Mercedes, Porsche, Ford, Creation and Venturi try out the art car concept
Let’s define art cars as vehicles used as a blank canvas for artistic decoration, but more importantly to draw attention. Most commonly, this is used for advertising and marketing purposes. High art on the original BMW art cars got noticed by the upper-income consumers BMW was working hard to attract as a “luxury” brand.
You can read about both the original factory and subsequent private BMW art cars in parts one and two. BMW was not the only one to get in on art cars. Vast attention was paid to the BMW art cars. Sponsors, manufacturers and teams saw huge value in this attention in the pre-internet era. The high cost of printing made photo space in magazines and newspapers precious. So art cars got their pictures published more often than not because they were so unusual.
Paint and great artistry were called for because vinyl wraps weren’t really a thing yet in the 70s to early 90s. The decision to go art car was not taken lightly; the cost and time factor was pretty high here as well. You have to admire the designs that ended up on the cars considering the costs. Some cars are fairly complicated like the Venturi and Kremer Porsche sponsored by roof tile company Tuiles, in the gallery below. Can you imagine having to prep and paint all the spare bodywork too?
Computers, vinyl and the mind of artists
Much later, vinyl graphics and full wraps were possible with the aid of fast computers. The only thing holding back any design was the creativity and computer skills of the designer. Some pretty, very entertaining or totally bizarre race cars were let loose on race tracks around the world.
Mercedes decorated one of their DTM 190E cars with the Keith Haring-like motif at top. This is a favorite of everyone that sees it, due to the hours of viewing pleasure on that car. Guess who the sponsor is. Good luck.
The aptly named Creation featured this strange decoration on the left. I really have no idea what the forlorn characters mean. Nor do I know what sponsor it belongs to. It is arty though.
In the same arty vein, tile-maker Tuiles was involved once again. Art dealer Hervé Poulain was also involved as he was with the original Calder BMW art car. However, I don’t think many people notice the blue tiled roofs they were supposed to. The lusty, busty ladies featured on the car got most of the attention for the Porsche 911 GT2 that ran at LeMans (gallery below).
One look at the Courage art car below, and you’ll immediately notice that it is a take on a famous Mondrian painting. Very pretty, right on point, and the sponsor is obvious. Matmut and Courage would feature a similar the paint scheme the next year at LeMans as well. Those French love their art….and wine.
Other art car models in 1:43 are easier to find
Unlike the factory BMW art cars, the other art car models in 1:43 featured below can be found from dealers and definitely on ebay. For the more popular or obscure selections, simply wait for them to come up. They will.
A gallery other art car models in 1:43 for you