Like most guys of my generation, we grew up fascinated by cars, and trucks as well. As a kid, I would get the obligatory toy car for Christmas. My first was a red convertible with working windshield wipers. These weren’t classic cars at that time, just tin quasi replicas of the the popular vehicles of the day: sports cars, police cars, fire chief cars, dump trucks, semis. They had friction motors, moving parts and rubber wheels. In the summer, we’d build highways in the dirt and in the winter, anywhere in the house as long as you weren’t “underfoot”.When I first moved with my family to Rome, Italy as a nine-year-old, I got exposed to an entirely different car culture, and quickly became enamoured. My new school classmates had Dinky and Corgi toy cars, reasonably accurate representations, but smaller than my other toy cars. This meant there was room for a lot more of them in my room. My allowance was usurped on a weekly basis to enlarge my fleet. Within a relatively short time I had a fleet to rival Hertz or Avis. Because they got so much use, I maintained them regularly with all new paint schemes to cover a multitude of sins.Besides my personal fleet, I was exposed to an entirely different world of vehicles: Fiats, Lancias, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, as well as the Citroens, Opels, Renaults and Minis from other parts of Europe. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was probably the golden age of car design, when the shackles of World War II were broken, and it became a brave new world as far a design was concerned: a period of experimentation with the old rules thrown away.Being in a large urban centre, I was exposed daily and began to relish the new car introductions, such as the iconic Lamborghini Muira or the classic Fiat 124 spider. Being a novice artist at this time, I drew cars more than any other subject, probably because of what they seemed to represent: Freedom, movement, beauty, speed, envy.Over the years, I came to realize that this was the classic car era – a period of style and mechanical innovation, and have looked at this as an eternal area of inspiration. Over the last few decades I got away from my car sketches, but not my interest in classic cars. I would see a great car in the street and say “I have to paint that!”.
Enter the Classic Car inspiration!
About 18 months ago, Al Hentsch, an old middle school buddy of mine searched for me on-line and contacted me. He and I used to hang out together, bicycling everywhere and playing slot cars together. His father had what I thought was one of the coolest cars ever. He had a mid ’60s ASA 1000 GT coupe.Though it was only a 2-seater, his father would stuff the 2 of us in the passenger seat and give us quite the thrill driving around the winding streets of suburban Rome. I later found out that only about 70 of these Enzo Ferrari conceived sports cars were ever built, with its Bertone good looks and Ferrari DNA.What amazed me even more, after getting in contact with my good friend Al, was that he still had the car, though a little worse for wear. I figured this was the perfect time to get back to my “car doodles”. To inspire myself to create a series of classic car paintings, I decided to paint his car in its original native Italian environment to inspire Al to perhaps restore his car, and inspire me to start my new “Classic Car Collection”.Prints of this painting are available at www.thedrawingroomgallery.com.