Motormouth: Red is great for a Chinese New Year car, especially if the motorist is Chinese and the car is new

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You are really lucky and will probably be prosperous if the car you drive during Chinese New Year is shiny red and spanking new.

This phenomenon is strongest during the annual CNY period, when prosperous colours and lucky numbers are most important to the traditional-thinking Chinese, wherever they are in the world, from the People’s Republic of China to the Chinese-majority republic of Singapore.  

Motorists in the same camp also subscribe to the ancient belief that their amount of prosperity and level of luck throughout their Lunar New Year depend on crucial colours such as red, yellow/gold, orange and green, and golden numbers such as 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9. 

Red is the most auspicious colour and 8 is the goldenest number. 

Bidded registration numbers with one, two, three or four 8s in them tend to command some of the highest prices. However, red paintwork shouldn’t cost more than other paint jobs, whether from a car factory or for a local respray in a paint shop, although certain shades of red for some exoticars might require a top-up.  

The most exquisite and expensive red metal in the automotive world is the Rosso Corsa of Ferrari, which is the very definition of “great red supercar”, not only on the road, but also in the dream-car dreams of countless small boys and grown men. 

Ferrari has such a powerful grip on red as a car colour, for street-legal road cars and championship-chasing race cars alike, that the red used by other automakers just doesn’t work as well. Even fiery Lamborghinis, crimson McLarens and burgundy Bentleys somehow look less great in red compared to Rosso Corsa Ferraris. 

I had a red car once, a three-door EG6 Civic VTi in Milano Red. My beloved Honda hot hatch was not only red in colour, its DOHC VTEC B16A engine had a hell of a redline. 

Furthermore, my classic Civic’s red paintwork symbolised prosperity and its registration number had two 8s, which meant that it would qualify as a lucky car according to Chinese New Year customs.

It actually brought me good automotive fortune, because I was able to upgrade to a Honda Type R, complete with red enamel badges and a pair of red Recaro sport seats to continue my four-stroke of luck. 

Fortunately, my luck didn’t end with my finances in the red and a pair of red registration number plates on an off-peak car. 

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