Thursday, December 6, 2018

Speed Lines by Porsche Panorama

The Final Targa print by Nicholas Watts, Autographed by Gijs Van Lennep

Delivering a fleeting moment in time at a very particular place.


By Michael Jordan, with addition from Jacques Vaucher



When you look at the work of Nicholas Watts, you once again realize that painters have a unique vision of every scene, and this gives them the ability to portray their work in a way that a photographer simply cannot.

To be sure, Watts has a deep respect for automotive machinery, and like a photographer, his realistic images give you a picture of what the cars really look like. Yet painting also gives him the opportunity to put the cars in context, capturing a moment in time that includes not only other cars but also the place where it happened. Through his paintings, Watts is able to tell the story that underlies the speed.

Carrera Panamericana 1952 print by Nicholas Watts, Autographed by Karl Kling, available at l'art et l'automobile.
Carrera Panamericana 1952 print by Nicholas Watts, Autographed by Karl Kling,
available at l'art et l'automobile.


Nicholas Watts is another British boy of the 1950s who grew up fascinated by cars. The fact that he lived practically within earshot of the Brands Hatch racing circuit inevitably drew him to motorsport. He started out as a draftsman at Vauxhall, which perhaps accounts for his ability to make the cars look right. He later went into the Royal Air Force as a specialist in navigation systems, which might have something to do with his dedication to making sure the details are correct. Working with both gouache on board and acrylic on canvas over the past 40 years, Watts has created an astonishing number of paintings and prints, and they cover an equally astonishing range of motorsport disciplines.

Raging Bulls giclee by Nicholas Watts, autographed, available at l'art et l'automobile.
Raging Bulls giclee by Nicholas Watts, autographed, available at l'art et l'automobile.


In this particular painting, we see the Martini-sponsored Porsche 911 RSR 2.8 that wild man Herbert Müller and Le Mans-winner Gijs van Lennep drove to a win at the Targa Florio in 1973, the last year that this race over the mountain roads of Sicily was included in the sports car world championship. Watts gives us a scene that juxtaposes the speed of the high-tech Porsche with the slow pace of a rustic Sicilian town. The proximity of the spectators shows us the spe- cial enthusiasm that always accompanied this event, as well as the danger that nally ended it.

Le Mans 1954 print by Nicholas Watts, autographed by 5 drivers, available at l'art et l'automobile.
Le Mans 1954 print by Nicholas Watts, autographed by 5 drivers, available at l'art et l'automobile.

The work of Nicholas Watts is available from many sources, a measure of both its enduring popularity and its relative affordability. We recommend l’art et l’automobile (arteauto.com), Jacques Vaucher’s legendary outlet for automotive art and collectibles. Vaucher has been in the eld since 1975, and he virtually invented the business in the U.S. Most important, Vaucher has a personal relationship with the artists he represents, and his ongoing blog is an entertaining window on the personalities in the eld.

Grand Prix of Japan 1976 acrylic painting by Nicholas Watts, available at l'art et l'automobile.
Grand Prix of Japan 1976 acrylic painting by Nicholas Watts, available at l'art et l'automobile.


Richard Baron, Panorama’s creative director, notes, “Like Walter Gotschke and Michael Turner, Nicholas Watts is at the center of the great tradition of automotive art. His realistic style and unique perspectives have made things possible for younger automotive artists— photographers as well as painters.”

Many thanks to Porsche Panorama for Highlighting Nicholas Watts and his talent, as well as the mention of us and our website.

At l’art et l’automobile we have a deep appreciation for the artistry of vintage automobiles, but particularly for the artwork that celebrates them. Nicholas Watts is at the forefront of this sense of dedication to capturing the automotive world through the lens of paint and canvas. To celebrate this fact, we have collected all our pieces by this wonderful artist and present them to you. Find out more about this collection here or enjoy looking through the gallery at arteauto.com, and perhaps add a piece to your collection.

Jacques Vaucher

For more great automotive memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many other categories on our Website. Remember we also have many more items in our gallery, do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

And as always, be sure to Like and Share on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, share a photo on Instagram and read our Blogs.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ford's Assembly Line Turns 105: How It Really Put the World on Wheels


It was this innovation—not the Model T itself—that cemented the automobile's future.


Originally Published April 2013 by Tony Swan, edited by James Karthauser



Before the advent of the moving assembly line, Ford and other automakers used variations of the station-build approach. Rather than the car coming to individual workers, a team of workers came to the car. Ford produced Model Ts in this manner for three years at its new Highland Park plant before adopting the assembly line.
Before the advent of the moving assembly line, Ford and other automakers used variations of the
station-build approach. Rather than the car coming to individual workers, a team of workers came
to the car. Ford produced Model Ts in this manner for three years at its new Highland Park plant
before adopting the assembly line.  Photo courtesy of Aaron Kiley


When modern drivers think about the Ford Model T—if they think about it at all—they perhaps dimly perceive it as the car that changed the world. That is correct, of course, as far as it goes. But this month, the Ford Motor Company is quietly commemorating a T-related centennial that was the true source of that seismic shift in mobility: the automotive assembly line. The Model T just happened to be the product it was used to build.

Indeed, the innovations could very well have been made by some other company and involved some other car. But in April 1913, led by production boss Charlie “Cast Iron” Sorensen, Ford began taking its first tentative steps toward a moving line that used conveyor belts to stream components past workers who performed one or two tasks each. This pioneering manufacturing process made automobiles affordable to just about anyone and became the template for the entire industry.

Prior to 1913, Ford and virtually every other automaker assembled whole cars at a station with a team of workers working together to complete a single example, usually from start to finish. Like other companies, Ford had made numerous refinements to the process, achieving impressive production totals at the Piquette Avenue plant where the Model T was born in October 1908.

When deciding to implement the assembly line, neither Sorensen nor Henry Ford nor anyone else involved had the benefit of time-motion studies. They simply reasoned that moving the component at a fixed rate past each station would reduce the number of workers required to build the cars, reduce the time required for assembly, increase volume, and allow the company to control the pace.

