Thursday 28 August 2008

Phil Hill 1927-2008: An American Hero

Working drawing for future serigraph limited edition, pencil on board © Paul Chenard 2007

Hand-drawn birthday card, pen and ink on card
© Paul Chenard 2007
Phil Hill Collection

I’m very sad to hear that Phil Hill, one of my great heroes, has passed away.

Here is a quote from the Race Legends website:
Hill had a varied racing career beginning in 1947 and stretching over 20 years. He was remarkable in winning both his first and last race outings. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times for the team of Enzo Ferrari, Sebring 12 Hours three times and a host of sports car, endurance and Formula One races. He was also the fastest man in an MG, setting a land-speed record for the British firm. Hill was a long-time contributing editor to Road & Track Magazine.

I actually never heard of him until I started reading his Salon features in Road & Track magazine. His articulate and retrospective analysis’s actually nurtured my curiosity in the history of motor sports, and pushed me to find out more, to read as much as I could on the subject.

That’s when I really learned of his amazing accomplishments in a great variety of racers, and his artistry in Ferraris. My research also showed me that no one had encapsulated his success for the Ferrari Team in art. This led me to create a series of illustrations on his wins with them.

Mr Hill not only chose to feature them on his website, but also agreed to sign 100 prints of the series. Keep in mind that this happened just over a year ago, so it was an incredibly difficult task for him. His signature was obviously effected by the Parkinsons, but he none-the-less pushed on and did the series.

His son Derek was kind enough to take some snapshots of his dad signing, and sent them out to me, and they are now my treasured keepsakes.

Godspeed, Phil Hill 1927-2008...

Pen & ink on vellum, digitally painted © Paul Chenard 2006

This series highlights Phil Hill's great success in Ferraris, culminating with his 1961 World Championship win.

* Note: At a request of Phil Hill's Family, all Phil Hill artworks are removed from his website until sometime in November, 2008.

The Vanderbilt Cup Races

Prismacolor pencil on Neenah Classic Laid stock
© Paul Chenard 2008
Gary Faules Collection

The Vanderbilt Cup races were the brainchild of millionaire sportsman William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. in an effort to bring European style road racing to America.

Modeled in the Gordon Bennett races, the first race took place on Long Island, New York in 1904. Though it was a bit disorganized, it was a huge success. This led to a series of successful, well attended races every year until 1916. They were also run in Savannah (Georgia), Milwaukee (Wisconsin), and Santa Monica and San Francisco (California).

The Vanderbilt Cup races returned off and on, in various forms, in 1936 and 1937, in 1960, and from 1996 to 2007 but these were nothing like those early pioneer days.

My friend Gary Faules of California's Best, Inc. has written extensively on the Vanderbilt Cup races; check out his great stories:


Thursday 21 August 2008

Fire and Ice: the 1933 Monaco Grand Prix

Pen & ink and Prismacolor pencils on archival white stock
© Paul Chenard 2008

The 1933 Monaco Grand Prix was fought with passion and coolness. The fiery Tazio Nuvolari squared off against the cool, reserved Achille Varzi in a race-long battle to win.

Nuvolari raced a Scuderia Ferrari team Alfa Romeo 8C Monza, swapping first place with Varzi's Bugatti Type 51 during 97 of the 100 laps of the race.

On the last lap, Nuvolari's over-heating racer finally broke down just ahead of the finish line and Varzi took the checkered flag. Nuvolari pushed his car across the line, but was disqualified because he was helped by a mechanic.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Maserati 250F - A Masterpiece of Speed & Beauty

Polistil-Tonka 1/16 1980's (Italy), Matchbox Models of Yesteryear #Y10-4 1/36 1980's (England), Mercury #52 1/43 1950's (Italy), Solido Ré-edition 1990's (France)

If you ask knowledgeable Grand Prix (or general racing) historians what is the greatest race car of all time, 9 out of 10 would say the Maserati 250F.

Conceived with little funding, but much enthusiasm, dedication and know-how, the 250F was built along fairly conventional lines, but with an incredible visual aesthetic. The car looks fast just siting there, and with it's balanced light chassis and powerful inline 6-cylinder engine, it was!

It's first victory came in 1954 at Aintree in the capable hands of Sir Stirling Moss, and it's last major win came in the legendary 1957 German Grand Prix at Nürburgring in the hands of the Argentinean master Juan Manuel Fangio, giving him his last of five World Championship titles.

The image above includes the Maserati 250F diecasts in my collection. Below, I've included a few of sketches I did of Fangio driving the rolling masterpiece, the heart of the masterpiece, and a paper model I created.

Fangio at Nürburgring 1957, pencil on paper
© Paul Chenard 2006

Charles McCabe Collection

Fangio at Monaco 1957, pen & ink on paper © Paul Chenard 2006

Prismacolor and pencils on red archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2008

Paper model that I created using Adobe Illustrator on a Mac
© Paul Chenard 2001