Lime or Yellow…

… that is the question where Mario is concerned.

Ever since Mario was first restored 12 years ago his paint colour combination has caused much discussion. In his original guise Mario was blue with a white roof and we couldn’t decide what colour to paint him. His ‘brother Regie’ a 4cv convertible is Bugatti blue and we wanted something different, an outline drawing was coloured in many combinations until we found something that was colourful, interesting and we liked! A trip to the paint mixers with the drawing found two perfect period Fiat colours that matched the design, although they were never originally used for a Multipla. We loved the result – quirky, stands out and suits Mario to a T while still having that pastel 50’s ‘ice cream’ feel.

However women always say he’s green (lime) and blue while men think the colour is yellow! Well it looks as if there is a scientific reason for this. An article in the Daily Mail today talks about research undertaken by the City University of New York which has shown that male and female brains process colours in slightly different ways.

This means that if both sexes look at an orange, it will appear redder to the man than to the woman. Similarly, grass looks yellower to a man and greener to a woman and this would explain the difference in opinion over Mario’s colour.

Researcher Professor Israel Abramov said that differences between the sexes’ colour vision cannot be explained by differences in the structure of the eye. Therefore, the answer must lie in the way the brain, with the male sex hormone testosterone likely affecting how it processes and makes sense of the information taken in by the eye. The professor, who described the sex differences as ‘small but very real’ said: ‘We hypothesise that testosterone plays a major role, somehow leading to different connectivities for males and females.’

Even in photographs of Mario there is a huge difference in the colour depending on the light with some pictures looking much ‘greener’ than others. This makes trying to find a wardrobe to match Mario very difficult – we have been working very hard at this and there should be a new ‘matching’ outfit making an appearance at the Revival next week.

When Mario was photographed for Stephen Bayley’s book CARS the images were all produced in black and white so the form of teh vehicles could be clearly seen but Tif Hunter the photographer subsequently produced a stunning print of Mario in true ice-cream colours, although in this Mario definitely looks yellow!

So Lime or Yellow? let us know what you think…


Mario the ‘Super’model…

Over the years Mario has been photographed to appear in print on several occasions, photoshoots are interesting but can take a long time and involve lots of hanging around.

Mario has appeared in a number of car mags mainly through Goodwood, about eighteen months ago we did a comparison feature for Classics magazine. The article was on people carriers and we were joined by a Saab 95 and a Citroen Traction Avant.

The shoot took place on a horrid wet and cold day although it doesn’t show in the finished article. The cars where shot together and individually, focussing on the features that made them good at carrying people and luggage. We also did some pics with us driving a fully loaded Mario which was great fun and involved several reruns.

One of the most exciting photoshoots that Mario has been involved in was for Design guru, Stephen Bayley’s book CARS – freedom, style, sex, power, motion, colour, everything.

This magnificent coffee table book took the 100 or so cars over the last century which had had been the most influential and innovative designs. Each car was given 2 spreads with the first being a side on image to show the pure form of the design. More recently a smaller version – CARS Mini – has been produced. All the images were in black and white. The photography was specially commissioned and shoot by Tif Hunter. A special portable ‘white’ room was built that could be set up anywhere in the country to shoot the 100 vehicles, it was built to fit the biggest car being shot, which was a huge 50’s american beast so there was plenty of room for a small Fiat.

This was a serious professional shoot, using a medium format Hasselblad camera connected to a Mac laptop so that all details could be checked as the shoot progressed. Mario was driven into the ‘white’ room and had a team of assistants to clean and polish him. For the main shots, each was taken and then a series of additional ones for each of the windows, to ensure there were no reflections, these were then put together post production to produce a perfect image. A series of detail shots were also taken. Mario had a great day and felt like a supermodel.

We went to the launch of the book in Sloane Square, later Tif Hunter the photographer held his own exhibition which we were invited to the launch party. We were delighted that Mario’s picture had been chosen as one of the main images of the exhibition. Unlike the book , Tif had taken the colour version and made the background ‘ice cream’ pastel shades, it looked really fabulous, unfortunately we couldn’t afford the £6000 price tag but it’s nice to think that Mario might be hanging on someone’s wall!