Racing Colours: Motor Racing Compositions 1908 – 2009
By: Simon Owen; Publish Date: 2014; Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Hardcover, 192 pages
The fourth book in my review series, Racing Colours by Simon Owen, is one that could easily be categorized in the art section of your favorite bookstore, as well as having a rightful place in the automobile racing section. Simon Owen (artist and racing enthusiast) has created a beautiful and detailed study of automobile racing livery design. Each piece of artwork in this collection focuses on the interesting mix of color, design, car structure detail, and the unique variety of font used for the car numbers on some of the most iconic racecars throughout history.
Racing Colours is the type of book I’ve been always looking for, and when I found it, knew it had to be part of my collection. My fascination with auto racing certainly centers on the sport and it’s personalities, but my earliest and lasting love has been for the design and aesthetics of the cars. Each car study is paired with quotes that relate to the car/driver/team depicted in the piece. The layout of the book is simple, yet elegant in its straightforward approach to present each work of art.
Legendary cars and liveries featured in the book include the Gulf Porsche 917K (Michael Delaney aka Steve McQueen), Sunoco Lola T70 (Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons), and the Martini Brabham BT45 (Carlos Pace). Vintage images included classics such as the Gordini T24S (Jean Behra), Panhard-Levassor GP (Henri Farman), and Lancia D24 (Piero Taruffi).
An added feature that closes out the book is entitled, The Process. Here the reader is able to see various thumbnail sketches that Simon Owen prepared during his research of the cars. Each sketch shows detailed measurements, photographs used for reference, and comments as he worked out plans for each piece. The Forward to the book, written by his father (David E. Owen), notes that Simon abandoned his early watercolor medium for this project in favor of a newer, more contemporary medium, that being digital, as he created each piece on his Apple Mac computer. The results are stunning!
Simon Owen finished preparation for the publication of his book before his untimely passing at an early age. His family then drove the project over the finish line. The result is worthy of a champion. I treasure this book and encourage you to include it in your auto racing book collection.