The first painting MLHLND on Mulholland features a very special Porsche 911 modified by Singer. Of course, all cars that leave the Singer workshop are special, yet this car represents the pinnacle of Singer’s custom program. Every design and engineering decision was made with its namesake – the famous 21 mile stretch of scenic road that snakes its way through the Santa Monica mountains north of L.A. – in mind.
This painting was one of the trickiest I’ve ever completed. The car itself has so many special features and ‘firsts’ that differentiate it from the other 100 or so Porsche 911s that have been reimagined by Singer: The most obvious difference is the livery, but this car isn’t just a wrap special. It feels more dialed in, more responsive, quicker, lighter. Not including Singer’s DLS creations, it’s the lightest car to have left their workshop. Coupled with the shorter gears and their 4.0L power plant it’s the ultimate canyon carver. It’s also the first car to feature their bespoke hood lights and a fixed rear wing.
After a day of tooling around the ridgeline above Malibu, my senses were tingling. I started sketching and sketching, for months I’d create one sketch after another but nothing felt right. I wasn’t able to communicate the completeness, the all-encompassing experience of driving MLHLND on Mulholland. A sketch that featured the front of the car at a dynamic angle, was missing the unique fixed rear wing. A sketch that showed the rear of the car left out the new Cibié inspired hoodlights. The breakthrough came when I decided to incorporate two car views in one painting: This gave me the opportunity to highlight all the special features of MLHLND. I used the topographical map as the third main element in the painting to create a natural transition between the front and rear views of the car.
The second painting of this trade, Turn 9 – IROC at Riverside features one of the original Porsche 911 RSR IROC cars (0042) from 1973. At first I was struggling a bit with this sketch. I wanted to create a period correct race scene which was accurate in every detail. I did some research and found a video of the actual Riverside IROC races. I also went through all the race results so I knew which cars could be featured together along 0042.
Part of the appeal of an IROC piece are all the different colored cars, but I wanted to make sure that 0042 was actually racing along side the correct cars, in other words, I didn’t want to create a total fantasy piece with a bunch of brightly colored cars. I knew I could feature 0042 among the India red RSR of Peter Revson and the white RSR of Emerson Fittipaldi.
The next challenge was to get perspective of the three cars and the banking of Turn 9 to work as a cohesive design. I forced the perspective of the green RSR in the foreground to communicate the illusion of speed. However, this meant that there would have been a chain reaction (in the perspective) of the white and red car. Technically, the cars in the distance would appear much smaller (and less interesting). No matter what I tried, it never looked right. Eventually I talked to my friend, Freeman Thomas (former Global Design Director for Ford, designer of the New Beetle, Audi TT, RUF cars etc.). After showing him my sketches he gave me a great idea: Group the white and red cars together so they create one unit in the distance. Once I did that, the whole thing fell into place. It took me about a week to complete this painting.
I do consider myself my toughest critic but I think these two painting came out well, and I’m quite proud and thankful for having been able to pull off the first trade in such a colorful fashion. Some of my clients prefer to remain anonymous and my first trading partner wishes simply to be known as “Mr. Topanga”.
To Mr. Topanga: Thank you for sharing my vision. Thank you for sharing in my passion in this project. Thank you for the seat time 🙂 and thank you for giving birth to the #hunzikerartcar.