Replica Helmets, and Why We Need Them In Racing Part 5

martin1-1By David G. Firestone

Last November, I discussed replica helmets. Between then and now, I came across a line of replica helmets that were released in the 1990’s. I sincerely don’t know how I missed these growing up. These look like the kinds of things that were marketed in the NASCAR catalog, and Winston Cup Illustrated.

The company that made them was called Sports Cover Up. They are long out of business, and this is the only product I was ever able to find them making. Helmet marketing was interesting back then because Simpson was marketing mini helmets of the drivers who they made helmets for, Bell made some too, but from what I’ve seen, these were done on a team by team basis.

There are two kinds. The first ones were made in 1997, and made of a softer plastic. It almost has a rubbery feel to it. The visor is stuck in place, and can’t be moved up, and they have a thick plastic bottom permanently attached to the helmet. There are 5 holes, one large and four tiny. As for the design, I was able to find three examples, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, and Mark Martin. Bobby Labonte was sponsored by Interstate Batteries, and the motif looks good. Previously, Labonte had worn NFL helmet designs, but that went away, and was replaced with Interstate Batteries motifs, and this example looks really good.blabonte1-1 blabonte1-2 blabonte1-3 blabonte1-4 blabonte1-5 blabonte1-6

Bill Elliott was sponsored by McDonald’s and the motif looks like a real McDonald’s helmet. McDonald’s has a really good shade of red, and it is frequently used on the helmets of the drivers they sponsor. This example really does look like a race helmet, though I don’t know who Serengeti, the visor stripe sponsor is though.elliott-1-1 elliott-1-2 elliott-1-3 elliott-1-4 elliott-1-5 elliott-1-6

The Mark Martin helmet is great because it really looks like what Martin used to wear in the 1990’s when he was sponsored by Valvoline. The details are good, and the visor stripe is accurate too. One thing I noticed is that on the bottom, it states that Roush Racing was, at the time this helmet was made, located in Livonia Michigan. I never knew that. Apparently, the team was originally a small piece of Roush Enterprises, but has since grown into a racing powerhouse.

martin1-1 martin1-2 martin1-3 martin1-4 martin1-5 martin1-6Sports Cover Up released a second set of full-size helmets, which we will discuss next week.

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