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Hand-painted race number


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#1 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:25

The white Chaparall 2F of Phil Hill-Hap Sharp with his large high wing, running along the narrow roads of the 1967 Targa Florio is a classic motorport icon.
The car sported the race number 222.
It was hand-painted in blue color. Each "2" was different in shape and size from the others...

There was a hand-painter at the Targa Florio in the 1960s, possibly he was always the same person. The "style" of Targa Florio number were distinctive and recognizable.
The Ferrari 330P4 of Vaccarella-Scarfiotti had blue race number 224 in 1967, the same number (hand-painted, once again, but in a slightly darker blue) had the winning Porsche 910 of Umberto Maglioli-Vic Elford, one year later.

Also the race numbers at Vallelunga in the 1960s were hand-painted. But in white, with a large round brush, always the same. Another "classic style".
I remeber Frank Williams' De Tomaso Formula 2 driven by Piers Courage in the 1969 Gran Premio Roma at Vallelunga with the hand-painted white race number 46.

At Buenos Aires, Argentina, for several years in the late 1960s and 70s the cars (even Formula 1 and WSC) sported their race numbers (not hand-painted) in a black oval (a sticker?) with a small YPF adv on the left.

Edited by Nanni Dietrich, 16 January 2013 - 10:26.


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#2 Tuboscocca

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:44

The white Chaparall 2F of Phil Hill-Hap Sharp with his large high wing, running along the narrow roads of the 1967 Targa Florio is a classic motorport icon.
The car sported the race number 222.
It was hand-painted in blue color. Each "2" was different in shape and size from the others...

There was a hand-painter at the Targa Florio in the 1960s, possibly he was always the same person. The "style" of Targa Florio number were distinctive and recognizable.
The Ferrari 330P4 of Vaccarella-Scarfiotti had blue race number 224 in 1967, the same number (hand-painted, once again, but in a slightly darker blue) had the winning Porsche 910 of Umberto Maglioli-Vic Elford, one year later.

Also the race numbers at Vallelunga in the 1960s were hand-painted. But in white, with a large round brush, always the same. Another "classic style".
I remeber Frank Williams' De Tomaso Formula 2 driven by Piers Courage in the 1969 Gran Premio Roma at Vallelunga with the hand-painted white race number 46.

At Buenos Aires, Argentina, for several years in the late 1960s and 70s the cars (even Formula 1 and WSC) sported their race numbers (not hand-painted) in a black oval (a sticker?) with a small YPF adv on the left.


Nanni , the same applies for the Mille Miglia--have seen a photo somewhere of the 'artist'. Only exception, to my knowledge, was Mercedes Benz with their famous 'shadowed' red race numbers.

Best regards Michael


#3 RCH

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:47

I'm told that the late Ernie Knott, Brackley based coach builder, Gordon Keeble and Ferrari enthusiast and model builder was always on hand at Silverstone to paint the racing numbers.

#4 Bloggsworth

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:58

Plimsole whitener/blackener, instant Blanco (as loved by all conscripts), was available in squeezy tubes with a sponge on the tip, really useful for doing numbers..... until it rained! In '65 I made myself some cardboard templates and started cutting numbers out of Fablon™, the ubiquitous "Sticky-back plastic".

Edited by Bloggsworth, 16 January 2013 - 10:59.


#5 Macca

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:14

At Indy there was a skilled signwriter on hand in the 1960s, but one day in 1965 when the pro wasn't around Andrew Ferguson of Lotus had to stand in and hand-paint numbers on one of the 38s..........not well enough for Chapman's liking. (There's a photo in AF's book)

Paul M



#6 Alan Cox

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:25

I'm told that the late Ernie Knott, Brackley based coach builder, Gordon Keeble and Ferrari enthusiast and model builder was always on hand at Silverstone to paint the racing numbers.

Until the 1970s (possibly later), the VSCC used to have a lady (whose name escapes me) who was always on hand to paint the race numbers.

Nanni , the same applies for the Mille Miglia--have seen a photo somewhere of the 'artist'. Only exception, to my knowledge, was Mercedes Benz with their famous 'shadowed' red race numbers.
Best regards Michael

IIRC you can see this in Bill Mason's Shell film of the 1953 Mille Miglia.

#7 Tuboscocca

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 13:14

Until the 1970s (possibly later), the VSCC used to have a lady (whose name escapes me) who was always on hand to paint the race numbers.

IIRC you can see this in Bill Mason's Shell film of the 1953 Mille Miglia.



Thanks Alan--had forgotten this film..



At approx. 4m33sec (of Part1) is the young artist...

Regards Michael

#8 nicanary

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 13:38

Thanks Alan--had forgotten this film..



