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The history behind famous helmet designs


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#1 funformula

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 16:06

What always fascinated me from an very early age (in fact it was the thing that waked my interest for racing) were the racing drivers helmets with all those different colours and lids.

The drivers were kind of modern knights in their coat of arms, very much recognizable from their helmet colours, even from far away on the grandstands.

 

Today the drivers helmets are hidden behind safety devices and most of the personal designs are interchangable and as complicated as the cars they are driving...but thats another story.

 

Maybe there are some forum members who have knowledge of the reason and idea behind the personal designs and what made the drivers to choose them.

 

As an example let me start with Ivan Capelli.

http://3.bp.blogspot...ger_capelli.jpg

 

He spend days an nights in creating a personal design but wasn´t satisfied with the outcome. One day he`d seen a picture of the America´s Cup yacht Azzurra, that finally inspired him for his own design. https://www.bing.com...=sbi&ajaxhist=0


Edited by funformula, 03 December 2018 - 20:30.


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#2 D28

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 16:19

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Jacques Villeneuve's design was distinctive. A stylized V, and colours from a sweater Joann wore. 


Edited by D28, 02 December 2018 - 16:23.


#3 funformula

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 16:33

Didn´t he deny the connection of his design with his mothers blouse?

But the match of the colours is too similar to be pure coincidance, isn´t it. Maybe some kind of hidden recollection.


Edited by funformula, 02 December 2018 - 16:36.


#4 Sterzo

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 21:14

An obvious one is Graham Hill's helmet. He was a member of the London Rowing Club in Putney, south west London. The rowers wore blue caps with white oar blades around them; Hill used the design for his crash helmet. Damon Hill and Joshua Hill carried it on so the design appeared for many years on the circuits.

 

Hill was one of the first to have a distinctive design; most contemporaries in the fifties bought a white or varnished cork helmet and used it as it was. There were exceptions who painted theirs a single colour (Ascari, Gonzalez and Hawthorn).

 

The London Rowing Club is still there, beside the Thames (I suppose they need to be near water). Walk past it every so often, and am tempted to mystify the worthies there by making racing car noises.

 

ghillhelmet.jpg?dl=1

 



#5 Bloggsworth

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 22:58

An obvious one is Graham Hill's helmet. He was a member of the London Rowing Club in Putney, south west London. The rowers wore blue caps with white oar blades around them; Hill used the design for his crash helmet. Damon Hill and Joshua Hill carried it on so the design appeared for many years on the circuits.

 

Hill was one of the first to have a distinctive design; most contemporaries in the fifties bought a white or varnished cork helmet and used it as it was. There were exceptions who painted theirs a single colour (Ascari, Gonzalez and Hawthorn).

 

The London Rowing Club is still there, beside the Thames (I suppose they need to be near water). Walk past it every so often, and am tempted to mystify the worthies there by making racing car noises.

 

ghillhelmet.jpg?dl=1

 

Good idea... If you want to be carted off by the men in white coats.



#6 bradbury west

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 00:44

I always understood it to be that Bette Hill was the star rower in the family, and the helmet colours were a tribute to her, NGH seemingly a bit of a romantic....
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#7 Dave Ware

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 01:44

Michele Alboreto's helmet was inspired by that of his hero, Ronnie Peterson. 

 

https://duckduckgo.c...mages&ia=images

 

https://duckduckgo.c...mages&ia=images

 

I forget the exact reason JYS chose a tartan plaid stripe around the top of his helmet.  Possibly just to make him more distinctive.  And I'm sure he wanted people to know he was a Scot.  I do remember reading that Helen had just enough fabric to almost meet at the rear of the helmet, and that she attached it with nail polish. 



#8 PCC

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 05:04

I forget the exact reason JYS chose a tartan plaid stripe around the top of his helmet.

it's the Royal Stewart Tartan, so it's more or less his birthright...



#9 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 09:43

O f course when I were a lad a lot of drivers didn't wear helmets at all but Jean Behra was on of the first to have a distinctive crash helmet.



#10 f1steveuk

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 11:05

Alesi's was based on De Angelis', Ant Davidson's was based on Eddie  Cheever's, Mario Andretti's on his Vicroy sponsorship. Tom Pryce wasn't keen on any design, but his  dad had trouble picking him out for timing, so his helmet  developed the vertical  black stripes.

 

Interesting that Gilles seems to  be letting his kids climb all over his team mates car!!!!


Edited by f1steveuk, 03 December 2018 - 11:06.


