Archive for June, 2011

En La Playa: Tijuana, 1970

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Snap 'Em Together

This should keep you busy through the weekend. Complete PDF at Scale X Racer.

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Truly Great High-Performance Cars Cannot Be Built in the Laboratory.

A generous collector has uploaded high resolution scans of his BMW brochures to Picasa. This example of the 1978 BMW Motorsport brochure naturally drew me in.

From the brochure’s text:

Why men race.
Racing is high adventure. And this alone is enough to account for racing’s incredible popularity.

The sport is burgeoning as never before. There are now more spectators, more participants, and more events than the sport has ever seen. In Germany alone, for example, there are over 1,000 approved racing events held every year. Road races, mountain climbing, circular-track races, rallyes, rally crosses, gymkhanas – the list is endless and varied.

We at the Bavarian Motor Works believe it is a sport worthy of our attention and involvement. For the simple reason that as more people become involved, more people will be capable of mastery of their cars in the extreme driving situations every driver occasionally faces.

That’s a phenomenal point. The natural instinct among the general populous is that racing drivers never turn off their competitive driving and make roads more dangerous. I think this brochure makes the opposite point marvelously well, a trained racing driver understands the road, understands their car, and understands how they interact. They are safer to those around them on public streets than other motorists.

Click on over for the complete brochure.

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The 1934 GP Season of Paul Chenard's "Silver Clouds"

It’s almost not fair to refer to Paul Chenard’s “Silver Clouds: The 1934 Grand Prix Season” as a book. A book is generally thought of as a consumer product. Yes, a book can be artfully considered, beautifully designed, lovingly written and illustrated, but when it comes down to it, you think of a book as a mass-produced item: bought, thumbed through, and forgotten on a shelf.

Like a book, Paul’s project, is lovingly researched and written. The design has been carefully measured, the illustrations (oh the illustrations!) are magnificent. But here is where the similarities to a mere book end. This is an art piece. There’s really no other way to think of it. It has all the hallmarks of a hand-crafted, meticulously assembled gallery item. The fact that you can turn from page to page and admire the beautifully reproduced illustrations and pore over the charming summaries of the races and events of the 1934 Grand Prix season is just added benefit. My photos here don’t do it justice at all.

This gives me a dilemma. Ordinarily, I would read through a text like this a handful of times, perhaps study a favorite illustration and then shut it away between automotive volumes. Silver Clouds, though, begs to be displayed.

Paul’s illustration style matches the era so very well. His flowing, lightly-held hand style feels very much in the spirit of the 1934 season. If they were in black and white, they could easily pass for the woodcut illustrations that accompanied newspaper accounts of the early grand prix seasons. They live in a very sweet spot between realism and the ligne claire, almost cartoony, style that so typifies European illustration of the mid-century. The woodcut comparison is even more apt in the biography section, where each entry is accompanied by a small illustration of the subject in something close to the illustration style the Wall Street Journal is famous for.

Brilliantly, those same illustrations accompany the book as a deck of trading cards that evoke the era’s cigarette cards. You can almost imagine them as coveted souvenir purchased trackside at AVUS or the Circuito di Modena. Absolutely marvelous!

In short, I love it. It’s a remarkably beautiful art piece, a passionately written and magnificently crafted primer to the Grand Prix season of 1934. I don’t know how many copies of Silver Clouds Paul has created, but everything about it screams “limited edition”, find out more on his Automobiliart.

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06/24/11 – Mid-Ohio Vintage Grand Prix – Lexington, OH

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06/24/11 – 10th Southern California Historic Sports Car Festival – Fontana, CA

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1960 Buenos Aires GP in Pictures

A transitional year to be sure. The mid-engine revolution had officially begun, but the Coopers still looked awfully odd out there amongst all those front-engined machines. Can anyone tell me what’s going on in the image of Harry Schell in his Cooper T51? It almost looks like someone is trying to toss him a drink!

Dan Gurney in a BRM really gave Maurice Trintignant a run for his money, but ultimately Maurice’s Cooper won the day; beating Gurney by nearly a minute.

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60 Years of Ferrari: Read It and Weep

This is my new barometer when I meet people. Have someone pick their favorite year of the Ferrari F1 car from this graphic. If it’s after 1967 1973 1982, you might just want to walk away right then.

Is it just me? Maybe it’s just me.

It’s probably just me. Man, I’m a jerk.

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06/18/11 – VSCCA School and Races – Alton, VA

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06/17/11 – Blackhawk Vintage Classic XIX – South Beloit, IL

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