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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The 1957 Cuban Grand Prix

Though it was called the Cuban “Grand Prix”, the race series was for sports cars.

It ran for 1957 and 1958 under the Battista Government. For 1959, it was not held as the Battista Regime collapsed and was taken over by Fidel Castro’s Revolutionary Government.

In that first year, Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss raced team Maserati 300s’.

Fangio chats with his mechanic pre-race
Pen&ink and watercolour pencils on watercolour paper © Paul Chenard 2014

Fangio always had a great rapport with his mechanics, showing them respect and loyalty. He gave them 10% of his winnings to show it, and in return, they would return that loyalty, and work hard making sure his car would last the race.

With his well-sorted Maserati, he easily won the 1957 race.

Before the 1958 race, Fangio was kidnapped by Castro supporters as to embarrass the Battista Government, but was released unharmed soon after the checkered flag fell, with Moss winning in a Ferrari 335 S.

The race returned one last time in 1960, but by then the great Fangio had retired from racing.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Greenwich Concours d’Élégance

For the first time, I’ve had to honour of attending the Grenwich Concours d’Élégance and Bonhams auction.

My friend Michael Ricciardi, owner of European Motorsports of Lawrence, MA had 5 cars on consignment at the auction and asked me if I was interested in going down.

Olivier and Michael supervising the loading of his consigned beauties

My youngest son Olivier joined me, hoping to see some nice rare cars at the prestigious event.

We not at all disappointed at all because at this event, the show cars are by invitation only, assuring a high level of stunning rare vehicles on display.

At the Bonhams auction, a new record was set for a Lamborghini, $1.2 million for a lovely blue 1975 LP400 Countach "Periscopica".

The concentration of wealth in Greenwich, CT also guarantees seeing a lifetime’s worth of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, Bentleys, Maseratis and Roll Royces around town … my 2007 Urban Gray Chevrolet Aveo Sedan was rarer!

Christopher Carveth found me to say Hello.

Sketch that I did on Saturday ...

... and sketch that I did on Sunday.

It was a gorgeous sunny weekend, and we met lots of wonderful people. I managed to get an on-the-spot sketch done each day, while also being interviewed by local media, TV and print.

With Greenwich being just north of New York City, Olivier and I zipped in the have lunch at the famous Tom’s diner from Seinfeld, and be shown around Madison Avenue by our new friend Kosta. Olivier then treated me to my first ballgame, where the Yankees bowed to the Mariners 2-10.

Olivier and I in front of Times Square

Kosta showing us Madison Avenue

The Mariners beat the Yankees 10-2

We reconnected with old friends and made many new friends there … worth the 3000 kms of driving. Not hitting the moose in Maine was a welcome bonus!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Porsche 911 Carrera RSR

There were enough hints of the competition potential of the Porsche 911. Vic Elford had proven it by winning the 1968 Rallye de Monte Carlo in a Porsche 911T.

Vic Elford, supported by David Stone, 1968 Rallye Monte-Carlo.

More and more privateer racers were choosing the 911 as their weapon of choice for racing and Porsche was taking notice. 
They started developing more sporting versions such as the 911 RS, and were met with more successes.

 For 1973, they decided to use the knowledge acquired building their race cars and apply it to the 911.

Swiss race driver Herbert Müller, teamed up with Gijs van Lennep, won the 1973 Targa Florio driving a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR.

The result was the 911 Carrera RSR, which was met with great success in its first year.

1973 24 Hours of Daytona-winning Brumos Porsche 911 Carrera RSR of Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood.

The RSR came in 4th overall at the 24 heures du Mans, and was 1st overall in the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Targa Florio and the 24 Hours of Daytona!

The huge success of the Carrera RSR pointed the way for Porsche, and lead to the development of the RSR Turbo, the 934, and the 935, all in turn successful racers.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Ford wins in Ferrari’s Playground

History is made, most often, when the status quo is upset and turned on its ear.

The path that history takes is often formed from passion, anger, determination, and luck.

Ford was looking to stroke its international profile through racing, their “Total Performance” initiative. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday …

They approached the biggest player in international racing Ferrari with a purchase proposal, having heard though the grapevine that there might be an opportunity.

Ford’s offers were rebuked in a Ferrari nationalistic master-plan for Italian funding.

In the scorn of rejection, Ford vowed to win against Ferrari, at any cost.

Pen&ink and markers on watercolour paper
© Paul Chenard

The purse was opened wide, very wide indeed, but it did finally happen in the sweetest way possible … a 1-2-3 sweep of the 1966 24 heures du Mans with the Ford GT40s … better than a Hitchcock thriller, to the utter stunned silence of the crowd.

History was re-written …

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Our Jaguar Club of North America AGM Weekend

While on my séjour in Lawrence Massachusetts in January for Denise McCluggage’s workshop, I met Dennis Eklof, the Jaguar Club of North America’s Northeast Regional Director. He mentioned that they were hosting this year’s AGM in Boston on April 4 th, 5 th, and 6th.

Weeks later, Dennis contacted me to get the event poster illustrated and designed. They also invited me to stay for the weekend at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, the event venue.

