Blackbird Automotive Journal Vol 1-12

Blackbird is a presentation of a design, a pure art form, a passion and it explores the intricate relationship between man and machine, as opposed to it simply being an object of desire or a status symbol. It is a title that looks into the mechanics, precision and engineering of past and present that gives life to the automobile as a cultural icon.

For the inaugural issue, we present an extensive story on the classic Porsche 911, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The commemorative feature showcases rare classic models of the air-cooled 911 era, as well as interviews with some of the major figures in the global 911 scene. Blackbird also talks to veteran Formula One racing journalist Richard Kelley, who unveils a series of never before seen historic shots at the racetrack in the 70s; arguably the golden era of F1.

In Blackbird Vol. 2, we pay a visit to two under-spoken heavyweights of the motoring world: the eccentric Toyota 2000GT restoration specialist, artist, designer, engineer, and author Shin Yoshikawa in California; and McLaren P1 designer Frank Stephenson, a man considered by many to be one of the most accomplished automobile designers of our era. These two masters of their respective trades share with us their thoughts on the art of the automobile, and their differing approaches to their craft.

Alongside these features, we test drive two iconic motors from polarizing spectrums for this issue – the Pagani Huayra hypercar designed and built by Horacio Pagani, and a futuristic electric vehicle from Renault simply known as the Twizy, both representing leading innovations in their unique sector of the automotive industry.

In our third edition, we reveal the origins of the iconic Beetle; a simple affordable vehicle through wartime conversion to modern cult status. Pivoting from the battlefield to the racetrack, we present impressionistic images of modern Formula One by new racing photo-ace, Jamey Price. We travel to Savannah, Georgia to visit restoration maestro Andy Greene, whose 40-year experiences with returning Ferrari’s to their former glory provide the background for a story of a life combining art and commerce, especially well-lived. We then spring forward to note the arrivals of two very different, and very technically provocative conveyances; BMW’s cutting edge Green statement, the i3 and one of the most desirable and established modern classics, the Porsche 911 Turbo S.

In the fourth volume of BlackBird Automotive Journal, we continue the journey of a humble Ferrari 500 Mondial as the cover story; from its revival by master restoration specialist Andy Greene to its reunion with the famed Mille Miglia, almost 60 years since it first accepted the first of its five subsequent challenges; once more feeling the freedom of racing over a thousand miles of its homeland. With a special focus on artists and craftsmen, we visit the studio of French artist Yan Denes, whose stunning pencil and pastel drawings of key automobiles and auto-racing scenes have earned him an impressive following amongst enthusiasts and aficionados alike, and speak to renowned designer Jochen Paesen – Project Leader at BMW’s interior design department, who shares with us how his twin passion of art and photography influences his work at one of the world’s most recognised marques.

Perhaps the true master of his craft, BlackBird Automotive Journal is proud to publish an article by the late legendary racing photographer Louis Klemantaski, derived from his handwritten memoirs and in-car photographs as he co-drove alongside Ferrari racing legend Peter Collins as they blitzed through the 1957 Mille Miglia; a rare chance to experience the historic race in a different era from the driver’s seat. This story serves as an introduction to a new editorial component of BlackBird Automotive Journal: racing. Additionally, from this issue forward, the Klemantaski Collection will offer a regular column in BlackBird Automotive Journal, enabling our readers to discover lesser-known racing stories through their historical archives. Rounding off the issue, we travel back to the modern age and share our experiences with two of the latest competitors in the field; Ferrari’s 458 Speciale, and McLaren’s 650S.

In our fifth edition of the BlackBird Automotive Journal, we reminisce about a chance audience with the most precious “steel icons” in Mercedes’ collection. Among them was famed Mercedes engineer Rudy Uhlenhaudt’s priceless “Hotheels Coupe” the original 300 SLR Coupe; an incredible road car prototype converted directly from their 1955 Formula 1 racer. We stay on track with the competition theme, investigating the deep secrets of Formula 1 aerodynamics with a Hong Kong domiciled Ferrari F2008 and recalling the brief life of the “the acrobat”, Gilles Villeneuve.