At approx. 4m33sec (of Part1) is the young artist...

Regards Michael


A very academic-looking young man. And taking his job very seriously. Louis Klemantaski wearing a shirt straight out of the packaging, still with those tell-tale creases where the cardboard insert was placed. I love the way the Italian spectators treat the event as a "big occasion", all dressed up in their Sunday suits with ties and hats. Real style.


#9 Sharman

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 13:41

Plimsole whitener/blackener, instant Blanco (as loved by all conscripts), was available in squeezy tubes with a sponge on the tip, really useful for doing numbers..... until it rained! In '65 I made myself some cardboard templates and started cutting numbers out of Fablon™, the ubiquitous "Sticky-back plastic".


Takes me back a bit Bloggs, all of the above methods, by the way instant Blanco was verboten in the Signals. I can remember the entire Squadron being sent off parade because the blanco had run, mind you it was VERY wet that day.

#10 Louism

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 14:08

Le Mans 24 Hours 1961, AC Ace Bristol #BEX 1110 during scrutineering...

Posted Image

Edited by Louism, 16 January 2013 - 14:14.


#11 Norman Jones

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 14:23

Monaco Historique 2010 keeping with tradition

URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/685/dscn0342e.jpg/]Posted Image[/URL]


Edited by Norman Jones, 16 January 2013 - 14:24.


#12 Alfie

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 14:58

I can clearly remember the service being carried out in the scrutineering bay at Silverstone. RCH - I don't know if it was Ernie Knott or someone else, but of course, he was local and many teams used Brackley Motors workshop, just up the road, for accommodation of their cars.

I recall being fascinated by the support stick complete with leather "lump" on the end resting on the body of the car, supporting the painter's wrist whilst painting.

#13 Alan Cox

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 15:14

Monaco Historique 2010 keeping with tradition

Very much keeping up with tradition in this case, as it is Duncan Pittaway, who had driven his Bugatti all the way down from his home near Bristol and drove all the way home again after the race. Three cheers for that man!

#14 Bloggsworth

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 15:15

I recall being fascinated by the support stick complete with leather "lump" on the end resting on the body of the car, supporting the painter's wrist whilst painting.


Ah - A proper signwriter then.


#15 Tony Matthews

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 15:51

I recall being fascinated by the support stick complete with leather "lump" on the end resting on the body of the car, supporting the painter's wrist whilst painting.

And the next object is a Mahl stick - a MAHL stick.

#16 Bloggsworth

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 16:15

And the next object is a Mahl stick - a MAHL stick.


I thought it was a maulstick.

#17 Emery0323

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 17:56

I thought it was a maulstick.


It looks like a loanword that's gotten anglicized (or corrupted, depending on your point of view).

I Thought it would be derived from the German word "mahlen" (to paint).
Apparently it's derived from Dutch, though the linguistic root is the same:

"The word is an adaptation of the Dutch maalstok, i.e. the "painter's stick", from malen, "to paint"." per Wikipedia.

Of course, that assumes the Wikipedia citation is accurate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulstick

Edited by Emery0323, 16 January 2013 - 18:52.


#18 Tony Matthews

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 18:05

I thought it was a maulstick.

That's a sheleighly.

#19 ErleMin

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 20:36

In '65 I made myself some cardboard templates and started cutting numbers out of Fablon™, the ubiquitous "Sticky-back plastic".

Errr....I still do that.

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#20 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 21:20

See #6 at this link:

http://www.jessealex...r.com/moss.html

Vince H.

#21 JacnGille

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:52

Our very own E1pix should be along soon to add his experience to this discussion.

#22 ensign14

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 15:17

"The word is an adaptation of the Dutch maalstok, i.e. the "painter's stick", from malen, "to paint"." per Wikipedia.

Of course, that assumes the Wikipedia citation is accurate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulstick

Checking with the OED, it seems to be. Its original form in English is mollstick; the preferred spelling is mahlstick, the latter apparently influenced by the earlier German form mahler (blame Mr W. M. Thackeray for the change). But the pronunciation remains "morl".

#23 Mal9444

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 15:46

That's a sheleighly.


Ah yes. "Sheleighly": the English word for a blackthorn stick...

#24 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 22:07

Ah - A proper signwriter then.

Yeah, I am old enough to remember them. in fact I have had cars signwritten by them! In my experience though the ball end on the support stick was masking tape on a drumstick!
A skill that fascinated me when young, and a talent I doubt I could ever aquire. And one nearly lost these days.
Though with vinyl I did my own semi proper signs with a stencil set and cut the vinyl out with small scissors and stuck them on one letter at a time.
looked ok except all the signs were 100mm high and in the same font. But apart from time only cost me a couple of dollars for material.

