Francois Chevalier


by Francois Chevalier, translation by Yahn Janou

Editor's Note: The original version of the material presented here was provided in French and translated by Yahn Janou and then rewritten by myself. The translation may not be perfect but we believe the original intent is communicated. The image files were shot under very poor lighting conditions so we apologize for the reproduction. Hopefully the quality of the work shines through.

I was born in 1942 into a family that had no real interest in art… and no interest at all for mechanical things.

I am a totally freelance artist without any formal art education.

Without much interest in the area of mathematics and the like, I pursued classical studies in the early 60’s earning a degree in literature with a psychology option. But my true passion at that time was already engines and racing on 2 and 4 wheels.

During that period, I had the opportunity to meet some people well known in racing field. For example, R. Castagno, creator of the Nogaro racetrack and Charles de Cortanze, chairman of Le Mans track at that time and who then went on to be chairman of the Paul Ricard track. With their help, I had many opportunities to race on a wide range of diverse machines… but I never stopped drawing. And while living my dream in mechanical sports, I developed an interest in sculpture based on the same theme.

  

Some outstanding memories...

Le Mans 24 Hours, 1968, with Pierre Lagier in a NART Dino Ferrari. First test session. I was alone with Masten Gregory the chief crew. Before taking the wheel, tells me: "be careful!! No more than 8000 rpm!" Masten, who already had done some laps in the car, leaned on me and said "Don't push it… the car doesn't really like to take so much rpm even in 4th gear!"

A bit later, in 1970, I was hired along with J.P. Paoli by Paul Ricard with the goal of creating this well known track located in the south of France. We significantly modified the track layout which was originally designed by Charles Deutz … he’s the “D” of DB automobile company with the Panhard engine. Just before the official opening of the track, Deutz said : "I can't even recognize my child!"

Finally in 2002, 1 executed a bronze 1 to 1 scale of my dream car: the type 35 Bugatti. The bronze is exhibited in Monaco. It was introduced by the Prince Rainier and his son. An intense moment of pride for me.

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Chevalier is a member of the ArtistAuto group and exhibits regularly in the Galerie des Artistes at Retromobile.