Home » The Six Most Autopian Cars In My New Book ‘Waiting For The Sun To Come Down’

The Six Most Autopian Cars In My New Book ‘Waiting For The Sun To Come Down’

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It feels like magic when the sunlight hits paint at just the right angle, and everything untouched by the sun drops away to black. It creates a pronounced natural contrast, and the stark shadows bring a minimalist element to the compositions. The hidden and obscured parts of the photo put greater emphasis on the elements that are spotlit by the sun.

[Ed note: ‘Waiting for the Sun to Come Down’ is a celebration of cars photographed in dramatic natural light from our great friend Kevin McCauley. It’s a collection of over 75 cars and more than 100 images, united by the common theme: automotive scenes with hard, mysterious shadows. Pre-order it now.]

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I really try to approach every one of these photos as a scene — the light and shadow is just as important as the car. But the cars are also really special, and I’m thrilled to be able to include some very interesting cars in the book.

I’ve chosen the six most Autopian cars from Waiting For the Sun To Come Down, and a little bit about the cars and my experience photographing them. The book doesn’t have any driving impressions — that’s not really what it’s about — so this is also an opportunity to drop in a bit of that as well.

Lancia Fulvia Coupé 3

Autopian 01 Fulvia

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The Fulvia embodies ‘more than the sum of its parts.’ The 1.3 liter V4 makes just 89 horsepower, but you feel the delivery with utmost urgency as you fly through the 5-speed gearbox. Front-wheel drive? It truly does not matter when it sounds, looks, and drives this good. After a few minutes behind the wheel, you wonder why anyone would need anything more.

I photographed this car for a friend who has automotive attention deficit disorder, and had decided to sell it. I was heading home when I spotted this slice of morning light that found its way between the buildings downtown, and I stopped on the road for a few dozen photos. This image is one that I missed in my initial pass — I uncovered it this year, while compiling images for Waiting, and I like it more than the selects I had chosen back in 2021.

Maserati Khamsin

Maserati Khamsin

Maserati’s tumultuous (tragic?) ownership history led to many odd product decisions. One of which was fitting its Ghibli successor, the Khamsin, with high-pressure hydraulic systems from parent company Citroën.

It has speed-sensitive variable assistance, and hydraulically actuated and assisted clutch command and brakes. So driving it is… weird. The pressure-sensitive brake pedal doesn’t move, and the clutch has extremely short travel. The steering is super tight lock-to-lock, and auto-unwinds. And before you can start the car (something you do a lot during a comprehensive photo shoot), you must wait for hydraulic pressure to build, and then loudly buzz at you to give you the all-clear. As far as memorable driving experiences go, it’s way, way up there.

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Usually brown doesn’t ‘pop’ against deep shadows, but I found a view where the brown lit up just enough, and we get a hint of the Bertone-designed front-engine wedge shape. The high perspective and narrow crop are undoubtedly hiding a bunch of ugly stuff just out of frame.

Fiat Panda 4×4

Fiat Panda

I loved driving and throwing around this tiny, Giugiaro-penned box. At the time I said “it feels like a tin can with virtually no comforts, but everything that’s there is designed, and purposeful.”

I photographed this for a listing in 2021. For most cars, the dramatic, front three-quarter shot is best, but I think the dead-straight rear view is one of the Panda’s best angles. We get the stance, the narrowness, the squareness, and the fantastic italicized Helvetica logotype stamped into the tailgate.

Ferrari GTB Turbo

Km Ferrari Gtb Turbo Smaller

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As a child, I was obsessed with the shape of the Ferrari 308/328 twins. Later, as a teenage car nerd, I learned about the Italian market tax-dodge turbo versions, and dismissed them as weaker versions. Now, as a hopeless car d0rk of a certain age, I think a turbocharged 2.o-liter Ferrari V8 is just about the coolest thing on the planet.

Driving this car — sure, it’s fantastic. The tiny V8 revs to nearly 8000 rpm and has more than a hint of chaotic, Porsche 930-like power delivery. But explaining this car to people? That brings me indescribable joy.

If you wanted a Ferrari with a factory boost gauge, up until the 2010s, your only options were the F40, the 288 GTO, and this. Those supercars are legendary, but when would you ever get the chance to explain those to someone?