#11 Michael Ferner

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 11:09

Better than letting the lil'ones mess with your own!  ;)

There, on the side pod, rests THE CLASSIC helemt design, Jody's - so simple and yet so distinctive!! I also loved John Watson's, Didier Pironi's, Reutemann's, Alan Jones's etc etc etc So many wonderful designs in those days, where have they gone? :(

#12 funformula

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 11:43

The story of Gabriele Tarquinis helmet design:

As a child he was a huge fan of Spiderman and therefore he decided to take the spiders web together with the italian colours as his personal helmet design.

https://commons.wiki...lcome_Plaza.jpg



#13 Charlieman

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 14:27

it's the Royal Stewart Tartan, so it's more or less his birthright...

...assuming he asked the Queen for permission. I thought he commissioned a design which could be used on commercial products. JYS has never seemed the sort to challenge monarchy.



#14 PCC

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 16:45

...assuming he asked the Queen for permission. I thought he commissioned a design which could be used on commercial products. JYS has never seemed the sort to challenge monarchy.

Well, I suspect she would not contest his use of it, even though it is technically her right to do so. After all, he's a descendant of Clan Stewart, and she isn't!



#15 Tim Murray

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 17:01

Ah, but she’s a direct descendant of James Stuart, King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England, via his daughter Elizabeth.  ;)

#16 PCC

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 17:15

Ah, but she’s a direct descendant of James Stuart, King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England, via his daughter Elizabeth.  ;)

She is? I thought the Glorious Revolution ended the Stuart line, but I confess I haven't checked the family tree...



#17 Tim Murray

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 17:36

James’s daughter Elizabeth married Frederick V, Elector of the Palatine of the Rhine. Their daughter Sophia became Electress of Hanover and, later, heir to the British throne as the most closely related non-Catholic (Catholics were barred from taking the British throne). Sophia died a couple of months before Queen Anne, the last Stuart British monarch, so Sophia’s son George, Elector of Hanover, became the first Hanoverian monarch, and so on down to Elizabeth II.

#18 Charlieman

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 18:16

What about King Billy? William of Orange, the last successful invader of Britain? I am not serious.

 

Should we interpret something about Jody Scheckter's helmet colours?



#19 D-Type

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 18:43

Erm.  I read once that the legitimate descendants spell it Stuart, eg Charles Chichton-Stuart, Marquess of Bute (better known to us as Johnny Dumfries while those spelt Stewart came from the wrong side of the blanket.



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#20 BRG

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 19:25

...assuming he asked the Queen for permission. I thought he commissioned a design which could be used on commercial products. JYS has never seemed the sort to challenge monarchy.

As I understand it, it is the monarch's tartan but any of her subjects is allowed to use it, even if they aren't Scottish by birth.  So if you fancy wearing the kilt but are not entitled to a specific clan tartan, you may wear a Royal Stewart kilt.



#21 Glengavel

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 19:38

Stuart comes from Mary Queen of Scots; raised in France, she spelt it that way because the French didn't have a 'W'.

 

Stewart comes from 'Steward'; Robert the Bruce's daughter married the High Steward of Scotland; the Stewart line comes from her.



#22 Charlieman

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 19:43

As I understand it, it is the monarch's tartan but any of her subjects is allowed to use it, even if they aren't Scottish by birth.  So if you fancy wearing the kilt but are not entitled to a specific clan tartan, you may wear a Royal Stewart kilt.

As I understand it, it is the monarch's tartan but the design has been sold in tat shops without Brenda's consent.

 

I suggested that JYS used a different design on his commercial drapery.



#23 Glengavel

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 19:51

JYS did commission a 'Racing Stewart' tartan for the F1 team, probably more of a marketing ploy rather than worrying about being banged up in the Tower of London.



#24 bradbury west

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 20:11

As above, I always understood that it was a specially designed tartan, done also as fabric for his trews, Tam O'Shanter? Hat, and carpet in the offices and part of his home, plus the seat covers in the cars. The carpet was featured in an interview with JYS, ISTR.
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#25 bradbury west

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 20:15

Back to helmets, Trevor Taylor had an image of the white rose of Yorkshire on the front face of his helmets. I have never heard why his helmet and overalls were bright yellow, other than for high visibility, possibly back to the 500cc F3 days. Any answers?
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#26 BRG

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 20:17

As above, I always understood that it was a specially designed tartan, done also as fabric for his trews, Tam O'Shanter? Hat, and carpet in the offices and part of his home, plus the seat covers in the cars. The carpet was featured in an interview with JYS, ISTR.
Roger Lund

That may be the case in later years, but the original helmet band was surely standard Royal Stewart?



#27 D-Type

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 21:38

Tartan lore, mostly invented in the 19th century has the "Dress" tartan, worn by the chieftain and his family and the "Hunting" tartan worn by the clansmen.  By that token. "Royal Stuart" should be worn by the Royal family and the "Hunting Stuart" by her majesty's subjects.  But in practice nobody cares and you can choose whatever tartan takes your fancy. 

