1977 Porsche 935 Pilots: H. Poulain, D. Snobek, P. Destic Team: Hervé Poulain Race: 20th overall (6th in IMSA class) at Le Mans in 1980 Spark - S3453 (resin)
Hervé Poulain started racing at 28, and just seven years later, he was racing at La Sarthe. And he certainly made splash when debuted at Le Mans. He piloted non other than the famous BMW 3.5 CSL “Calder”. Though not the first art car (that would be the “Hippie” 917LH) the Calder car is possibly the most famous. It’s the car that started the let’s say “art car movement” at Le Mans. And it only came to be because Poulain convinced Alexander Calder to use a race car as his canvas.
At the same time he also founded a racing team. With that, he participated in the 24 Heures du Mans many other times, as manager and as pilot. For the 1980 edition of the race he was again at Le Mans, but this time with a Porsche, the mighty 935. His 935 #89 originally left Porsche’s Development Center at Weissach with a 2856 cm³ SOHC and 12 valve boxer-6, but the new owners started improving the engine almost on the same year. When Poulain got hold of the car it was sporting a 2989 cm³ twin-turbo engine producing over 600 hp.
Poulain’s ride was chassis #930-770-0904, that started in 32nd. The car even suffered an accident but managed a steady climb to finish the race in 20th place. In the end it was 6th place in the IMSA class, 67 laps behind Jean Rondeau’s winning Rondeau M379B. Nowadays Hervé Poulain doesn’t race anymore. He is involved with the auctions of art pieces and vintage cars, and Team Poulain is no more. But without a doubt he left his mark in the world’s most famous race. Basically, he’s the reason we now have so many art cars that I love so much. Car #89 didn’t achieve an expressive result by any means but being a 935 driven by Poulain himself and with auxiliary lights on the bonnet was enough to make me want it. Model-wise it’s your average Spark – great detail & great paint job, so a total winner.