Spark Plugs & Checkmates

$36,500 Renault F1 chess set

Here at E3 Spark Plugs, we’re about energy, ecology and efficiency in your drive, whether it’s the family sedan, your weekend muddin’ truck or the sleek, strong racecar you’re hoping will win big at the tracks. But we’re always amazed at those who see a simple spark plug as a thing of artistic value. And this time, we’ve found some of the coolest spark plug art we’ve seen. Chess, anyone?

Artist Armando Ramirez has designed two chess sets that will make any auto buff proud to own. Each of the boards and game pieces are made using scrap metal including leftover metal pieces from a die machine; cogs, bearings and Bendix caps from auto electrical systems; screws; and, of course, spark plugs. The first, titled “Recycling Challenge” features kings, pawns and horses made from automotive cogs, queens made from cogs and bearings, and bishops made with spark plugs and towers from cogwheels. The chessboard is made using a metal sheet resting on a platform made of ornate iron wires and Bendix caps. It retails for $176.95.

Where the “Recycling Challenge” chess set is designed to have a rough finish and can feature smudges and scratches, his “Rustic Warriors” chess set has a more polished look. Spark plugs again do battle as bishops. Pawns are made of heavy boots and sprockets. Each piece has a solid and study feel.  And the tiered chessboard makes a clanging sound. Retail will set you back $492.95, but both sets are available at steep discounts from, which sells unique works by artists and artisans around the world in association with National Geographic.

Now, a little something for the big ballers: Formula 1 auto racing may not have quite the fan base in the U.S. that it does everywhere else on the globe, but you can’t help but want one of these. The Renault F1 chess set features a chessboard made of the same carbon fiber used to make F1 cars and chess pieces made from assorted parts of F1 car wings, hubs, uprights, cockpits and suspensions. Materials used include leather, stainless steel and titanium. It’s hands-down the sleekest, baddest chess set you’ll ever own – that is, if you can afford the $36,511 price tag. Unfortunately, the website that sells it appears to be down right now. We’ll let you know if it pops back up. Meanwhile, save your pennies. Better yet, why not create your own chess set using your old E3 spark plugs and other trash-bound stuff cluttering your garage. Just be sure to post a photo our E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page.




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