Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

Bluebird Garage

July 5th, 2009 No comments

Bluebird Garage c1930Last week, Keith Collantine at F1 Fanatic wrote a nice post about one of my favourite London buildings, the beautiful art-deco Michelin House on Fulham Road.

That building was the UK headquarters of Michelin from 1909 to 1985 before Sir Terence Conran bought it and turned it into the Bibendum Restaurant, named after the cigar-smoking, bicycle-riding, rubbery mascot of the Michelin Tyre Co.

But only a short walk away is another historic art-deco automotive building that Conran has converted into a restaurant; the Bluebird Garage on Kings Road.

When the garage was built in the early 1920’s, it was Europe’s largest motor car facility at some 50,000 sq ft.  As well as selling petrol and servicing automobiles, it also provided overnight accommodation for lady motorists and their chauffeurs in the two wings on either side of the main building.

The land speed record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell had a connection with the garage although it is hard to determine what it was exactly.  Some say the garage was where he built his famous ‘Blue Bird’ cars, others that he just sold cars there when he took over the Itala and Ballot concessions in London.

Campbell competed in Grand Prix racing, winning the 1927 and 1928 Boulogne Grands Prix but he is best known for breaking the world speed record on land and water several times in the 1920’s and 30’s.

His first land speed record was in 1924 when he piloted a V12 Sunbeam 350HP to 146.16 mph at Pendine Sands in Wales.  Between 1924 and 1935 he broke the land speed record nine times and on September 3 1935 he became the first person to drive a car over 300 mph when he hit 301.337 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Campbell drove four Blue Bird cars (his son Donald drove a jet-powered Bluebird in the 1950’s) culminating in the 1935 Campbell-Railton Blue Bird.  This car had a 36.7 litre supercharged Rolls-Royce R V12 engine producing 2,300hp.  The car was so powerful that double rear wheels had to be fitted to stop the wheels spinning.

Here’s a video of Campbell driving Blue Bird at Daytona Beach.

Below are some pictures of the Bluebird Garage.  The tennis balls are a Wimbledon thing. 🙂

Images: Conran & Partners, David Keen

Categories: Opinion Tags: , , , ,

Lewis and Jenson’s new lids

June 19th, 2009 2 comments

Lewis Hamilton's 2009 British GP helmetDespite all the off-track politics, we shouldn’t forget there is still a race on this weekend.

It could be the last British Grand Prix at Silverstone for some time and both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will be wearing special helmet designs for their home Grand Prix.

It is the first time Lewis Hamilton has altered the design of his famous yellow crash helmet for his home race since starting his grand prix career in 2007.

The design shows the top of his helmet peeling away to reveal a British flag underneath.  Hamilton said:

I’m really proud to be a British driver in a British team racing in front of the British crowd. I wanted to choose a design that not only showed that I am a British sportsman but, more importantly, recognised all the support I get from the fans at Silverstone.

Jenson Button, on the other hand, has a tradition of wearing a different helmet design for the British Grand Prix.  This year’s design was the result of a competition to give Jenson’s fans the opportunity to design a helmet that incorporated a British theme and Bernie Zobl’s ‘Push The Button’ design was the one chosen by Jenson.

Button commented:

For the last few years, it has become something of a tradition for me to have a special British themed helmet and this year is no exception. I wanted my fans to be involved so we ran a competition on my website and chose the winning design by Bernie. What I loved about Bernie’s design was its unique take on the Union Jack flag and how he had incorporated it into my own Button logo. The helmet looks great and I can’t wait to wear it at Silverstone this weekend.

More pictures of Jenson Button’s helmet are below.

Images: McLaren, Brawn GP

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,

Rare McLaren F1 GTR for sale

June 16th, 2009 No comments

McLaren F1 GTR Long TailEver wanted to race in Le Mans?  Here is your chance to pick up an extremely rare McLaren F1 GTR “Long Tail” in Gulf Team livery.

