Pebble Beach, CA, July 31, 2008 – Bill Neale, a founding member of the renowned Automotive Fine Arts Society, will unveil several new paintings including “Fangio’s D50 Lancia/Ferrari” at the 23rd annual AFAS art show at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 17, 2008. Neale’s spectacular works, such as his stunning salute to the five time world champion driver, will be a highlight of the annual show on the fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links in an exhibit sponsored by the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company.
“I had the good fortune to meet Juan Manual Fangio many years ago,” said Neale. “Like so many of the truly great drivers, he was a gracious gentleman outside the race car but a real lion behind the wheel. He was as impressive an individual as he was a sportsman, which is why I wanted to create a painting that celebrated him doing what he loved most.”
Argentinean Juan Manuel Fangio, often called “El Maestro” (“the Master”) dominated the first decade of Formula One racing. He won five F1 championships, which is a record that stood for 46 years, with four different teams including Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz and Maserati; no one has repeated this accomplishment. Many still consider him to be the greatest driver of all time.
Fangio drove a mighty Mercedes Benz W196 for the Daimler Benz team in 1955, where he won the F1 World Championship. In 1956, Fangio moved to Ferrari to replace Alberto Ascari, who had been killed in an accident. There, he drove the D50 Lancia/Ferrari to his fourth title.
In Neale’s 21” X 27” oil painting, Fangio is setting his blood red D50 up for a fast corner. The steely eyed Argentinean looks coolly ahead as he prepares to downshift the five speed transmission and blip the throttle to the 152 c.i.d. high revving V8. With the dominating car set against a sparse background, Neale captures every detail of the suspension, bodywork and pilot while conveying the dynamic fluidity of the moment. The F1 Lancia/Ferrari D50 seems to be tearing off the canvas as it roars toward the next apex.
“Most of Fangio’s major accomplishments as a driver came while in his 40s, which was an age when many racers were retiring,” added Neale. “It’s amazing that he was so dominating when the perception was that racing was a young man’s game. With his ability to control a car on a knife’s edge and push his vehicles so hard without breaking them, he ran rings around men half his age. Even today, the greatest drivers are typically cast as a modern day Fangio when praised for their prowess. But there will never be another Fangio.”
Fangio has been a favorite subject of Neale over the years. Today, two of his other paintings of “El Maestro” hang in the official Fangio museum in Balcarce, Argentina.
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.