Hot Rod Dave Trains His Artist’s Eye On

Words: John Gunnell

Dave  (02-26) 8033655830_ed904499ff_o

“Hey, that’s my friend’s motorcycle,” said the man at the next table near the Enola Gay Café on the Bonneville Salt Flats. “That’s a beautiful picture of his Harley; is it for sale?” British artist and photographer Dave Saunders slid the 8x10 color print out of the plastic loose leaf folder and handed it to the man. “It’s yours for $10,” he said. The fellow couldn’t get the ten spot out fast enough.

Saunders has equal facility with a paint brush or a camera, and the photo for sale was a genuine piece of art at a bargain basement price.  A wood stove designer by trade, but an artist at heart, Dave had been doing a small number of original acrylic oil on canvas paintings every year. Then, Carole bought him a book of Bonneville photos by Peter Vincent and his life changed. The art of the motorcycle became the primary focus of Dave’s art, bringing them to Bonneville to see the artistic subjects in person, and share the art with fellow enthusiasts. Saunders and his wife Carole were on their third trip to Bonneville when we ran into them.

At Bonneville, the British couple puts in long hours sitting by the starting line, with Dave snapping hundreds of photos of racing bikes. Saunders’ uniform is a plaid shirt, chinos, sunglasses, a floppy hat and an orange Media vest that allows him up-close access to two-wheelers that streak down the salt.

When he’s back in England, Saunders focuses his Olympus digital camera on cars attending events that look like American shows. His other favorite places to shoot photos are a nearby British drag strip and a number of “old school” hot rod shows, which are as popular in England as they are here.

Saunders is known as Hot Rod Dave, but he shoots and paints both cars and bikes. To see his latest paintings and photos, email Saunders at



Hot Rod Dave

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