Wednesday 24 September 2008

Old Racing Car Art

Pencil on paper © Paul Chenard 1978

As I poked around a trunk of old papers, I found the working drawing and the finished sketch of a piece I submitted to the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD) for acceptance in the art & design program there in the late 1970's.

Pencil on paper © Paul Chenard 1978

Needless to say, I got in. But as I review what I drew, it was way before I started studying the history of racing, so I understand it is a not-so-accurate interpretation of a vintage racer.

But it did the job it had to do.
It's funny that it took 28 years before I got it right.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Porsche 934: The Street-legal Racer

Porsche 911-based race cars have always been very successful and in the early part of the 1970’s, that was certainly the case. For the 1976 season, FIA-sanctioned sports car racing was divided into 6 classes and Porsche had been very dominant in the Group 4 Class, which were strictly based on production road cars.

With the launch of the 930 Turbo in 1975, Porsche saw an ideal platform on which to build it’s new Group 4 candidate. With relatively minor (in race car terms) modification, Porsche created the 934 Turbo RSR. This efficient racer was still road legal, even retaining it’s power windows! The 934 was built through 1976 and 1977, with about 400 being built.

In competition, the 934 continued the company’s success by winning the European GT Championship, driven by Toine Hezermans (Netherlands), and the Trans Am Championship in the hands of American George Follmer. At Le Mans, the racers had class wins in 1977, 1978 and 1979.

A few years ago, I built the Tamiya 1/12 kit No.12020 Porsche 934 Turbo RSR No.24 Jägermeister racer, in it’s classic 1976 orange livery. I put in approximately 350 hours in the build, adding considerable more detail to already detailed kit; I also added the Tamiya kit No. RM2202 Motor Racing Team Mechanic. I had to mix the custom paint for him, and create the custom patches and stitching for his suit.

I then built the base to display it, using oak-flooring scraps and a ceramic tile; the acrylic cover was made to my specifications. I finished it off with a pewter plaque, which I engraved.

It won every top award in the local model competitions in 2006, and is now retired from the show circuit.

Friday 12 September 2008

Vanwall: The Seeds of an Industry

1/18 diecast Mettoy Vanwall made for Marks & Spencer (missing windshield, and possibly driver), England, circa 1959

The Vanwall was a British race car that got it's name from the combination of the team-owner Anthony (Tony) Vandervell’s name and that of his company's patented “Thinwall” bearings.

The first cars raced in 1954 with Peter Collins at the wheel, but without much success. By the end of 1955, Vandervell hired young Colin Chapman to redesign the chassis, with Frank Costin redesigning the body. The racer showed more potential through 1956, with a win at Silverstone in the hands of Sir Stirling Moss.

Frank Cooper Ltd. marmalade pot, England, 1959

oss decided to join the team for 1957, along with Tony Brooks and Stewart Lewis-Evans, and as the season unfolded, the Vanwalls became faster and more reliable with wins at the British, Italian and Pescara Grand Prix.

In 1958, Vanwall won Grand Prix's in Holland, Portugal and Morocco (Moss) and in Belgium, Germany and Italy (Brooks), thus winning the Constructor's Championship.

After the death of Lewis-Evans in Morocco in 1958, the team continued half-heartedly until 1961 when it closed all together.

Corgi #150 Vanwall Formula 1 Grand Prix, England, 1957

The international motorsport industry developed from the seeds sown by companies like Vanwall, BRM, Lotus, Cosworth and many others in Britain is such that there are now as many as 4000 companies involved in motorsport manufacturing in the U.K.

In Formula 1, 7 teams competing in the 2008 season are based there: McLaren, Williams, Renault, Super Aguri, Red Bull Racing, Force India and Honda.

Pencil and Prismacolor pencil on coloured archival paper 12"x 9" © Paul Chenard 2008

Available as limited edition premium archival Giclee prints (part of a series), 14.5''x 11'' (image size 12''x 9''), signed and numbered to a limit of 125 of each. The suggested retail price is $100 CDN each plus shipping/handling, or all 4 from the series for $325 CDN plus shipping/handling.

Monday 8 September 2008

Phil Hill and Fuller Brush

In 1959, after Phil Hill's first Le Mans win (1958), Fuller Brush decided that it would be interesting to combine his story with Ferrari and their newest catalogue.

The result is an wonderful piece, full of amazing photos, and the text of well-known motorsports writer and racer Denise McCluggage.

On an interesting note, Mr. Fuller was a Nova Scotian!