Simanaitis Says

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INTRODUCING VINTAGE CAR ART in R&T August 1958, the magazine observed, “To the dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast for the marque Aston Martin, no other make is even worthy of a second glance. The famed Bugatti was a temperamental terrier, the Bentley a lumbering lorry, the Mercedes a massive monstrosity.”

This and other images from R&T, August 1958.

The car in question was the 1936 Aston Martin Ulster; the artist was Toby Nippel, whose color illustrations brightened up an otherwise largely b/w R&T. Later, in August 2006, Art Editor Emeritus Bill Motta wrote, “Readers of this magazine since the late 1950s and early 1960s will probably remember the art of Toby Nippel, which we ran as Salon paintings during those early years…. These paintings, by the way, were about the only automotive art prints available back then.”

Nippel displays his painting of a Bugatti Type 51-A, which ran in a February 1960 Salon. Image from R&T August 2006.

Here are other examples of Toby’s—and Aston Martin’s—splendid vintage art.

Back in August 1958, R&T cited Dudley Coram’s book, Aston Martin, the Story of a Sports Car, in describing the Ulster “providing perfervid enthusiasts with outstanding motoring in the true vintage manner long after the lighter, faster, more lively and more fragile cars of the same generation are providing scrap metal.”

Sometimes known as the Le Mans model, this Mark II Aston Martin was typically fitted with 4-seat bodywork. Image from R&T, June 1954. 

“In mechanical specifications,” Coram noted, “the ‘Ulster’ differed little from the Mark II [R&T, June 1954], the track and wheelbase being unchanged. Extremely careful assembly, a tuned engine and light two-seater body accounting for the increased performance, a speed of 100 mph being guaranteed. ” 

The engine’s 69 x 99 mm displayed the era’s lengthy stroke,  at least partly related to R.A.C. taxable horsepower. The Ulster’s capabilities in 1st through 4th were cited as 36.25, 50.00, 80.75, and 102.00 mph (the decimal precision left unexplained).

Exhaust systems of the era reflected the noise restrictions of venues like Brooklands.

And even a quick-release cap could be a little piece of art, particularly as rendered by Toby Nippel. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023 

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