Classic Jaguar Weathervanes

We were recently updating our website, to make sure that all of our new designs are available (weathervanes and signs) which was a great opportunity for us to take stock of the sheer amount of designs we have now done!  In a way what is on our website is almost the tip of the iceberg, as in order to prevent the website becoming un-navigable, quite a few of our designs don’t actually make it online.​

One area that really stood out for me was the classic Jaguar weathervanes we have now done.  I think they work so well as they are so distinctive and indeed timeless.  There are very few manufacturers where their cars are considered classics as soon as they roll out of the factory, but I think, with regards to Jaguar this is definitely the case.​house sign photo

As with a few of the classic car marques, there are several we have completed which are not on our website, mainly the variety of E-Type Jaguars, we have done both Roadsters and coupes and designs based on series 1,2 and three cars!  To keep things simple we have kept the series one coupe on our website, but we always encourage potential customers to get in touch, if we have not done a design based on their specific model we certainly can.  Along with the E-Type Weathervane we have also used this design on swinging signs, wall mounted house name plates and sets of coat or key hooks.​house sign weathervane photo

Jaguars reputation is not just based on their sportscars, and this, the Mark 2 Jaguar is almost the archetypal Jaguar Saloon.  It was luxurious and elegant, whilst also being quick and powerful.  The size and power of them gave them a reputation as bank robbers cars, being more than capable of outrunning the police cars of the era.  Amusingly we did produce a weathervane for one customer who owned a Mark 2 Jaguar and was also a keen hunter.  The slightly suspect look of a man with a shotgun stood in front of his Mark 2 Jaguar did add a tongue in cheek element of humour to the whole thing!  The only Police car capable of keeping up with a Mark 2 Jaguar was probably the Mark 2 Jaguar, with the 3.2 litre model capable of 125mph.  The car was also immortalised in the TV series Inspector Morse, leading to even more fans of the car.  The distinctive lines make this car instantly recognisable from its silhouette on a sign or weathervane and I’m proud of the way our design picks out all the key details.​  Our Mark 2 Jaguar weathervane can be found here.jaguar weathervane image weathervane photo weathervane image

While I did mention that not all new weathervane designs make it on to the website, as some are very close to other models of car, we could not help but have all three of these weathervane designs listed.  We often get requests for new designs to be created, which are very similar to existing designs as people searching for one will inevitably find the other.  This is almost certainly the case here.  Having created a weathervane based around the Jaguar XK120, a customer got in touch about having a weathervane made with an XK140 on it.  The customer wanted the design to represent them, enjoying the car and though the car in silhouette form is very similar to the XK120 I think this completely changes the design and does work really well as a weathervane, as the car, moving in the wind, does look like it is in motion.  By the time the XK150 came in, the split windscreen had gone and the body line from the wing stayed higher along the side of the car.  It definitely merited a completely new design and for anyone familiar with these cars, even from a distance, I think our weathervane makes it immediately identifiable.  ​These three weathervane can be found following the three links below:

Jaguar XK120, Jaguar XK140, Jaguar XK150

At the moment, this is the extent of our Jaguar metalwork but given the number of models produced over the years and both the following they have and deserve and the distinctive shapes lending themselves to use as a silhouette in bespoke metalwork I’m sure we will produce many more.  From the 1935 SS Jaguar 100, right up to the current range, if you would like a unique and personal sign or weathervane for yourself or as the perfect gift for a Jaguar enthusiast, please get in touch and we can get to work on a new design for you.

Classic Mini Weathervane

We took a couple of photos of our classic Mini weathervane on our workshop the other week, believe it or not these two pictures were taken only a couple of minutes apart!mini weathervane photo mini weathervane

It’s great to finally have a weathervane and house sign design based on the classic mini, hopefully in the future we can look to add the Clubman, traveller and even Wolsley Hornet/Riley Elf designs to our collection to.  There can be few cars that are held in such high affection by so many people as the mini, in part due to its truly unique design and personality, along with the sheer volumes produced.

The brainchild of Alec Issigonis, who had previously designed the Morris Minor before briefly leaving BMC to work on a shelved Alvis saloon project (how history and indeed cars for years to come could have been different), the mini was a design which would revolutionise cars for many years to come.

Designed during the Suez oil crisis, the world needed a compact efficient car, Rootes group came up with the Hillman Imp and BMC the mini.  With its transverse mounted engine and front wheel drive layout (almost unheard of at the time but now pretty well industry standard) Issigonis managed to make a very compact car with a very reasonable sense of space inside (though not by modern standards).