The guinea pig was the T’s magneto, a component that supplied ignition energy to the engine before generators became common. A complex and innovative component that was one of the early Model T’s technological advantages, Ford’s magneto was integrated with the engine’s flywheel and involved many pieces. Under the old system, each magneto was assembled by one worker. On average, that worker could assemble 35 of them in a nine-hour shift, or roughly one every 15 minutes.

After some tinkering with the line rate and other factors, Sorensen and his cohorts achieved results that were probably startling even to them. Starting with 29 workers performing 29 different tasks, the experiment reduced assembly time by about seven minutes per unit. And with more refinements, Sorensen was able to reduce the magneto-line workforce to 14 and cut assembly time to five minutes.

Ford’s transition to moving assembly lines began in April 1913 with the integrated (and complex) flywheel/magneto. With each worker assigned to complete a few specific tasks rather than build the entire unit, Ford reduced magneto assembly time from about 15 minutes to 5, and the required workforce decreased from 29 to 14.
Ford’s transition to moving assembly lines began in April 1913 with the integrated (and complex)
flywheel/magneto. With each worker assigned to complete a few specific tasks rather than build
the entire unit, Ford reduced magneto assembly time from about 15 minutes to 5, and the required
workforce decreased from 29 to 14.  Photo courtesy of Aaron Kiley

FULL SPEED AHEAD


It didn’t take long for Sorensen to apply the moving-line principle to all aspects of Model T production. Engine assembly time was cut from almost 10 hours to less than four. The team tackled chassis assembly in August and quickly cut completion time from 12 hours to six. It was down to slightly less than three hours by October, then to 2.3 in December.

By October, Ford’s vast plant in Highland Park, Michigan, was a maze of conveyors, powered drive belts, overhead traveling cranes, and hundreds of machine tools. Moving assembly went into full swing. And the efficiencies established on a small scale with the magneto line translated directly to total production, which exploded.

Four years prior, while construction crews were at work on the gigantic Highland Park facility, the Piquette work teams assembled 10,660 Model Ts, keeping Ford atop the manufacturing standings ahead of Buick. In Highland Park’s immense spaces, production for 1910 rose to 19,050, despite various hiccups associated with settling into the new facility. By 1912, output was up to 68,773.

But those numbers were dwarfed by the results of the moving assembly line. The process netted 170,211 examples in 1913, 202,667 in 1914, well over half a million in 1916, and 735,020 in 1917. All U.S. industrial output was down in 1918, a casualty of the final year of World War I, as well as the economic downturn that followed in its wake. But the market rebounded in 1920, and Model T production topped one million cars for the first time, at 1,301,067. Output peaked at 2,011,125 in 1923, followed by almost two million units in 1924 and ’25 before demand finally began to tail off.

Verging on obsolescence and dowdy compared with many competitors, the T finally went out of production on May 26, 1927. Although final tallies vary, the generally accepted total stands at just over 15 million built.

Even as Ford’s moving assembly line was still in its infancy, Model T production was ramping up exponentially. This August 1913 photo shows 1000 completed chassis at the Highland Park plant—one day’s production. By 1916, the plant was cranking out 2000 per day. And in 1926, the factory hit an all-time high with 9000 in one day.
Even as Ford’s moving assembly line was still in its infancy, Model T production was ramping
up exponentially. This August 1913 photo shows 1000 completed chassis at the Highland Park
plant—one day’s production. By 1916, the plant was cranking out 2000 per day. And in 1926, the
factory hit an all-time high with 9000 in one day. Photo courtesy of Aaron Kiley

THE PAYOFF


Henry Ford’s much publicized Model T mission was to “build a car for the great multitude,” and the key to the quest was economies of scale, making the car affordable to as many potential customers as possible.

When the car made its debut, it was innovative, simple, rugged, and easily repaired by owners with even modest mechanical skills. But it wasn’t exactly cheap: $825 for a basic Runabout, the least expensive model, and $850 for the five-passenger Touring version. The pricing didn’t include extras such as a top or side curtains and actually increased to $900 and $950 for 1910.

But as production numbers soared, the prices went down. Ford charged $600 in 1913 for a Touring T, $440 in 1915, and $360 in 1917. Pricing bottomed out at $290 for a 1925 Touring model (the Runabout cost $30 less) and ramped up slightly in the last year and a half of the Model T’s long life.

The assembly innovations at Highland Park did not go unnoticed. The multiple buildings of Ford’s big facility regularly welcomed visitors, and it wasn’t long before competitors began adopting the techniques developed there. So by the end of the Model T’s 19-year run, it was fair to say that Ford really had put the world on wheels.


Chassis construction was the final step in Ford’s transition from static to moving assembly. This 1914 photo shows in-progress chassis on the line. The moving lines cut the Model T's final assembly time in half, from 12 hours to six. Continual adjustments and refinements kept reducing final assembly time until nearly four more hours were saved.
Chassis construction was the final step in Ford’s transition from static to moving assembly. This 1914
photo shows in-progress chassis on the line. The moving lines cut the Model T's final assembly time
in half, from 12 hours to six. Continual adjustments and refinements kept reducing final assembly time
until nearly four more hours were saved. Photo courtesy of Aaron Kiley


THE $5 DAY AND SOCIAL CHANGE


One of the more noteworthy chapters in the moving-assembly story was Ford’s announcement on January 5, 1914, that the company was increasing its wage rate to $5 per eight-hour workday—more than double the existing rate for the then-standard nine-hour day.

Ford was already racking up huge profits, and the new policy could be interpreted as altruistic, although other automakers received the news with clenched jaws. There was open speculation that Henry was only aiming to ensure that his workers could afford to buy the products they were assembling.

But Ford’s motives were far more pragmatic. Assembly-line work—performing the same tasks every day for long hours at a stretch—was mind-numbingly dull, and the company found itself beset with unacceptable turnover in its labor pool. In 1913, for example, Ford was forced to hire more than 52,000 workers to sustain a workforce of about 14,000.

