Amelia Island, Fla. February 15, 2008 –-Bill Neale, a founding member of the renowned Automotive Fine Arts Society, will rekindle the competitive spirit of road racing’s golden age when he unveils “Parnelli Jones” at the 2008 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 7-9, 2008, in Amelia Island, Fla. The 24” x 36” acrylic on canvas painting depicts racing legend and 2008 Concours Grand Marshal, Parnelli Jones, at speed in a Shelby American King Cobra at Riverside International Raceway in 1964. Neale will debut his painting during the annual AFAS art exhibit sponsored by Mazda, which will include additional member pieces in a variety of mediums including watercolors, acrylics, oils, wood and various metals.
“While Parnelli Jones is best known for his racing at the Indy 500, my painting pays homage to his enormous talent which was apparent when he dominated the challenging tarmac at Riverside,” said Neale. “Though he didn’t get to practice before the race, Parnell still blew away the rest of the field. Ironically, that victory in the King Cobra marked the final season of the car’s competitiveness while also being Parnelli’s first professional sports car race. This was truly an important moment in racing history.”
In Neale’s painting, the Shelby King Cobra Can-Am sports car piloted by Jones is thundering to victory at the 7th Annual Los Angeles Times Grand Prix on October 11, 1964. With its reliable American 289 c.i.d. Ford engine, English chassis and signature Shelby racing stripes, the sports car represented the pinnacle of automotive innovation during racing’s golden era.
“From Carroll Shelby’s upstart team to European powerhouses like Scuderia Ferrari, racers across the globe pushed the envelope during the 1960s with new technologies while continually scouting for drivers who could put them in the winner’s circle,” added Neale. “And auto manufacturers rushed to channel their involvement in racing to sales of production vehicles. That philosophy continues today with the high level of competition in leagues likes Formula 1, ALMS and NASCAR. Forty years later, the talents of engineers and drivers are being leveraged by automotive companies battling for a competitive edge. Versatile drivers, like Parnelli Jones, are still hot commodities in the racing world.”
As a founding member of the AFAS, Neale’s paintings are treasured centerpieces in many exclusive private and museum collections across the globe. A contributing artist for Car&Driver, Cavallino and Automobile Magazine, he is best known for his private commissions of cars ranging from old Ferraris to the newest models out of Munich, Detroit and Tokyo. Neale resides in Dallas with his wife Nelda.