Saturday 10 December 2011

Beautiful Auto Union die cast racers

Recently, I was contacted by Dutch gentleman Paul Schilperoord about a collection of 1/43 German die cast Auto Union toys. He was looking for any support information that I could provide on these little gems, which he had picked up in Germany.
Paul is a writer and he came across the collection while researching his book:

He's done a blog post on these Auto Union toys; you can read it here:

As a longtime collector of vintage racing toys, I have to say that these are rare and stunning!

The most stunning aspect of these circa 1947 Zamac-cast racers is that some of them are clearly painted in matte military paint! This is highly unusual, and the first time that I've seen it. There are 5 colours in all, and three of those are matte.

If you are interested in acquiring one or more of these rare toys, contact Paul directly at

You won't be disappointed.

Friday 25 November 2011

James Dean and his Porsche 550 Spyder

James Byron Dean was born on February 8th, 1931 in Marion, Indiana.

He is known mostly for the brilliance of his acting in his only 3 feature movies: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. He received two posthumous Best Actor Academy Award nominations, for East of Eden and Giant.

He is less well known for his automobile racing activities. In 1953, he started with a race-prepared MG TD, then trading up to a Porsche 356 in 1954.

He showed some skill on the track, so he again traded up to a Porsche 550 Spyder. He had actually ordered a Lotus X for his racing activities, but its delivery was delayed so Dean settled on the Spyder.

His language coach for the movie Giant, Bill Hickman, called him “Little Bastard”, so Dean had that painted in script on the back of the Porsche by legendary pin-striper Dean Jeffries.

On the morning of September 30, 1955, Dean and his mechanic Rolf Wütherich set off from Competition Motors in Los Angeles to go to a sports car race in Salinas, California.

On their way there, a 1950 Ford Custom Tudor coupe, driven by 23-year-old Donald Turnupseed, took a fork in the road, his left turn bringing him head-on into the path of Dean’s Porsche.

Wütherich survived the crash, but Dean was not as lucky and died about 10 minutes afterward.

Interestingly, he was quoted as saying, "People say racing is dangerous. But I'd rather take my chances on the track any day than on the highway."

Sadly, he was right.

For the past little while, I've wanted to do a piece on James Dean and his 550, so finally I got around to it. I call it "Immortality", and it's done in mixed media.

The background is acrylic on 70 year-old unused canvas board (my dad's), Dean and his mechanic are in pen&ink and archival markers on illustration board, on which I also illustrated the wheels in Prismacolor pencils.

The Porsche 550 Spyder is on 18-gauge sheet aluminum, which I engraved, sanded, painted on with oil model paint and pen&ink, cut out, filed and sanded, and finished in gloss varnished. The Porsche is about a 1/4" off the canvas ...

The size of the piece is 16"x 12" (40.6cm x 30.5cm), unframed.
It's framed in a black floating frame ...
I included part of a quote of his that I found appropriate for this.

This piece is is available for sale; please contact me at  if you are interested.

Thursday 24 November 2011

The Automotive Word from the East

In the latest Automobile magazine (December 2011), one of my favorite automotive journalists Jamie Kitman makes an interesting journey through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, cruising in a new Jaguar XJ.

On his travels, he meets up with an old friend of his Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who happens to be the President of Estonia.

Along the way, he also met with a friend of mine, journalist/writer/engineer Margus-Hans Kuuse; he even provides a sidebar into to Margus-Hans in his feature.

Margus-Hans is the main info source of all things automotive in Eastern Europe, and has been that source since the Soviet era of the early 70’s. 

A couple of years ago, Margus-Hans used my Cevert portrait in a story of his, and I’ve since had the honour of being counted as one of his numerous friends.

It’s wonderful that this amazing pillar of automotive journalism be recognized for his groundbreaking work. Bravo!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Racing History Greeting Cards

Recent, I decided to develop some greeting card sets for sale.

There are 5 different themes available:
1) Sports/GT Cars of the Early 60's  © Paul Chenard 2011

2) Ferrari 156 F1 "Sharknose"  © Paul Chenard 2011

3) 1934 Grand Prix Season  © Paul Chenard 2011

4) Grand Prix Engines of the 1950's  © Paul Chenard 2011

5) Hawthorn's Race Cars  © Paul Chenard 2011

There are 4 different illustrations per set, with 3 of each illustration, with descriptions on the back, 12 in all; envelopes are included.
Each set sells for $30 CDN plus shipping and applicable taxes. Please contact me at to order.