There were strings attached to that $5 bill. The basic wage was $2.34. To qualify for the additional $2.66, a worker had to meet company standards for clean living, including sobriety, no gambling, thrift, and a happy home environment. Ford actually formed a sociological department whose staff members visited homes to assess workers’ worthiness for the full five bucks.

That policy would provoke torch-bearing mobs and militant picket lines today, but it was acceptable in 1914 and produced dramatic reductions in absenteeism and turnover. Moreover, the $5 day attracted job seekers from all over the country, particularly the South, permanently changing the demographics of Detroit.

Other changes were even more profound. The availability of an affordable, durable automobile put the dream of unlimited personal mobility within reach of a broad swath of society, setting the stage for the rise of the suburbs and the establishment of a national highway network. Automobiles were no longer a novelty when the Model T made its first appearance, but they were far from universal. By the time the last T left the line, the automobile was fully integrated into everyday life, and the world would never be the same.

The tedium of moving-assembly-line work proved to be more than many employees could tolerate. Massive turnover prompted Ford to announce the celebrated $5 workday in January 1914. The $5 day, roughly double existing wages, attracted workers from all over the country. Here, an estimated 10,000 applicants brave early January weather in hopes of employment.
The tedium of moving-assembly-line work proved to be more than many employees could
tolerate. Massive turnover prompted Ford to announce the celebrated $5 workday in January
1914. The $5 day, roughly double existing wages, attracted workers from all over the country.
Here, an estimated 10,000 applicants brave early January weather in hopes of employment.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Kiley


Model T Myths


The Model T moving assembly was Henry Ford’s idea. Not really. As production honcho Charlie Sorensen observed in his memoirs, “Henry Ford is generally regarded as the father of mass production. He was not. He was the sponsor of it. Mr. Ford had nothing to do with originating, planning, and carrying out the assembly line. He encouraged the work. His vision to try unorthodox methods was an example to us.”

All Model Ts were black. Not true. The “any color you want, as long as it’s black” ethic began in 1913. Folklore says the black color was a Japanese lacquer chosen for its fast-drying properties. Also not true. The black paint was cheaper and more durable. Ford restored colors to the Model T palette in 1926.

The Model T was all-new. Not quite. It was innovative and included the extensive use of vanadium steel, which was stronger and lighter than ordinary steel; an integrated flywheel/magneto; and a monoblock four-cylinder engine with a removable cylinder head. It was also lightweight, at about 1200 pounds. But for all that, it was an evolution of the highly successful Model N (1906–08).

1913 – Ford Highland Park Plant- First Moving Assembly Line, Photo courtesy of Western Slope Auto.com
1913 – Ford Highland Park Plant- First Moving Assembly Line,
Photo courtesy of Western Slope Auto.com


The Model T never changed. Wrong. Ford made a number of mechanical and cosmetic running changes to the T over the years, including the introduction of safety glass in 1926, an industry first. But the Model T failed to change in key ways. It retained its two-speed planetary transmission long after competitors were offering three-speed gearboxes with shift levers, the cooling system was via thermosyphon (meaning no water pump), and electric starting wasn’t even an option until 1919.

The Model T was hard to drive. Quite the opposite. Compared with other cars of the day, it was easy once a driver acquired minimal skill in advancing or retarding the spark. The hard part was cranking the T’s engine to life. It was prone to backfires, accounting for a good many fractured limbs over the years. For more, check out our feature "How to Drive a Model T."

We here at l'art et l'automobile have a passion for how the legendary automobiles of the past were envisioned, designed and built, just as intense as our passion for how they are celebrated and rendered into art and memorabilia.  We would like to honor Ford's monumental achievement, bring the automobile to the mainstream consumer through the use of the assembly line, by sharing a little history on the subject, that will hopefully enlighten you just a little bit more on the amazing history of our shared love; the automobile.  

Cheers and Happy Holidays, 

Jacques Vaucher

Remember, this week we are hosting our Special 12 days of Christmas Online Auction, which opens for bidding December 1st at 12pm (noon) and Closes at noon on December 13th.  This Auction contains many exciting, recently acquired pieces of Artwork, Memorabilia and Collectibles that would be perfect for filling your stockings or going under your tree this Holiday Season.  Viewing has already begun at arteautoauction.com, so you definitely don't be a Grinch or you might get scrooged out of these amazing items.  



Also, for great automotive artwork and memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many categories on our WEBSITE. Remember we also have many more items in our gallery, do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular. Also be sure to check out our Newsfeed, which has details on our collection of Ford Artwork, and Memorabilia.

And as always, be sure to Like and Share on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, or share a photo on Instagram.  

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The First American Auto Race: Thanksgiving 1895

The greatest dangers in America’s first auto race were frostbite and exposure.

written by Jeff Nilsson and H.H. Kohlsaat, edited by James Karthauser



The Duryea Motor Wagon


It seemed like a great idea at the time.

Having read about an automobile race in France, H.H. Kohlsaat decided he’d host America’s first auto race in Chicago. The year was 1895 and automobiles were still a great novelty. Kohlsaat, who owned the Chicago Times Herald, planned to exploit the growing interest in motoring by sponsoring a 54-mile race from downtown Chicago to Evanston, Illinois, and back. It would be open to all qualifying vehicles, foreign or domestic, powered by gas, electricity, or steam. The top prize would be $2,000 (the equivalent of over $50,000 today).

To draw a big holiday crowd, he set the race date for the Fourth of July 1895.

He quickly learned this was too soon for the competitors. Applicants begged Kohlsaat to postpone the race so they could get their vehicles ready for the competition.

So Kohlsaat pushed the race back to Labor Day. As that date drew near, the contestants pleaded for more time.

In the end, Kohlsaat pushed the date back to Thanksgiving Day, November 28.

He hoped that fair weather would hold for the race, but the night before Thanksgiving, a storm blew into town and buried Chicago streets in snow. High winds followed, blowing snowdrifts across racecourse streets.

The Duryea Motor Wagon Co. Factory was opened earlier that year.
The Duryea Motor Wagon Co. Factory was opened earlier that year.  