So the question then is how did a car born out of necessity during the Suez crisis gain such a following?  In my opinion this is in part due to its utterly unmistakeable and British identity, it is hard now with hindsight to imagine the mini as a new cutting edge design, to in effect imagine a world without them but when you think of the cars that came before it, it truly was a revolutionary car, which changed the direction of the automotive industry forever.  Then there is the way the car handled, with the compact design pushing the wheels right out in to each corner and with such minimal weight the mini out-handled all of its contemporary competitors and a great deal more.  The A Series engine, though lacking in power was always willing and easily tuneable, leading to the iconic John Cooper works cars.   The final factor is as mentioned earlier in the post, the number of them produced, it is estimated that there were around 5.3 million classic shape minis made between 1959 and 2000, so everyone has some memories and nostalgia linked to the mini.  Like jeans they were affordable (too affordable, reportedly so much so they were accidentally making a loss for some time!) and fashionable, so people of all classes and backgrounds had them.

Sadly by the year 2000 the classic mini had had its run, keeping up with the safety and comfort of more modern machines (when though there had been changed and the engine had been updated even to include fuel injection), at the age of 41, was no longer possible and British Leyland called an end to production.  It even outlived its intended successor, the sadly much less loved Metro by two years.

If you would like a mini weathervane it is available here.  Alternatively if you would like a sign based on this design, or any of our products with a different mini variant (or any other car for that matter) then please fill out our online contact form and we will get in touch as soon as possible.

VW Beetle Weathervane


VW Beetle Weathervane photo
We’ve been meaning to add the iconic VW Beetle to our range of weathervanes for ages, so are delighted to post this photo show we’ve finally got around to it!

Though these days the Beetle is more often remembered fondly as a car of the swinging sixties, it was initally designed in pre WW2 Germany by Ferdinand Porsche, at the request of a Mr Hitler. It needed be a ‘car of the people’; to seat two adults and two children, with space for their luggage, and cruise at 60mph. Importantly, it also needed to be affordable, and could be purchased through a savings card system. By the time the second world war broke out in 1939, only a handful of consumer cars had been produced, and all customer orders had been cancelled as production was switched from civilian vehicles to that of military vehicles. One of these was an amphibious vehicle, delightfully named the ‘Schwimmwagen’.

Austin 7 Ulster Weathervane

car weathervane photoA fantastic photo sent in by a customer this week, the angle is perfect as you get a great view of the laser cut design as well as the cardinal points! We designed this Austin 7 Ulster weathervane based on images he provided, and he is delighted with the results. We’ve actually produced several different Austin 7 weathervanes now, (you can read about the others in this blog post we wrote last month) so were pleased to add this 1930s two seater sports car to the range. In his email our customer commented on the quality of our work, which makes all the effort worthwhile as we do take a lot of pride in doing beautiful little TIG welds!

“I also wanted to comment on the quality of the welding and overall finish.   At one time I used to manage a fabrication shop and, although they were certainly functional, not that many of the welders could manage to achieve such visually good welds as those on the wind vane.”

Vintage Sunbeam Car Weathervane

Vintage Car weathervane imageAnother bespoke vintage car weathervane, this time featuring a 1913 sunbeam drophead tourer, with a gentleman in front waving a flag. This was actually a legal requirement from 1865 until around the turn of the century; it was used to warn people that a car was approaching! Though the Sunbeam featured is actually slightly later than this, and the rule was in effect at a time when internal combustion engines were rare, it’s a great feature to add to the weathervane as a reminder of this now very bizarre seeming law from the history of motoring.

The Sunbeam Motor Company began making bicycles in 1888 in Wolverhampton, and cars from 1901.The company went into receivership in 1934 as a result of unpaid debts dating back to the motor racing season ten years earlier, and was then bought by the Rootes brothers who ceased manufacturing their cars. Around 5000 of the 12/16hp cars were made, with approximately 70 surviving today, many of which are active in Veteran Car Club events.

This is probably the oldest car weathervane design we’ve produced so far, so is a great one to add to the collection – we look forward to producing a weathervane based on an even earlier model soon!

Lotus Elan Weathervane

So here we have another of our new weathervanes created in the run up to Christmas, we cannot wait to get them all loaded up on to the website and for general sale.  This bespoke weathervane design was done for a customer with a 1969 Lotus Elan +2, the relatively rare variant with an additional 2 smaller seats in the back, apparently there are approximately 1200 still on the road today, though this figure is somewhat vague and unsubstantiated!  Hopefully we will be able to add the standard 2 seater Elan to our portfolio soon too.  The customer has kindly sent in a photo of the weathervane in situ, set off with gold leaf on the cardinal points, I think the photo speaks for itself.

