Porsche 906, Chassis 134

Artist Heidi Mraz celebrates Porsche’s legendary street-legal racer

Great Falls, Virginia–based artist and documentarian Heidi Mraz recently unveiled her latest work, “Shaped by the Wind,” a mixed-media assemblage she created to celebrate and preserve the unique story of the legendary Porsche 906, Chassis 134, one of Porsche’s street-legal racing cars.

Following two years of research and assembly and more than a thousand pieces of historically based ephemera, “Shaped by the Wind” is an example of bespoke automotive art. Mraz’s investigative and collaborative approach into Chassis 134’s provenance has allowed her to include an in-depth array of detail, including Racing Team Holland photos, period racing program covers, names of previous owners, blueprints, test notes from Porsche, public auction records, mechanics’ records, and restoration photos.

Work in Progress

“I document, share, and save car stories using art as the vehicle,” says Mraz. “With ‘Shaped by the Wind,’ I wanted to create a retrospect of my client’s 906 to preserve the history, memories, and emotions that are woven into this person’s connection with this significant car, which can’t be expressed in a single snapshot. ‘Shaped by the Wind’ is one of my automotive assemblages, which are equal parts eye-candy, history lesson, and hide-and-seek.”

Chassis plate 134

As with all her pieces, Mraz takes a step further to infuse an underlying spirit into her subject matter by connecting with the essence of her subject; in this case, she used wind. Developed in the mid-1960s by Porsche to battle Ferrari’s V-6 Dino on the racetrack, the 906 was the first car Porsche designed in a wind tunnel in an effort to achieve optimum aerodynamics.

Author Jay Gillotti, whose book, Gulf 917, is a chassis-by-chassis history of the Porsche 917s raced by JW Automotive Engineering, noted the 906’s significance. “The 906, or Carrera 6, was the first new racer designed and built during the tenure of Ferdinand Piëch as head of R&D for Porsche.  It was also the first Porsche to combine tubular spaceframe construction with very lightweight fiberglass-reinforced, plastic resin bodywork.  Through several iterations campaigned by the factory and privateers during 1966 and 1967, the 906s brought Porsche numerous class and overall race wins including victory at the Targa Florio, and set Porsche on a path of development that eventually led to World Sportscar Championships and overall wins at Le Mans with the 917 and 936.”

Wind tunnel

Inspired by the motorsport history, Heidi Mraz and her team built a wind tunnel and, with a scale model of the 906-134 inside, filled more than one thousand honeycomb-shaped chambers inside the tunnel with an ultra-fine, powdered orange pigment and then used the fan to blow the paint over and around the model. Ultimately, the paint was captured onto a primed canvas positioned at the end of the tunnel, which recorded the shape of the 906 created by the wind.

The unveiling of “Shaped by the Wind” took place in July at the Monticello Motor Club in upstate New York, home to the beloved Porsche 906-134 and where it will remain on display. As part of her dedication to preserving automotive history through her unique creative lens, Mraz presented her final work with an accompanying dossier that included her research, photos, and printed records that correspond with the ephemera she used in the piece.

Represented in both corporate and private collections, Heidi Mraz has worked with some of the world’s foremost automotive collectors, brands, and museums. In 2019, she unveiled “Beneath the Surface: Bugatti of Lake Maggiore,” an automotive assemblage inspired by the Mullin Automotive Museum’s famed “Lady of the Lake” that spent seventy-five years submerged under water. She has been the official poster artist for Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance and the Art in Motion Concours in New York, and she has also been commissioned to paint the winning cars of the Amelia Island and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She is currently working on a feature-length documentary, “AUTOmotive ARTifacts,” a behind-the-scenes chronicle of her historically based automotive assemblages. For more, visit www.heidimraz.com.