How Weird Is That?

You might have noticed that I always have the same livery on my cars..

The scheme isn’t random, it’s because I’m a massive Van Halen Fanboy! The colours come from Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankie” Guitar. (It was called Frankie, short for Frankenstrat. It was made out of a copy of a Fender Strat, where Eddie had basically bodged together the electronics of a Fender Strat and a Gibson Les Paul so he could get the best parts of the sound of both guitars.) Eddie always did two things that I wanted to emulate. First, he always played with a big smile on his face. Second, he always went about things in his own way.

Eddie Van Halen & Frankie

I first got really into Van Halen in 1991 when they released their “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” Album. In fact, I can be more specific. On BBC Radio One, Tommy Vance’s “Friday Rock Show” did a special interview and preview a few days before it was released. At the time I was a spotty, greasy, awkward teenager in Industrial West Yorkshire. I was not leading a glamourous or imaginative life. So when they played the first track of the new album, my mind was ripe to be blown by something truly original and inventive. That track was “Poundcake”, and Eddie Van Halen opened it in a rather unique way. He’d had the kind of off the wall idea that marked him out throughout his career as not just technically masterful, but creatively extraordinary. He used an electric drill on the strings of his guitar, to make it sound like an engine! Have a listen for yourself. I’ve heard this played live, and he really did play and sound like that with one guitar. He was that fast, that precise, that distinctive and ostentatious.

So that left a mark. And when I went back to RC racing, it made perfect sense to use the Van Halen Colours as my racing livery. I don’t like advertising and stickers, and this was the way to meld motorsports and music.

I got a surprising number of compliments on the shells from racers. Very heartening to know how many Van Halen fans are out there.

When I build a new RC car, opening the box is a lovely moment. There’s all those beautifully manufactured parts, the anticipation of the deeply absorbing process of creating a new car which is the start of a new sporting relationship. Because I’m a tiresome old Marxist with an insufferable sanctimonious attitude to advertising, I usually find throw the stickers to one side, keeping them only in case I make a dreadful cock-up of the paint job that can only be disguised with a sticker.

Being a factoid loving trivia nerd, of course I had found out at some point in the intervening 30 years that the drill used to create “Poundcake”, was a Makita (I know the model number and that…. ok I’m wandering off).

When I opened the box of my new Associated RC10 B6.4d and fished out the sticker sheet, I will happily admit to a proper little weird thrill…

B6.4d Sticker sheet

Weird huh?

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