Drawn to Speed: The Automotive Art of John Lander (2015)
Strictly Black and White
While most of my illustrations are done in color, there are times when black line drawings are called for. Here is a selection of six, four of which were done as Christmas cards. Two were for the Aston Martin Owners Club and two for a friend’s shop that does a lot of Aston work.
In the fall of 1976, the Aston Martin Owners Club put out the call to members interested in doing artwork for the club’s Christmas card that year. I had decided to do a drawing of LM-22, the last factory team-racing car built before World War II. LM-22, built in 1936, was a 2-liter car that came after the very successful 1.5 liter Ulsters raced by the factory. I was familiar with LM-22, which at the time was owned by the late Roberts Harrison of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The card was well received and the club was pleased by the number of orders from members.
After the success of the LM-22 Christmas card, the Aston Martin Owners Club contacted me to do a follow-up for the following year. They wanted to feature a post-war car and requested that I draw a DB4 GT. The GT version of the DB4 featured a shorter wheelbase and a hotter engine. The six cylinder engine had a special cylinder head with 12 10mm sparkplugs and twin distributors. The valves were so large in the twin cam head that standard 14mm sparkplugs would not fit between them. The smaller 10mm plugs were used instead on either side of the valve openings. The finishing touch was three Weber 2-barrel carburetors. The performance was outstanding.
“What, No Sleigh?”
After seeing my cars for the Aston Club, my friends Charlie Turner and Toby Bergin wanted cards for their shop. Import Service and Restoration did quite a bit of Aston work, hence the choice of an Aston DB6. This particular Aston is a DB6 shooting brake (station wagon to us yanks). I thought Santa and the elves would appreciate the front skis, so I went with it!
“Built to Scale”
On my second card for Import Service, I’ve shown Santa at work. St. Nick is putting the finishing touch on a scale model of an Aston DB3S coupe. The very rare 3S coupe was the closed version of the factory’s open DB3S racing cars. I had fun doing the cards and feel they are a good example of my black and white artwork.
This car and its owner, Miles Collier, appeared in another section, Heroes and Their Cars. This drawing shows the car as it appeared at Le Mans in 1939. The body was bare aluminum at this time. The only color was a small American flag on the hood. The picture shows a young Miles Collier proudly posing with his unique MG Special. I have always liked this little car and felt a black and white drawing would show it to full advantage.
Number 14 was the first Allard to be powered by a Cadillac V8 engine. Tommy Cole, an Englishman living in the U.S., felt the flathead Ford engine in the early Allards was underpowered. Cole proceeded to order a J2 Allard without an engine to be delivered to Frick-Tappet motors in Long Island. Cole then waded through the bureaucracy at GM to get a new V8 Cadillac engine. With the Cadillac engine installed, Cole began winning races right away. After this, it became standard practice to buy Allards sans engine and install a big American V8.