Only six cars made it to the starting line in Jackson Park that morning. At 8:55 a.m., a small, shivering crowd watched the first vehicle set off. It was the only gas-powered American car in the contest and had been built by brothers Charles and Frank Duryea. The other three gas vehicles were all German machines built by Karl Benz, one representing the De La Verne Refrigerator Machine Company, one representing Macy’s Department Store in New York, and the last driven by Oscar Mueller of Decatur, Illinois, who proved a tough adversary.

The last two entries were electric models, a Sturges Electric and Morris and Salom’s Electrobat. No steam models competed.

After the cars disappeared, the crowd dispersed. It was 30 degrees and windy at the lakeside. With the vehicles expected to travel at just 5 mph, there would be nothing to see for the next 10 hours.

The Duryea Motor Wagon with pneumatic rubber tires which  went on to win the first auto race in the United States.
The Duryea Motor Wagon with pneumatic rubber tires which 
went on to win the first auto race in the United States.
The vehicles struggled up Lake Shore Drive fighting wind and snowdrifts. As they passed Lincoln Park, they were suddenly greeted by cheers from a crowd of thousands. These weren’t race fans, but attendees at the football game between the University of Chicago and University of Michigan, who noticed the horseless carriages slowly working their way up the street. Shortly afterward, as Frank Duryea crossed the Rush Street Bridge, the steering arm on his vehicle snapped. He managed to get his vehicle to a blacksmith’s shop, where the arm was repaired, but the delay put him an hour behind the leading Benz car.

Years later, when Kohlsaat gave his account of the race in the Post, he wrote that early that on Thanksgiving afternoon “a large number of people gathered near the [Evanston] Industrial School and received the first comers with cheers. The Macy machine was then slightly in the lead.” Just two blocks beyond, though, Frank Duryea came up on the leader. “In accordance to the rules of the contest,” Kohlsaat wrote, the Macy Benz pulled to one side.

Read “America’s First Horseless Carriage Race, 1895”by H.H. Kohlsaat from the January 5, 1941 issue.
Read “America’s First Horseless Carriage
Race, 1895”by H.H. Kohlsaat from the
January 5, 1941 issue.
The driver of the Macy Benz tried to close Duryea’s lengthening lead, but late in the afternoon, Macy’s driver ran into a sleigh that had overturned in the street. He was able to extricate the car and resume driving, but he soon ran into a horse-drawn hackney cab, which damaged the car’s steering. The driver managed to roll the car in-between the trolley car tracks and drive between the tracks to next checkpoint. Mechanics spent 80 minutes putting the Benz back in running order. But by 6:15, the darkening sky and cold winds were too discouraging. The Macy Benz vehicle dropped out of the race.

This left just Duryea and another Benz, driven by Oscar Mueller.

Duryea had now been driving for nine hours. He was experiencing trouble with his ignition, not to mention the snowdrifts. In addition, he’d taken a wrong turn that added several miles to his route. But he was still ahead of Mueller, who was facing even greater difficulties.

Before starting, Mueller had decided he would not just carry a referee, like all entrants, but an extra passenger as well. After spending the day in the back of the car, huddled against the freezing winds, the passenger was overcome by the cold. He was lifted out of the car and carried off for medical attention in a sleigh. Mueller kept driving, but he, too, was losing consciousness.

By 6:30 p.m., Duryea was getting close to the finish line. Kohlsaat wrote, “Lacking spectators, except here and there a solitary workman on his way home … the men on the motor gave vent to war whoops, cheers, cat calls, and other manifestations of joy over the victory they were winning.”

At 7:18 p.m., Frank Duryea crossed the finish line. He’d taken 10 hours and 23 minutes to travel 52.4 miles.

Almost two hours later, Mueller’s Benz came in sight, but now the referee was driving. In one hand, he held the steering tiller and, in the other, held up Mueller, who’d collapsed from the cold.

The first automobile race was over.

The next automobile race was held, more sensibly, on Memorial Day.

Cartoon from the front page of the Chicago Tribune, November 28, 1895.
Cartoon from the front page of the Chicago Tribune,
November 28, 1895.
Not surprising, Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day race never became a holiday tradition. Chicagoans weren’t afraid to spend hours standing in the cold for a public event. But even as early as 1895, the holiday already established its cold-weather sport. As the Chicago Tribune declared on its front page that day, Thanksgiving was, “the day we celebrate — the day when football and turkey rule.”

Kohlsaat’s account doesn’t use the term “automobile.” As he explains, “There was considerable opposition to calling the horseless carriage ‘automobile,’ as the name was too Frenchy, so The Times Herald offered $500 for a name, and ‘motocycle’ was awarded the prize.”

That’s motocycle, without an r.

Years later, Duryea recalled his early days of inventing the automobile, and his early racing days. You can read his article “It Doesn’t Pay to Pioneer,” originally published in 1931, in the Post’s latest special issue: Automobiles in America!

We here at l'art et l'automobile would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and would like to remind everyone that if you decide to race your automobile this weekend, perhaps don't do it in a Duryea Motor Wagon.  

Seasons Greetings from all of us, 

Jacques Vaucher

For great automotive artwork and memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many categories on our WEBSITE. Remember we also have many more items in our gallery, do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

And as always, be sure to Like and Share on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, or share a photo on Instagram.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Colorful History of Racing Hues: British Racing Green

COLOR INSPIRATIONS: HOW BRITISH RACING GREEN INFLUENCED SPORT TRIUMPHS AND EXCLUSIVE STYLE, Photo Courtesy of Federico Bajetti for The Outlierman © 2017


HOW BRITISH RACING GREEN INFLUENCED SPORT TRIUMPHS AND EXCLUSIVE STYLE


By Adam Kaslikowski for Petrolicious and The Outlierman, edited by James Karthauser


What Jaguar isn't BRG? Photo Courtesy  of Petrolicious
What English Car isn't BRG? Photo Courtesy
of Petrolicious
British Racing Green is one of the most iconic colors of the automotive world. It’s provenance goes back 110 years and has decorated countless racing icons. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about the origin of this special emerald color. Here we will attempt to sort through the myriad stories and present to you the true origin of British Racing Green.

