Andy Warhol never had a driver license—but that speed bump did nothing to deter car fanaticism. Throughout his career, Andy made artwork of great vehicles, including “Cars,” a series commissioned by Mercedes-Benz to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary in 1986. Beginning July 23, the series goes on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles alongside five of the eight Mercedes-Benz vehicles depicted in Warhol’s final commission.
For the 100th anniversary commission, Andy planned to create 80 pieces of art featuring 20 different Mercedes models across the German automaker’s century-long history. Only 49 works were completed before the artist’s death in 1987 left the project unfinished. “Andy Warhol: Cars – Works from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection” features 40 of the original “Cars” works to accompany the iconic vehicles they depict.
In the exhibit, an experimental 1970 C 111-II joins a 637 horsepower 1937 W 125 built for Grand Prix racing, both on loan from the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany. On loan from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, a 1954 W 196 that was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss and won two Formula One world championships joins the collection.
In an adjacent gallery sits Andy’s own car, a 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, in which stars and celebrities from Mick Jagger to Liza Minnelli chauffeured the unlicensed Andy.
Andy’s legendary pop art needs no introduction, but his work with automotives is certainly lesser-known than his “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn,” for example, which recently sold for a record-breaking $195 million. “Not many have seen his automotive works, so we are excited to display them to the public alongside the unique vehicles that inspired his creative visions. It is an exclusive exhibit that appeals to both admirers of fine art and amazing automobiles,” said Petersen Automotive Museum executive director Terry L. Karges.