There exists an enigmatic artist in the American Northeast with an obsession for creating meticulously crafted images of cars and her terrible Porsche in perhaps equal measure. Syd is among the most creative photographers in the automotive world right now, and her most recent “Apple Car” shoot is all the proof you need to see why.
“That car [the Apple-sponsored 935 which raced in 1980] is kind of how I found my love of Porsche. I love vintage technology and I’m fascinated by all of that, so when I saw that livery on the 935 I thought it was so cool. I had no idea Apple had ever sponsored a race car.
The best car you can drive is the one you already have. I can just make the ‘poor man’s Porsche’ into an Apple race car. OK, it’s not really a race car, but to me it kind of is. I can drive it down dirt roads and bomb it through snow. I can make my own roads the fun place to drive. I guess that was my inspiration to add this livery to a car that wasn’t actually ‘the Apple car.’”
Syd’s dream is to have her own 935 one day, perhaps even making it street legal. She knows how unlikely it is, being that they frequently sell into the millions these days, but aim for the stars, right? Her 944 now carries the Vermont plate “935NEXT” to keep her motivated for bigger and better. For now, the 944 will have to suffice.
“I was looking for a 944 for a long time. I was specifically looking for a white car because I wanted something that was a blank canvas. I looked at a bunch of them all over the country and every single one was seriously messed up. They all had body damage or interiors that needed too much work, or nonexistent maintenance records. Then this car came up on Craigslist in Palm Springs. It was a cool color and the deal was too good to pass up.”
As it turns out, the deal was too good to be true. After flying out to California and driving it around for a few weeks, the car spit its timing belt out and internal components turned on each other and waged war. Rather than send the 944 to its end, she loaded the car on a semi truck and flew home to await its arrival.
After an extensive engine rebuild at great cost, the 944 is back on the road in Vermont and ready to tackle anything that Syd can throw at it. Having done something quite similar with my 1983 Zermatt Silver Metallic car, I can totally relate. The heartbreak is terrible, but you just have to buck up and fix it, and then you’ll have an even deeper connection to the car because you’ve both been through the mire together.
Syd developed a plan to wrap the car in an Apple livery to match. There was only ever one Apple-liveried race car, a Porsche 935 entered by Bob Garretson. Apple sponsorship was applied for the 1980 season for the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and a few other races stateside. Much like Syd’s 944, the Apple 935 had a tough run of it as well, taking three DNFs from seven events that year. It did end the season on a high note, however, grabbing a podium place at the Road America 500. Apple hasn’t sponsored a race car since, but it was an instant classic and the livery has become a Porsche icon.
The 944 is painted in a lovely shade of Pasadena Yellow, which is a tone-perfect match to a vintage Apple Macintosh 128K personal computer. It was, then, ripe for the picking. She dreamed up a livery to ape, but not totally match, the 935 of her dreams, and set to work getting it printed and applied.
There’s no point at which Syd ever says “enough.” Everything must be taken to its ultimate conclusion from the word go. Simply photographing the car in a field with this livery would not be enough. She had to create a scene, a tableau, to really bring this livery unveil from awesome to positively radiant. Her previous Porsche-based shoots included a frunkfull of sunflowers and a 964 Turbo netted like a New England lobster. The photos are still about the car, but there’s more to it than that.
When the day of the Apple Car’s photo shoot rolled around, Syd had already scouted the perfect rolling green field, and had sourced painters overalls for the image. A handful of rainbow colors to match the livery were mixed beforehand, and a long-handle paint roller would act as prop. As with all things, life sometimes throws us for a loop, and we have to act on our feet. Syd woke up on the day of the shoot Mother Nature had seen fit to douse the world in her own fresh canvas of powdery snow.
The show must go on, so she grabbed warmer overclothes and trekked out into the white stuff anyway. Despite being forced to call an audible on her outfit for the shoot thanks to the cold, it may have been a blessing rather than a curse. The white of the snow really makes the colors of this car pop against a stark background. Ultimately, this seems like a really cool tribute to a really cool race car. It’s just one woman’s dream, and she’s made part of it come true. It may not be a 935, but it definitely is an Apple Car.
Early in the pandemic Syd created a store for her graphic design work, which is heavily Porsche biased, though has dozens of other designs as well. You can find everything from prints to decals to grille badges, all with a dash of whimsy, at onehellofatown.com. Her photography portfolio can be viewed at yourfriendsyd.com, or you can follow her on Instagram at @yourfriendsyd.