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Andy Saunders sells 'Art Cars' collection

Tue, 04 Nov 2008

British 'car artist' Andy Saunders' 'Art Car' collection was sold by RM Auctions in London, UK on October 29, along with a selection of classic cars and a McLaren F1 that sold for £2.5 million - a new world record.

Though lacking the quality of many Californian custom cars when seen close up, the Art Cars were fascinating to see, and unlike other custom car creators, Saunders has made almost all of the cars for himself; conceiving and creating the cars without any design process beyond thinking them through and getting his hands dirty in evenings after work. 

Each of the cars introduced new themes not evident in their donor designs and, within the context of many salubrious but established classic car designs at the auction, they had a powerful quixotic appeal. So why is he selling them? "I'm not stopping, I've just run out of room!" Saunders told us.  

Picasso Citroën
Unlike the Citroën Picasso production car, this 2CV-based Citroën has a definite hint of the famous cubist painter about it, and arguably it is the most 'Art Car' in the collection. Saunders told us that it was the hardest car he's made because of its asymmetry.

Mini HaHa
One of the best-known Saunders cars, the first one he made in 1983. The car auctioned is his third. The HaHa is essentially an original Mini with 2ft. 7in. taken out where the front seats and surrounding cabin section used to be. The driver sits in the same place relative to the steering wheels and pedals as before, but this time is sitting on the rear seat.

Bertone Stratos
Most of Saunders's collection is modified production cars, but this classic concept car design has a very unusual story behind it. The body came from Bertone after being commissioned by Michael Jackson for the video to his song Moonwalker in 1985. Bertone took a splash mold of the original 1970 Stratos concept and produced this car without an interior for Jackson. Saunders then picked up the shell after it had been used for filming and put in running gear and an interior from a Fiat X1/9.

A play on the name of the donor car, an Austin Allegro, the All-Ego was created for a 2006 pilot of a TV program entitled Juice My Lemon. Built in three days using only parts found in a scrap yard, Saunders describes the car as being "between Pimp my Ride and Benny Hill". 

The Alchemist
Saunders told us the rationale behind this car was "that I wanted to make a small Hummer". Based closely on the small but boxy previous generation Suzuki Wagon R, the car has seven inches chopped out of the roof, a hood from a Peugeot 206 turned through 90 degrees and headlamps from a Land Rover Discovery. The baby Hummer concept is convincing.

Flat out
Based on the running gear of an air-cooled Fiat 126, the ‘Flat out' is the world's lowest car at only 21 inches tall...

Ford X-2000 Recreation
Following a 1958 design from Alex Tremulus, Saunders created the X-2000 as the concept car that Ford never built.

By Sam Livingstone