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Why we love our yellow cars

Matty Bee and his yellow Volvo S40 Image copyright Matty Bee
Image caption The yellow car convoy was organised by Matty Bee, owner of a Volvo S40

When Peter Maddox's yellow car was vandalised for spoiling the view of a Cotswolds village, drivers across the country rallied to his support. BBC News spoke to some fans about why these brightly coloured cars inspire a sense of community.

Janice Lavigueur says she'll often find herself getting a wave from another driver when they spot her yellow Peugeot 107.

Hostile reactions like the vandalism against Peter Maddox's Vauxhall Corsa are almost unheard of.

Instead, many yellow car drivers see themselves as part of a cheerful, loose-knit community.

"There's a sense that we're all in it together. We've all chosen something a bit different," said Ms Lavigueur.

Passionate owners

Matty Bee organised a convoy through Bibury in Gloucestershire in support of Mr Maddox, after the 84-year-old's car was damaged amid claims it spoiled the views of the picturesque Cotswold village.

Mr Bee, who drives a limited edition Volvo S40, said he had not realised how much community spirit there was among yellow car drivers until more than 1,500 drivers joined his Facebook group.

"Whenever I see another yellow car, I give it a flash and a wave," he said. "I thought there'd be maybe 15 or 20 people who felt as strongly about these cars as I did. But it seems everybody who owns a yellow car is just as passionate as me. They've all got names for their cars."

It's true. Readers who contacted the BBC about their yellow cars following news of the convoy said they had given them names ranging from Tweetie-Pie to Bob.

Mr Bee says the bright colour is an antidote to the stress and tension of a lot of driving. "It's the only car where I'm sitting in traffic but I feel chilled - it just makes you feel happy," he said.

Image caption Del Boy's Reliant Regal shows the comic side of yellow cars

Their rarity value tends to bring yellow car owners together, said Ms Lavigueur. Only 0.46% of cars registered last year were yellow, according to manufacturers.

There are practical advantages to having an unusual car as well, she said.

"It's brilliant for finding it when you've put it in a car park and can't remember exactly where. It's quite easy to spot.

"And it's safer too. People see you. I do feel that other drivers are much less likely to miss you. Touch wood, I've never had an accident in mine."

Her experience is backed by some science. A study in Singapore found that yellow taxis were 9% less likely to be in an accident compared to blue taxis, because they were more easily seen.

But it can have a downside too. "Perhaps the local constabulary will pay a bit more attention to a yellow car," said Gordon Young, who has a one-year-old yellow MG3.

"I'll just have to make sure I abide by the law - which I do anyway."

Pop culture stars

"There's quite a bit of attention with having a yellow car. People are always saying they've seen me somewhere because of my car," Ms Lavigueur said. "It's not a good car to have if you're trying to keep a low profile."

Perhaps because they're so memorable, yellow cars have had starring roles in pop culture, from the 1932 Ford Coupé in American Graffiti to the Reliant Regal van in Only Fools and Horses.

James Bond's chase scene in a yellow Citroën 2CV in For Your Eyes Only was once even voted the best 007 car scene ahead of competition from Aston Martins and Lotuses.

Even yellow cars' biggest fans admit they're not for everyone. "My brother always rolls his eyes at it and I don't think my husband would ever drive it," said Ms Lavigueur

Many yellow car owners take the jibes in their stride, however. After a yellow Fiat Cinquecento was used in Channel 4's The Inbetweeners as the worst possible car for a teenage boy, several owners have taken to styling theirs just like it, complete with one red replacement door.

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