Taking a completely original look at extreme hobbies, we visit young design engineer Paul Bischof, whose love of creating incredibly intricate Formula 1 models from cardboard led him to employment with a leading Formula 1 team.Staying on the creativity track, we learn how rising photographic star Amy Shore captures sheet metal, carbon fibre and aficionado passion by way of her compelling vision. Joining her will be Jamey Price, who returns from the modern Formula 1 wars with his season-ending photographic reportage. We again mix petrol and electricity with the our impressions of two modern symbols of graceful speed and technical tour-de-force, wrapped in breathtaking form: the Lamborghini Huracan and the BMW i8.

In our sixth edition, Blackbird Automotive Journal invites its readers on a journey of discovery through our love for racing – a true art form in its own right.

First, we explore the collaboration between BMW and conceptual artist Jenny Holzer through their Art Car project, using their 1999 Le Mans winning V12 LMR endurance racer as a blank canvas to explore her commentary on contemporary society; then we turn our eye to the modern age with a closer investigation of Audi’s 2012 Le Mans winning R18 E-tron quattro, the first hybrid to win the famous endurance event on earth, before delving into Jan Rambousek’s incredible three-year-long project to recreate Mercedes’ famed Silver Arrow with larger-than-life hyper-realism.

For the next trio of features we enter another age of automotive competition and recall Formula1 Patrick Tambay’s emotional tribute to honour the legacy of his friend Gilles Villeneuve, join photographer Jamey Price on his first Daytona 24 hour race and marvel at the struggles and challenges of one of the toughest rallies in the modern race calendar – the Dakar 2015 with Florent Gooden. Rounding off the issue we visit visual artist Peter Aylward and painter Emmanuel Mergault as they describe their approach to creating the highly personal and immersive takes of beloved competition and sports cars of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, while we offer our take on two of today’s most desirable modern sports cars; the Porsche 991 GT3 and the Ferrari California T.

Cover Feature:

Derek Bell / 1970 Ferrari 512M

  • Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • Jacques Swaters
  • John Watson
  • Kenji Yamada Craft
  • Steve Anderson Art
  • Darren Heath Photography
  • 24 Heures du Mans
  • Mercedes-AMG GT S
  • Alfa Romeo 4C

In the largest volume of Blackbird Automotive Journal to date, we investigate the relationship between past and future, looking at events that celebrate the most iconic automobiles of years gone by, but also the machines that enable us to dream of the future.

We begin by taking our readers on a tour-de-force of this year’s most prestigious classic car events on the world calendar – Pebble Beach, Silverstone Classic, Goodwood Revival and the Chantilly Art et Elegance, before embarking on a quantum leap in the opposite direction as we inspect three dream machines of the future – Volkswagen’s XL1, Mercedes-Benz’s F015 and Infiniti’s Q80 – all aiming to change both the way we perceive and relate to the automobile. Along with our continued coverage of this season’s Formula One Grand Prix, we expand our theme of exploring the relationships between past and future with a historic feature on four-time F1 champion Alain Prost, and the illustrations of Portuguese artist Ricardo Santos. Finally, we proudly round up our 2015 volume with a world-exclusive father & son feature on Jos and arguably the most exciting newcomer to the sport – his 18-year-old Formula One prodigy, Max Verstappen.


  • Silverstone Classic
  • Goodwood Festival and Revival
  • Pebble Beach
  • Chantilly Art et Elegance
  • Volkswagen XL1
  • Mercedes-Benz F015
  • Infiniti Q80 concept
  • Formula One 2015 – Belgium, Singapore, USA
  • Tesla Model S
  • Jos & Max Verstappen

In this volume of Blackbird Automotive Journal, we turn an eye closer to home in an effort to study and celebrate some of the milestones in Japanese motorsport – a history rife with success and failures. With the GT-One gracing the cover, we speak to Toshio Sato, President of Toyota Motorsport on the marque’s entries and exits from the motorsport world, culminating in the new WEC contender – the TS050. We also take a look at arguably one of the most coveted cars of the fabled Group C era – Mazda’s formidable 787B and end with a dissection of Honda’s disastrous return in today’s Formula 1. Staying in the region, we travel to last year’s Macau Grand Prix to cover the GT world cup, speak to Rahel Frey – the swiss Audi Works girl driver who’s leaving tracks in the Audi LMS Cup, before rounding up the volume with some spirited driving in the new McLaren 570S and Porsche’s latest showroom blow-out – the Cayman GT4.

