I was re-united with an old friend recently when I was asked to photograph the 1970 Le Mans winning Porsche 917K in the studio for a book. I’ve shot it before for my ‘Art of the Le Mans Race Car’ book a few years back and it was good to be reacquainted and have a whole day to enjoy capturing it’s awesome architecture.I always love to see proper racing cars in the studio away from their natural environment on the track as it gives you time and space to admire the design behind the engineering in greater detail. Sitting in the hot seat I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be Richard Attwood or Hermann Lang hurtling down the Mulsanne straight at nearly 250mph with that sonorous flat 12 on song behind pushing me to victory. Just 25 917’s were built and it is considered to be the finest racing sports car ever made…..hard to argue with that.
I’ve spent the winter writing and compiling photographs for a new book about Jaguar cars. It features every model from the first Swallow side-car in 1922 right up to the very latest F Type convertible and I’ve been photographing cars to fill gaps in my archive. Jaguar Heritage have been very helpful with access to some of the early SS models but whilst I was up at their old Brown’s Lane special operations department I got a sneak preview of the new light weight E Types being built. These are six brand new chassis to complete the series of 18 that was started in back in 1963, manufactured in aluminium to the exact specifications of the original cars they will even be allocated the missing chassis numbers making them eligible for classic racing events.
I’m working on a fantastic new book about 50 years of the Lamborghini Super Cars.Most are being photographed in the studio, check out my portfolio to see a few preview images,but some we’ve had to shoot on location as with this amazing very early Countach P400. Designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone in 1974 it was a huge step forward in super car styling and was to remain in production for an incredible 16 years influencing many other automobile draughtsmen. This car was originally termed Periscopica as it was meant to have a periscope for rear vision but this proved impractical for production and it was dropped. I reckon Ferruccio would have approved of this pairing.
I got a little too close to the action during the Goodwood trophy race at this year’s fabulous Goodwood Revival.The blue Parnell MG spun harmlessly back behind the chicane but on rejoining the main straight collided with the Alfa Romeo pushing it into the tyre wall. The Alfa rode up the wall bouncing back and rolling over trapping the driver underneath. I got the shot but had to jump out of the way to avoid the being part of the accident.Lifting the car with the track marshals we dragged the driver out and although shaken and sore he was OK. It was almost a mirror of a similar accident involving Jochen Mass and the Lancia Ferrari in the same spot a few years ago.The open wheel races are always the most dangerous but the drivers never do up their belts as it’s considered safer to be thrown clear than stuck with the car in a crash.!
A 1953 Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta won the top prize at this year’s Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.One of only four made the car’s stunning lines were penned by Pininfarina and it featured the short stroke straight six 2 litre Maserati engine developing 170hp.The win also celebrated 100 years since Maserati was founded in 1914. Amongst the judges are Rowan Atkinson,Lord Anthony Bamford and Sir Chris Hoy.
I had a great shoot the other day at Sywell aerodrome in Northamptonshire with a pair of the upgraded 1970’s classic fast cruisers.Jensen Interceptors were one of the first British super cars in their day paring European styling and build with an American power train.The re-engineered cars start with an original car which is stripped to it’s component parts and rebuilt to modern specifications incorporating rust prevention, upgraded bakes,suspension and steering as well the latest GM V8 as found in the Corvette.You can have a normally aspirated model or a supercharged unit kicking out an incredible 550BHP.
Sir Stirling Moss enraptured guests in the Credit Suisse drivers club with his reminiscences of racing in Monte Carlo over the recent Monaco historic grand prix weekend.Speaking with Henry Hope-Frost Sir Stirling discussed his multiple F1 wins, around this most tortuous of circuits, as well as his Monte Carlo ralliy antics and record breaking win of the Millle Miglia with Jenks in the Mercedes 300SLR in 1955.
An incredible turn out of 32 Bugattis made up the grid of the Grover Williams Trophy race at the Goodwood 72nd Members Meeting.The 71st members race meeting was held in 1966 just before the the Duke of Richmond closed the circuit. The race, which celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Bugatti Type 35 first built in 1924,featured no less than 16 T35s in all their guises as well as the ultra rare types 51, 57 and 59. Grover Williams, an Anglo-French racing driver won the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in 1928 driving a Type 35 Bugatti and during the war joined SOE working with the French resistance before being captured and executed by the Nazis.The race was won by Charles Knill -Jones in a type 35B seen here in pole position.
I’ve just come back from a great road trip courtesy of the Vauxhall press office.Now in it’s 4th year the Griffin run takes a fleet of the latest performance VXR cars from Monte Carlo over the route Napoleon all the way to Geneva for the motor show. Up in the mountains there was still plenty of snow and the tortuous winding mountain roads were a real challenge.We were in a classic 1970’s executive model which more than managed the steep climbs and mountain passes and was considerably more comfortable than some of the moderns with their sports suspension.
Last week the Sunday Times asked me to go down to the Somerset levels to shoot some pictures of the terrible flooding.It’s only about 30 miles west from where I live in North Dorset and I hired a 4 X 4 pick up to make it through the shallower water to the rendezvous with the 4 X 4 Response team at a camp site on some higher ground.They give their time and experience driving local kids to school and marooned residents to work. Tim Douglas took us all the way to the island of Muchelney as it’s become with his fully kitted out Landie Defender with snorkel exhaust.What will they do now Land Rover has announced it will cease to make the Defender in the coming years after 67 years of production.
I’ve been finishing the final shoots for the update of my ‘Art of the F1 Race Car’ book and had another two icons of Formula One in the studio. First up was Red Bull’s championship winning RB6 as driven by Sebastion Vettel to victory in 2010. Who was to know that Adrian Newey’s stunning design would dominate the sport for three further years to come.Check out the portfolio page to see a sneak preview of Vettel’s car. Also very privileged to get our cameras onto this year’s Kimi Raikkonen Lotus resplendent in it’s JPS inspired black and gold livery.Lotus sent their full F1 rig and and 5 staff to look after the car.
I’ve been working on an update of my award winning 2010 book ‘Art of the F1 Race Car’ shooting a bunch of Formula One cars to be added .The book is set against a black background but I recently had a contact from an old friend who now works for top London re-touchers Taylor James asking if I had any car images he could hone his art on so I sent him the raw files from the Brawn shoot. The results are amazing and can be seen on my studio portfolio web page….I’ve no idea how he got there from the image I gave him ….see below.!