The challenge for us in terms of creating a silhouette to use on a sign or weathervane was capturing the essence of a car with such clean lines.  Fortunately we were able to find a good selection of images of the car to work from (including a couple provided by the customer), in order to make sure we got the shape just right and didn’t miss out on any critical detail.  It was a harder design to do than some older vintage cars, just due to the simplicity and smooth curves of the fibreglass body work but we are very happy with the end result.

The design brief for the car itself was to create a larger more luxurious version of the 2 seater Elan, capable of transporting 2 adults, 2 children and their luggage 1000 miles in comfort.  While this made for a heavier car than the original 2 seater design Lotus still stuck to the classic Chapman design ethos of ‘add lightness’, weighing in at less than 900kg.  This combined with the fibreglass body adding rigidity to the steel chassis means the Elan plus 2 maintained much of the remarkable handling characteristics which made its smaller stablemate a legendary car to drive.  Not surprisingly Lotus stuck to this construction formula for many years.Lotus Elan Weathervane Photo

Bespoke Motorbike Weathervane

Weathervane IMageWe love this photo sent in by a customer! Partly because it’s a great photo but also because the design is so funny & unusual; was certainly a challenge designing it. Our customer had asked for a weathervane featuring a vintage Sunbeam motorcycle, and wanted the scene to show a windy day. We tried a few ideas, none of which I was entirely happy with, so we ended up adding the comedy element of the rider struggling to stay on his bike. We’ve put a lot of work into the detail of this design; for example we have tried to keep the rider’s clothing in keeping with the age of the bike, ie a flat cap, scarf and boots rather than modern safety gear and helmet. It’s great to be able to personalise a weathervane down to details like this as you end up with something truly unique.

Check out our current range of motorcycle weathervanes on the link below; we are always happy to work out bespoke designs at no extra cost. https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/motorcycles

Vintage motorbike on a windy day

weathervane photoOne of the more unusual weathervane designs we’ve done! The customer wanted us to create a weathervane based on a vintage Sunbeam motorcycle being ridden on a windy day. Initially we tried ideas such as trees blowing  & a signpost bending in the wind, and even a cartoon cloud physically blowing towards the motorcyclist. In the end though, we felt that that all of this took away from this very cool vintage motorbike, so decided to keep the bike and rider alone. Having the rider hunched down trying to avoid the worst of the weather didn’t seem to get the point across very clearly, so decided to add a bit of a comedy element to the design. The customer loved it so this is what we’ve gone for!

Austin 7 Weathervane

Austin 7 weathervane photoOur Austin 7 weathervane! We love these litte cars and were delighted when someone commissioned the design. We had produced an Austin 7 weathervane in the past; it was designed largely by the customer in a 1930s sort of cartoon style, with a policeman stood at the front stopping the car. Though it looked very cool, it wasn’t our design to sell, so hasn’t been available to buy through the website. Looking forward to adding this new design to our range of classic car weathervanes!

The Perfect Gift for Motorcyclists

Bonneville Painted

This hand painted weathervane was ordered by one of our customers for her partners birthday.  This is the first hand painted motorcycle design we have produced, it did create some new challenges but we are very proud of the finished result.  Though this example is on a weathervane there is no reason we could not do a piece such as this on a house sign or even as a stand alone peice of wall art.  As you can see the level of detail included stands up to very close inspection.

This weathervane is based on a Triumph Bonneville, we had already done the initial siloutte design, which we have been producing both as a weathervane and house sign for a number of years now but in order to get the hand painted detailing correct we needed to do quite a bit more research.  Fortunately the customer started us off in the right direction by providing a couple of photographs of their bike so we could match the colour scheme.  One of the issues we had was how sucessful Triumph had been with the Bonneville over the years and as such how many variations have been produced.  The initial silhoutte was taken from a modern Hinckley built bike so there were various subtle differences we had to allow for, for example the kickstart was gone and the carbs. have now been replaced with fuel injection (albeit designed to look as close to the original as possible).  The other big difference with working on a motorcycle design (as oppose to a car or even animal) is the difference between one side of the bike and the other.  Not only in terms of the controls but also the engine casings, which were very different from one side to the other.  I hope we have done it justice and the customer has already been in touch to say how thrilled they are with it so we can get on with the next design with the satisfaction of a job well done.

We can do designs based on any motorcycle and with the correct photos or information can even colour match it to your bike and allow for any customisations to make it unique to you.  We have done a number of motorcycle designs in silhouette already, including a Harley Davidson, a Brough Superior, a Velocette and a number of designs based around TT legend Joey Dunlop.  The designs can be found using the link below, if you would like a different bike doing then please get in touch, we do not generally charge for design work as this is how we have built up our portfolio and will be more than happy to work with you to get the design just right.
www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/motorcycles