Code Name 243. Looking for color : Nogaro Silver [ENG]

Nogaro silver is a metal paint available on the E30 M3 EVO II Cecotto / Ravaglia special editions.

It’s basically nothing, a weird tint that’s not pretty when given too much attention or surface to cover. It’s a rabbit hole for wheels geek, a detail covered in brake dust in the Grand Scheme of Things.

Let’s dive in anyway.

Nogaro derives from the Latin nucarius meaning “walnut”. It’s also a region in South West France.

The link between the two is the Paul Armagnac race track, based in Nogaro.

Anecdotally, the wine produced there, the Armagnac (both a spirit and a toponym, like Champagne or Calvados) has nothing to do with the walnut wine, produced in many agricultural regions of France. But let’s keep on track.

“Paul Armagnac circuit is very interesting as it features – with only a handful of others – every kind of corners: fast, technical, tight and those conceived for overtaking”

Nogaro is somewhat evocative, but really, it’s Paul Armagnac that should catch the eye.

It’s the name of the pilot who gave the initial push to create the circuit back in the 60’s, with his friend Robert Castagnon, a name so typical of South West France that’s more picturesque than Nogaro for a French ear (let’s assume the subject suffers from synesthesia).

The story of the Paul Armagnac Nogaro circuit is one of a struggle for cause unknown between the promoter Robert Castagnon and the mayor of Nogaro; in French it’s called a Clochemerle, a passionate debate regarding ultra-local considerations and tiny outcomes. The former used the absence of the latter (he had gone up to Paris) to start building his circuit. The mayor, when he got back to Nogaro and witnessed the construction followed the national character of the Wind Vane* and agreed immediately on the then ongoing project, even offering his help to speed up the construction before the first motoring event scheduled on October 3rd, 1960.

Nogaro grew to become nowadays the 3rd most frequented track in France, hosting major events, notably the European Touring Car Championship during the 1980’s (85-88)

We are getting there. What car won twice the championship during that time frame? The BMW E30 M3.

Nogaro silver is hard to pinpoint. It’s a special color. It was only available on the Sport Evo II and Cecotti / Ravaglia editions. It’s a dark, mineral grey tint. It also has flakes, one of the first ever metallic paints offered on a BMW.

It is also special because it’s the only non-grey color that was used on wheels for the E30, the Beautiful BBS RZ 16’’ in crossover spoke design for the Sport Evo.

At the time, the color association pattern body/wheels were limited. Rally cars had white wheels, the rest of the motoring batch (I don’t think it qualifies for being a “scene”) had either silver or gold center on silver lips paints. But there’s must be something between silver and black?

A good amount of shades of grey, 48 to be precise, according to the RAL chart.

Nogaro silver paved some of the burned way to anthracite and its limitless combination of color to suit every hue and texture of body paint.

Now the owner of a light grey car could dial in properly his wheels with an appropriately dark anthracite (see Himalaya Grey, an OEM color from Mercedes) thus escaping from the soul crushing choice between the conformity of silver on grey and the tackiness of black on grey.

Now wheels feature more and more bold color, the sublime “Chrome Shadow” (on which I hope to write soon) tint on the 40M wheels for the Z3M or the 65M for E39 M5, or even crazier, the orange cue in the devilish 666M for the M3 F80.

Although, that is not to say that Nogaro Silver paved the way for that change too.

Going back to Nogaro, in bas Armagnac county, it’s the decades old tale of development for racing purposes that find aesthetic appeal on the streets.

As such, being mythical, it will be used, in one way or another.

Some astute and crooked individuals might want to jump on that train, with their set of plain casts 525 TDS wheels and a rattle can of Nogaro Silver paint bought off eBay. And so, they might try to pass them off as genuine BBS RZ Nogaro silver (after all the E34 and E30 M3 share the same PCD) for a considerable mark up (15’’ E30 M3 are still available, 16s not anymore and as such command serious amounts on the used market).

Maybe we should let them have that, E30 M3 Sport Evo money nowadays gets you a reasonably comfortable house, or an apartment in a fashionable coastal city; let us have that. That’s maybe the only thing from that era we can still afford.

 

Source of the cover picture : https://c1552172.ssl.cf0.rackcdn.com/511189_x800.webp

 

 

 

*Napoleon used to describe the French people as “genuine wind vane”, this vice is however “without motive” making it more excusable. No wonder the national animal, the rooster is often pictured on it…

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