Monday, 28 September 2015

Kop Hill Climb 2015

The Kop Hill Climb gets bigger and better every year and is constantly bringing out an ever changing roster of machines, which makes this event a must for my sketchbook travels. This year was no exception, I concentrated mainly on motorcycles, which is attracting more entrants each year, but I managed to get a couple of cars in too. As always there was way too much to choose form, and the atmosphere was as relaxed and friendly as always.

1921 Sunbeam Sprinter

(ink sketch)

Before Sunbeam produced an official Sprint model in 1924, people converted TT Models into stripped down sprint machines like this great example. With a 500cc engine running an Amal carb and a 3 speed close ratio gear box this sprint bike has recently been bought back into action by Frank Mace and his son Will. They participated in the recent sprint at Ramsgate achieving a 9.4 second run on the 1/8 mile. As you can see from my illustration it has a number plate and brake light as it is road legal and had to be for the Kop hill climb as the course is on a public road. 

1929 Scott Hill Climb Special

(ink sketch)

On it's first official hill climb Colin Butler was having a great time on his newly completed Scott hill climber. The bike caught my eye initially due to the streamlined forks, these are loosely based on Vincent forks but are made from folded and welded aluminium. After sitting down to sketch the special I soon noticed a couple of other odd bits on it. I asked colin whether he machines the piece that acts as a guide for the front brake lines, "Oh, that's an anti roll bar rocker from a 3 year old F1 car.". More hints at Colin's F1 engineering background can be seen in the inconel exhausts. Other modifications of note are that it runs a TT carburettor and silk pistons which bring the capacity up to 650cc. This bike may be moving away further and further away from an original machine but, it has been built for hill climbing and I believe this is in the spirit of a true special as every example of vintage specials I have seen have been modified using what was affordable and available at the time. I also love the fact that this bike also inadvertently reflects Colin through his choices, which I think is a beautiful thing. 

There was also a Silk motorcycle on display which shows the Scott heritage that the company has, due to the sloped twin two stroke.


(ink sketch)

I didn't find out much about this Bugatti as it went up the hill before I could have a decent chat with the owner. There is something about the shapely front end and simplicity of this machine that I wanted to capture, hopefully I achieved that.

1926 Morgan Aero

(ink sketch)

Affectionately known as Molly this Morgan Aero shows a direct correlation to early aviation not only via the Aero name but by the Anzani V-Twin engine that it has always had. It's been a long time since I have sketched a Morgan 3 wheeler but I'm really glad I did.

1904 Auroa

(ink sketch)

Aurora Motor Manufacturing Company was based in Coventry and traded from 1902 until 1905. Founded by Charles Bourquin, rumours have it that Bourquin absconded to London with money and goods belonging to the company, and never heard of again.

This particular machine which belongs to The Shuttleworth Collection is believed to have been converted early on from a road to a racing machine. The Shuttleworth collection think it may possibly have been used for a pace bike for cycle racing. I'm thinking that the magneto is a later addition as early machines such as this more often used trembler coils. The magneto is however a Bosh which is common in pre war machines as after the war it was not seen as a good thing for manufacturers to use German built parts. As with many things the history of these machines can never be 100% confirmed as not much of the detailed history was recorded. 

James Twin

(ink sketch)

A James twin is a rare machine indeed. This particular engine has waited a long time to be mounted back onto a motorcycle. Originally obtained along with a load of other James parts, including a James speedway engine, this engine was obtained by its current owner and restorer by doing various jobs for a good friend Jack Woodhouse in the early 60's. The restoration has been very well done and it is actively used which is a joy to hear. I decided to sketch the engine as the main focus as this was the starting point for the whole build that finally got underway in 2008 and was completed in about 2010, making it 50 years in the making.

Triumph TR 3A

(ink sketch & gouache)

This was a private commission, and I had a great time sketching the car at Kop Hill and then painting this piece in the studio afterwards. I have been painting more and more in gouache, as I'm really enjoying it's opaque nature and ability to create strong colours. Gouache was used a lot by designers in the past for these qualities, I find it's great to use for painting reflections where strong contrasts are needed.

More Photos.... 

 A.J.S. TT Replica

1900 Singer Motor Wheel
1968 Triumph Daytona, bought second hand and rebuilt for 24 hour production class racing.
In 1970 Peter Bates and Bob Biscardine rode her to 1st in their class at the Barcelona 24 hours. With mechanic Don Jones and Bill Crosby the group was known as Team Yobo. This bike was displayed by the London Motorcycle Museum, which I intend to visit one day!
1927 Napier Bluebird Recreation

'Puppy' Singer Special
12969 Lotus Mk 14 Elite
1934 Chevrolet

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Goodwood Revival with BMW

I was very privileged to be invited by BMW to sketch their 507 for the Goodwood Revival. The 1956 507 is owned by BMW Classic and has never been restored. Only 252 of these roadsters were produced due to them being too expensive to produce. It was intended to fill a gap in the market between the Mercedes 300SL and the relatively cheaper sports cars of MG and Triumph. Elvis owned a white 507 but got fed up with returning to the car to find it dawned in girls phone numbers inscribed in lipstick. To solve the problem he got a red version instead.

