Help support the Danville Tours d'Élégance

Sunday, 18 October 2015

My Summer “Vacation”

This past Summer, I travelled to the United Kingdom and Belgium to attend events and sketch what I found interesting.

I’ve been working at refining the idea of “live” sketching, where I sketch an interesting motorized vehicle on-the-spot, no matter what the context or situation.

The most interesting aspect of it is the not-knowing what will happen next, and be able to adapt to any changes, whatever they may be.

There are always spectators who have questions, or who want to chat, which I very much appreciate; it’s comforting as an artist to have so many people interested in what you do. There are also the professional photo-journalists who look for that different image to make their story-telling more unique.

There are the changing weather conditions (especially in the UK and Belgium!); wind, rain, the movement of the sun … they all impact the final result.

Other things that impact the art, or more accurately, the artist, are the noises of racing engines being tuned, exhaust fumes that burn the eyes, flames coming out the exhaust pipes, or even the race car being moved.

Finally, there is the time crunch of trying to get 2 artworks done in one day, for which I don’t always have much control over.

Sometimes the car is racing within the 2 hours, so there is a minimum amount of the art-piece that needs to be finished. For a land speed record car at the Brooklands Reunion, I had to reset up 3 or 4 times to get the artwork finally finished.

Below are the 16 artworks that I created at these 5 events … my summer “Vacation” …

Silverstone Classic

Brooklands Reunion

Goodwood Revival

Spa Historic 6 Hours

Sywell Classic Pistons & Props

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Blue Bird Sunbeam Returns to Pendine Sands

The 350HP Sunbeam was built in 1920 as a record car, powered by the enormous 18.3-litre V12 Sunbeam Manitou engine.

By 1922, it had already broken 3 land speed records in the hands of various drivers.

In 1923, it was purchased by Sir Malcolm Campbell who had it repainted blue and re-christened “Blue Bird”.

On July 21st, 1925, racing Blue Bird on Pendine Sands in Wales, Sir Malcolm set a new land speed record of 150.766 mph (242.628 km/h).

© Paul Chenard 2015

Exactly 90 years later, the Blue Bird Sunbeam was returned to Pendine Sands to celebrate and honour this historic achievement.

© Paul Chenard 2015

The event was made that much more special with Sir Malcolm’s grandson Donald Wales, a land speed record holder in his own right, taking the wheel of this very beautiful record car.

© Paul Chenard 2015

© Paul Chenard 2015

© Paul Chenard 2015

The Blue Bird was joined on the beach by the powerful 1933 Napier Railton.

© Paul Chenard 2015

© Paul Chenard 2015

The sight of these 2 record-breakers on the beach was nothing short of stunning, a very fitting tribute the bravery of those drivers of the past, and of British technological history.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Pinehurst Concours d’Élégance 2015

In early May, I was commissioned to be the roving artist at the 3rd annual Pinehurst Concours d’Élégance, a stunning event held at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

The quality of the event was second to none, and organizer Jay Howard and his competent team made it shine! The Concours and car show are vast and very well organized.

My job was to sketch the cars of participants, each of who paid the organization $750 USD for me to sketch their cars, with the money going in support of the USO, the official charity.

I also donated an original artwork for auction, and it raised $1250 USD towards the USO.

Actor Denise Haysbert was invited to be the Grand Marshall of the event, which he did with much poise and class. I luckily got to meet and chat with him … very nice and approachable guy!

The first car that I sketch was a lovely 1959 Porsche 356 Carrera Coupe. Once I finished, the owner took me for a little spin in it … it had impressive performance!

That sketch was followed by an Austin Healey 3000, a 2005 Ferrari 575 SuperAmerica, and a 1965 Jaguar XKE Coupe. I literarily ran out of time, so that I did the final sketches of a McLaren P1 and a Ferrari NART/California Spyders grouping at home.

Over the weekend, I was very fortunate to meet in person for the first time some old friends. Automotive PR guru Deb Pollack was responsible for me being at the event, and she was there representing Singer Vehicle Design, who were unveiling their new customer-owned 911 from Virginia and restored by Singer. Deb’s an absolute gem!!!