At the turn of the 20th century, Grand Prix racing was very different. Races were more a contest between nations than they were between drivers or factories. Wealthy American newspaper man James Gordon Bennett, Jr. organized an annual race pitting various countries against each another in a bid for automobile manufacturing supremacy.

The Gordon Bennett Cup races were city-to-city contests, with entries required to consist entirely of components manufactured in their home country. Each country was limited to three entries each, and each car was required to carry both a driver and a riding mechanic at all times. To make national identification of the participants easier, each country was required to adopt a national racing color. They were: blue for France, yellow for Belgium, white for Germany and red for Italy.


James Bond might have stood out less if his DB5 was BRG rather than silver...  Photo Courtesy of Petrolicious
James Bond might have stood out less if his DB5 was BRG rather than silver...
Photo Courtesy of Petrolicious


France walked away with the inaugural victory in 1900, and thus was given the honor of hosting the races for the 1901 race. British manufacturer David Napier opted to contest this second race, and entered with his own 50 hp car. Unfortunately, this particular car weighed in at a massive three tons and could not keep its British (Dunlop) tires underneath it. Selwyn F. Edge, the driver for the 1901 race, opted to fit more robust French tires and was subsequently disqualified from the Cup. Most interestingly though, this Napier wore a pale shade of olive that the factory called Napier Green. It is unclear why Napier chose green as his color of choice; most likely it was simply personal preference. Regardless, the deep green we know today had yet to become Britain’s official racing color.

With the disqualification of the heavy Napier, the first two years showcased complete domination by the French, and the other participating countries were beginning to sting at the embarrassment of being unable to challenge the Gallic successes. For the 1902 race, Napier was determined to address its failure from 1901 and developed a much lighter car weighing in at just a ton. With the car’s weight lowered dramatically, the British tires survived the strain of the race. And it wasn’t just the tires that survived – all other entrants for the 1902 race retired from the race due to mechanical problems. With the Napier alone, the Brits sailed to their first Gordon Bennett Cup victory.

British racing green enhances the undeniable presence of glamor of an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, shown in this photo taken with complete admiration during the 2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Photo Courtesy of Federico Bajetti
British racing green enhances the undeniable presence of glamor of an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, shown
in this photo taken with complete admiration during the 2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este.
Photo Courtesy of Federico Bajetti 

Due to their victory, England was scheduled to host the 1903 event. However, the rule of the British land was that no automobile was allowed to exceed 12mph, and this decree from parliament essentially made motor racing illegal on the entire island. In a mad scramble, the British organizers switched the location of the 1903 to Ireland – a land where the local laws were “adjusted” to accommodate road racing.

A total of three Napier cars contested the 1903 race, and they were pitted against French, German and American entries. According to contemporary newspapers, the olive shade of Napier green was darkened to Shamrock Green in honor of Ireland hosting the races and this is the first public reference to a British car being painted green as a part of a national livery. While it would seem that Napier Green was the coincidental choice of a private manufacturer, what would eventually become known as British Racing Green was a tribute, ironically, to Ireland.

A charismatic color, green: distinct and unexpected. Photo Courtesy of Federico Bajetti for The Outlierman © 2017
A charismatic color, green: distinct and unexpected. Photo Courtesy of Federico Bajetti for
The Outlierman © 2017


As English auto manufacturers are nothing if not an independent lot, there has never been one true shade of British racing green. While most of us picture a deep forest green, this is not a steadfast rule. From Napier’s pale olive to Bentley’s near black, almost any emerald hue applied to a British car will be greeted with the name British Racing Green.

The British racing green is the symbolic color of British motoring, with over 110 years of honorary history in the world of car racing, it also has a long line of legendary cars and drivers linked to it: from great drivers like Henry Segrave, Kenelm Lee Guinness, William Grover-Williams to iconic teams such as Aston Martin, Vanwall, Cooper, Lotus and BRM.

A Classic, arrayed in British Racing Green,  Photo Courtesy of Petrolicious
A Classic, arrayed in British Racing Green,
Photo Courtesy of Petrolicious
A charismatic color, green: distinct and unexpected. Revived in 2000 by Jaguar Racing in Formula 1; then again with Bentley, which would end up winning at LeMans in 2001, 2002 and 2003; and more recently with Aston Martin, who gave this hue to its DBR9. Enthusiasts were also able to admire the British racing green on the Jaguar XK by Rocketsports Racing during the 24 Hours of Le Mans and also on the Lotus T127 in 2010.

Thanks to the triumphs of The British teams and the bewitching charm of the cars that have "worn" it, today the British racing green is still part of the colors that symbolize exclusivity and sporting passion. A shade full of character, history and style that can be celebrated and expressed thanks to the fantastic machines, assembled by some of the finest manufacturers in the world, at the hands of British racing legends, collectors and daily drivers alike.

We here at l'art et l'automobile, as you may know, are avid racing historians, and the Drivers, Manufacturers and race tracks of Great Britain have definitely resonated through the various racing sports throughout the years. To celebrate 60th anniversary of the legendary Mike Hawthorn becoming Britain’s first ever Formula One World Champion and Lewis Hamilton clenching his 5th World Championship Title, we gathered all of our artwork and memorabilia related to the Cars and Drivers of the Isles, and present them here to you.

We invite you to view the British Cars and Drivers gallery and acquire one of these pieces of racing history while they last. Please tour the collection here and perhaps you will find something to add to your collection.

All our best from the staff at l’art et l’automobile,


Jacques Vaucher

For more great automotive artwork and memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many other categories on our WEBSITE. Remember we also have many more items in our gallery, do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

And as always, be sure to Like and Share on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, share a photo on Instagram and read our Newsfeed.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Wear your colors, proud!


What, no polka dots? The expected and the unexpected among international racing colors


Daniel Strohl of Hemmings on Sep 25th, 2018, edited by James Karthauser



Our recent story on the dubious legend of how Germany got its silver auto racing color got us looking for original source materials to see if we could establish timelines for not just Germany’s national racing color but for all designated racing colors. As the stories go, not all of the racing colors were set in stone from the beginning, and it took a few decades of revisions to hammer them all out, by which time corporate logos pretty much rendered the colors moot.