Usually at shows I only spend a few hours with a vehicle and spending 3 days sketching and painting the 507 was a great experience. I was painting colour reflections without any direct reference and that was a real challenge. Here's the result of the weekends work, a series of cropped views and details of this iconic car, using ink and gouache.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Light Aircraft Association Rally, 2015

Having had such a great time on my first visit to the LAA Rally last year, I just had to go back. I really enjoy sketching planes it makes a refreshing change from my mainstay of motorcycles and the subject has a great balance of big shapes coupled with a good amount of detail without getting too complicated. I was spoilt for choice again this year and having new aircraft coming in all the time was fantastic, Sywell is fast becoming my favourite place to switch off and just enjoy sketching.

Chilton D.W.1A "Black Magic" Replica

(ink sketch)

Completed this year Black Magic was a great aeroplane to see. The D.W.1 was originally designed and built in 1937 by 2 ex de Havilland Technical School students. It was designed to be cheap to build and operate but also have exceptional performance. The airframe is all wood with plywood skin. The first three aircraft were powered by 32 h.p. Carden-Ford engine, is a water-cooled automobile engine which was lightened and modified for aircraft use. The first D.W.1 made it's first public appearance at Southend Airport on 4th September 1937. The third D.W.1A was completed in July 1939 and ran a 44h.p. Train 4T French engine. This aeroplane (G-AFSV) was flown by A.W.H. Dalrymple in the Felixstone Aero Trophy Race at Lympne on 5th August 1939, winning at an average speed of 126mph. This current build is a replica of G-AFSV which after Felixstone went on to break the 100km closed circuit record at 124.5 mph at Lympne airfield on 31 August 1947.

To find out more about Chiltern Aircraft please visit their website:

1914 Royal Aircraft Factory BE-2c Replica

(ink sketch)

This BE-2c was originally built in the 1969 for a Biggles film 'Biggles Sweeps the Skies', which never made it to full production, but this replica was built in sixteen weeks by two brothers David and Charles Boddington at Sywell. The build was based on de Havilland Tiger Moth components. After the film was over the production company sold the BE-2c to it's next owner in the United States. After a crash it sat in storage for 25 years. Mathew Boddington eventually found out about the fate of this amazing aeroplane and soon made plans to bring it back to Sywell and restore it to fly again. It finally made it into the air in 2011 and continues to live at it's birthplace of Sywell Aerodrome.

Adamson TV, Taylor Titch

(ink sketch)

I sketched this aeroplane without knowing anything about it, I was drawn in by its simplistic racer looks. After researching it on my return home I found it was designed by John. F. Taylor who designed and built the Taylor Monoplane (For more information look at my report from last years LAA Rally). In 1959 Taylor was requested to design an aircraft with higher performance than his original monoplane. On 4th Janurary the Titch first flew at Southend Airport. The Titch was named after the test pilot who first flew the Taylor Monoplane O.V. "Titch" Holmes. The prototype Titch crashed at Southend on 16th May 1967 killing its creator John Taylor. The plans have been for sale by his family since and there have been over 40 examples built and flown and 12 are currently registered in the UK.

ERCO Ercoupe 415CD

 (ink sketch)

This year was the 40th anniversary of this Ercoupe visiting Sywell. The Ercoupe was first manufactured by ERCO (Engineering and Research Corporation) shortly before World War II and then taken on by several other manufacturers after the war. The last model year was 1970. It was designed to be the safest fixed-wing aircraft that could be provided at the time.


 (ink sketch)

I haven't found much information on this two seater, one interesting fact is that they were used during the Biafran War (Nigerian Civil War) to drop small bombs!

1969 Piper PA30 'Twin Comanche' 

 (ink sketch)


 (ink sketch)

1978 GREAT LAKES 2T-1A-2

 (ink sketch)


 (ink sketch)

Just before the LAA Rally I released an Aeroplane Sketchbook.


More Photos....

Flitzer Biplane, a home build 20's inspired biplane. Designed by Lynn Williams, an aviation artist, writer and inventor. I had the opportunity to speak to him and I left the conversation wanting to build one!


Jodel D9

Pitts Corner

There were quite a few Pitts Specials at the show, possibly my dream, affordable (within reason) biplane. Since sketching the one of the TRIG Aerobatic machines at Sywell back in 2013 I've been quietly obsessed with these beautiful aerobatic legends.
  The Sunburst is a classic paint scheme for the Pitt's it always looks great!

Rare two seater, I'd love to just go up in one of these! 
There was even a Pitts project for sale for 3 grand!!