Austin-Healey 100 Available for Your Inspection


About once every twenty years a motor car appears that is truly exciting! The new Austin Healey 100, acclaimed “The Sports Car ofthe Year,” is just such a car. Now we have it for your inspection.

Consider these specifications: Speed: Capable of 110 miles per hour! Acceleration: 0-60 m.p.h. in 10.5 seconds! Mileage: Up to 25 miles per gallon. Record-breaking Austin A-90 overhead valve engine has twin S.U. carburetors. Synchromesh transmission has three forward speeds plus overdrive! Wire-spoke knock-on wheels. Adjustable windshield. Heater. Defroster. Tonneau Cover. Tachometer. And all these wonderful custom features cost you absolutely nothing extra!

Best of all – this magnificent motor car sells for only $2,985 including Federal taxes!

1952 Palm Springs Road Races Track Map

1952 Palm Springs Road Races Track Map

I think we can all generally agree that the rapid increase in technology—particularly the desktop computer—has made society better in almost every way. Sure, maybe we’re all too buried in our phone screens, but the societal benefits of all that increased computation have made our medicine, our education, our entertainment, our jobs.. on the whole: faster, easier, more enjoyable. I have yet to find, however, a single example of a contemporary track map that is better designed or more engaging than those created by draftsmen hunched over a table with a pencil and a bottle of ink.

This example of the track map for the Palm Springs road races of 1952 is an excellent example. Would a contemporary track map designer sketch in these gorgeous little illustrations of the cars lined up on the track? Would a contemporary designer playfully wrap the typography of the turns around the contours of the map? I doubt it. I’m glad that Stan Parker signed his name to this masterpiece so we can thank someone specific. Thanks, Stan.

Arthur Schening’s Historic Racing Car Prints

Lotus 49 illustration by Arthur Schening

I find the relationship between the medium and the subject of an artist’s work fascinating. In an Instagram filtered landscape, we’re used to seeing contemporary imagery processed to look vintage. Illustrator Arthur Schening has taken the opposite approach. These representations of 50 year old (and more) racing cars crafted in a very modern aesthetic makes for a compelling balance. Arthur’s illustration style is something akin to what we’re used to seeing as a representation of architectural renderings or a more polished take on fashion illustration. Schening has taken this aesthetic reminiscent of Wallpaper Magazine’s hayday under Tyler Brûlé and applied it to old sheet metal in brilliant technicolor saturation. I dig them.

Prints of these and more at his site.

Ferrari 250 GTO illustration by Arthur Schening

Paramount Ranch

Paramount Ranch Track MapI typically take this opportunity to ramble on tearily reminisce over the hand illustrated aesthetic of vintage track maps that seems to be lost in the modern era. After all, it’s easier to output a quick render or line art from the track designer’s plans and call it done. Rarely would we think today of commissioning an artist to illustrate a custom map for an event program.

Today, though, I want to focus on something else happening in this image scanned from a Paramount Ranch program. A recent design movement has made me think that all may not be lost; and it’s the wonderful handwritten lettering on this map that helped me notice it. In the past couple of years there has been an enormous resurgence in hand lettering throughout all levels of design.

Why in the age of digital typesetting, when even the most amateur computer user has dozens of fonts at their fingertips, would the professional hand letterer be back in demand? Because it has soul. There’s something behind that ever-so-slightly-wiggly hand lettered headline that hints at a humanity and a playfulness that you just don’t get from perfectly set Helvetica Neue Light. Why couldn’t it also be so for hand drafters or illustrators? This map has soul.

We’ve seen maps from Paramount Ranch before and my sentiment remains exactly the same… Just look at that tunnel.

Martin Squires’ Automotive Illustrations

Martin Squires - Cooper 500

Illustrator Martin Squires’ sketches from the car, motorcycle, and vintage machinery shows he attends are absolutely delightful. I’ve tried many times to capture this kind of quick gestural linework and trust me when I say it isn’t easy. You might think that this quick sketch aesthetic isn’t as challenging as pouring over an illustration table for hours or days but I’d suggest that it’s even more difficult to do well.

Martin Squires - Lou's Cannon gasser

Just try nailing the proper contours of a Cooper 500’s bodywork in one quick, confident swash of an ink pen; or conveying the correct proportions of the wheels to the exposed engine to the suspension bits of a hillclimbing special (particular one that you may just be seeing for the first time). These things are not easy. I’d rather have some time to pencil it in, adjust, erase, re-draw, adjust, erase. I’m continually impressed by this kind of rapid freehand work.

Check out Martin’s site for more. Prints and sketch books are available at his shop.

Hypnotic

Dizzying Collection of Werner Bührer Illustrations

Werner Bührer illustration

After yesterday’s Lola T260 illustration post, KABay was kind enough to point us to this treasure trove of Werner Bührer’s illustrations of racing cars for Powerslide Magazine (and republished by Road & Track) ed: Thanks, M Needforspeed. Once I saw it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to let it just sit there in the comments: This is front-page material!

Thanks again, KABay

Minimalism is Overrated

Werner Bührer Lola T260 Cutaway

Be careful trying to take in all the details of this glorious Werner Bührer illustration of the iconic L&M liveried Lola T260. You might just get lost in it. Pro tip: click that image to make it large enough to really take in.

What magnificent work on display here. I’m a fan of what Road & Track has been doing with their redesign and relaunch, but I hope that they don’t forget to also look to the past. It’s a shame we don’t have these kinds of gatefold spreads in car magazines today and I can only envy those that could spread this October ’71 issue out on the living room floor and lose themselves in it for an hour or so.

Topps World on Wheels: Twin Tanker

Twin Tanker Trading Card

Spread out those trading cards on the bedroom floor and let’s make some trades!

From the card’s reverse: The Twin Tanker is probably the first of its type to be built in the United States, and is patterned after an Italian design. The tanks, about three and one-half feet apart, are connected by a cross-piece through which all the controls run. The engine is in the right tank, and the controls in the left. Steel tubing and plates reinforce the interior of the tanks to make them strong and safe.

Strong and safe… riiiiiight.

More from the Topps World on Wheels trading card series in the archives.

Dean Walton’s “Iconic Racing” Poster Series