I received a contact from Ralph Zbarsky through one of the MG message boards about re-creating, what turns out to be, a very rare period decal for one of the factory prepared MGB GT race cars. While period photos were not plentiful, nor of particularly high quality, I was able to enhance one of them sufficiently to make out most of the components. It is believed that the decal represented a two-race sponsorship only for Sebring and Nelson Ledges on the #62 car in 1969. The decal only appears on the right side of the GT. You can see it right behind the number lamp.
As to the details of the construction:
- Font used as a starting point for the first version was Humanist Slab Serif 721 which was as close I could get to the Lockheed font of the period. Same for the Borg & Beck. Once I had a better image of the original, I realized that my first version was way off and ended up drawing each character by hand.
- “Superior Brakes” was something I added on the draft version as what I thought the original script beneath Lockheed was unintelligible. Ditto for the checkers motif. Shortly after I finished this version, Henry Camsacas, the owner of the original photography, was able to provide a clear image that provided the missing detail and we discovered that the “script” was actually a white arc.
- The “AP” in the center of the draft represents “Associated Products”, the parent company for Borg & Beck at the time. The original script in the center was not discernible in the original photograph so the AP was substituted. As it turns out there was nothing in the original center. Even though this rendition of the decal never made it into production, I kind of like the freelance touches.
- Final decal is 6″ diameter. The background color is there just to give it something to sit on (does not print).
There was quite difference between my original draft and the finished decal once I was able to source a high resolution version of the car that showed the decal detail. This assignment was less about the actual illustration work than it was about being a good detective. Here are a couple of shots of the decal on Ralph Zbarsky’s MGB GT.