In 1966 things were spicing up with a totally new motor racing series – Can-Am.
It started out as a race series for group 7 sports racers with two races in Canada (Can) and four races in the United States of America (Am). The series was initially sponsored by Johnson Wax. The regulations were minimal and permitted unlimited engine sizes, allowed turbocharging supercharging and virtually unrestricted aerodynamics. It virtually was an “anything goes” policy. As long as the car had two seats, bodywork enclosing the wheels, and met basic safety standards, it was allowed.
A plethora of designs followed – ranging from the sublime to the seemingly ridiculous – but which all existed for a short time proving what emanated from the fertile minds of a few, the stuff that worked and what didn’t.
The Bruce & Denny Show.
Thepeople who ticked all the right boxes were New ZealandersBruce Mclaren and Denny Hulme and who dominated the series from 1967 onwards but that didn’t stop Hulme also winning the F-1 World Championship that same year. The F-1 and Can-Am races never clashed with each other, however, traveling logistics were nevertheless horrendous and both men spent countless hours in the sky.
Orange Thunder – My image.
I wanted to portray the orange Can-Am monster from the period when their development was still on full auto and the wings suspended on slender spars which their F1 counterparts were still busy destroying on a daily basis.
In 1969 and after a plethora of F1 accidents relating directly to these high wings collapsing, the governing body – CSI banned the further use of them overnight.
I chose to depict Bruce in the high-winged McLaren M8B as I wanted to portray the racers which in those days never saw the inside of a wind tunnel. Tufts of wool, sellotaped to the bodywork was sufficient to ascertain any of its merits or shortcomings. Driving behind an oil-spewing competitor would also give some indication of your aerodynamics’ effectiveness; the proverbial wet finger in the wind still worked.
The old fashioned riveted, sheet aluminum cars from that era were great to behold. The honest suspension in all its painted or plated steel and rose-jointed glory invisible from the outside and covered by an acre of glass fiber bodywork.
No meticulously tailored advertising which would arrive in the1970s when the large tobacco companies started pouring their millions into elitist F-1, but scissored-to-size stickers by the already busy mechanics or PR people.
Medium: Acrylic and enamel paint on cradled wood panel.
Size: 49” x 54” x 2”.
Original value: $15,000
Giclees – Full size $4500 + shipping
Metal plaques: Prices on application.