There a little something for everyone!

Thursday 3 November 2011

My “Silver Clouds” book reviewed …

There is a nice review by
Mark Dixon of my limited
edition book "Silver Clouds:
The 1934 Grand Prix Season"
in the November 2011 issue
of Octane magazine.

Friday 28 October 2011

1st Annual Danville Tour d’Élégance

On September 17th and 18th, the first annual Danville Tour d’Élégance was held in conjunction with the 7th annual Danville Concours d’Élégance.

The events were held in support of Parkinson’s Research and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

I had the huge honour of doing the illustration/design work for the Danville Tour d’Élégance, which celebrated Phil Hill and the 50th anniversary of his Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship. My work included the poster, the banner, and the car sticker.

I also donated one of my Phil Hill signed limited editions, on which I added a "remarque" sketch of Hill racing a Ferrari Testa Rossa.

I've been told the event was a great success, and will be held again next year. I’ve also been asked to be part of it again, and of course I said ‘YES”!

Vincent Chiaro covered the event for egarage; you can read his story here:

All photos courtesy and © of Vincent Chiaro

Monday 17 October 2011

F1 Historic and Spa Six Hours 2011

After our weekend as art vendors at the Goodwood Revival, my friend Nicolas Cancelier treated me to a visit of the historic Spa-Francorchamps track to take in the sites and sounds of the historic races on Saturday September 24th.

We walked around the famous track, and I felt I was walking on hallowed ground …

The elevation changes were dramatic and the scenery was stunning; it helped that to day was warm and sunny. We came across a large number of rare beautiful race cars, and managed to catch some being driven in competition.

We visited the vendor area and met well-known and respected Belgian artists Claude Viseur (Clovis) and his spouse, along with artist Benoit Deliège. They treated me as one of their own, for which I am deeply grateful.

I even managed to realize my dream of sitting in my all-time favorite Grand Prix car, the Maserati 250F. I have to say that it was very difficult to not play the role of the determined racer at the wheel of that lovely car.

Interestingly, we came across 1957 pontoon-fendered Ferrari Testa Rossa, which has sporting a custom-made fast-back detachable roof! I had never seen such a thing, so I would appreciate any information you’d have on it.

This was an adventure that I will never forget.

All photos courtesy and © of Nicolas Cancelier 2011

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Grand Prix History Calendar for 2012

I’ve created a jewel case calendar featuring Grand Prix racing through the ages.

Starting with Philippe Étancelin’s win of the 1930 French Grand Prix de Pau, it wraps up with the famous Gilles Villeneuve/René Arnoux battle for second in the 1979 French Grand Prix at Dijon.

The calendar has a different illustration for each month, with illustration details on the back; it retails for $25 CDN plus shipping/handling. The calendar size is 5.59" x 4.98" x 0.36" (14.2cm x 12.7cm x 0.9cm).

The Holidays are just around the next turn!

Friday 7 October 2011

Spitfire 75th Anniversary

On my way to the Goodwood Revival, I had quite a long stop-over in Montréal (plus delays caused by a thunderstorm.)

Knowing that I would be there long, I brought some reference images and drawing materials, and did a freehand sketch of a Spitfire while sitting in the terminal.
Pen&ink and archival markers on archival watercolour paper 12"x 9" (30.5cm x 22.9cm)
Original sketch available for sale.

A retired Québecoise on her way to Paris stopped by to chat when she saw me sketching; she also liked to sketch, but not normally in airport waiting areas!

Thursday 6 October 2011

François Cevert 1944-1973

"Il y a 38 ans, une étoile s'est éteinte".

Sadly, today marks the 38th anniversary of the passing of the great François Cevert at Watkins Glen.

Monday 3 October 2011

The Goodwood Revival 2011: An Artist-vendor’s View

This year, my good friend Belgian artist Nicolas Cancelier and I decided to take the plunge and show our art together at the 2011 Goodwood Revival.

Me and my good friend Belgian artist Nicolas Cancelier
© Dirk de Jager 2011

I have to say that it was an experience I won’t soon forget.

Here, we are joined by fellow artist Anna-Louise Felstead.

