Thursday, 30 April 2009

Land Speed Record Cars - Part 2

There is renewed fascination with the land speed record, with two major efforts in the works.

There is the North American Eagle team using a highly modified F-104 Starfighter for their attempt at a new land speed record of 800 mph (1287 km/h)!

There is also the British
Bloodhound SSC team, aiming for a record of 1000 mph (1,609 km/h)!

Will's Cigarette Cards "Speed" 2nd series (England) 1938

Toy land speed record cars from the past are not the only items available to fans of the sport.

Eagle Annual #3 "Motor Racing and Sports Cars", illustration by George Pye (England) 1950's

Many printed items are also out there celebrating the land speed records; magazines, books, print ads, collector cards, prints and art out there celebrating speed at the edge.

So-Cal Belly Tank Lakester
Prismacolor pencils on white archival stock 9"x 4"
© Paul Chenard 2008

Gary Grant Collection

Here are the ones I’ve picked up over the years, and the little bit of art I’ve done on the subject.

World on Wheels Cards No.43, No.23 and No.38

Malcolm Campbell in Bluebird at Pendine Sands, January 1927
Pencil on paper, antique frame
© Paul Chenard 2006

Friday, 24 April 2009

Land Speed Record Cars - Part 1

People have always been focused and fascinated with speed.

From the speed of your computer to how quickly you can paint a room, everyone has some kind of stake in it.

Lledo/Kelloggs Land Speed Legends
Bluebird 1935 & Railton Mobil Special 1947 (England) 1993

But there is a small, but determined group who are steadfastly focused on the land speed record. People like Camille Jenatzy, Ralph DePalma, Malcolm Campbell, Henry Seagrave, George Eyston, John Cobb, Craig Breedlove, Art Arfons and Andy Green are some of the brave pioneers who pushed the limits to achieve the land speed record.

Dinky #220 Small Open racing Car (England) 1952

The publics fascination with this is, of course, supported by toy producers who make miniature versions of the exotic machines used to achieve a new record.

Here are some of the ones I have.

Dinky #221 "Speed of the Wind" Distance Car & #23P MG Record Car (England) 1950's & 1947, CIJ No.3/2 Renault "Étoile Filante" Racing Car (France) 1957, Corgi #153 Proteus Bluebird (England) 1966

Chime Record Car, Tin Wind-up (Canada) 1930's

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Mike Hawthorn 1929-1959

Pen & ink with watercolour and Prismacolor pencils on white archival Strathmore stock

© Paul Chenard 2009

John Michael “Mike” Hawthorn was a well-liked British racecar driver from Farnham. He was popular, and fun-loving, almost always sporting his trademark bowtie, even when racing.

His father Leslie owned own and operated the Tourist Trophy Garage and Mike spent most of his spare time working in his father’s garage, located close to the Brooklands race track.

He started racing motorcycles with some success, and in 1950, raced automobiles, also with success. In 1951, he graduated to a Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol that his father bought.

His racing prowess caught the attention of Jaguar’s Lofty England and Enzo Ferrari. Hawthorn was offered a contract with Ferrari and signed up for 1953.

His first F1 win came in the 1953 French Grand Prix at Reims, driving a Ferrari 500. Though less consistent and successful than others, he won 4 pole positions and 3 Grand Prix races in 45 starts. In 1958, he won only one race, but place 2nd in five races, allowing him to take the Formula 1 Driver’s Championship.

After winning, Hawthorn immediately announced his retirement from Formula 1 to pursue his business interests. Sadly, less than a year later, he was killed in an automobile accident.

Note: The sketch above is available as a 11"x 14.5" limited edition of 50 signed/numbered archival Giclee print for $150 USD each plus shipping/handling.

Friday, 3 April 2009

The Office Series – 1955 Jaguar D-Type

Not long after the Second World War, the Jaguar car company decided that they needed to promote themselves with an attention-getting product.

Pen & ink, watercolour pencil on white archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2009

Needless to say, they shook the automotive world by introducing the powerful and sleek XK-120 sports car. Powered by a straight-6 and clothed in a stunning sleek and low body, its performance matched its looks and orders flooded in.

A clocked speed of at least 120 mph suggested that it had potential as racing car, so Jaguar created a lighter, more streamlined of the car, calling it an XK-120-C, or C-Type.The racer won the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans for 1951 and 1953.

To build on their success, Jaguar created an all-new racer for 1954, and christened it the D-Type. As a factory-built racer, it introduced the strong yet lightweight monocoque chassis. Designed by Malcolm Sayer, it sported a gorgeous aerodynamic body, producing minimal drag. It was powered by a modified XK straight-six engine, and sported disk brakes all around.

The first of it's 3 Le Mans wins came in 1955, under very sad circumstances, when Pierre Levegh’s Mercerdes SLR lost control and crashed, killing him and 80 spectators. Mike Hawthorn was the winning D-type’s driver, along with Ivor Bueb.

Pen & ink, watercolour pencil and Prismacolor on white archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2009

The D-type won again in 1956, under Écurie-Écosse Team management, with Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson driving, and again in 1957, with again Flockhart, this time teamed up with Ivor Bueb.

By 1958, the D-type was no longer competitive, so the remaining cars were converted to road-specification as the XKSS.