Scored the Gulf Livery C6 Corvette ZR1 at Target last night. Racks were full so I was hopeful I that I would find something special and while it might not be a TH, Vettes are always special to me.
The orange plastic base is kind of weird but I like the way it looks like side skirts and a front splitter. Aside from the headlights (seriously... Mattel kind of skimped on all of their C6 casts) the paint and tampos are near perfect. I imagine that’s the benefit of having a big sponsor to put on a car.
Speaking of a big sponsor, since I always try to inject some history into my posts, Gulf has always had a big way of doing things. Makes sense for a company started by Texas wildcatters and financed by the Mellon family/bank in Pittsburgh.
In the 1930s they purchased a pair of modified Grumman F3F fighter planes, painted them orange and blue, and dubbed them Gulfhawk II and Gulfhawk III (no idea what happened to Gulfhawk I).
And as you all know, Gulf as been linked to motorsports ever since they sponsored the John Wyer Automotive team, bringing us iconic liveries aboard the Ford GT40 and the Porsche 917.
But as things occasionally went in the oil business in the 80s, shares started to change hands, vultures started attempting takeovers, and Gulf as a single independent company ceased to exist in 1984. Its parts were bought up by the likes of BP, Chevron and others.
These days it exists largely only as a brand. Cumberland Farms is a two-thirds owner in Gulf Oil Limited Partnership, which basically licenses the name from Chevron. I’ve actually filled up at a Gulf station in Dallas. It was the first time I’d seen one since I was real little.
Gulf Oil International owns the branding rights outside of the United States, Spain and Portugal and as I understand it was the source of the sponsorships aboard the McLaren F1 GTR in 1997, the Lola-Aston LMP1 in 2009 and whole host of GT cars spread around the world. GOI is owned by the Hinduja Group and is based in London.
While I doubt the Gulf brand as it exists today is big enough to do so, hopefully we get to see the livery return to LMP1 some day. An F1 car would be pretty cool and would break up the blacks and silvers that dominate today’s cars but Gulf has always been about endurance. I want to see it on the podium at Le Mans.
Thanks for reading.