I invited my youngest son Olivier to come along for a little break from his busy work schedule.

It was a well-organized event where I met regional representatives from all over North America. There were also lovely significant Jaguars on display in the banquet hall, pure eye-candy! I was given a space to show off my art, and was available to autograph the well-printed posters.

On Friday evening, Olivier treated me to a Celtics game, followed by a comedy-improv show by the amazing Wayne Brady at the Wilbur Theatre. The Celtics lost, but Wayne Brady was nothing short of amazing; we were in stitches for the whole show!

While I manned my booth on Saturday, Olivier went shopping, and in the evening, I joined Motorsports Marketing Resources Director Peter Bourassa at the AGM banquet; Olivier was treated by our lovely friend Dianne Isaacson to his very first ball game at the historic Fenway Park, with the Red Socks playing the Brewers.

On Sunday, on our way back home, we stopped in Lawrence to see my friend Michael Ricciardi at European Motorsports. Michael kindly let Olivier sit in his lovely Lamborghini Contach, then treated us and one of his mechanics Tiny to brunch at Charlie’s Diner, just down the street from his shop.

I can say that though it is a long drive to get there and back, I will never give up an opportunity to see my friends in New England. Go Socks, go!!!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Thirst for Speed – Sir Henry Segrave

Sir Henry Segrave was a quiet, intelligent man with a lust for speed.

It started in 1915 while he was home recovering from battle wounds that his father picked-up a 20hp two-seater Singer.

After the Great War, he drove a 1914 Opel in the first post-war Brooklands race, and got completely hooked.

An acquaintance of his was connected to the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq automotive company, so he soon joined their team as a works driver.

Sir Henry Segrave racing a 1923 Sunbeam to win the French Grand Prix
Mobil "The Story of Grand Prix motor racing" card, art by Roy Nockolds

He was quite successful through the early to mid 1920’s with them, scoring some Grand Prix wins.

At this point, Sunbeam starting developing special cars aimed at achieving new land speed records. In 1926, he brought a V-12 Sunbeam to a new record of 152.33 mph.

Sir Henry Segrave reaching 203.79 mph
16"x 20" acrylic on canvas by Paul Chenard

For 1927, Segrave went for the ambitious goal of being the first to punch through the 200 mph barrier. In March of that year, driving the red twin-engine “1000HP” Sunbeam, he reached a world-record 203.79 mph on Daytona Beach Florida.

In March of 1929, he returned to Daytona Beach with the 930HP “Golden Arrow” and raised the record again to 231.44 mph.

For 1930, Segrave switched to power boats in an attempt to be the fastest man on water. Piloting Miss England II, he was trying to exceed a speed of 110mph when his boat tumbled and this courageous pioneer was killed at the age of 34.

Sir Henry Segrave in the 1000HP Sunbeam
Etched copper printing block, 7cm X 2.75cm (shown in reverse)
, circa ?

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Matra goes Racing

In the 1960’s, the French high-tech company Matra decided to start building racing cars as a way to promote their capabilities in a very public way.

They started designing and building Formula 3 and Formula 2 cars which relied on Matra’s knowledge of aeronautics and aircraft building methods.

These new racers quickly met with success, which encouraged Matra in 1968 to after the top level of racing, Formula 1.

With Scottish driver Sir Jackie Stewart at the wheel, they took 3 races in the season.

Pen&ink and markers on blue archival paper
© Paul Chenard

For 1969, they introduced a new car, and Stewart took the Championship.

With this first mission accomplished, they expanded into sports car racing, with the goal of winning at the 24 heures du Mans and the World Championship for Makes.

Latex house paint on oak plywood
© Paul Chenard

They won at Le Mans in 1972, 1973, and 1974, and took the Championship for 1973 and 1974. Driving home those 3 wins was French driver Henri Pescarolo, partnered with Graham Hill (Great Britain) the first year in a Matra MS670, and Gérard Larousse (France) for the next two, diving the Matra MS670B, then the MS670C.

Pen&ink and markers on watercolour paper
© Paul Chenard

After 1974, they stopped building racecars, and instead focused on racecar engine development and design.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Centered Driver - Part II

On January 28th, renowned automotive racer, journalist, writer, editor and photographer Denise McCluggage presented her workshop The Centered Driver, based on her best-selling book The Centered Skier.
Peter Bourassa introducing Denise McCluggage
Denise McCluggage giving her workshop

The workshop, organized by Peter Bourassa, took place at European Motorsports in Lawrence, Massachusetts, hosted by owner Michael Ricciardi.

The Centered Driver
It was a not-to-be-missed opportunity to get serious driving insights from someone who knows!

In the days before the event, I created a large 2-part mural that was the backdrop to Denise's presentation.

Peter, me, Denise and Michael
It was a huge honour to be part of it, and I've made many new wonderful friends.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Centered Driver

On January 28th, renowned automotive racer, journalist, writer and photographer Denise McCluggage is presenting her workshop The Centered Driver, based on her best-selling book The Centered Skier.

The workshop, organized by Peter Bourassa, will take place at European Motorsports in Lawrence, Massachusetts, hosted by owner Michael Ricciardi.

