Pale Primrose Yellow: Was there a "Hue"ge variety in this color?

My car looks so white/pale it almost looks tan, but it’s definitely primrose yellow. But when I am googling for other primrose cars, some of them look a lot more “yellow” and some of them almost look a little bit yellow green/lime.

Was there a big variety in primrose? Does it fade fast? Why is there such a variation in the hues in photos on the internet? Does anyone have a good example of what it is supposed to look like?

Apples to oranges?

I’m no authority but I think Primrose and Pale Primrose are two different colors. Pale would presumably be a lighter shade.



there were dozens of “primrose yellows” in use throughout the entire British car industry during the 1960s and 1970s. Even for the same manufacturer there is no guarantee that a “primrose yellow” of 1962 is the same as of 1975. My own SII car wears its original Fern Grey paint. Fern Grey was in use already during SI production - but in a different tone.

Add natural change over the years (aka fading).

Add effects in the course of photography (white balance, light colour … bright daytime or sunset, effects).

Add differences in TFT displays.

At the end of the day the only way to get a halfway decent picture of the original tone is to have an original colour chart (preferably on metal sheets) that has been stored in the dark.

A less than perfect way would be to ask people with original cars of exactly the same color and year to send you neutral pictures of their cars.

Maybe to begin with you might check your original paint code, find out the correct term and then search for matching cars. What year is your car? In 1974 there was an additional colour “Pale Primrose” (just as “Signal Red”) available only for E types (that being said I saw Signal Red on XJ Coupés which I believe to be original, so it might be that “Pale Primrose” found its way on the skin of XJ sedans as well on special order). This “Pale Primrose” is fairly light with much yellow and a hint of green.

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

For many years, I thought primrose was a shade of pink!!!

Then. I met a fellow with a beauty. An XJ6 in the market park lot. We chatted. “No, my car is not yellow, it is primrose!”.

Before that, a “primrose” XKE adorned the show case window on a local main drag. A Grosvenor XJ was there as well. Well, no E type, but, aye the Grosvenor car came to live here. That was 2001!!!

FWIW, this is a repainted 1973 car in Pale Primrose Yellow and the picture and/or the paint seem to be a bit too yellow for that vintage.

This is an apparently original 1967 car in Pale Primrose Yellow and the impression given meets my colour chart chip:

Similarly this 1967 car, maybe a bit more faded

while this one (1973) looks a bit too tan for me - but that may be due to the lighting

Good luck with your quest


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)


if it weren’t for the car colour my knowledge in botanics would have let me down as well. That’s what primroses look like. They are the heralds of spring - hence their name, but it might be in Southern California or New Mexico they aren’t native.




75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

I LOVE pale primrose. In NZ some cars were locally assembled and the “pale primrose” of those cars was quite a bit creamier than the English assembled cars. Personally, I prefer the very white version. Many moons ago I restored a 3.8 Mk 2 and wanted it to be in PP, but, as it was always going to be sold, I figured it would be more desireable in Signal Red. A big regret, would have looked great with chrome wires.

Primrose is a very pleasant color for me. I once had a 1969 Triumph TR6 in Jasmine color and found it very similar to Primrose.

Is there a pearlescent version of that color?

Sorry Carl,

you were right, of course! There are lots of pink, purple and blue varieties of primroses - as I just stumbled across.

Wikipedia tells us that primroses are yellow in lower regions as then they are mostly pollinated by bees, but of blue colour in higher and alpine regions because then they have to attract butterflys.

Veery off topic now, I admit …:slight_smile:

Best wishes


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)


Pure coincidence. botany not in my skillset!!!


First pun, then plants! Well, learned a little.
I think the colour is very difficult for the cameras‘ white balance so the best way to tell is by having cars or samples to directly compare against.

IME yellow is one of the worst for fade and very difficult to match even when not faded.
My current, and one of my previous, Saabs is yellow. Matching is a pig of a job.

I love primrose

1 Like