Blackbird Automotive Journal Vol. 9

  • Toshio Sato, President of Toyota Motorsport
  • Toyota 2016 TS050 Hybrid WEC contender
  • Mazda 787B
  • Honda Formula 1
  • Niki Lauda
  • Macau GP – FIA GT World Cup
  • Rahel Frey, Audi Works Driver
  • Klaus Wagger, Austrian Car Painter
  • McLaren 570S & Porsche Cayman GT4

For our tenth edition of the Blackbird Automotive Journal, we focus on more than 100 years of German automotive engineering.

We begin with a review of BMW’s 100th Anniversary celebration at Goodwood this summer and then continue with a reflection on the continuing link between Italy’s Mille Miglia and Mercedes’ original 300SLR racer. We offer thoughts on how the iconic event’s modern celebration remains a focal point for Mercedes and the marque’s solid support and participation.

Blackbird also visits both the site of Porsche’s original Austrian factory and the private Porsche museum that became a labour of love for a young Austrian and his desire to commemorate the manufacturer’s modest early history.

We pivot to the Porsche brand of 2016, and the retell the story the manufacturer’s struggle and surprise victory over fellow corporate brother Audi and the tremendously motivated Toyota squad at the truest test of man and machine, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

We stay on track to recount the heroic rise of Keke Rosberg, the fiery Finn (and father to current Mercedes F1 pilot Nico) who miraculously went from a down-on-his-luck racer without a contract to 1982 World Driver’s Champion in the space of one enigmatic Grand Prix season.

Finally, we again get our petrol fix with the review of the BAC Mono, one of the purest driver’s cars on the planet. As a technical tour-de-force, we sample what it’s like to drive a “formula car” on public roads.

In our eleventh edition of the Blackbird Automotive Journal, we delve deep into the greatest street race in Asia; the Macau Grand Prix. For all its uncompromising brutality, Macau’s legendary Guia Street Circuit has endless incredible stories to tell, from beautiful career-defining moments, to heart stopping photo-finishes and teen-age flickers of greatness, sparked by the next generation of driving superstars. These stories are told through some of the race’s most honoured veterans and past champions; Herbert Adamczyk, Nobuhide Tachi and Charles Kwan. We also look at this year’s controversial race and check up on the current crop of up-and-coming future megastars vying for attention through Guia’s tight and unforgiving bends.

In this edition, we also cast our gaze over the recent retirements of Formula 1 legends Jenson Button and Felipe Massa – and a subsequent sensational, un-retirement in Massa’s case. They’re not the only big players to call it quits in the last few months though; what will Audi’s departure from the FIA World Endurance Championship mean for both the dominant German team and the sport itself?

From there, it’s on to Sussex for the greatest weekend on earth, The Goodwood Revival, but not before we attempt to strangle all the performance we can get out of Ayrton Senna’s latest legacy piece – the new Honda NSX. The questions are clear: does this high-tech machine live up to it’s game-changing predecessor and does a hardcore sports car really need four different driving modes?

In our twelfth volume of the Blackbird Automotive Journal, we endeavor to understand the eternal forces that push motoring and motorsport ever-onwards.

Japan’s most recognisable race circuit, Fuji International Speedway, turns fifty years old this year, and Blackbird joined the celebrations to better appreciate Fuji’s hand in pushing successive generations of Japanese cars and drivers to new heights. We next move across the Pacific to Amelia Island Concours, and then to Daytona Speedway for Ferrari’s annual Finali Mondiali end-of-year celebrations marking seven decades of excellence from the Italian automaker.

The constantly-evolving world of Formula One is well represented in this volume, with a look back at the sport’s greatest losers; brilliant drivers who, thanks only to unfortunate twists of fate or team orders, never found themselves crowned champion. Next, F1 photographer Hiroshi Kaneko, a veteran of 40 years in the traps, tells us what it took to be the best then, and what it still takes to be the best now. After a look at the state of this year’s Formula One championship, we delve into the story of El Caballo II, an American racer heading back to the Mille Miglia to settle unfinished business.

Volume Twelve rounds out with Tesla’s big-but-fast Model X P100D, the visceral Porsche 911R and the thunderous new Mercedes AMG E63 S 4MATIC+ being put through their paces.