I was recently asked to shoot four more cars for John O’Quinn’s amazing collection. With the seasons rapidly changing, I was asked to set the cars in an area that would convey Fall, with bright leaves of yellow and red. A nearby park worked perfectly for the shoot, so we arranged for the 1931 Cord and the 1908 Buick to be driven over on the flatbed while the twin 1968 GT500’s elected to stretch their legs a bit.
Despite it being a bitterly cold day with temperatures topping out in the low 40’s, it was a great shoot. It was great to finally get the vehicles outside into some scenery and natural light – back into the “real world”.
Here are a bunch of images from the shoot as well as a video on my processing of the 1931 Cord. Be sure to have a look at it!
1968 Shelby Cobra GT500 KR Fastback
This car was mesmerizing. I’ve always had a “thing” for 60’s Mustangs, especially the fastback models. This GT500 KR was loaded. With the 428 Cobra Jet engine that produces nearly 400 horsepower, it was no slouch. I was actually able to ride from the shoot location back in this Mustang and can attest that it is a monster. With loose steering and an iffy suspension, however, it’s probably best that you keep this beast in a straight line.
1931 Cord L-29 Front Drive LaGrande Speedster
This Cord was one of the most beautiful and striking cars I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in person. It is low and wide, with teardrop shaped bodywork that is mimicked throughout different areas of the car. Beautiful from every angle, it is literally impossible to take a bad photograph of this car.
Built in the high times of refinement and elegance, this car came with everything. Need a cigar? Check the built in humidor in the driver’s door. Care for a single malt scotch? That would be in the bar, built into the passenger’s door. From the painstaking detail in the interior to the flawless plum pearl paint, this Cord is truly rolling art. I imagine that driving this car was not viewed as a task in the owner’s mind, but an occasion to be savored.
1908 Buick Model “S” Tourabout
Built back in the automobile’s infancy, this Buick was one of the first to “get it right” with intuitive controls, a simple layout and solid mechanics, this Buick undoubtedly served its first owner very well. It still starts up today and rolls smoothly as ever – a testament to build quality of the day. As with most cars of this era, the accessories are what make the car so interesting. Fine brass work on the passenger side of the car hangs off like shiny jewelry, reminding passers-by that you’ve made it. The rich red leather is more like office seats of the day, and is well sprung, if not a bit too much.
To see it side by side with a GT500 is pretty incredible; witnessing progress right in front of your eyes. Pretty cool!
1968 Shelby Cobra GT500 Convertible
Similar to its green brother, this GT500 also had a 428 cubic inch V8. With a less restrictive exhaust, however, this example started with a loud bark, shaking the entire body side to side like a wet dog before settling into an uneven idle complete with a few pops. When revved, it sounded like an outboard boat motor, deep, burbly and metallic.
While driving it to the shoot location, it became apparent that the steering was a little bit rusty, having not been used in years. It was comical to watch the driver saw at the wheel repeatedly just to stay in his lane, with the wheels barely responding to his commands. As with the previous GT500, it’s best driven in a straight line only. With a 4:11 rear end, this car was built for the quarter mile, and revs were up to 4,000 on the freeway in 4th gear – very high cruising RPM for that engine. Without much more protest it made it to the location and basked in the sunlight, it’s gold paint doing its best to outdo the sun.
It was a rather eccentric group of cars to photograph in one sitting, but judging by the huge variety in O’Quinn’s collection, it was fairly normal. I hope to have more chances in the future to shoot outdoors, as I feel that car’s always look better in their “natural habitat”. Last, but not least, is a quick image I took while the cars were being swapped. Featuring the ’68 GT500 Cobra Jet and the 1931 Cord, I liked the stark contrast in the styling and attitude. Made for an interesting shot, I thought. Hope you enjoyed the images!
Video on my processing for the 1931 Cord. Be sure to view it in HD!