The Joy of Carelessness

Low Tech Elf

The problem with digital photo archive tools is that there’s often little context, little attribution, and even less backstory. As a result, I don’t know anything about this image that I stumbled upon on Pinterest (or maybe it was Tumblr) and all image searches just lead me back to other pins or tumbles.

What I do know is this: Red Bull isn’t going to just tip over their Formula car and see what’s going on under there. This glimpse of race (low) tech of the past was a common thread that united hot rodders and shadetree mechanics with the pinnacle of motorsport. Now you’ll see greater kinship between Formula 1 technicians and aerospace engineers.

The same was true then, of course; but aerospace engineers and shadetree mechanics shared that kinship as well!

The Art of the Restoration Story

Alpine 110 restoration by AlpineLAB

Car restoration is dirty business, and you feel that grime intimately: There will be chunks of rust stuck between your neck and your collar. There will be endless layers of paint slowly being sanded away. Twisted pieces of steel will be stuck in the soles of your boots from every stupid broken-off bolt you’ll have to drill out. I can understand why restoration shops would rather wait until the car is finished, polished, and with the proper beginnings of a sunset behind her before they get out the camera. What ends up happening, though, is that restorers web sites all tend to look the same: beauty shots of the finished car. There is rarely even a single photo of the car before restoration began.

Germany’s AlpineLAB shows us the kind of beautiful documentation that can happen when a truly passionate restoration workshop has someone on staff that knows a thing or two about curating a web site. Of course, there are miraculously beautiful photos of the finished product worthy of any of the glossies on the newsstand. But the commitment to documenting the restoration and the race history of their Alpine 110 projects is so very refreshing. What I appreciate most, however, is their opening the archives to show us the specific period articles and photography of these cars’ race history. People spend a lot of time establishing a car’s provenance, it’s very appreciated to see those archives opened up for all of us and not just prospective buyers.

Alpine A110 1800VA

The Alpine 110 was an astoundingly capable little machine. I’ve read it described as a car that you wore rather than drove. That kind of machine deserves the treatment that AlpineLAB has given it. I imagine that as more and more restorers enter the community having grown up on the web, the more of this kind of wonderful storytelling we’ll see brought to the world. Clear your afternoon and click over to their site for more of their build stories. These images are but a taste.

Thanks for sending this in, Jürgen!

Factories at Work: Alpine

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