Our research is ongoing and perhaps interminable, but we did get some help in the comments to that story from commenter Nick, who pointed out an article in the October 1928 edition of the Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung in which the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus laid out not only the formulas for upcoming races but also the agreed-upon racing colors for 23 different countries.

Granted, the list is just for a certain time period and is incomplete — the article itself pointed that out, with color schemes undecided for Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia — but after translating it, we saw that the AIACR went to great lengths to differentiate different countries on the racetrack not only with various colors but also with stripes, number/bubble combinations, and even patterns.

So we took the translated list to Josh Skibbee, one of our graphic artists, to have him take a whack at reproducing the various schemes. We had to go back and forth on some of the details quite a bit. For example, the designations call for Streifen, which translates to stripe, streak, or band; on a modern car, we’d apply those lengthwise along the top of the hood, but our research shows that in the late 1920s stripes were applied transversely across the hood and hood sides, an interpretation that makes more sense when considering that the designation for Ireland specifically calls for a horizontal stripe around the body and hood.

Some of the schemes (like Sweden’s) weren’t exactly clear to us even after some debate, some seem contrary to traditional notions of a country’s colors (why didn’t Switzerland get the scheme assigned to Portugal?), and some (like Lithuania’s) might be questionable to modern observers. But, hey, original sources don’t always tell us exactly what we expect. So, in alphabetical order:

Argentina: blue body, yellow hood, black stripes, red number on white field
Argentina: blue body, yellow hood, black stripes, red number on white field
Austria: blue body and hood, white stripes, white number on blue field
Austria: blue body and hood, white stripes, white number on blue field
Belgium: yellow, black number
Belgium: yellow, black number
Bulgaria: green body, white hood, red number on white field
Bulgaria: green body, white hood, red number on white field
Czechoslovakia: white body, blue and white hood, red stripes, blue number
Czechoslovakia: white body, blue and white hood, red stripes, blue number
Egypt: light violet, red number on white field
Egypt: light violet, red number on white field
Estonia: lower body and hood blue, upper body and hood white, black stripes, black number on white field
Estonia: lower body and hood blue, upper body and hood white, black stripes, black number on white field
Finland: black, blue number on white field
Finland: black, blue number on white field
France: blue, white number
France: blue, white number
Germany: white, red number
Germany: white, red number
Great Britain: green, white number
Great Britain: green, white number
Hungary: body white (fore) and green (aft), red hood, black number
Hungary: body white (fore) and green (aft), red hood, black number
Ireland: green with orange horizontal stripes around the hood and body, white number
Ireland: green with orange horizontal stripes around the hood and body, white number
Italy: red, white number
Italy: red, white number
Latvia: black body, white hood, black number on white field
Latvia: black body, white hood, black number on white field
Lithuania: yellow and green checkered body and hood, red number
Lithuania: yellow and green checkered body and hood, red number
Poland: white body and hood, red stripes, red number
Poland: white body and hood, red stripes, red number
Portugal: red body and hood, white stripes, white number
Portugal: red body and hood, white stripes, white number
Romania: marine blue body and hood, red stripes, yellow number
Romania: marine blue body and hood, red stripes, yellow number
Spain: red body chassis and springs, yellow hood, black number on yellow field
Spain: red body chassis and springs, yellow hood, black number on yellow field
Sweden: lower body and hood blue, upper body and hood yellow, three blue horizontal stripes on the upper part of the hood, white number
Sweden: lower body and hood blue, upper body and hood yellow, three blue horizontal stripes on the upper part of the hood, white number
Switzerland: red body, white hood, red stripes, blue number
Switzerland: red body, white hood, red stripes, blue number
United States: white hood and body, blue stripes, blue number on white field
United States: white hood and body, blue stripes, blue number on white field

Also not included in this list are the national racing colors for Latveria (Doom demands an apology for this insult!), Ruritania, and Vulgaria. Wakanda remained unknown to the outside world at the time.

At l'art et l'automobile, we have always.

Enjoy looking through the collection and tell us which ones you would like to own. Please Tour the gallery at arteauto.com, and perhaps add a piece to your collection.

All our best from the staff at l’art et l’automobile,

Jacques Vaucher

For more great automotive artwork and memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many other categories on our WEBSITE. Remember we also have many more items in our gallery, do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

And as always, be sure to Like and Share on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, or share a photo on Instagram.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Dangerous Life of Juan Manuel Fangio





They Call Him 'El Maestro' for a Reason


article courtesy of Grandprixhistory.org, with excerpts from Erik Shilling of Jalopnik,
edited by James Karthauser


Stories about Juan Manuel Fangio, the one of the greatest Formula One drivers ever, are pretty well-trod at this point—there’s the famous 1957 German Grand Prix win, the fact that he was in his forties in his prime, the fact that he won 24 of the 51 grands prix he competed in. Less talked about is just how terrifying those races were.

Affectionately known as "bandy legs" by his many fans, Juan Manuel Fangio was born in Balcarce, Argentina the son of an Italian immigrant in 1911. After military service he opened his own garage and would race in local events. These "local" events were not the weekend meetings that occur all over England but long-distance races held over mostly dirt roads up and down South America. Fangio's first race at eighteen was in a Ford taxi. One particular race, which he won in 1940, the Gran Premio del Norte was almost 10,000 kilometres long. This race between Buenos Aires, up through the Andes to Lima, Peru and back again took nearly two weeks with stages held each day. No mechanics were allowed and any repairs would have to be completed by either the driver or co-driver at the end of each stage. Following many successes driving all makes of American modified stock cars; Fangio was sponsored by the government and sent to Europe to continue his career after the end of World War II. It was not until 1949 at the age of 37 that he achieved regular success on the European circuit. In 1950 he was given a drive at Alfa Romeo. Battling with his teammate Nino Farina he ended up in second place but the die had been cast.

