There are a number of great automotive fine artists out there that create high quality artwork documenting the great races, cars and drivers from the golden age of European auto racing. this sort of artwork is certainly a niche market, there are a limited number of artists and prints they produce. If you’re an automotive enthusiast looking for some of this limited edition artwork, where do you go to get it, who do you talk to?
I was recently looking for artwork to hang on my office wall. I needed something Mercedes-Benz related, I was looking for something, ideally, having to do with Mercedes-Benz racing from the 1950s, either from Italy’s legendary Mille Miglia or Targo Florio or perhaps something from the 24 hours of Le Mans in France. While searching for “Mercedes-Benz Artwork” and “Mercedes Benz Racing Artwork” on Google I stumbled across Gainesville, FL based Freck’s Automotive Art Inc.
I spent the better part of an hour looking through the different categories of artwork on their website. They have a wonderful collection of artwork from automotive fine artists including Nicholas Watts, Michael Mate, Juan Carlos Ferrigno, Alan Fearnley and Simon Ward among others. There are original paintings and limited edition artist proofs and prints, many signed by the drivers depicted in the artwork. Many of these pieces are signed by such racing legends as Sterling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio, others are signed by more recently minted racing legends like Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Michael Schumacher.
Just about every great racing marque is represented, Jaguar, Aston Martin, of course, Porsche and Ferrari… and there are a handful of Mercedes-Benz pieces as well. Many people new to the Mercedes-Benz brand don’t realize that while Mercedes had a rich pre war racing history and solid racing experience into the 1950s, a terrible accident involving a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR at the 1955 running of the 24 hours of Le Mans resulting in 83 spectator deaths and an additional 120 spectator injuries prompted Mercedes Benz, as a manufacturer, to pull out of racing all together for more than 30 years. Pretty much any road racing Mercedes-Benz cars between 1956 and the late 1980s were fielded by privateers, not factory teams.
In any case… the Mercedes-Benz racing history is rich and full and many of the high points of Mercedes-Benz racing history are captured in the artwork I discovered on the Freck’s Auto Art website. I opted to purchase a print of Sterling Moss (driver) and Dennis Jenkinson (navigator) running their record breaking 1955 Mille Miglia race in, what is considered, the most famous Mercedes-Benz racing car of all time, 300SLR #722. That’s the piece pictured at the top of this post… notice the crumpled front passenger’s side fender, that happened during a brief off road excursion during the race.
If you’re not familiar with the Mille Miglia, you should be. It was a thousand mile race (Mille Miglia, in Italian means 1000 miles) held more or less annually, on the public roads of Italy, between 1927 and 1957… save for the years during the occasional World War and a few other interruptions over the years. The Targa Florio was another race held on the public roads of Italy, it carried on until the early 1970s, until speeds we so high and it became so dangerous, for all involved, that the event was ultimately banned.
I look forward to receiving my signed Watts print soon. Once I get it I will take it right to the frame shop and then it will be mounted on my office wall. In my experience, Freck’s ships promptly and carries a wide variety of automotive art representing all the great races, racers, and cars from the pre war period to very recent Formula 1 and Le Mans events. Be sure to visit the Freck’s Auto Art website to get something very special for that automotive enthusiast in your household this holiday season, they will love it!