The Can-Am “floatile” with its creator, sculptor Alberto W. Collie
THE JOHNSON WAX TROPHY ALSO HAPPENS TO BE AN ABSTRACT MASTERPIECE
Motorsports has its share of storied trophies (and evena few lost treasures), but the Canadian-American Challenge Cup’s hollow, levitating, highly abstract form has to be one of the coolest we’ve ever seen.
The so-called “floatile,” seen above, was commissioned by the Johnson Wax Co.; Johnson Wax threw $25,000 into the fledgling series’ championship fund, which was apparently enough to score naming rights.
“The nacelle-like trophy,” we wrote in Competition Press & Autoweek back in 1966, “made of magnesium and aluminum, is given its upward thrust by the ‘repel’ action of powerful ceramic magnets in it and the black ‘launching pad’ of its pedestal.”
Alberto W. Collie — who (presumably) can be seen glowering in the background of the above photo — created the trophy. It’s characteristic of the late Venezuelan-born sculptor’s works; he frequently employed magnets to create surreal levitating forms. The Can-Am trophy, for one, bears a striking resemblance to his “Spatial Absolutes” series.
We’d love to know what happened to Collie’s creation, but haven’t had much luck. Were they awarded each year, or was one trophy passed from winning team to winning team? Is there a whole pile of them collecting dust in Bruce McLaren’s closet?