The next year Fangio won the first of his five titles. 1952 saw him suffer his first major accident, at Monza, when he broke his neck and had to miss the rest of the season. The accident may have been caused by a promise Fangio had made to take part at the race in Monza after his race in Budapest. Because he missed the connecting flight he had to drive himself the whole night from Paris to Monza. Only half an hour before the race began he arrived and took up his starting position completely overtired. He had promised to race at Monza following a race in Belfast but due to missed connections he found himself driving all night from Paris only to arrive at the circuit one half hour prior to the race. Having to start from the back of the grid he made a rare mistake and the Maserati he was driving went into a big slide. Being extremely tired his reactions were not what they would normally have been and he could not regain control of the car before it hit an earthen bank and somersaulted in the air. Fangio was thrown out and would spend the next few hours hovering near death. The following year he returned at the wheel of a Maserati and finished the season in second place. Fangio always made it his policy to garner the loyalty of the team mechanics. He told them that they would receive ten percent of any winnings. During practice for the Italian Grand Prix he complained of a severe vibration but come race day the problem had completely disappeared. The mechanics had switched cars in the middle of the night and given Fangio's vibrating car to his teammate Bonetto.

In 1954 he moved to the Mercedes team and won his second World Championship. Fangio drove twelve Grands Prix for Mercedes winning eight times. This began a string of four straight titles. In 1955 he won a particularly brutal race at the Argentine Grand Prix. The three-hour race was run during a grueling heat wave. With a track temperature of over 135º few drivers other than Fangio were able to complete the race.

In 1957 the championship arrived at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring where it was generally acknowledge by the Grand Prix Circus that this would be Fangio's last season. He was determined to finish on top. Fangio and Hawthorn qualified one-two and the race looked set for an epic battle. The Maserati 250F Fangio drove in that German Grand Prix win made 270 horsepower from its six-cylinder, or enough to go nearly as fast as modern race cars (in a straight line, at least.) What was different was the downforce, tires, and brakes. The car produced little to no downforce, had far inferior brakes, and had tires that were as grippy as an ice cube.  Fangio started the race on half tanks and it was incumbent on him to build a large enough margin that would allow him to pit yet retained his lead. This he started to do, blistering the track at a record pace but Hawthorn and Collins in the Ferraris had other ideas. On the twelfth lap Fangio dove into the pits.

Even though everyone in the Maserati pits was prepared, the pit stop cost Fangio the lead when both Collins and Hawthorn thundered past. Finally the work was done and Fangio re-entered the fray. All seamed loss as Fangio was now 45 seconds behind the leading duo and few thought that even the great Fangio could make up this difference. Fangio was one of the few as he began chopping off large chunks of the gap to the leaders. In the Ferrari pit panic took hold as they pleaded for their drivers to go ever faster. Fangio would later say that he drove faster than he ever wanted to drive again. The lap record came tumbling down and he would soon be lapping at a faster average speed than that with which he had qualified! Both Collins and Hawthorn continued to race at a furious pace. Peter Lewis, the famous British journalist said that "he (Fangio) might almost have been pulling them backwards on the end of a rope for on the twentieth lap Fangio sliced eleven seconds off their lead. Fangio caught Collins first and passed him on the inside but the Englishman returned the favor and pushed Fangio back into third." The second time Fangio drew alongside and then slowly drew away. Just the Collins was hit in the eye by a stone thrown up by the Maserati's rear wheel but was saved by his goggles. Now it was Hawthorn's turn and still Fangio came on; actually driving straight on in one corner to force his way past Hawthorn. They would finish three seconds apart with Collins coming in third. The victory gave Fangio an unassailable lead in what would become his fifth and final World Championship.



So ended the maestro's greatest race. The Legendary racer had set nine lap records in his quest for victory, including seven in successive laps.  He said afterward that he had “conquered” the ‘Ring, and that the experience on the whole was absolutely terrifying.
“Even now, these many years later, I can feel fear when I think of that race,” he said. “Only I knew what I had done, the chances I had taken.
“The Nurburgring, you know, was always my favourite circuit, without any doubt. I loved it, all of it, and I think that day I conquered it. On another day, it might have conquered me, who knows? But I believe that day I took myself and the car to the limit - and perhaps a little bit more. I had never driven like that before, and I knew I never would again.”
Fangio had clinched the driver’s championship at the ‘Ring, and would only race four more F1 grands prix.

In 1958, driving his last race, the French Grand Prix he finished fourth and retired. His Maserati was not competitive that day and was about to be lapped by the race leader Mike Hawthorn. As a mark of respect for the great man known as "the maestro" by his peers Hawthorn braked and allowed Fangio to cross the line ahead of him. Getting out of the car after the race he said to his mechanic simply, "It is finished." Juan-Manuel Fangio was famous for winning a race at the slowest possible speed. His record of wins against starts will probably never be matched. 



Many consider Juan Manuel Fangio to be the greatest driver of all time. Several highly successful later drivers, such as Jim Clark, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, have been compared with Fangio, however the qualities required for success, levels of competition, and racing rules have changed over time. His record of five World Championship titles stood for 45 years before German driver Michael Schumacher surpassed it in 2003. In his home country of Argentina, Fangio is revered as one of the greatest sportsmen the nation has ever produced. He lived until he was 84, but his memory and achievements live on, probaably embodied best by this quote:
You must always strive to be the best, but you must never believe that you are.
—Juan Manuel Fangio
At l'art et l'automobile, we follow racing, whether it be Formula, Indy or Le Mans, almost as if it were a religion.  And if one man were to be sanctified in the Church of Speed, it would be St. Fangio.   To celebrate a the life of El Maestro, we have gathered a selection of our Fangio Artwork and Memorabilia and are presenting them here to you.  Enjoy looking through the collection and tell us which ones you would like to own. Please Tour the gallery at arteauto.com, and perhaps add a piece to your collection.

