These Automotive Recreation Artists Are Absolutely Insane

How far would you go to capture a single moment in history?

The idea is simple: Recapture a single automotive moment in perfect detail. “Perfect” here not being used hyperbolically. Perfect, as in every single nut and bolt, pebble and pothole, fold and stitch, rendered with exact accuracy. Pulling it off? “Complicated” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Unique & Limited is undeterred. The British fine art and design firm has been recreating classic racing images since 2008; the results are incredible, but it’s the process that really blows you away.

Unique & Limited

Typically, each piece goes through four steps. The first is a storyboard for the artwork, and accompanying reference research. The latter includes everything from qualitative interviews with drivers or eyewitnesses, and gathering thousands of historical photos. In the second step, those photos are recreated in 3-D CGI, rebuilding the car from scratch digitally, layer after layer, even, Unique & Limited says, applying “the correct number of coats of paint.” This alone can demand two months of intensive work from a team of three artists.

Jan Rambousek/Unique & Limited via Vimeo

Third, Unique & Limited travels to shoot, in super high-res (400 MP; 260 x 100 cm at 300 DPI) on-location, sometimes using actors dressed in period attire for “maximum authenticity.” Finally, all the above steps are brought together, overlaying the 3-D renders and images from the photo shoot, plus adding whatever else’s needed (a tendril of smoke, a puff of dirt) to get it just right. The process, condensed, looks something like this:

The photo/render dichotomy is reflected in the duo behind Unique & Limited: Jan Rambousek, founder and artist, and Petr Milerski, head of CGI. Together, they’ve recreated the likes of Ford’s one-two-three photo finish at Le Mans 1966; the Martini Porsche 911 Carrera RSR dominating the 1973 Targa Florio; and, most recently, James Hunt’s win at Fuji Speedway in 1976, clinching the F1 World Championship. To ensure the eyes behind his helmet visor were accurate, Rambousek and Milerski actually brought in Hunt’s son for a photo shoot. These guys are not messing around.

Unique & Limited via YouTube

To see more of Unique & Limited’s work, or buy a print, check out the company’s website here