Simanaitis Says

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CELEBRATING RUSSELL BROCKBANK

I WAS recently recalling the old days of Formula 1 in reading the R&T August 1967 report of the 25eme Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco. Henry N. Manney provided the words and photos; Russell Brockbank added his wonderful illustrations. Cartoons, some might call them, but only in the sense of proper art.

Brockbank’s illustrations were primarily pen and ink, though occasionally he added dashes of color. Here’s a sampling of his work appearing in several sources, including R&T from 1963 until his death in 1979.

Russell Partridge Brockbank, 1913–1979, Canadian-born British artist. (His family moved to England in 1929.) This and the following image from prototipo.com.

Brockbank served in the Royal Navy during World War II and also contributed illustrations to Aircraft Recognition, a British training journal. He was Art Editor of Punch magazine 1949–1961. His illustrations also appeared regularly in The Autocar, Speed, The Motor and in R&T.

Brockbank’s style often combined subtle humor with a high degree of draftsmanship. His classic Bentleys could be identified by specific model; his Bugattis, by Type.

The sign on this Bugatti, obviously just refurbished, reads “Running In. Please Pass.” You’ll notice, though, the car is passing everyone in sight.

Brockbank’s first appearance in R&T came in September 1963, with his suggestion for timing the champagne at victory celebrations.

The caption read, “In this particular case, it might have been wiser to have the champagne after the lap of honor.” Image from R&T, September 1963.

By the mid-1960s, Brockbank and Henry N. Manney were kindred spirits on the European motorsports circuit, as well as on a trip to the Ile du Levant, as reported in R&T, March 1964 (also cited here at SimanaitisSays).

As noted above, Brockbank occasionally used dashes of color er… colour. Image from R&T, March 1964.

Back in the 1960s, the tunnel on the Monaco GP circuit wasn’t as spiffily tiled and well lit as it is today. Brockbank had good fun with this.

This and the following two images from R&T, August 1967.

As Henry noted, “Practice was the usual shambles, with F3s and F-Vees practicing at unearthly hours of the morning….”


Brockbank had corporate clients as well. There, he conveyed the client’s pitch with his droll sense of humor.

Image from The Motor, June 26, 1963.

One of my favorite Brockbank illustrations is also a societal product of England’s Swinging Sixties.

This and the following image from R&T, October 1979.

And he was spot-on when the Oil Crises hit in the 1970s.

I wrote about Gooding & Company’s 2014 Pebble Beach Auction offering a 1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale. This one was called the Tre Posti because of its central driving position, with the option of nestling a passenger on either side of the driver. (The McLaren F1 didn’t appear until May 1992.)

Brockbank recognized a potential problem of the Tre Posti layout.

All of Brockbank’s illustrations weren’t car-related. His sense of humor was often present, though.

“It’s been done!” before? But not nearly as well as Brockbank would have done it. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2018

2 comments on “CELEBRATING RUSSELL BROCKBANK

  1. Michael Rubin
    July 20, 2018

    Merci, Brockbank and HMN were always a very pleasant treat in R&T. Thanks for the redux.

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