Nik Schulz Illustration / Print Shop News
I just released a new print, the BMW 3.0 CSL "Batmobile" in Alexander Calder art car livery.
The handsome 3.0 CSL (Coupe, Sport, Light) traces its design history back to BMW's Neue Klasse (New Class) cars of the early 1960s, a line of potent, modern, sports sedans intended by chief designer Wilhelm Hofmeister to put the company on a new performance footing.
The car's shape was solidified in 1968 with introduction of the 2800 CS (a body style known internally as the E9). Despite its elegant design, this 4-seat grand tourer, didn't exactly fly off showroom floors. It cost more than a contemporary Porsche 911 or an E-type Jaguar and, as such, had trouble enticing buyers.
In 1971, BMW raised the coupe's engine displacement from 2.8 to 3 liters. To raise the CS's value proposition, they took it racing at Le Mans and to the European Touring Car Championships. In order to do so, they had to homologate the racing version for the road. The result was the new, lighter 3.0 CSL.
1973 brought a final homologated version, sporting a series of wings and spoilers, developed by BMW, and tuner Alpina, to improve the car's handling at racing speeds. This turned the CSL into the world-beating "Batmobile" that dominated European Touring Car racing until 1979.
The CSL's racing dominance helped raise BMW's stature but the 1973 oil crisis hampered sales. In total, no more than 1,265 3.0 CSL models were produced.
The 3.0 CSL shown here was created in 1975 when French racing driver Hervé Poulain invited his friend Alexander Calder to paint the car he would campaign that year at Le Mans. The result was the first BMW art car. BMW liked the result so much that commissions by Frank Stella, Roy Liechtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others, followed.
This 3.0 CSL represents the car in what, I think, was its most beautiful guise: an elegant coupe, in muscular racing trim, with a livery by one of the 20th century's most talented artists.
I released a new print today of BMW's legendary E30 M3.
In the mid-1980s, to meet the challenge posed by the newly introduced Mercedes 190E 2.3-16, BMW decided to campaign its E30 3-series sedan in Touring Car racing. As such, the company had to homologate 5,000 race cars for sale to the public. The result was the first BMW M3, a high-revving yet reliable car, perfectly suited for any real-world street or track.
This was a driver's car. Handling was superb, very neutral. Any tail-happy slide could be kept in check by the application of the throttle and a bit of opposite lock.
The M3 didn't have massive amounts of power, just 192 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, but it was light, just 2,850 lbs. As a result it offered balance and composure that can't be matched by todays heavier, more powerful cars.
The driving experience wasn't mediated by a slew of electronic aids. There were no menus to navigate, no preferences to set. Skid correction came in the form of your hands turning the wheel. Traction control was your right foot.
This kind of car won't be made again. Consumers want to many gadgets. Regulators want too many safety devices. Many people consider it a once-in-a-lifetime car, not a finicky, impractical sports car, but a useable performance sedan with a trunk and a backseat that rewards skills with thrills all day long.
The E30 M3 earned its legendary status and it's one of the best road cars you can buy.
To see the E30 M3 in action, have a look at this video of Patrick Snijers driving one in the Rally Manx, 1988. The car literally flies. It's some of the best driving that I've ever seen.
I just released a new print of the Martini-liveried Porsche 911 "Safari" as it appeared in the 1978 East Africa Rally.
In 1978 Porsche modified a basically stock 911 SC with a roll-cage, skid plates, and long-travel suspension and entered it in the East Africa Rally, then considered the world's toughest.
The car's 3.0-liter flat six was good for 250 hp and a top speed of 130 mph. Although a mid-stream river rock damaged the rear tire, the Martini-liveried 911 still managed a 2nd place finish.
To think that a modified street car was competitive in one of the most grueling off-road events of the time is so impressive.
Hats off to the Porsche 911 SC "Safari"!
They're printed by top-of-the-line, direct-to-garment printers onto American Apparel, 100% cotton, fine, jersey tees, and are $25 each.
Thanks everyone for the great feedback over the past few months as I've gotten the Print Shop rolling. I appreciate it!
Hope you're as excited to wear these as I am to offer them!
I just released a new print of a 1971 De Tomaso Pantera. This one happens to be inspired by one in Jay Leno's collection. Here's the story of the Pantera...
During the zenith of the American muscle car in the early 1970s, Ford, in partnership with the Italian manufacturer De Tomaso, offered something different: a mid-mounted, American V-8 wrapped in a sexy Italian body. Ford provided the engines. Ghia provided the styling. The car was the De Tomaso Pantera.
It arrived at Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in late 1971, with a stated 330 horsepower (though it's claimed the true number was closer to 380hp). At 5.5 seconds, 0–60 mph, it was as fast as the Lamborghini Muira for half the price. What's more, it could be serviced at a local dealer—handy for working out kinks due to early production problems in the transatlantic venture.
By 1974, emissions regulations and a gas crisis had taken their toll on the Pantera. When new bumper standards for 1975 would have necessitated a major redesign, Ford deemed the project too costly and chose to stop importation.
Aside from a few grey-market cars, the car was only available outside the United States until De Tomaso ceased production of the then flared-and-spoilered Pantera in 1992.
Today, with it's early teething problems cured, the Pantera is a relatively affordable, mid-engined super car, and certainly a unique part of automotive history.
I just released two new prints of the groundbreaking BMW 2002 Turbo, the muscular little car that ushered in the modern turbocharging era. It's available in its original production colors of Polaris Metallic and Chamonix (white).
Rain Noe from the industrial design blog Core77 wrote a nice post about the Print Shop last week.
You can check it out here:
Ex-Industrial Designer’s Hyper-Clean Vintage Car Illustrations,
Nik Schulz show that flat can be phat