#25 GMACKIE

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 22:21

Errr....I still do that.

Errr....and so do I.


#26 E1pix

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 00:09

Our very own E1pix should be along soon to add his experience to this discussion.

Maybe not so much sans scanned photos yet, Thanks though. :)

Yeah, I am old enough to remember them. in fact I have had cars signwritten by them! In my experience though the ball end on the support stick was masking tape on a drumstick!
A skill that fascinated me when young, and a talent I doubt I could ever aquire. And one nearly lost these days.
Though with vinyl I did my own semi proper signs with a stencil set and cut the vinyl out with small scissors and stuck them on one letter at a time.
looked ok except all the signs were 100mm high and in the same font. But apart from time only cost me a couple of dollars for material.

Thanks for the nice honors about a former career I truly loved. Once technology loomed, I saw the fading signwriting (as it were) and moved on. Did about 500 race cars from 1976 to 1990 or so, all while in my mid-teens through my twenties.

Lee, if you still want to learn I'd be happy to advise. The first race car I ever did was a Lola T324 Super Vee in 1976. I had two help me in the early days, one the father of a classmate in the sign arts who gave me some brushes I still have, and some rudimentary guidance on the phone. For pinstriping I got advice and mostly inspiration from a former Super Vee champion and Indy Car driver named Herm Johnson, whom I knew for years and then saw striping a van at the 1976 USGP. That was it for me. Though none gave advice in person, it was critical indeed, and there's some "no-brainer" stuff that takes years to figure out otherwise.

We're about to live on the road in a last-ditch attempt to rebuild our photo/writing/design business, following a medical trauma that's finally cost us all our assets (medically-malpracticed stroke by the Missus). The sign kit will be along in case I ever need to bust it out on a vintage race car or something. Kinda miss the dirty nails. :)


Great thread Nanni, Thanks. :up:

#27 Jager

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:00

By coincidence, earlier this week I was looking for pictures of the Kelleners /Joest GT40 at LeMans in 1969 after having just acquired a 1:43 model of the car. Here it is in the paddock,where it looks like its having its number added (though I can't say for sure its being hand painted as I can't see the tell tail can of paint in the picture ?):

Posted Image

#28 Sharman

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:58

Maybe not so much sans scanned photos yet, Thanks though. :)


Thanks for the nice honors about a former career I truly loved. Once technology loomed, I saw the fading signwriting (as it were) and moved on. Did about 500 race cars from 1976 to 1990 or so, all while in my mid-teens through my twenties.

Lee, if you still want to learn I'd be happy to advise. The first race car I ever did was a Lola T324 Super Vee in 1976. I had two help me in the early days, one the father of a classmate in the sign arts who gave me some brushes I still have, and some rudimentary guidance on the phone. For pinstriping I got advice and mostly inspiration from a former Super Vee champion and Indy Car driver named Herm Johnson, whom I knew for years and then saw striping a van at the 1976 USGP. That was it for me. Though none gave advice in person, it was critical indeed, and there's some "no-brainer" stuff that takes years to figure out otherwise.

We're about to live on the road in a last-ditch attempt to rebuild our photo/writing/design business, following a medical trauma that's finally cost us all our assets (medically-malpracticed stroke by the Missus). The sign kit will be along in case I ever need to bust it out on a vintage race car or something. Kinda miss the dirty nails. :)


Great thread Nanni, Thanks. :up:

How different, how very different from the life of our own dear youth! A two inch brush and a can of Valspar and you could paint the whole bloody car.



#29 RStock

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 18:48

There was a hand-painter at the Targa Florio in the 1960s, possibly he was always the same person. The "style" of Targa Florio number were distinctive and recognizable.
The Ferrari 330P4 of Vaccarella-Scarfiotti had blue race number 224 in 1967, the same number (hand-painted, once again, but in a slightly darker blue) had the winning Porsche 910 of Umberto Maglioli-Vic Elford, one year later.



On the "Mountain Legend - The 1965 Targa Florio" video you can see a fellow hand painting numbers. (I believe it is narrated by Vic Elford.)

At about the 3:45 mark.

http://www.dailymoti...to#.UPw5b2eE5LQ


If you have never seen that video, WATCH IT!

If you are like myself, own the DVD and have watched it 1000 times, WATCH IT AGAIN!. :)

#30 CSquared

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:16

Le Mans 24 Hours 1961, AC Ace Bristol #BEX 1110 during scrutineering...

Posted Image

What's the deal with the 9/2 numeral? I've seen it on a race car before but I don't understand it.

#31 Emery0323

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:22

On the "Mountain Legend - The 1965 Targa Florio" video you can see a fellow hand painting numbers. (I believe it is narrated by Vic Elford.)