Dirk (centre), a friend, and I help chop down a small forest of Chimay.
The traffic in our booth’s alleyway was less than we anticipated, and I think it hurt all our neighbour vendors too.

Even with this fact, we had a good enthusiastic public, some of them even seeming shocked at the idea that two artist friends could show their art together, and that there could be such a large variety of artwork.

We also had drop-ins by Facebook friends, like David Anthony Betts, photographer/journalist Dirk de Jager and videographer/photographer Ralph Colmar, along with fellow artists Anna-Louise Felstead, Debra Wenlock, and Richard Wheatland. Due to a little creative marketing on our part, we also had a few celebrities drop by. I can safely say that the days weren’t boring.

Tiff Needell, Arturo Merzario and Paul Lovett all benefitted from our little limited edition gifts.
As exhibiting artists, we didn’t have much time to really take in any of the event and activities, but it was exciting non-the-less.

At the end of the day, we became regulars at the Bell Inn in Chichester. It’s a wonderfully friendly laid-back place with great food — the perfect escape after our 13-hour days!

Thursday 8 September 2011

Goodwood Revival 2011

Well, the clock is ticking down for the world's best vintage racing festival, the Goodwood Revival.
I will be sharing a vendor booth there with my good friend Belgian artist Nicolas Cancelier, and we are both anticipating a wonderful time at this premier event.
It takes place over the 16th, 17th and 18th of September, and ticket sales have already surpassed last years attendance figures.

If you are lucky enough to be there too, please drop by Revival Market Stand #61, and say "Hello".

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Phil Hill – America's First Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Phil Hill’s Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship.

1961 Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion Phil Hill and the Ferrari 156 F1 "Sharknose"
Pen& ink and Prismacolor pencils on white archival stock 
© Paul Chenard 2011
Available as a limited edition of 50.

50 years ago, there were more Americans involved in Formula 1; Phil Hill was joined by Dan Gurney and Richie Ginther in high echelons of international racing, and more were to follow.

Hill made his mark successfully racing sports cars, including Ferraris. This got the attention of the man himself, Mr. Ferrari, and Hill was recruited to the team. He started racing in Formula 1 in 1958, finally winning his first race in 1960 at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The following year, he took the Championship, racing the famous Ferrari 156 F1 “Sharknose”.

Phil Hill’s accomplishment is being celebrated at the Danville Tours D’Élégance on September 17th and 18th. Please try to attend this wonderful event; proceeds from it will go in support of Parkinson’s research and patient care.

I’ve had the honour of designing the poster for the event; Phil Hill is one of my heroes, too!

Sunday 7 August 2011

"Boys of Bonneville" Documentary Film

There is a new documentary film out entitled "Boys of Bonneville". Though I’ve yet to see it, it looks quite promising.

Here is the movie’s synopsis, taken from the website

Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt is about an America that has all but disappeared, when lucrative business deals were cemented by a handshake and state of the art automobiles were designed on the backs of envelopes. It tells the story of an unsung hero and self-made man, David Abbott Jenkins, who, with almost superhuman stamina and boyish charm, set out to single-handedly break every existing land speed record on his beloved Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. More than a century later, many of “Ab’s” records remain unbroken and the legacy lives on in his custom car. Looking like something Batman would have owned, the story comes full circle when Ab’s son Marv, restores the 12-cylinder, 4800-pound “Mormon Meteor” to its glory days for a ceremonial lap on the salt.There is a new documentary film out entitled "Boys of Bonneville". Though I’ve yet to see it, it looks quite promising.

The film features pristine archival footage of Ab, Marv, and their races, as well as recently shot HD interviews with a stellar list of car and racing aficionados (including Jay Leno and Col. Andy Green, the current land speed holder). The car resides in Salt Lake City’s Price Museum of Speed ( and will be visiting select cities as part of its Film Festival tour.

The movie’s director Curt Wallin and it’s producer John Greene are both being interviewed this evening on SPEED Channel’s Wind Tunnel, hosted by Dave Despain at 9:00 pm ET.

I think this might be a movie worth paying attention too.

Monday 25 July 2011

More package art ...

In the past week, I've had more orders for my book, so I did a few more package sketches ...

Ken Miles - Cobra

Farina – Alfa Romeo – Silverstone 1950