All our best from the staff at l’art et l’automobile,

Jacques Vaucher

For more great automotive artwork and memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many other categories on our WEBSITE. Remember we also have many more items in our gallery, do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

And as always, be sure to Like and Share on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, or share a photo on Instagram.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Remembering Jack Juratovic

Jack Juratovic from Hemmings Classic Car


An Icon Passes On


written by Mark J. McCourt, with additional words by Ken Eberts and Jacques Vaucher, edited by James Karthauser


On October 16th, we lost a good friend and great Automotive Artist, car designer and wild character, Jack Juratovic. He left us due to cancer at age 79. He had a good life and we have great fun memories of our time spent together. Our deepest condolences to his friends and family. In memorium of this lost icon, we have dedicated this article to our friend and compatriot Jack.

Ken Eberts had this to say about his friend and business partner;
Jack was a character. Larry Wood of Hot Wheels fame said it best (Larry was one of our gang at Ford Styling in the mid 60's).  Every story that Lwood tells today about the wild and fun days at "Fords" and Detroit in the 60's has Jack at it's center.  Yes, Jack was wild but he was also a damn good designer and promoter not to mention wheeler/dealer. The Automemories Calendar that Jack illustrated for 30 plus years is a good example of his artistic abilities.  The calendars evolved from what Jack said were cartoons to exquisite renderings.  He loved Automotive Art and his wonderful collection of it featured all the great automotive artists and illustrators.  Jack always kept in touch with his friends and earlier this year he organized a reunion of the Ford gang of former Stylists.  Jack drove us all over the southern California mountains, valleys and coastline at breakneck speeds in a new Lincoln Navigator with 7-8 passengers but never missing his line.  Jack liked to drive fast and when I first met him he was racing a Jag E Type at Waterford Hills raceway.  Jack was not only one of the original 6 artists who formed AFAS but he also wrote our Preamble.  From the Preamble he went on to edit the premiere edition of Automotive Fine Art AFAS with a forward by Dean Batchelor and an introduction by Jacques Vaucher sandwiching my President's message.  He edited and published our AFAS Quarterly (print version until digital took over).  He was just as interested in AFAS today and was contributing not only his artworks but also his ideas.  But best of all he was to me a loyal friend for over 50 years.  I will miss him very much.

Marc J. McCourt wrote this fantastic Article about Jack in Hemmings Motor News in 2005;

"I'm a practicing old-car hobbyist," says automotive fine artist Jack Juratovic. "Some artists could care less about old cars on a hands-on basis, and while I'm by no means a certified mechanic, I do like to get under the hood. I consider some of my cars to be rolling sculpture, and I love to drive them as well as simply look at them." From the 1947 Mercury convertible and 1932 Ford V-8 five-window coupe that he wrenched on in high school to the restored 1939 Mercury convertible and 1946 Lincoln Continental that he enjoys driving today, Jack's always-present passion for automotive form and function has fueled his need to create artwork that celebrates the beauty and speed of fine automobiles. 
PIII and the Mallard giclee print by Jack Juratovic
PIII and the Mallard giclee print by Jack Juratovic
"Like many kids, I drew pictures of cars all through school-I thought I wanted to become an architect. Because my guidance counselor didn't know about the field of industrial design, he steered me towards mechanical engineering, but that didn't last long," he says, with a laugh. Jack switched colleges: "Before you could study industrial design, you had to take two years of fine arts-so you're skilled to go either way in the fine or practical arts." After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1965, he went to work in the Ford Motor Company's styling studios. He became disenchanted after two years and left, racing an SCCA B-Production Jaguar until his funds ran out. Jack went on to work at Chrysler styling, then with William Schmidt Associates, a highly regarded independent automotive design firm, before founding his own, BORT, Inc. "At William Schmidt, I learned how to run a respected design firm," he recalled. "BORT was a small design shop run by myself and Jack Purcell, a Ford stylist and my old college buddy. We hauled in professional clay modelers as moonlighters on our projects, which included the Mustang II Cobra and the Monza Mirage. Those years of generating and presenting vehicle ideas-of making sketches into 3D forms-this is how I illustrate an idea. And it's only one step further to fine art." 
"Twenty years after graduating, I started painting to keep my skills sharp. I'd always admired famed automotive illustrator Peter Helck, and when I struck up a friendship with him in the early 1980s, he gave my paintings the nod," Jack recalls with a smile. "I was involved in the first Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance fine arts show in 1982, and I've pursued art full-time ever since then. I don't pound it out in quantity-I don't think I have that many good ideas," he laughs. "Painting is abstraction, but it has to have a good idea behind it or there's no justification." 

Road and Track November 1935 Duesenberg print by Jack Juratovic
Road and Track November 1935 Duesenberg print by Jack Juratovic

Jack works with water-based paints, including watercolor and gouache. "Peter Helck also inspired me to try caseins, which are milk-based paints that are very permanent," he explains. "When I start a painting, I do color rough thumbnail sketches, then I replicate them on to full scale on 300-pound illustration board or gessoed masonite. I'll create a wash background to set the tone, and then paint in colors from transparent to opaque. Nearly all of the work I do is freehand. The only time I'll take a picture is if I need it to reference the details. Sometimes I'll set up 1:18-scale promo models to act as foils to other models-it's a quick check to make sure I'm drawing the perspective correctly," he explains. 
In addition to his own inspirations, Jack has created concours and historic race event posters, series paintings and an annual vintage car calendar, along with the commissioned pieces for corporations and individuals.  No matter the project, Jack celebrates all facets of the automobile: "In the end, many of my paintings express how a car looked to me instead of how it looks to a camera-it's how my mind's eye imagined it. A good artist captures the essence of a car.  Personally, it's an esoteric thing, the emotion of how it makes you feel."

Jack and I, at the ranch with Luba
Jack and I, at the ranch with Luba  


We here at l'art et l'automobile, as you may know, are quite keen on artists and designers who contribute to and elevate the form of the automobile, and capture it's essence in their work.  Jack Juratovic was most assuredly one of those, with the work he did for Ford and Chrysler, his independent work modeling at BORT, definitely his paintings, but more importantly his spirit.  He brought liveliness and character to everyone around him, and his loss has removed a little bit of the light from the world.

Jack, we will miss you, but thanks for all the memories,


Jacques.



For great automotive artwork and memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many categories on our WEBSITE. And do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

And as always, be sure to Like and Share on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, share a photo on Instagram and read our Blogs.