New In The Shop: Ferrari, Shelby, and McLaren Posters From Automobilist
Automobilist, a brand from the people behind the Unique & Limited fine art gallery, has been producing the coolest sports and racing car posters this side of the 1970s. They’re colorful and arresting, but thoughtful design and a dedication to accuracy set them in an area code far from your typical variety of car art.
Using modern digital techniques, the small team of artists render highly-detailed recreations of famous motorsport machines all the way down to the scratches and bits of gummed-up rubber on their flanks. Thousands of hours are spent on the process of building these pieces of history from the ground up in three dimensions, and I think it’s a testament to our enduring enthusiasm for the racing that took place half a century ago when computer programs are being used to recreate bug splatters on a set of headlamps being sent down the Mulsanne straight under the power of a Ferrari V12.
We’re always excited to see new work from these guys, and a selection of their latest posters have just been added to the Petrolicious Shop. Featuring a set of four dedicated to the racing career of the Ferrari 412P (plus a collector’s edition), the American sweetheart-badass that is the Shelby-Ford AC Cobra Mk3, and a beautiful technical-type explosion of James Hunt’s McLaren M23.
You know the story of Ford sticking a red, white, and blue middle finger to Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 (it was more like black, blue, and gold in reality), but the follow-up punch delivered by Enzo in the following year was equally impressive, with two Ferrari 330P4s and a lone 412P crossing the finishing line together at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona—a recreation of Ford’s photo finish from in France, and on their home soil no less.
The P4 was the car that Ferrari intended to use to strike back at Ford’s GT40s, but the 412P had its share of success in the the ’67 season too. The car was essentially a carbureted version of the 1966 330 P3 (both fitted with dry-sumped 4-liter V12s) that Ferrari sold to customer racing teams like N.A.R.T. for instance.
In this series of notable races in the 1967 calendar, Automobilist blends hard edges and blocks of vibrant color with the contrasting curviness of the lithe Ferrari. Featuring the David Piper car at Kyalami, Attwood and Bianchi’s third place finisher at the Spa 1,000km, N.A.R.T.’s Le Mans entrant, and of course the #26 car used by Rodriguez and Guichet to earn a podium position at the 24 Hours of Daytona. There is also a limited collector’s edition of the Daytona car in a darker piece that complements its red, white, and blue-based counterpart.
Shelby-Ford AC Cobra MkIII
The last of the original AC Cobras is a great addition to Automobilist’s Colors of Speed collection, and a refreshingly clean take on a car that’s become so mired in wannabes. The bellicose snarl side pipes and the steroidal wheel arches are the defining features of the car that launched a thousand replicas, but rather than tasteless 19” wheels shod in rubber band tires and a bunch of guys with gold chains who really like the word “billet,” this depiction of the Shelby’s V8 pyscho-car is a period-correct portrait of what they really were. Simple blue with white stripes rather than bass boat levels of metal flake. Chubby tall-walled tires with bulging Good Year Eagle sprayed on them. Perfect.
In addition to the Colors of Speed Cobra, they’ve also released a vertically-oriented poster of the car featuring more views and the distinctive stripes in the background.
James Hunt’s McLaren M23
If you love X-ray car art—the kind that you’d see on Tamiya and other model car box tops—and also have a curiosity for championship-winning Formula 1 cars, this is going to be your catnip. This collector’s edition piece appears chaotic in the sheer density of the components on display, but it’s meticulously organized, ruled, zero’d, precise. In that sense it is very much like the duo of Hunt and the M23—a little wild and overwhelming, but also extremely competent and mechanically adept.
Like how that kid in your college dorm that took LSD and looked at his Grateful Dead poster for a few hours, you can easily get lost in this one, taking in all the pieces that you typically don’t see but were there all along with James on his way to the becoming a world champion.