The Girardo & Co. Christmas Video 2020 – The Making Of
24 December 2020
by Alex Easthope
Since so many of you from all corners of the world have had so many great things to say about our latest Christmas video, starring the ex-Works Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2, we thought you’d like a behind-the-scenes look at how we turned an outlandish idea into a reality. Buckle up and hold onto your hats!
If we’re being completely honest, we had no plans to make one of our famous Christmas films in 2020. We’d been so preoccupied with our office move, and Covid hadn’t exactly made it straightforward to do anything outlandish. But then, in November, we found a new home for one of, if not the greatest Group B rally car of them all: the Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2.
One of the most popular Lego car kits is of the Sport Quattro S1 E2. Those of you on Instagram might be familiar with Dominic Fraser (@_fraser73), a British photographer who painstakingly recreates famous period photos of the Quattro in action out of Lego. If you haven’t seen his charming and beautifully detailed geometric dioramas, we heartily recommend you do so.
With the real Quattro on its way from Finland to Belchers Farm and several Lego kits in the post, we wanted to take Dominic’s concept one step further. Enter Tom May of Salterns Media, the Oxfordshire-based videographer who was only too happy to pop over and brainstorm some ideas.
“Given Lego is a stocking staple for thousands of big and little kids each Christmas, it felt like the perfect opportunity to create a killer festive film.”
Given Lego is among the most popular toys on the planet and a stocking staples for thousands of big and little kids each Christmas, it felt like the perfect opportunity to create a killer festive film. Besides, our clients, friends and followers had been pestering us to make another one since the summer! And let’s face it, Christmas cheer was most welcome after the countless challenges 2020 threw in all our faces.
‘A Christmas Miracle’. That was the working title for the storyboard Tom May had created within what felt like hours of our meeting. The premise was simple: our newest member of the team Alex Easthope was working late on Christmas Eve, ruing the day he ever joined Girardo & Co., until a chance discovery beneath the Christmas tree delivered all his Christmases at once.
If for some miraculous reason you haven’t seen the final full-length film, we’ve popped it below to remind you of the plot.
With the idea hatched, it was action stations. Quite remarkable, the Quattro’s new owner immediately embraced our vision and was delighted to lend us his new toy – before he’d even taken delivery, we might add. To him we are eternally grateful.
We sent Peter out in the Minerva (any excuse!) to fetch two Christmas trees: one enormous one for the office and one to put on top of the Quattro. We set about transforming Belchers Farm into a winter wonderland. We hired Curborough Sprint Course to film the spirited driving scenes during Alex’s dream. We booked our favourite photographer Tom Shaxson to capture the entire process. And we even roped in the leading digital rally hub Dirtfish, who kindly agreed to share the fruits of our ‘labour’.
Despite all Alex’s hopes and dreams, there was only one man to ask when it came to grabbing the Audi by the scruff of its neck and driving it with sheer gusto: Ian Gwynne. Gwynne’s BGM Sport outfit is one of the UK’s most respected rally car specialists and Ian himself used to be a very handy rally driver.
Ian and his team at BGM have helped us for many of our previous videos, including McRae versus McRae, so it was a no-brainer to entrust them with the fastidious preparation of the Quattro and, of course, the driving duties.
The scene was finally set. Well, at least after a lot of head scratching about the most effective way to affix a five-foot Christmas tree on the roof of an Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2. With great difficulty is the answer to that question!
Mercifully, the filming went without hitch and, unsurprisingly, was a complete joy. It was made far more enjoyable by a pool of talented people who share not only a fierce passion for old rally cars, but also a great – if trivial – sense of humour.
“The undisputed star of the show was the ballistic, 550HP, five-cylinder cuboid on wheels that, for many, epitomises the magic and lunacy of the Group B era.”
Sorry Alex. In spite of your charisma and natural flair in front of the camera (ahem) that we’re sure will have Hollywood calling, the undisputed star of the show was the ballistic, 550HP, five-cylinder cuboid on wheels that, for many, epitomises the magic and lunacy of the Group B era.
Audi only built 20 of these ultimate-spec Quattros, before Group B was prematurely cancelled in 1986. To simply stand in the car’s presence in goosebump-inducing, but to witness it being expertly driven at full tilt, rear wheel cocked, flames spewing and turbo whistling, was an experience that we know is seared in the memories of everyone involved. We hope it’s made a similarly indelible impression on you. Happy New Year!
Photos: Tom Shaxson
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