That is a classic video! Quick Vic isn't the narrator, though, that's Raymond Baxter (per the credits at the end). - His "Received Pronunciation"/"BBC English" accent is rather quaint, and it's a lot plummier than Vic sounds.


#32 ensign14

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:09

What's the deal with the 9/2 numeral? I've seen it on a race car before but I don't understand it.

It's a French thing, if you look at pics from the early days of motoring you see them quite a bit.

Posted Image

#33 Tony Matthews

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:24

It's a French thing, if you look at pics from the early days of motoring you see them quite a bit.

Yes, it's just a different No 2, if you get my drift. A bit like the barred French 7.

#34 kento11

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 21:23

This is my friend Duncan Cameron at Charterhall 1964 painting the Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro Buick. I believe it was driven by Jackie or Jimmy Stewart
Posted Image

Posted Image

#35 ratkinso

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 19:14

Until the 1970s (possibly later), the VSCC used to have a lady (whose name escapes me) who was always on hand to paint the race numbers.

This is a scan from Motor Sport July 1967 Pictorial Review - is this the lady? (and if so, who?)

Posted Image

I guess copyright LAT Photographic

Edited by ratkinso, 15 February 2013 - 19:16.


#36 D-Type

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 19:42

Interesting to see how she holds the paintbrush

#37 David McKinney

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 19:58

Perhaps she's peeling off an old plastic number?

#38 Tuboscocca

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 20:21

Perhaps she's peeling off an old plastic number?



and the elegant 're-inforcement' of her knee...

Michael

#39 E1pix

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 20:48

Interesting to see how she holds the paintbrush

I can guarantee that was just for the cameras.

Lookin' good, though. :)

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#40 Alan Cox

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 17:57

I can guarantee that was just for the cameras.

Not sure - I remember watching in admiration at various VSCC meetings over the years and seeing the same good lady exercising her craft, and the way she held the brush as she painted wonderful circles and beautifully eliptical 'zeros' wasn't dissimilar to the way shown here. She certainly didn't hold the brush like a pen, as you or I might do.

#41 E1pix

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 19:10

Posted Image

I guess copyright LAT Photographic


I can guarantee that was just for the cameras.

Lookin' good, though. :)


Not sure - I remember watching in admiration at various VSCC meetings over the years and seeing the same good lady exercising her craft, and the way she held the brush as she painted wonderful circles and beautifully eliptical 'zeros' wasn't dissimilar to the way shown here. She certainly didn't hold the brush like a pen, as you or I might do.

Looks to me like she's holding about a #4 sword striping brush, and certainly not using a technique needed for that brush. That's not a brush you'd use on numbers, for that you use large "flats" similar to a paintbrush in shape but with longer and much softer bristles and a tapered ferrule holding the bristles. There's are rare times you have to steady a brush in "open air," but only when necessary, it's far quicker and cleaner to have "something to hold onto." This photo wouldn't have worked if held properly, as her hand would have muddled the clear image of the brush in a B&W shot. Oddly enough, when I was a kid the local paper did a story on my sign work and had me pose the "brush silhouette" in a similar way.


These aren't numbers, but some large gold leaf lettering when I was 22, on Van Diemen's US Super Vee team trailer. Unfortunately some of the lettering was done in the hot sun so paint flowout suffered:

Posted Image


#42 GMACKIE

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 19:30

Tend to agree, Eric......looks to me like a classic 'pose' photo.

#43 E1pix

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 19:59

Hi, Greg! :wave:

Not to mention, not quite sure what needs painting there...

Really, it would have been more impressive if she'd worn one of those beer-dispensing hats. Can't tell ya how many times I heard the story, "Yeah, there was this sign guy whose hands shook like leaves... but get a few beers in him and Walla!" [ :drunk: > :cool: ]

Edited by E1pix, 16 February 2013 - 20:01.


#44 GMACKIE

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 21:33

G'day, Eric....hope all goes well with you.

This IS true. When I was an apprentice, in the late '50s, a few cars had 'pin-stripes'.....even Morris Minors. After repairs and re-painting, they would need 're-doing'.

In the paint shop there was a bloke named Frank Farley, who had a little cigarette tin with some tiny pointed brushes for the job. Before each pin-striping job, Frank would spend a while in the Boss' office [we could see all through the window] having a couple of Scotch whiskeys. The results were always perfect. No-one knew if he could just as well WITHOUT the Scotch. :lol:

#45 E1pix

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 21:41

Ya See???!!! :lol:

I swear, I musta been the only sober brushman of all time! Tried it a few times... but always found myself racing towards a Jimi Hendrix album and forgetting how to mix non-fluorescent colors.