Behind the scenes – Grand Prix Collection shoot in Cape Town

Cape Town is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And it not only offers picturesque mountains, sandy beaches and endless blue skies, but also an amazing classic car scene. South Africans of all skin colours are true petrol heads. The perfect location to shoot Grand Prix Original’s 2017 collection.

The red Porsche Speedster is snaking its way up Chapman’s Peak Drive. Africa’s most spectacular coastal road. The afternoon soon is illuminating the rocks. They look as if they are glowing from the inside. The little Porsche swings right and left. Finally stopping at one of the parking bays. The driver gets out and enjoys the gorgeous view. What a perfect ending to a road trip around the Cape.

But it wasn’t that easy to get the shot. Our small team started in the morning. In Woodstock. Nowadays Cape Town’s trendiest suburb with dozens of lifestyle shops, bistros, cafés and restaurants. Here, confessed petrol head Michelle is busy restoring a former warehouse. Our first shooting location.
Photographer Guido is ready, model Roberto as well. Michelle is about to meet us with one of the various Porsches she owns. She is coming straight from the dealership, where the starter motor has been replaced. The tall blonde arrives in the silver 356 and I can see the corners of Guido’s mouth moving downwards. “The car is closed’. Plans of shooting Roberto Steve-McQueen-style in an open silver Porsche Speedster during a road trip around the Cape are dismantling rapidly in my mind.
In the closed car, which is nevertheless beautiful, we wouldn’t see the new Grand Prix Originals collection at all.
Luckily Michelle has an alternative in her collection. A red 356 Speedster replica, which I can pick up later for the road shots. First problem solved. Now Guido can concentrate on the warehouse shoot. He is warming up to the job, Roberto as well. From some angles the Italian model has a remarkable resemblance with Tom Cruise. Tom cruising. That works for the shoot.
But I can already hear our next problem in the roof construction of Michelle’s loft. The notorious Southeaster wind is pounding the city. So picking up the Porsche in town turns into a rather windswept ride. And our first location is right at the beach, near Muizenberg. The gale-force gusts are whipping salty air and sand across the tarmac. And just before I reach our first outdoor shooting location the 1600cc Volkswagen engine of the Porsche runs at full throttle.
I shut it off immediately. Something must have snapped. I am not a mechanic, but we are far away from professional help. So I open the lid to the engine compartment and together with model and non-mechanic Roberto we check for any loose parts. We find some and put them together intuitively. Surprisingly the car runs again. When you see the end result, the photo of a cool Roberto next to the red Porsche in a white open space, you don’t feel how close-hauled it was realized.
I am still a bit worried about the Porsche. Our second location is the famously breathtaking Chapman’s Peak Drive across the Cape Peninsula between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. But let’s have some lunch first. In the little harbour town of Kalk Bay. Easy Tiger is one of those typical, cool Cape Town eateries. And to our surprise the walls of the quirky place are covered in Steve Mc Queen photographs, where he is wearing his typical blue and white Gulf clothes. This would be a perfect Grand Prix Originals staff canteen.
After some ribs and chicken wings – and some shots of the GPO shirt range in the picture-perfect harbour – we are on our way to Chappies. That’s how Capetonians fondly call their favourite coastal drive. And it is the perfect runway for their classic rides. The red Porsche seems to be feeling this and doesn’t act up anymore. Along the half tunnel, the engine purrs beautifully. And we are lucky, the photo location is not only wind-protected, but there is also not a lot of traffic. So Guido can get some killer shots in the last afternoon light. But see for yourself. In the new 2017 Grand Prix Originals catalogue.


10 February 2017

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