Motor Sport collection: When the cars align

Fans of motor racing art and artefacts will find a huge range, including these commissioned works, at

Motor Sport Magazine collection

If you’re an avid reader of this magazine, you’ll have noticed the new addition to our covers since January, ‘Celebrating 100 glorious years’, as Motor Sport marks its centenary. As part of the merrymaking, we launched our Race Car of the Century campaign, where you get to determine which of our 10 chosen machines from across the decades is the finest of them all.

To further mark the occasion, we’ve partnered with renowned motor sport artist Martin Tomlinson to have each of the nominated competition cars immortalised as a bespoke artwork, with both the original and limited-edition prints set to be available to buy at the Motor Sport shop.

It’s a major undertaking, hand-crafting scintillating snapshots of 10 different cars across Motor Sport’s existence, but it’s a task Tomlinson has more than embraced.

“I’ve been a reader of Motor Sport since 1966, and I still remember my first-ever issue, with John Surtees’ Ferrari on the cover [June]… I’ve read it cover-to-cover ever since,” says Tomlinson. “Usually I work by taking commissions, so when a project like this one comes up and I get almost free reign to paint some of the finest race cars from across history, it’s hugely exciting.”

And it’s not just the painting. Tomlinson has invested hours of research into each, studying hundreds of period photos to find the perfect muse for each model.

“I’ve always had a keen interest in the history of the sport, and some of my works are based purely on personal recollection and fondness,” he explains. “For example, for the Porsche 917 it would have been easy to just pick the Salzburg car winning at Le Mans in 1970, but instead I went for Pedro Rodriguez’s masterclass in the soaking wet at the BOAC 1000Kms at Brands Hatch that year because I was there and remember it being the finest display of racecraft I’d ever seen. I remember being amazed watching on through the soaking wet fences, with my father, grandfather and my then-girlfriend… problem is nobody had told her it was a six-hour race, and it chucked it down all day. I don’t think I saw her again after that!”

Capturing cars from different eras is also a challenge. Does Tomlinson have a penchant for the curvaceous creations of the 1920s, the sleek racers of the ’60s or more complex modern machines? “My preference will always be the 1960s,” he says. “The cars then were wonderfully uncomplicated, lovely shapes and colours and not bedecked by sponsors. It was a golden age for Formula 1 in my eyes with the cars and calibre of drivers then. You have to be a signwriter for some of the modern-day stuff, as everything needs to be accurate but there are so many logos now. They’re still beautiful cars, but for me I recall seeing cars of the 1960s and ’70s growing up, so they resonate with me.”

The winner of Race Car of the Century will be announced in our August issue, but before then we can reveal a selection of Tomlinson’s completed works, including Jim Clark in full flow aboard the Lotus 49 (’60s), Ron Flockhart’s D-type at Le Mans (’50s), Ayrton Senna hustling the McLaren MP4/4 around a soaked Silverstone (’80s) and that Rodriguez snapshot (’70s).

Each is available at our shop, with original paintings priced £1500, prints £120 and framed prints £240.

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The expert view

Mind the gap

Andrew Francis portrait wide

Jody Scheckter’s recent decision to sell  off his private collection of race cars is interesting. The South African won the Formula 1 world championship in 1979 driving for Ferrari, and famously secured the only race victory for the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34. After his career, he made a point of searching for and buying as many of his own race cars as he could.

RM Sotheby’s Monaco sale on May 10-11 will split and sell off The Scheckter Collection, comprising everything from his Formula Ford to his world title-winning Ferrari, plus the Tyrrell, Wolf and more. I have been lucky enough to have had a tour of this collection, below, from Jody; I’m following the sale with interest.

That got me thinking about other world champions who get overlooked in the collectibles market. Scheckter was a great driver, but he’s far from getting the adoration and hero status others like Mansell or Senna enjoy. His cars will sell – especially the Ferrari, because it’s a Ferrari, and the P34, because it’s famous in its own right. The values of both will probably be unaffected by their connection to Scheckter.

Automobilia col pic

Perhaps the most-overlooked champions are Denny Hulme and Alan Jones. Trying to find something signed by Hulme is hard because he was never that popular. He won the title with Brabham, was co-driver with Ken Miles in the Ford GT40 in 1966, and won the Can-Am championship. If you do find something, chances are it won’t be expensive. Ditto for Jones. Contrast that with Jochen Rindt; there’s not a lot out there signed by him, and values go the other way.

Other examples of not particularly valuable F1 collectibles include Jacques Villeneuve and Nelson Piquet – as neither have been universally celebrated. It’s strange, as these are all great drivers who achieved the same thing, yet the market only favours certain characters. So, if you’re aiming to complete such a collection, you may find a few gaps harder and more costly to fill than others.

Andrew Francis is director at The Signature Store.

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