In 1995 McLaren built the first race version of the F1 and at Le Mans that year McLaren F1 GTRs took 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th places.

Despite being entered in the GT class, the reliability of the McLaren F1 saw it beat the faster purpose-built Le Mans Prototype cars, completing 298 laps at an average speed of more than 162 km/h.  It also recorded the highest top speed in practice, reaching 281 km/h.

Incredibly the first McLaren F1 GTR had only rolled off the production line six months earlier.

In 1997,  a number of changes were made to the GTR to meet major regulation changes but the most important was a substantial reduction in weight.  The ’97 car weighed only 915kg and this combined with an improved transmission and the new “long tail” aerodynamics saw lap times improve by four seconds over the GTR ’96.

At Le Mans in 1997 Gulf Team Davidoff won the GT category and also finished second overall.

Out of 28 McLaren F1 GTRs built, only 10 were long tails.  This one is chassis number 28 and was originally used as a Gulf Team Davidoff spare car that was raced during the second half of the season.

It might not be as rare or as beautiful as a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa but this is still an automotive work of art.

The ultimate race version of the ultimate road car.

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Lewis Hamilton painted in motor oil

June 11th, 2009 No comments

Lewis Hamilton painted in used motor oil by David MacalusoNew York artist David Macaluso has painted a portrait of Lewis Hamilton using oil taken from the McLaren MP4-23 Formula One car Hamilton used to win the 2008 World Championship.

Commissioned by McLaren partner Mobil 1, the painting will be unveiled at the British Grand Prix next weekend.

Apparently next week is National Oil Check Week and Mobil will be running a competition where you can win one of 50 limited edition prints of the portrait.

Macaluso has been working with used motor oil for some time and has even painted a series of portraits of Barack Obama.

Apparently the Mobil 1 oil was ‘extremely smooth and very particle-rich’, making for a  ‘great painting medium’:

I’ve been recycling used motor oil into paintings since 2005, so it was exciting to do a portrait of Lewis, and it was a privilege. When people look at my portrait of Lewis Hamilton, I want them to know it contains the Mobil 1 that circulated inside his Mercedes-Benz engine.

Lewis Hamilton liked the results, too:

I’ve always known that the Mobil 1 in my race car is an important component that can give us an edge over our rivals in some circumstances, but I’d never have guessed you could use it to paint with; the oil gives this picture a unique look and feel.

Another McLaren partner has also been busy making automotive art.

Ever wondered what would happen if Lewis Hamilton’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car was driven through 1,200 liters of paint?  AkzoNobel has.

After months of planning, Hamilton’s MP4-24 was driven through pools of red and silver paint.  Unsurprisingly this resulted in paint being sprayed everywhere with the splashes captured on two 50 square metre canvases.

I’m not sure the results are as impressive as Macaluso’s portrait but take a look at the making of video below and see what you think.

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Ferrari 250 TR sells for $12 million

May 19th, 2009 No comments

1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa

As predicted, a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa has broken the record for the most expensive car ever to be sold at auction at the Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event in Maranello.

One of only 34 ever built, it went for $12,156,252 (€9,020,000).  That’s more than $2m more than the previous record set at the same sale last year.

With a Scaglietti designed body and striking black and red paintwork, chassis number 0714 was the fourth Ferrari 250 Testarossa built and was raced in the 1958 Cuban Grand Prix where Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by Cuban rebels.

The unique pontoon shaped fender design was said to be one of Scaglietti’s favourites, as the designer explains:

Formula 1 was the inspiration for the shape, there were pods on the sides of the F1 cars, (Ferrari Lancia D50) and while I wouldn’t call them aerodynamic, they went well. We used a similar idea by designing the body to bring air in towards the brakes to cool them. In many ways the Ferrari 250 Testarossa was a Formula 1 car with fenders.

I once saw a yellow one of these in San Francisco at the California Mille.  It is quite possibly the world’s most beautiful car.

Categories: Cars Tags: ,