I also had a wonderful visit from Jennifer Revson, and I loved every second that we spent together!

Keith Koldsbaek of Hendrick Motorsports also came by to meet me, which was a huge honour for me.

The event was capped off with an outdoor concert by 3 Dog Night, and they really had the crowd hopping!

All together, my participation in the event raised a total of $5750 USD for the USO, which I’m very proud of. I hope that I can return to next year’s event to build on what was started.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Denise McCluggage 1927-2015

I’ve known of Denise McCluggage for years, admiring her ability to do many things very well … racing cars, writing, skiing, editing, publishing, giving presentations, but most of all, being a role model.

When I wrote my first book, I emailed her a PDF of it before publishing it, and her support and encouragement convinced me to go ahead.

A couple of years ago, when I knew it was her birthday, I celebrated it by buying two of her limited edition photos … and she added a 3rd one to thank me!!!

When my friend Peter Bourassa of Motorsport Marketing Resources invited Denise to give her “The Centered Driver” presentation in Lawrence, MA in January 2014, I knew I had to go meet her in person.

As a backdrop to her presentation, I offered to paint a large, 2-panel mural on the second floor of European Motorsports, the venue for her presentation; Peter and European Motorsports owner Michael Ricciardi enthusiastically accepted.

I had just finished the mural on the day of the presentation when Denise showed up. Wow, I couldn’t believe that I was in the same room with her, and she couldn’t believe that I painted a mural for her presentation!

That evening, her sold-out presentation was a hit; she was very dynamic, and had everyone’s ear, listening to her every word of wisdom.

Peter, me, Denise and Michael
Later on, we did get to chat a bit, share a couple of meals, and I showed her one of my most precious collectibles, my 1959 Fuller Brush catalog, which she wrote.

She was surprised to see a copy because they are hard to come by, and she told me the story behind it. Then she kindly autographed it for me!!!

I was very privileged to meet her – she was such a dynamo, bubbling with ideas, that I can’t help thinking that she’s still going strong … somewhere out there …

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Bluebird-Proteus CN7 Record Car

The Campbell family legacy of breaking land speed records goes back to Sir Malcolm Campbell born in the county of Kent, England in 1885.

He was a racing driver and journalist who took on the challenge, between 1924 and 1935, of setting numerous land speed records in various cars that he choose to christen “Bluebird”.

Sir Malcolm passed away in 1948, and his son Donald, born in 1921, decided to take on the challenge of speed.

He started on water with his father’s old record boat Bluebird K4. With modifications, the boat showed great promise, but he did not manage to set any new records with it.

Donald commissioned a new boat the Bluebird K7 of extremely advanced design, and through the 1950’s, set many new water speed records.

At the end of the 1950’s, he commissioned a land speed record car, which he christened Bluebird-Proteus CN7. It was a stunningly beautiful car, powered by a modified Bristol-Siddeley Proteus turbine engine driving all 4 wheels.

Corgi #153 Proteus Campbell Bluebird (1960-1965)

In 1960, he brought Bluebird to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA for testing. After various trial runs, making adjustments all along, Campbell crashed CN7, damaging it extensively and putting himself in hospital.

It was rebuilt through 1962 with a tail fin to add stability and was tested in 1963 on Eyre Lake, a normally dry lakebed in Australia.

After many months of bad conditions for a land speed run, there was a break in the weather and on July 17, 1964, Campbell decided to go for it.

Bluebird-Proteus CN7 on it's record run
Acrylic, pen&ink and colour pencils on 24"x 10.5" (60.9cm x 25.4cm) watercolour paper
© Paul Chenard  - Original art available -

On his two courageous runs, he brought Bluebird to an average speed of 403.10 mph (648.73 km/h), a new world land speed record for a wheel-driven car. Victory was his!!!

