Meet Dennis Hoyt. He’s an artist, a keen petrolhead, and creative genius behind some of the finest automotive sculptures we’ve ever seen.
Since he was a young boy, American born Dennis would spend hours gazing with longing at whatever automotive treasures drove past his family farm, or more specifically the tree he happened to be sitting in to get a better view. In 1984 though, Dennis’ enthusiasm took on a whole new dimension when he started creating the stunning pieces you see both above and below. From a single block of wood.
If the patience and due diligence used to create them isn’t impressive enough, so too is the clientele that have bought them: even Formula 1 legend Sir Stirling Moss got in touch with a deposit cheque in 1987.
Across the wood, durable metal is layered to help strengthen the overall artwork. Such delicate work means each sculpture – which measure up to twelve-feet long if not more so – can take between six months to a year to build.
We’ve lost most of our ‘working’ morning at the crankandpiston.com oval office drooling over some of Dennis’ previous creations, our favourite of which is the Porsche 917L in its iconic ‘Hippie’ blue and green colour scheme with which it ran (and finished 2nd) at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans.
You’ll notice we said ‘favourite’ rather than ‘most notable’, since the collection of images we’ve waded through staggers belief. Take this example of a Mercedes-Benz W196 from the 1954 Grand Prix at Avus. It’s a stunning reminder of the speeds reached by post-war racing machinery around one of the fastest and most dangerous circuits in motoring history…
…which brings us nicely onto this twelve-foot behemoth depicting a battle between a Porsche 917 and a Ferrari 512 at Le Mans, and which is titled simply ‘Into the night’. Breath-taking stuff.
Take a closer look at Dennis’ works though and you’ll find – from the nine-foot carbon fibre Ferrari F50 to the Enzo, from Jacky Ickx’s 312 to Gilles Villeneuve’s 126 – that the artist has a soft spot for one particular manufacturer. His latest piece – a tribute to seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher – emphasises this, but that’s a story for another time. Right here, in fact…
– Our thanks to Dennis Hoyt