 

Anyone can register a tartan - hence the Stewart Team or "Racing Stuart" tartan for commercial reasons.  Incidentally, there is even a registered Morelli tartan - predictably made up of red white and green colours - as there are so many members of this Italian extended family in Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland.  Think fish & chips, ice cream and cafes.

 

To put this all in perspective, as nobody was making the Rollo tartan I was told I was entitled to wear the [Hunting] McIntosh tartan as my great grandfather married a Miss MacIntosh who was the daughter of one David MacIntosh.  It turns out that he was a ploughman named David Tosh who became an innkeeper and "went respectable" and in the process rebranded himself MacIntosh.  (they now weave the Rollo tartan so the question doesn't arise and I have a Rollo tartan tie somewhere)


Edited by D-Type, 04 December 2018 - 00:08.


#28 Glengavel

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 21:39

That may be the case in later years, but the original helmet band was surely standard Royal Stewart?

 

Yes. I've seen photos of him wearing Hunting Stewart (predominantly green) and I think Black Stewart, which is what Racing Stewart is based on.



#29 Charlieman

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 22:14

(they now weave the Rollo tartan so the question doesn't arise and I have a Rollo tartan tie somewhere)

I trust that you will recover, Duncan.



#30 PCC

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 02:12

To put this all in perspective, as nobody was making the Rollo tartan I was told I was entitled to wear the [Hunting] McIntosh tartan as my great grandfather married a Miss MacIntosh who was the daughter of one David MacIntosh.  It turns out that he was a ploughman named David Tosh who became an innkeeper and "went respectable" and in the process rebranded himself MacIntosh.  (they now weave the Rollo tartan so the question doesn't arise and I have a Rollo tartan tie somewhere)

Rollo tartan? That's rather disappointing. I had always imagined that you were descended from swashbuckling 9th-century plunderers, and had been granted a modest parcel of land in Coulsdon in return for a vow (sworn on a sacred runic text) to stop pillaging the Surrey countryside.



#31 Sterzo

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 13:39

Look what you've started, funformula. We've descended from helmets on heads to Jackie Stewart's troosers.

 

Continuing the theme of helmets we like, and where the design came from, one of my favourites was seventies club racer Barry Foley's. He drew cartoons for Autosport, came up with a helmet design for his Catchpole character, and in a neat reversal adopted it for himself. Couldn't find a photo of him in the Catchpole design, but here's the cartoon.

 

Hope it's not a copyright breach, but if it is then Autosport can sue the Autosport Forum.

 

Foley2.jpg?dl=1


Edited by Sterzo, 05 December 2018 - 14:36.


#32 D28

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 15:25

259d9e94fe8bf9a2eed57527c67d49f9.jpg

 

The Bell peaked helmets looked great and a few drivers favoured them, like Jim Clark and Ronnie Peterson. This design of Jo Siffert was simple, distinctive and one of the better flag themes.


Edited by D28, 04 December 2018 - 15:44.


#33 E1pix

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 16:13

So many wonderful designs in those days, where have they gone? :(


I feel just the same, Michael... as does a helmet artist who sometimes posts here. Helmets now are mostly demos for paint colors and carry little to no design distinction whatsoever.

#34 funformula

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 18:02

A helmet design I always liked very much is the one of Eric van de Poele.

He developed the design together with his wife in the mid 80´s and stayed with it until today, although he altered the colours from silver/blue/yellow to silver/blue/red and finally to a bright shining red/blue/green.

http://www.ericvande...&IDQ=20&LANG=en

http://www.ericvande...&IDQ=20&LANG=en

http://www.ericvande...&IDQ=20&LANG=fr


Edited by funformula, 04 December 2018 - 19:37.


#35 Radoye

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 19:19

I feel just the same, Michael... as does a helmet artist who sometimes posts here. Helmets now are mostly demos for paint colors and carry little to no design distinction whatsoever.

 

I find this year's Vettel's helmet design quite effective in its simplicity (plain white with a German tricolore stripe across the top) and reminiscent of the old times.



#36 ensign14

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 19:36

JYS did commission a 'Racing Stewart' tartan for the F1 team, probably more of a marketing ploy rather than worrying about being banged up in the Tower of London.

 

And Paul Stewart used the Stewart hunting tartan for his casque.  Tartans are not uncommon for Scots racers; David Leslie had a stripe of tartan and the Calthorpe GP cars were painted dark blue with a tartan pattern.

 

Also school ties were a thing in the simpler sixties - Richard Attwood and Piers Courage refer.  James Hunt added Wellington College's red, blue and yellow to his black helmet.