what would London buses, fire engines and Post Office vans be in any other colour? John Haynes knew this, maybe subliminally, and liked his cars red. He long aspired to a collection of red cars, and ultimately he got one. Let’s take a look around.
Is there a marque more closely with associated with red than Alfa Romeo? The original user of Italian racing red, and even now, the default colour of choice for something like 50% of Alfa buyers. The first car you meet entering the Red Room is an 1967 Alfa Romeo Sprint Giulia Sprint, a Tipo 105 car with Bertone styling to die for.
Timeless car, timeless colour.
Next to it a perhaps the closest thing Alfa ever got to replace it – a 1996 Tipo 916, here in Spider form with the Twin Spark engine
Styling was by Pininfarina this time, and the heritage not visually clear apart from the colour and scudetto.
Hang on, didn’t we see one of those outside?
And to keep your Alfista tongue hanging out, the next one is a Tipo 105 Spider (Graduate).
The line is completed by a Maserati Merak, an Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider (top of the page, also) and a Lancia Flavia Spider.
The Lancia Flavia convertible was built by Vignale – this is a 1966 example, with a 1800cc engine.
A 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Tourismo completed the Alfa selection of the Red Room.
One last shot of the Alfa, being photo bombed by an MG TC and a TF, and we were free to move on.
Haynes liked his American cars too, as evidenced by this 1966 Ford Mustang convertible.
Or may be you go more for a Dodge Viper?
Or a Corvette? I’ll have to ask you to tell me the year and other details on this one.
Of course, British sports cars were there too.
This Jaguar XKSS, a road going derivative of the D Type, is actually a replica – only 25 were due to be built but a fire at the factory limited the run to 13. The missing 12 have recently been completed, for £1 million a copy.
A 1968 Triumph Spitfire, with Michelotti styling and Triumph Herald underpinnings.
A 1960 MGA Roadster.
Centre stage, a 1957 Triumph TR4A, alongside a TR3. And a good impression of the whole of the Red Room.
Getting a bit more modern – a Porsche Boxster, Jensen Healey, Nissan 240Z and Mazda MX-5.
From the right, 1965 Porsche 356, 1956 Austiin Healey 300/6, 1969 MGC GT and a 1968 Rochdale Olympic. The Olympic was built in Rochdale, a traditional mill and industry town on north west England and used a fibre glass monocoque and, for this phase 2 car, a Ford Anglia engine and gearbox, Triumph front suspension and a BMC rear suspension. A prety typical British low volumne kit car product then, not dissimilar to a TVR for example.
Is the Lamborghini Countach typical of anything? This is a 1981 LP400S version, so a late example. Striking in red but you wonder if Lamborghini have this colour listed as one of their calmer options? In a rare presentation error, the car was described as having been built in Stuttgart, Germany. Not with styling like that it wasn’t.
The styling of the Daimler SP250 Dart, even in red, is a bit too much for some gentle eyes, so I’ll show the interior with an impression of the exterior instead.
In summary, a fun and different way to display a wide range of cars, that catches John Haynes’ passion for the cars and what they say to and do for many of us. Nothing wrong with demonstrating individuality and taste, even if it differs to your preferences.
But I’d still take the Alfa…