I recently had the very real pleasure of meeting Sir Jackie Stewart OBE. The occasion gave opportunity to artist friend Anthony Dobson and I to meet Sir Jackie in relation to a painting depicting his epic drive at the Nurburgring in 1968 driving the Matra MS10 to victory. This was indeed a majestic performance at a terrifying circuit affected by heavy rain and low cloud in poor light.
Starting sixth on the third row, Jackie Stewart made it his priority to make his way up through the order in heavy spray conditions, achieving second place by halfway round the first lap and in the lead by the end of the first fourteen mile lap of the circuit, thereafter leading away from his rivals now unaffected by spray.
All the drama is captured in Anthony’s powerful painting in a scene painted as if the observer is positioned in the infield of the Karussel, the inwardly banked left-hander. Seen side-on, the car dominates the quite long painting and because the infield is higher than the inner banked section, one is looking into the cockpit feeling to some extent at one with the driver working at the wheel. The rain and spray dramatically adds action to this powerful painting and you can almost hear the car pushing on through the corner on its way to Hohe Acht and Pflanzgarten. This would be a race Stewart wanted to get on with and win, which he did convincingly and being able to shelter from the rain in the pits with a delighted and possibly slightly embarrassed Ken Tyrrell waiting for his competitors to return – Graham Hill (Lotus 49B), then Jochen Rindt (Lotus 49B) and rain master Jacky Ickx who had started from pole position in the Ferrari 312.
When Sir Jackie saw the painting for the first time he asked various questions about it borne from details long since forgotten yet fresh in the minds of artist and researcher. This was when I heard for the first time the expression ‘wearing a wing’. Sir Jackie asked if he was wearing a wing in the race, knowing he’d tried it in practice – we were able to confirm the car was fitted with the rear wing for this epic race, a worthwhile choice at this circuit. I next came across the expression in Jackie Stewart’s own book ‘Jackie Stewart World Champion’ as described by the author Eric Dymock, published in 1970. No doubt this painting which he very kindly agreed to sign, brought back great pride at such a memorable win and it was obvious that Sir Jackie enjoyed his trip down memory lane in celebration of such a win. The Matra MS10 being a terrific subject, but otherwise a less well known though pretty car in one of the most celebrated wins of Jackie Stewart’s career, couldn’t have been a better subject in my opinion.
Having arranged the meeting, I was able to show Sir Jackie models in 1/12 scale of that very Matra and the Tyrrell 006, the latter in which he won the 1973 World Championship, also having the opportunity for some personal books to be signed by the triple World Champion.
We had a special time with Sir Jackie discussing this and that in context with the subject of the painting, also receiving a welcoming cup of coffee by his office staff who very much made us feel at home.
If anything I have made brings pleasure and a degree of wonder, do give God the glory and praise, for it is merely the talent He has given, that I am exercising. Amongst the F1 designs I have incorporated as wall tiles in my workspace, are two with the Bible texts John 3 v 16 and Romans 10 v 9 which help me keep my mind focussed on what really matters. Do give them a read. These models are built as one-off, hopefully unique cars of the 1970's mainly (some late 60's and fewer 90's/later) which are not for sale and are part of a personal collection. I am unable to accept commissions due to lack of time and over indulgent approach. They are museum-display and are not in any sense 'working models'. I have built 1/12 scale F1 models almost exclusively, each being in the order of 12-14" (30-36cm) long. My aim is to increase in a small way the 1/12 scale representation of Grand Prix car entries to the F1 World Championship that are not available commercially as kits to be built. They are to be retained as indefinite loans to museums for others to enjoy, for one's home is never large enough. The models perhaps represent my desire to own the the full-scale car, yet that is not feasible or practical (unless you are Bernie Ecclestone) and each of my models feels like the real thing to me, having often spent so much time with the actual car. The photographs of the original cars were taken by special permission and in respect of the owner of the actual GP car or race 'shop owner are not available for further distribution, nor are my own engineering drawings. The models are built with the idea of 'no effort spared' and to look as realistic as possible. I will go to eccentric and sometimes otherwise unreasonable lengths to replicate every detail of design and engineering in order to satisfy myself that I have something properly accurate. This includes the concept that all bodywork should be removable in the same way as on the full-size car and therefore reveal the engineering within; additionally the underneath of the car is modelled, for there is much to be enjoyed regarding 'how it all works' from seeing what is not normally visible. I have felt that in this way, these models may serve to educate interested folk as to what makes a Grand Prix car 'tick', for such rare access to the real thing, makes this aspect somewhat mysterious. I have shown some of those I consider the better models at shows, but do so relatively infrequently due to the effort and logistics of getting to often far-flung venues, not to mention the accelerated ageing effect on the models themselves, in transporting them. Inspiration comes from the great model makers such as Henri Baigent, Gerald Wingrove, also my friends involved in the same hobby and in particular folk like John Shinton here in the UK and especially Andy Matthews from America who produces 'gems', which are wonderful to study. Hopefully that covers everything; now all it remains is to enjoy! MRO, August 2010