This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to get serious driving insights from someone who knows!

Registration information can be found here.
See you there!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

René Dreyfus - Bugatti Star

Frenchman René Dreyfus was born in Nice in 1905.

When he was 22, he convinced his mother that he needed a Bugatti to get to the clients of his paper company faster. He actually used it for racing.

He was hired as a driver by a local Bugatti dealer, and in 1929 won the Grand Prix de Dieppe in a Type 35B. His real fame came when he beat the factory team driver Chiron in the 1930 Grand Prix de Monaco.

He was briefly with the Maserati team and later joined the Bugatti factory team. With them, he won the 1934 Grand Prix de Belgique, driving a Type 59.

For 1935, he drove for Scuderia Ferrari, alongside drivers like Nuvolari and Chiron. Dreyfus had one more major win before the war, racing a Delahaye to victory at the 1938 Grand Prix de Pau.

He went to the U.S. to race in the 1940 Indianapolis 500, finishing a creditable 10th place. It became impossible to return because of World War Two, so he stayed.

He enlisted in the United States Army during the war, and at the end of it became an American citizen. He opened the famous “Le Chanteclair” restaurant in New York City in 1953, which became a gathering place for the rich and famous, and for the racers coming to the city.

Dreyfus died in New York City in 1993.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Racing History Toy Posters

For the past few decades, I’ve been collecting vintage racing automobilia of all kinds.

The collection includes signed racing posters, racing decals, race programs, cigarette cards, racing patches, racing team press kits, racing art, but by far the largest part of my collection are my toys.

I love my toys, and I thought of a way to show them off.

I’m creating a series of posters that group my toy collection in various categories. The first in the series feature Grand Prix Cars of the 1950’s (posters no.1 and no.2), Land Speed Record cars, Grand Prix Colours, and my Tyrrell P34 toys.

The large posters are 12”x 18” and sell for $20 each plus shipping. The Tyrrell poster is 18”x 6” and sells for $15 each plus shipping, and the Grand Prix Colours is 18”x 4” and sells for $12 each plus shipping. If you order all 5 posters, the Grand Prix Colours poster is free.

I’ll be following these up with Grand Prix Cars of the 1930’s, Grand Prix Cars of the 1960’s, Grand Prix Cars of the 1970’s, Sports/GT Cars of the 1950’s, Sports/GT Cars of the 1960’s, Ferrari race Cars, Mercedes Race Cars, Bugatti Race Cars, Bentley Race Cars, and a few other interesting themes.

Considering what the going rate is for these toys, this is certainly a cost-effective alternative!

If you are interested in acquiring one or more, please email me at
BTW, wholesale inquiries are welcome.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Peter Revson 1939-1974

Peter Revson started racing in the early 1960’s.

He was heir to the considerable Revlon cosmetics empire, but chose not to be part of it.

Instead, he chose a life of motor sports, starting in club events and moving into Formula Junior, traveling around Europe in a converted bread-van to race the events.

In the late sixties, he raced for the AMC Javelin team in the Trans-Am series, with some success.

In 1969, he raced to a 5th place in the Indianapolis 500, the top rookie finish. In 1970, he co-drove with Steve McQueen to finish 2nd in the 12 Hours of Sebring in McQueen's Porsche 908/02. He also raced Penske Racing AMC Javelins, and raced the L&M Lola in Can-Am racing.

In 1971, he raced for McLaren in the Can-Am series, becoming the first American to win the Can-Am Championship, driving a McLaren M8F. He came in 2nd place at the Indy 500, also racing in a McLaren.

Pen&ink and paint markers on archival light orange stock
© Paul Chenard 2013

McLaren brought him into the Formula 1 team for 1972-73, and in 1973 he won two races, the British Grand Prix and the Canadian Grand Prix, driving a Yardley McLaren M23.

For 1974, Revson moved to the Shadow Team, but sadly, this popular driver was killed while testing the UOP Shadow-Ford DN3 before the South African Grand Prix in Kyalami.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Danville Tour d’Élégance 2013

Each year in mid-September, the Danville Tour d’Élégance is held in Danville, California, west of San Francisco Bay.

The event is part of the main Danville Concours d’Élégance, an important Parkinson’s fundraiser, which this year celebrated it’s 9th anniversary.

For the past 3 years, I’ve worked with Deb Pollack (, who is in charge of public relations, to give the Danville Tour d’Élégance it’s look and feel in the form of the original art, and the design of posters and vehicle stickers.

Each year, we’ve celebrated the accomplishments of key people in American motor sports who have been struck by Parkinson’s.

My portrait of Richard "Dickie" Green
Pen&ink and markers on green archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2013

This year, we celebrated Richard “Dickie” Green, the well known and respected British Aston Martin motor sports mechanic and engineer, who started with Aston Martin in 1952 then moved to the USA with his spouse Doreen in 1956.

I’m very honoured to be part of to be part of such an important and growing event. In the near future, I hope to be able to attend this very worthwhile and respected fundraiser.

Doreen Green and Alma Hill

Derek Hill

Special thanks to photographers Mark Davidson, Dennis Gray and Rachel Shuler for their wonderful photography.