Tuesday, April 26, 2022

RETRO: Open Wheel Racing Art Cars

Oh Gawd, is He still Banging On ‘bout Art Cars?


Yeah, I know, we’re all supposed to still be ah-lather’ over this past week’s IndyCar Open test at Mother Speedway, in preparations for this year’s Indianapolis 500. Cough Cough Sputter, Lady and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines…


And with the recent Hoopla over this year’s trio of “One Off” Arrow McLaren SP Indy 500 Undefeated liveries, and last year’s Tiger Stripes Felix Rosenqvist entry, do they qualify as Art Cars?


Suppose as an Aspiring, Frustrated Artist, I’ve always loved Art. While Arse-sumedly I discovered the great Motorsports Artist Randy Owens at the racetrack I’ve always considered my Home track, even when living only five miles away from Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA.


But it must have been Portland International Raceway where I first stumbled into Randy Owen’s wares, at one of the many Vendor Booths. And although my Bungalow by The Sea’s walls are festooned with several of Messer Owens lithographs and Serigraphs, I cannot recall when or what was his first piece I bought?


For many years, on my Desk at work off to one side between the Keyboard and Monitor sat a small Armada of miss-mash Indy Cars. As I think if was four in total? With the largest being a 1:43 scale predominantly blue and white Lola Randy Owens Art Car. Along with three Matchboxes, i.e.; SuperMario’, aka Mario Andretti, Robby Dirtmann Gordoun’ (Gordon) and a plain “Vanilla” blue non descript version. Which thinking about it now, I could have called it the “Mystery Car” in deference to Dan Gurney’s Mystery AAR Eagle…


Thus, I’ve always known of, and enjoyed the fact that Messer Owens was commissioned to apply his talent to an IndyCar, even if it was a perennial Backmarker. For which I suppose is why I cannot find anything substantive upon it today, Eh? And even Funnier is now knowing that I was totally unawares that I’d meet the actual driver nearly two decades later!




The IndyCar in Questione is the Leader Card Racing entry of the 1994 CART/PPG IndyCar World Series. When the team ran a single car entry, the #23 Lola T93/00 Chevrolet driven primarily by Buddy Lazier, and ran sponsorship from Financial World. Although I’ve got Zero Clue how many races it ran with that livery during the season?



Whilst I’m aware that Randy Owens also painted a matching, corresponding Spice sports Car, this story’s supposed to be about Single Seaters…


And although not only did I follow the series that year, I can recall going down early for an All Boyz’ Friday’s Day outing at Portland that IndyCar weekend, albeit I Don’t recall seeing this car now, since much Attenzione was cast upon the three car Marlboro Penske team with ‘lil Al, aka Al Unser Jr., Emmo’, nee Emerson Fittipaldi and somebody named PT’, aka Paul Tracy as it’s three drivers instead.


As I know part of the reason I wanted to take a day off from work and go down for Friday with Randal, Thy No Fenders Moniker King and B-Squared’ was because the Ford/Cosworth XB IndyCar engine was hitting it’s stride. Along with FoMoCo’, nee Ford Motor Company having just released it’s latest Mustang iteration Justin-time’ for it’s 30th Anniversary. Not to mention it’s very first Special Vehicle Team’s SVT Mustang Cobra with some Cat named Rufas Parnelli Jones would be that year’s Indy 500 Pace Car driver!


As it’s Hard to believe it’s fast approaching 30 years since IMS has let a Ford Pace the Indianapolis 500. As C’mon IMs, knock Off this proprietary Chevrolet tie-up Shit!


Nineteen Ninety four would also be Mario Andretti’s final year in IndyCar’s, which He celebrated with his Arrivederci Tour, which I had a most unflattering version of instead, Never being a Mario Andretti IndyCar Fan! Whilst Mario’s teammate was  Bosom Buddy Il Lione’, Bloody Nige’, Red 5 or simply Nigel Mansell…


And although like I said I couldn’t find anything about the Leader Card Randy Owens Art Car, I did stumble across the following weblink for the Top 10 Lola’s of All time, including the Bruce Ashmore penned Lola T90/00, for which the Lola T93/00 was the final version of that stellar IndyCar.




Meanwhile, and I’m sure I scribbled ‘bout it here on No Fenders over a Decade ago. Renown Artist Dexter Brown, who’s unofficial 1975 BMW 3.3 “Town Car” Saloon  Art Car I “Saw” once at America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, WA, was commissioned by the presumably forgotten Force India F1 Team to raise Funds for two Charity’s Wayback circa Twenty-eleven, Crikeys!


As the one of a kind Hand painted Force India F1 car was the team’s initial VJM-01 driven in 2008 by FishyFellah’, aka Giancarlo Fisichella. For which all I can find is the following pre-Auction Buildup “teaser.” Including noting how Uncle Bernaughty’, nee Messer Bernard Charles Ecclestone would be the very first Celebrity to adorn his “John Handcock” upon it’s Nosecone. Noting the chassis was signed by several drivers and came sans engine, perfect for Hanging upon your Wall!




Whilst I just thought about this. As it’s funny how Buddy Lazier and Mario Andretti have something in common, both being Indianapolis 500 winners. And No, I’m Not trying to compare them!