This shot was taken from the top of one of my favorite parking structures. (Houston consists of nothing but concrete sprawl, so we rank our concrete constructions). I love high perspective shots to give a lesser-seen view, and with the GTB, this angle shows off the Berlinetta roof (as opposed to Spider-based GTS Turbo), and the intercooler-bump on the engine cover.

Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1

Km Autech Stelvio

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In 2019, I went to Ohio to photograph the Stelvio Zagato AZ1 for a story. Myron Vernis found us a neat, tucked away, industrial location to use for photos of his new JDM coupe, and I immediately found a weird decommissioned rail bridge to stand on. I was looking down from the bridge when the clouds broke to allow the only 5 minutes of sun we saw the entire day.

I love how the sunlight brought out the metallic flake in the dark blue paint, and how the perspective makes the fender-enclosed mirrors look even stranger.

Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda

Km Hemi Cuda

It occurred to me that I had singled out five foreign-made cars, most of which were never even sold in the US market. So I wanted to include something all-American: specifically, an All American Racer.

The Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda was produced only for the 1970 model year, and as with some of the absolute coolest cars in history, it was built to homologate it for racing. Specifically, to get the 340 cubic inch V8 approved for SCCA Trans Am use.

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This example was automatic with a white vinyl interior, so it had strayed slightly from its Trans Am origins, but all the cool bits were there: hood pins, graphics, and just look how purple it is! I mostly idled this car around the owner’s property and parked it two dozen times, but being behind the wheel of any sort of homologation car always feels like you’re driving a link to motorsports history.

Why I Do This

Sun Come Down Kevin Mccauley

I’ve accepted that I’ll never have a sprawling car collection. A vast garage filled with obscure exotics and oddball imports probably isn’t in the cards, and that’s alright.

When I photograph a car, sometimes it feels like I’m taking a small piece of it with me. I’m not saying that when I shoot a car, it’s some divine, transcendent experience, but it is an experience: a moment, a feeling, or scene that I’ll always remember. I think every photographer feels this way at some level.

If I can capture a photo that I’m excited about, where I feel like I’ve put my mark or my own spin on it, it’s like I come away with tangible object, something real that I can keep. This book is a collection of mementos from my experiences with these cars.

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The book is now available for preorder now from Carrara Books so go get it. All photos by the author, reprinted with permission.

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Rhymes With Bronco
Rhymes With Bronco
11 days ago

Nice work!

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
12 days ago

I think to myself what is the most Autopian car ever?
Where is the Citroën Méhari. ?

Evan Finn
Evan Finn
12 days ago

those photos quite lovely. nicely done

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
12 days ago

Very nice! Those are some fantastic photos. If I had my choice of any classic muscle car, the AAR Cuda would probably be my top choice, so I absolutely love that photo of one.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
13 days ago

These are beautiful!

Is Travis
Is Travis
13 days ago

Kevin! My man from the Youtube videos on how to shoot cars! Love your work, super excited you’ve got a book coming out. That is an instabuy. Excellent title. The golden hour doesn’t just magically appear, you have to wait/plan.
The real question here, are you working for Autopian in some capacity now?
(Idiotchasingcarswithdrones on YT)

Last edited 13 days ago by Is Travis
Mike F.
Mike F.
13 days ago

Beautiful photos, and a Maserati Khamsin, no less! Wow.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
13 days ago

And people ask me why I like a desktop more than a phone. Pictures!

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
13 days ago

Masterwork! Someone who understands their subject and how to light it. Keep up the good work.

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
13 days ago

I would very much like a Panda 4×4

Slower Louder
Slower Louder
13 days ago

Beautiful. Thank you. Screen on my phone did not do justice.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
13 days ago

kervin has good parsh: fact

Is Travis
Is Travis
13 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

An amazing parsh indeed

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
13 days ago

“As a child, I was obsessed with the shape of the Ferrari 308/328 twins.”

This was the car I was drawing in the back of my notebook all through High School.
Both the Berlinetta and the Spider.

I generally preferred the Berlinetta because it didn’t have the louvers over the rear quarter window – It was a cleaner design overall.

Last edited 13 days ago by Urban Runabout
Livernoisman
Livernoisman
13 days ago

Just these few photos drive home how boring most car paint jobs are.

Gene1969
Gene1969
13 days ago

I have much respect for you doing this endeavor. Getting a project like this published is such a feat in of itself. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

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