Sadly, Donald Malcolm Campbell CBE was killed while attempting a new world water speed record in the modified Bluebird K7 on Coniston Water, Lancashire, UK on the 4th of January 1967.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

1975 24 Heures du Mans

In 1975, the oil crisis was in full swing, so rules promoting fuel efficiency were brought into play for the 1975 edition of the 24 Heures du Mans.

Englishman John Wyer was a veteran and successful race-team manager who’s team had won the 24 heures du Mans 3 times, first in 1959 for Aston Martin, and then in 1968 and 1969, racing the Gulf Racing GT-40’s.

Though he was looking at retirement, he could not resist the idea of trying one last time.

With the assistance of Gulf again, Wyer had two Mirage GR8’s developed for Le Mans, the only race that he and Gulf Racing chose to run in the season.

The international mix of drivers chosen for the task were Australian Vern Schuppan and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jaussaud in car #10, and Englishman Derek Bell and Belgian Jacky Ickx teamed up in car #11.

The cars were powered by the famous Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0L V8, modified to run at lower RPM’s to conserve fuel.

The Bell/Ickx Gulf Mirage GR8 at the 1975 24 Heures du Mans
Pen&ink and markers on 12"x 12" light-blue archival paper ... I used no blue in this artwork.
© Paul Chenard 2015 - Original art available.

The Gulf research Racing Co. Mirage GR8’s were favoured to win, and they did not dispoint!

The Bell/Ickx #11 car covered the most distance in the 24 hours, and the Schuppan/Jaussaud #10 car finished 3rd behind the Lafosse/Chasseuil Ligier JS2.

It was Derek Bell’s first of 5 Le Mans (1975, 1981. 1982, 1986, 1987) wins and it was Jacky Ickx’s 2nd of 6 Le Mans (1969, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1982) wins. Schuppan was to win later in 1983, and Jaussaud in 1978 and 1980.

For John Wyer, it was a lovely retirement gift!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Tyrrell P34 – 6 Wheels at Work

Tyrrell Racing was founded by Englishman Ken Tyrrell, who started in racing during the 1950’s.

 As he moved up the ranks with his racing management up to 1969, when he was in charge of racing for the French company Matra, and gave them their sot after World Championship with Jackie Stewart as his driver.

 For 1970, Tyrrell moved into creating their own Grand Prix cars, working with designer Derek Gardner.

Gardner’s designs were solid and in 1971, his Tyrrell 003 brought Sir Jackie Stewart his 2nd Championship win, and the Constructors Championship to Tyrrell.

The Gardner-designed Tyrrell 006 brought sir Jackie his 3rd (and final) Drivers’ Championship.

By the end of 1975, Tyrrell Racing was looking for an edge on the competition, so Gardner took a very unorthodox approach with the 6-wheeled Tyrrell P34.

My collection of P34 diecast toys

© Paul Chenard 2015 (poster available).

The P34 had 4 custom-designed 10-inch-diameter steerable front tires. It was hoped that the smaller tires tucked behind the front fairing would provide less drag than the regular-sized front tires, and the same time provide a larger contact patch, increasing front grip.

Blueprints of the P34 chassis, suspension, and wheel
© and courtesy of Gene Varnier

In it’s unveiling, it created quite a stir in the Formula 1 world, and in it’s first outing at the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix, it showed to be quite competitive.

By it’s 4th race, Tyrrell driver Jody Scheckter took the win of the Swedish Grand Prix, with teammate Patrick Depailler following closely in 2nd place.

Scheckter on his way to winning the Swedish Grand Prix
Pen&ink and markers on 11"x 8.5" blue archival stock.
© Paul Chenard 2015 (original art available).

Though the season continued with both drivers garnering 2nd place finishes, and fastest laps, they never repeated their win, and Tyrrell racing finished 3rd in the Constructors title.

By 1977, Tyrrell developed the P34B, but by then Goodyear had stopped development of the small-diameter tires, and the P34 never found its previous competitive edge.

For 1978, Tyrrell Racing brought out the more conventional 008, which won one race, the Monaco Grand Prix in the hands of Depailler.