James Ford and the General Carbuncle

Late last year, UK artist James Ford finally completed a project that he’d been working on for two years. Back in 2004 he bought a rather fine tan coloured Capri, for £99, with the sole intention of completely covering it in red and orange toy cars. The result is his homage to the famous “General Lee” car from the Dukes of Hazzard: The General Carbuncle.

Front end

Late last year, UK artist James Ford finally completed a project that he’d been working on for two years. Back in 2004 he bought a rather fine tan coloured Capri, for £99, with the sole intention of completely covering it in red and orange toy cars. The result is his homage to the famous “General Lee” car from the Dukes of Hazzard: The General Carbuncle.

The project is one of 24 selected for Gum (Saatchi & Saatchi’s global content division) and creative network Cult-Geist‘s collaborative project, 4C – essentially, a showcase of the best young visual artists around.

We liked James’ car project a lot, so thought we’d post some images of the completed sculpture – General Carbuncle – on the blog along with some of the stats involved in making it.

Here’s his car before it was swamped in Matchbox and Corgi:

Capri

Part way through the covering:

Part way

And, finally, resplendant in 4500 toy cars (approx.)

Covered
Back
Bonnet
Side 01
Roof
Close up

General Carbuncle relied on donations of toy cars from the public in order to succeed. (Ford did, however, pretend to be a toy shop owner to gain entry into a toy fair trade show at Earl’s Court, in order to buy around 2,000 toy cars wholesale…). Ford encouraged donors to mark or alter their toy cars in some way and post their toys over to him – some from as far away as Sydney.

Here are some of the “project highlights” as described by Ford himself:

Buying a 2nd hand Ford Capri from eBay for £99.

Receiving decorated toy cars from places all over the world.

Building a gazebo to protect the General from the wind and rain…

…the gazebo being destroyed in weather and having to repair it with wooden sticks, tape and string.

In September 2006 General Carbuncle was nominated, and eventually voted into, the Saatchi Your Gallery @ The Guardian exhibition in London, October 2006.

Auctioning the sculpture on eBay, so that the process has come full circle.

Number of cars to cover a door = 450.

Number of cars to cover the bonnet = 1,000.

Number of cars to cover the roof = 900.

Estimated total to cover the entire car = 3,500 – 4,500 (approximations).

The most popular toy cars submitted were T-birds and Double Decker buses.

The most unusual toy car donated has been a VW van with a pop-up Kermit the Frog.

See jamesrobertford.com and generalcarbuncle.com.

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