Wheelies. Parachutes. Big tires, bigger engines, sounds that suggest several catastrophic natural disasters occurring in unison. On visceral appeal alone, nothing beats drag racing: It is all of the fast, shoved into your earholes and eyeballs in a single unique, violent moment. That green light on the tree might as well be a syringe plunger.
It’s worth celebrating, and James Ball, a.k.a. Docubyte, has done so in spectacular fashion. This is his Door Slammers collection, a series of stylish renderings capturing the soul of drag racing. Ball, a British photographer and digital artist, uses a soft pastel palette to wash out the images, a nice contrast to the raw metal subject matter. But, mostly, what grabs you as a car guy is his attention to detail.
All of the cars featured in the series are real. “Horrid Henry,” that 1952 Kaiser-Frazer? That’s a legit 327-powered Henry J dragster that lives across the pond. The Camaro was a Super Street class finalist in Britain's MSA Super Nationals; the Ford Popular, “Problem Child,” has a methanol-fed 7.6-liter and runs 9.70s at 138 mph. Ball has got every bit, all the liveries and lettering and patina, matched perfectly.
These images are cooler than all getout. Check out the entire collection on Bēhance here, and James Ball’s other stellar imagery on Instagram. But, above all else, commit the Door Slammers project credo to memory: “Drive it like you hate it." It's far better used here than in some old Volvo commercial.