The Man Behind The Most Beautiful Scale Models We’ve Seen
We’re honored to be working with Stéphane Dufour, and thought it was time to reconnect with the artist as his latest models have recently been added to our Shop. He’s been making much-loved resin automotive sculptures for more than a decade, with cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Shelby, and other marques taking centre stage.
Then there’s his painting, apparel, and other art—Dufour has been obsessed with machines from an early age, even frustrating his schoolteachers at his unwillingness to draw anything else. I recently had a chance to ask him a few questions about his early years as an enthusiast, and how classic cars are being reinvented.
Michael Banovsky: What was the first car you ever drove?
Stéphane Dufour: An early Autobianchi A 112. I was 15, the legal age to drive in France was 18…I drove the car to meet a friend while my parents were out. Of course I didn’t take the main streets, but the small curvy roads—a great first experience!
MB: Do you have an early memory of motoring?
SD: On the weekends, my parents and I used to take the Alfa Romeo Giulia for a ride, sometimes, the Giulietta Sprint! These are my first memories of real motoring. One day, we traveled from France to Spain in my grandfather’s car: a beautiful 1965 Mercedes 250 SEC. Black leather, no A/C, 110°, a nightmare when you spend 20 hours on the back seat—people who know this car know what I mean. Today, the Mercedes is still in the family, I love it!
MB: OK, so growing up with interesting vehicles always around—and your father repairing cars as his profession—do you think your path in life was set from a young age?
SD: Definitely! This bodyshop and these cars, but the car magazines, Corgy and Dinky toys, Circuit24 slot cars as well. I’m not a car guy without reason.
MB: I was reading you also grew up in a small town, something I can relate to, and sketching cars I’d never see was one of my favorite things to do but maybe not a career—when did you start thinking of cars and art as something to do for a living?
SD: Early, I started drawing in my notebooks, mostly cars or motorcycles. Every single page was covered with sketches. In my mind, I wanted to draw and make my own cars. But around me, nobody agreed, as it didn’t sound like a real job—more like a dream. Especially in a small town in the early ’80s. With the internet, things would probably have been far different… Anyway, I found my own way, and had my first art exhibition at 21.
MB: Having this is a core part of your life, what about retro/vintage motoring do you think people need to have a better understanding of?
SD: Everybody has the choice to have their own opinion about classic cars. Years ago, it was common to see tons of nice cars in junk yards. But things have changed today, we save them. Beside the value, I think people understand it’s a part of history, their youth and memory. Like estates, furniture, art—we have to save and restore. And driving vintage, it’s driving different. It also reflects your personality, it’s definitely fun.
I just wish it’s not so ‘overpriced’ lately, the market is totally crazy, and I guess some people see vintage cars as the thing to own because it’s in style or a good investment: no: ‘classics’ are over this, they’re timeless!
MB: Since you’ve been working as an artist for decades now, are there always opportunities to keep classic cars “fresh” in people’s minds? Have people’s interests in car art changed over that time?
SD: Art belongs to cars, and they are also designed by artists. The classic cars don’t change fundamentally, but (automotive) art is in a perpetual evolution, since…Leonard de Vinci ! It’ll be always new and fresh as long as artists will keep thinking and working.
People have a different approach to car art than 20 or 30 years ago. Women like it, and buy. And it leaves the office more now to be proudly displayed in the living room, and worn on fancy apparel as well!