Mar 06 2018

Peter Helck: Memoirs: 75 Years with Palette, Paintbrush and Wheels

Tim Helck has posted the memoirs of his grandfather Peter Helck on These memoirs were previously published in 1981-1982 issues of Bulb Horn.

Tim Helck:

Howard, I have set the new version of the memoirs live. It now includes all the text from the four part article in the Bulb Horn, 1981 - 1982. It also includes all the illustrations (in color when possible).  I have added annotations in the left and right columns. The left column has the year which is covered in the text (not always clear as my grandfather tended to jump around a lot in his narrative). The right hand column has additional information about the people and events he discusses and a few family photos.


Howard Kroplick

The Bulb Horn: Peter Helck Memoirs: 75 Years with Palette, Paintbrush and Wheels

by Tim Helck
In 1981 The Bulb Horn's editor Walter MacIlvain suggested that my grandfather update the memoirs by adding a new section describing the previous 15 years, and that they republish it under the title of "Seventy-Five Years with Pallet, Paintbrush and Wheels". The new version combined the four parts of first version into two sections and added a new third section that described his life in the antique car world from 1967 to 1981 (with frequent digressions into his earlier years). The series was rounded out with the inclusion of a selection of "random notes" which are actually the dummy for his first book The Chekered Flag. This reprint of the memoirs had more even illustrations than the original, but still mostly in black & white.
In reproducing this series for the internet, we have used the entire text of the 1981 version. We are including all the illustrations from the later version, and whenever possible we have used color versions. We have taken liberties with the layout however, spacing the illustrations out to give a more balanced look to the articles. For the most part, the order of the illustrations has been retained. Most of the captions are the same as published in The Bulb Horn, except that the owners' names have been removed, as many of them have changed since 1981.
I have included marginal notes for the web edition. On the left side I have put the year covered in the text (this was actually done for Part 1 in the 1966 version but not continued after that). Since my grandfather's style is somewhat discursive I hope that this will help the reader keep the chronology straight. On the right side I have added notes to explain or expand upon items in the test.
These memoirs are largely focused on Peter Helck's life as an automotive illustrator and historian. His aspirations and activities in other sheres of art are mentioned from time to time. Members of his family come into the story largely when they are part of the automotive narrative. This may obscure the reality that he was an intensely committed family man, and that he held an important place in 20th century illustration and commercial art. I hope that the marginal notes in this version of the memoirs will bridge the gap to some extant between these specialized articles and a more general biography. 


Memoirs: 75 Years with Palette, Paintbrush and Wheels

Part 1 From the July-September 1981 issue of The Bulb Horn

Part 2 From the October-December 1981 issue of The Bulb Horn

Part 3 From the April-June 1982 issue of The Bulb Horn

Part 4 From the July -- September 1982 issue of The Bulb Horn


Mar 06 2018 Brian D McCarthy 10:00 PM

Looking forward to read through the memoirs on your site, Tim.

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