Press Release

Phoenix Art Museum Presents Landmark Exhibition of Historic, World-Renowned Racing Cars

Event Date: 
3 November 2019 to 15 March 2020
Phoenix, Arizona
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Legends of Speed Will Feature More Than 20 Iconic Cars Driven by Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Stirling Moss, and Others, and Will Include Winners of 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500

From November 3, 2019 through March 15, 2020, Phoenix Art Museum will present Legends of Speed, the Museum’s first major exhibition of racing cars. Legends of Speed will showcase an unprecedented selection of more than 20 cars spanning six decades and driven by some of the greatest drivers in the history of racing, such as A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, and Stirling Moss. The exhibition will include winners of 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500, and the Italian Grand Prix, and featured marques will include Maserati, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Ford, and Bugatti. Phoenix Art Museum will be the sole venue for this landmark exhibition.

“We are very excited to bring this remarkable collection of racing cars to Phoenix Art Museum,” said Gilbert Vicario, the Museum’s Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and the Selig Family Chief Curator. “Legends of Speed will enable our community to explore the artistry and design of these iconic cars, while learning about some of the greatest races and race car drivers in history. This exhibition is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience many of the world’s most famous and successful race cars all in one place.”

Inspired by the success of the Museum’s 2007 Curves of Steel, the first art exhibition to explore the impact and influence of streamlining on American and European 20th-century automobile design, Legends of Speed will again bring a standout selection of historic cars to Phoenix, this time featuring legendary racing cars. The first of its kind in the Museum’s history, the exhibition, which will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, will feature cars from the 1910s through the 1970s. All of the featured cars will be loaned to the Museum by internationally recognized collectors and automotive museums from across the United States and Arizona, including Melani and Rob Walton and the Indianapolis MotorSpeedway Museum. Highlights will include A.J. Foyt’s first Indianapolis 500 winner, loaned to the Museum by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and Mario Andretti’s Formula-One championship winner, a 1977 Lotus 79. Arizona audiences will also have the opportunity to view a Ford GT 40 that won the renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans in France twice, first in 1968 when it was driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi, and again in 1969 when it was driven by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver.

In addition to modern racing cars, Legends of Speed will present a number of cars engineered prior to World War II, including the original 1911 Franklin driven by Ralph Hamlin in the 1910 Desert Classic, also known as the “Cactus Derby.” The offroad race from Los Angeles to Phoenix predated the modern interstate highway, and Hamlin’s Franklin came in second place, surviving the 500-mile journey across rugged desert terrain. The exhibition will also feature a 1929 Bugatti Type 35 driven by Hellé Nice, colloquially known as “The Bugatti Queen.” Nice, whose real name was Helene Delangle, was the first Women’s Grand Prix winner and is considered the fastest woman racing professional prior to World War II.

About the Exhibition

Legends of Speed will be on view from November 2, 2019 through March 15, 2020 in Steele Gallery. Legends of Speed is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the generosity of Melani and Rob Walton, through The Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, Susan and Carter Emerson, Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, Joan Cremin Exhibition Endowment, Laurie and Budd Florkiewicz, Jackson Family Foundation, APS, and OUTFRONT MEDIA. Additional support is provided by Sonia and John Breslow, Nancy and Najeeb Kahn, Del and Sharron Lewis, and narrativeTM. It is also made possible through the generosity of the Museum's Circles of Support and Museum Members.

Legends of Speed will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. For more details about the exhibition, please visit phxart.org.

About Phoenix Art Museum

Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art. Located in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the Museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 350,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the Museum’s collection of more than 19,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed for visitors of all ages, along with vibrant photography exhibitions made possible through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit our website, or call 602-257-1880.

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1967 All American Racer, Gurney Eagle F-1 Race Car. Private Collection. Photo: Peter Harholdt.

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