Wednesday 26 August 2009

Phil Hill 1927-2008

Sadly, yesterday was the first anniversary of Phil Hill's passing.

He was a great man, a Championship-winning racer, a master restorer, an enthralling writer, and a classical music lover.

He represents a time of heroes, and thankfully survived a dangerous period in racing.

He missed by all who've had the privilege of knowing him and knowing of him.

Monday 24 August 2009

The 1957 Mille Miglia

1957 spelled the official end of the famous Italian Mille Miglia road race, which started in 1927. As the name suggest, the route snaked its way through a thousand miles of Italy on public roads, starting and ending in Brescia.

That last race was won by Piero Taruffi in a works Ferrari 315 S, but was marred by the crash and death of Count Alfonso De Portago, his navigator Edmund Nelson, and thirteen spectators; Portago was in one of the Scuderia Ferrari team racers. There had been grumblings as a result of deaths in previous races, but this was the last straw, and the Mille Miglia was banded.

Taruffi’s other teammate was Peter Collins, driving a Scuderia Ferrari 335 S, navigated by photographer Louis Klemantaski; they unfortunately broke down, and never finished the race.

Peter Collins' Ferrari 335 S at tech inspection before the race

Working drawing, pencil on light gray archival paper, 12”x 9”
© Paul Chenard 2009

I did this sketch while sitting in the car at a soccer tournament, which my son was coaching (not cool for dad to be around the pitch).

Monday 17 August 2009

Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez – Mexican Racing Heroes

It’s a somewhat quieter time in the Summer, and this also applies to buying (or selling) stuff on Ebay.
I was searching for racing history items, when I came across two original art pieces. With no one bidding, they were easy to pick up.

They are wonderful portraits of the Mexican racing Rodriguez brothers, Ricardo and Pedro, rendered by Mexican artist Rodolfo Federico Antonio Fraga.

The 10” x 15” artworks are beautiful likenesses of the brothers, who are still very much revered in their home country.

Sadly, Ricardo was killed racing a Ferrari 156 in the 1962 Mexican Grand Prix, and Pedro was killed racing a Ferrari 512M at the Norisring in Nuremburg, Germany.

Though Ricardo died very young, Pedro continued, racing in Formula 1 (winning 2 races) and raced the World Championship of Makes, becoming a two-time World Champion (1970, 1971) at the wheel of a Wyer-Gulf-Porsche Porsche 917.

Monday 10 August 2009

SCALEXTRIC Tinplate Maserati 250F

My wife Lise and our younger son Olivier just got back from a weekend trip to Toronto to take in the Real Madrid/Toronto FC game on August 7th. Though it was a lop-sided win (5-1), it was still a very entertaining game!

While their stay was quite short, they had the pleasure of brunching with my friend Peter and his wife Huguette. Unknown to me, Peter had picked up a little something for me.

He found out that SCALEXTRIC had just release a 1/32 limited edition tinplate Maserati 250F; my favorite Grand Prix race car, driven by my favorite driver Juan Manuel Fangio, in his most famous race, German GP, Nurburgring 1957.

Peter knew very well how to pick them! It is a stunning slot racer, with all the right detail. It’s displayed in a very nice presentation box, and includes it’s own numbered card for each of the 5050 produced. SCALEXTRIC also offers a tinplate Ferrari 375 limited edition.

Needless to say, this gem will hold a special place in my collection …

Sunday 2 August 2009

An MG TF, Popular Mechanics, and the Look-off

A few weeks ago, I had a great visit from my friend Peter Felder, who drove over 1800 kms from Mississauga to visit me and see Nova Scotia.

We made our way to the Look-off near Canning so that Peter could get a stunning view of the fertile Annapolis Valley.

On our way there, something caught my eye in the form of an MG TF sticking out of the garage of Country Barn Antiques in Port Williams.

Of course we had to stop and take a look. Though the car was a little rough and tired, it was still quite nice to look at.

As we rummaged through the store, I found a gorgeous March 1929 issue of Popular Mechanics. It has a beautiful colour cover illustration of a land speed record car on the beach at Daytona, Florida. The feature article covers man’s quest for more speed. It’s a perfect addition to my collection …

We did finally escape to get to our destination, and to take in the breath-taking view.