Blog : BL – 50 Shades of Beige

Ian Nicholls


The recent report on the Stanford Hall Mini show resulted in a debate on what constitutes British Leyland beige. The owners of one particular MkIII Mini insisted it was Harvest Gold. Well, that is probably what BLMC officially called it.

BLMC beige, or Harvest Gold or Sandglow, is symbolic of 1970s British Leyland cars, part of a new range of colours to replace the multiplicity of shades offered by BMC. As the Mini, ADO16 and ADO17 Landcrab all matured into the Leyland-ised MK3 versions, with cost taken out, the new range of colours was introduced and even non-BMC cars received the new range of colours.

So here, in tribute to BLMC’s most infamous colour scheme, I present a gallery of beige/Harvest Gold/Sandglow cars.


Keith Adams


  1. Remember that strange shade of green called Leyland Limeflower, or the particularly psychedelic shade of orange known as Blaze, and then you could get a Marina in a trippy purple colour with a white vinyl roof. Definitely a sign of the era these cars were made in.

  2. The P6 is “almond”.
    IMHO along with all those “Harvest Gold” and “Sandglow” are more yellow than beige.
    For real beige hues, have a look at “beduin” and “antelope”.

  3. Every manufacture seemed to have its 50 shades of beige colour chart in the 70s. Alongside the Harvest Gold/Sandglow BL cars, the roads where full of Sierra Beige and Navada Beige Escorts and Cortinas.

  4. FWIW, Harvest Gold was also the colour that Leyland agricultural tractors changed to (from blue) in the late 70’s.

  5. It kind of works on the P6, but it is hideous on some of the others. Vomit effect would be a good description.

    There is more than one owner of a classic British car cursing BL colours, and the original owners poor taste. Russet Brown being a particular offender, many buyers will simply knock the price of a respray off the selling price.

  6. I thought the Rover P6 beige was actually called “Almond”. Ford & Vauxhall had their equivalents including Sahara Beige, before changing to Nevada Beige. Vauxhall Cavalier MK1 were available in Pastel Beige before becoming Colorado Beige… great times.

    • The P6 was definitely offered in Almond.

      Incidentally, one of the six launch colours for the Range Rover back in 1970 was a rather tasteful shade of beige called Bahama Beige.

      To everyone:

      As others have said, beige was a very popular colour in that era. Even Saab and Volvo, who were still rather insular up there Sweden, offered beige in their respective colour ranges. BL’s decision to offer various hues of beige was no different to other manufacturers.

  7. Lots of Harvest Gold action here. Nice to see the quite rare shade of antique gold on the JVP929P mini.Champagne beige made a comeback in the 80s on Maestros for a while but my favourite colour of all time has to be 1988-1992 Oyster Beige which was offered across the range from Mini to R800. Bring back beige!

  8. In the 70’s my Mum had an “El Paso Beige” ADO 16, lovely, a tin of genuine Unipart “El Paso Beige” touch up paint, with cap securely welded in place, remained in my Dad’s garage until very recently.
    The change from blue to harvest gold on Leyland tractors was univesaly known on farms as “calf scour yellow”.

  9. The 1970’s colours in the cars were merely echoing the fashion of those years.
    Back then they were as fancy and modern as the flared trousers.
    There is no point in judging them with today’s perception.

  10. Halfords still do loads a old Bl colours in spray paint and touch up pens surprised to see inca yellow in there so got some for my 1980 sprint !!

  11. I remember in the 70’s my Grandparents bought a brand new Green Ford Escort and promptly had it re-sprayed in BMC Harvest Gold.
    I think it was a lot more normal to have cars re-sprayed then; imagine doing that with a brand new Focus now.

  12. Then, in Australia, we had the alluring Lugarno Grey and sugar Cane, whilst the Harvest Gold equivalent was Camino Gold. The Tracks model of the Kimberley should be labelled this colour. At one stage, it seemed that every X6 I attacked at a Wrecking Yard, or car I was offered to buy was Camino!!! Further, Toyotas and others CKDs assembled at AMI were also plentifully represented by the golden hue. Ah, t6he decade that taste so often forgot…

  13. What was a BL stalwart shade/s also expanded to the subsidiaries. BLMC-A introduced Camino Gold to a good part of the range, from Mini and Moke to MGB and Land-Rover. Locally made Series III Land-Rover would eventually revert to the next BL incarnation of Bahama Gold.

  14. One of the worst colours seen today has to be Iridium grey seen on VW Fox’s this is a replica of the good old gray primer polished!!

  15. Agree with Derek… I believe VW also do two versions of Black – a metallic and non metallic. I dont care for the current trend of cars like Audi & BMW being available in matt grey / black, complete with black alloys… sinister looking!

    • My younger son has had his Ford GT ( the ex Clarkson car ) wrapped in matt grey !!?? I think he’s bonkers as underneath it’s a rather tasteful shade of dark metallic blue

  16. I well remember Dad’s 1978 Marina Estate 1.8 SDL in Sandglow, needing a respray and a replacement back axle when purchased at 3 years old at an auction of ex police cars (It was used by SOCOs).
    How we mock those 70s colours now but who ever thought that a metallic brown would ever see the light of day again? New L405 Range Rovers and Discovery 4s look superb in it!

  17. Hardly a rationalisation of BMC colours when there are five similar colours of beige on cars from the same era!

  18. In BMC/BL’s defence the same shade of colour does not work on all cars- a red that looks good on a Marina may not suit a Rover SD1. Whether beige looks good on any car is open to question but personally I remember a huge variety of car colours in the 70s, unlike today where almost all cars are silver, black or grey.

  19. It’s not just true of cars. Most offices these days are a sea of black/ charcoal suits at least for the blokes. But if you look at a photo of a seventies office there’s a lot more variety. And flares, obviously.

  20. It never ceases to amaze me where all these countless shade-names come from! Basic BMC red started with Cherry on the Mini in 1959, Tartan on the 1100 in 1962, then Flame under BL in 1970, Damask, Blaze, Flamenco, Carmine, Vermilion,Cinnabar and Emberglow through the 70s into the 80s, then Targa and again Flame for a second time in the 80s before a further change to Solar in the late 90s. Surely the time will arrive when the supply of available titles will be exhausted? Paint is one thing but then you start to think of the infinite variety of interior trim colours too. As for those early 2000s MG Rover ‘Monogram’ shades such as ‘Shot Silk Chromatic’…..

    • Conversely in the Rover Group era, Nightfire Red was a name used for three different shades of metallic burgundy (at different times).

  21. I had a friend who once owned a Marina Coupe (K plate) in that beige colour. At the time it looked reasonably good as he always kept it clean.

  22. To my eye BL Bedouin was the real beige colour of the range, from my recollection it was phased out circa 1971? Surprisingly it was available on MG’s and Mini Coopers.
    Harvest Gold & Antique Gold are more of a yellow beige and Limeflower a green beige. All were much more popular in the 1970’s than dull boring Bedouin.

  23. The colour was never my greatest concern … more whether it would start when I turned the key.

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