ASA 1000 GT: Classic Inspiration
Like most guys of my generation, I grew up fascinated by cars and trucks.
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, just quasi-replicas of the vehicles of the era: sports cars, police cars, fire-chief cars, dump trucks, and semis.
They had friction motors, moving parts and rubber wheels. In the summer, we’d build highways in the dirt; in winter, anywhere in the house if you weren’t ‘underfoot.’
Italian cars: a true inspiration for a young artist
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, good replicas but smaller than my toy cars. This meant there was room for more of them in my room.
My allowance was usurped every week to enlarge my fleet. Shortly, I had a fleet to rival Hertz or Avis. Because they got so much use, I maintained them regularly with new paint schemes to cover my sins.
Besides my personal cars, I was exposed to an entirely different world of vehicles: Fiats, Lancias, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis, as well as the Citroens, Opels, Renaults and Minis from other parts of Europe.
In retrospect, this was probably the golden age of car design when the shackles of World War II were broken. It became a brave new world with automobile design: a period of experimentation with the old rules thrown away.
Being in a large urban centre, I relished the new car introductions, such as the iconic Lamborghini Muira or the classic Fiat 124 spider.
As a novice artist, I drew cars more than any other subject, probably because of what they seemed to represent: Freedom, movement, beauty, speed, and envy.
Over the years, I realized 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 art but not my interest in classic cars. I would see a great car in the street and think, I have to paint that!
Enter the Classic Car inspiration!
Several years ago, Al Hentsch, a middle school buddy of mine, contacted me. In Rome, he and I used to hang out together, bicycling everywhere and playing slot cars.
His father had what I thought was the best car ever – a mid-’60s ASA 1000 GT coupe.
Though it was only a two-seater, his father would stuff the two of us in the passenger seat and give us quite the thrill of 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 I found surprising after contacting 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 return 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 me to start my new digital ‘Classic Car Collection.’
I also recreated the car in a 3D application to enjoy the classic car as I remembered it in all its glory.