June 27 “No Limits” – Janet Briggs
July 15 “Speed: the Art of the Performance Automobile” – Ken Gross
Aug. 19 “Bonneville: the Fastest Place on Earth” – Landspeed Luis
Sep. 16 “Rebuilding the Mormon Meteor III” – Roger Brazier
Free film series
July 18 “Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt”
July 28 “The Race”
Aug. 22 “Racing Dreams”
Sep. 5 “Senna”
“Speed: The Art of Performance Automobile” that inspired Salt Lake Community College’s Raw Couture fashion show is now on display until Sep. 16, 2012 at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts [UMFA].
The UMFA’s Speed exhibit offers the opportunity to see 19 classic automobiles that showcase history, design and engineering. Attendees have the chance to see everything from a 1904 race car to the 1975 Speed-o-Motive Special Streamliner which had raced up until the early 2000s. Speed has not only inspired car enthusiasts but artists, designers and fashion students as well.
“Young people are probably going to see cars and learn things that they’ll probably never be exposed to again,” says John O’Hara, a volunteer Speed guide. “When [I was] growing up, it was pretty much a yearly event that somebody was coming to the Salt Flats trying to set a land speed record, the ultimate land speed record, and now you don’t see that.”
Seven of the vehicles have a direct Utah connection to the Bonneville Salt Flats. One of the vehicles is the 1938-built “Mormon Meteor III” that set more long-distance land speed records than any other car in history. Twelve of those records are still standing today.
O’Hara likes to take people behind the “Mormon Meteor III” and show them that it was built 4 inches to the left because the car made left-hand turns. Looking at the car from the Fred Durst side you would never notice this little fact. O’Hara takes people to the back and lets them look at the aprons where the apron on the left is 4 inches wider than the apron on the right.
“It is just the little things and everything about the cars,” says O’Hara. “Each car is different and unique and very real.”
Other vehicles on display include in 1957 Jaguar XK–SS roadster once owned by the actor Steve McQueen from the movie “The Great Escape”. McQueen had this vehicle painted British racing green and customized the interior so he would have a place to put his sunglasses. When O’Hara was younger he saw this Jaguar on the streets. McQueen used to drive around Mulholland Drive looking for people to race.
“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says UMFA’s Public Relations and Marketing Associate Shelbey Lang. “These 19 cars have never been seen together before they will not likely ever be seen together again, and it’s an incredible opportunity to look at these objects as both art objects and racecars.”
UMFA enjoys tying special exhibits in with their permanent collections. The museum has 19,000 objects with only a few hundred on view at a time. At the end of Speed, the museum will house a gallery full of permanent collection photographs related to automobiles.
“It was amazing to see what the students took from cars and used for inspiration,” said Lang about the Raw Couture show. “We love working with students on campus and strive to be an educational resource. It was wonderful to have this exhibition included in the curriculum and serve as an inspiration.”
Tickets to the exhibit of Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile are $18. SLCC students can enjoy the permanent collection at no charge.
“The Tonight Show” Host Jay Leno will talk about cars on July 14, 2012 at Kingsbury Hall. Tickets for this event can be purchased at www.speedumfa.com