Gear: 11 Artists Render Some Of The Most Significant Land Speed Record Cars In The "Speed" Collection

11 Artists Render Some Of The Most Significant Land Speed Record Cars In The “Speed” Collection

By Alex Sobran
September 14, 2017

Images provided by Historic Car Art
To purchase the collection in coffee table book form, visit the Shop, here.

Art is amorphous. In definition, interpretation, and form. Art can be an item in the physical realm and it can be the pursuit of something that only exists in our interior selves. It can be a way of thinking, a way of being, or a child’s scrawly drawing taped to a fridge. It is almost too loose of a concept to carry any significance, and yet we’ve ascribed so, so much meaning to it. It’s likely because of this nebulous nature that art has played such an important role in the way we view our selves and our world and the interaction between the two, but before I go further into this tangential vagueness, let’s pull back to some of the oldest and most distinctive mediums: painting and drawing. And better yet, paintings that honor and immortalize our incessant hunt for speed. There is something inherently beautiful in such a singular focus as the hunt for land speed records, to say nothing of the sculptural machines that are built to bring us there, and this collection of paintings both new and previously unseen is a celebration of both. Historic Car Art has curated 28 such works of art centered around these machines and the men who build and pilot them, with the collection particularly aimed at the efforts from the UK between 1924 and 1964, and with machines powered by combustion engines.

Examples from the group—representing the work of eleven different automotive artists—include machines like the Bluebird CN7 (a multi-million dollar endeavor that saw some 70 different British companies supplying parts to the record-breaking “car” of Donald Campbell), the Railton Special (the last piston-engined land speed record holder), and the 1000 HP Sunbeam (the first car to propel a passenger past the 200mph mark all the way back in 1927).

From the early days when the discipline of speed was characterized by massive piston engines like that of the Fiat Special, to the mid-1960s which saw the svelte and slippery shapes constructed around multi-thousand-horsepower turbine motors, this collection renders the history of the land speed record with the kind of artistry and aesthetic abilities that these powerful men and machines deserve. If you’re interested in purchasing these works in a quality package, there is a coffee table-type book available with each of the 28 pieces inside, along with brief but informative pieces of history to provide context to the artwork in the form of dates, names, records, and anecdotes. We are happy to carry this book in the Shop, and you can order a copy of your own here. Since it is a limited print run of 146 copies in an homage to Malcolm Campbell, the first Brit to break the existing record in 1924, we can’t guarantee they will be in stock in the near future, but we can posit that the book itself is worthy of being called art; it certainly has the rarity factor already, and it is printed on the kind of heavy glossy stock that does justice to the pieces in book format.

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