Buyer's Guide: The Klemantaski Collection

By Winding Road Staff

May 19, 2014

Louis Klemantaski, whose motorsport photography work spans from 1930s through the 1970s, represents the pinnacle of the Jacques-Henri Lartigue aesthetic, a photographer who pioneered the art of capturing images moving objects during the turn of the 20th century. The son of a Willys-Overland importer, Klemantaski spent his youth at the famous Brooklands racing circuit in Surrey, England, both racing on the circuit as well as taking photos of cars during races. In 1933, Klemantaski's pursuit of a professional racing career was cut short by a leg injury, and he subsequently took over as secretary of the Junior Racing Drivers Club, which is considered by many to be the first racing driver's school anywhere in the world. At the outbreak of World War II, his skilled photography was considered an invaluable asset to the Allied Forces, who utilized Klemantaski's talent for photographing objects moving at high speed to help researchers develop new weapons systems.
After the end of the war, now having honed his photography skills even further, Klemantaski found a renewed interest in motorsport, taking part in numerous road rallies throughout Europe, where he also rekindled his love of motorsport photography. Klemantaski attended every race he could get to, always finding ways to place himself, and in turn, the eye of the camera, as close to the action as possible in order to capture the sensations of motion.
The Klemantaski Collection is an archive of motorsport photographs spanning across Klemantaski's career during the golden age of motorsport, and includes images from other talented motorsport photographers from the era as well. Let's take a closer look at a few of the images from various eras of road racing in The Collection, all of which are available from the Winding Road Racing store: 
The Junior Car Club Meeting Brookland, May 6 1939 
Norman Wilson showing great intensity with his E.R.A. on the Mountain Circuit. Note the complete absence of any safety equipment.
Fangio in The Maserati 250f Monza, 1957
The Argentinian master switched from Ferrari to Maserati for 1957 to contend for his fifth F1 championship. Obviously, he knew what he was doing -- he had secured the title at the German GP, with four wins out of six races to that point. Moss, now in a Vanwall, came on strong at the end of the season, but it was too little too late. Fangio finished second in the final two races to win his record fifth title convincingly.
The Le Mans 24 Hours Le Mans June 25-26 1960
The 250 Testa Rossa of Olivier Gendebien and Paul Frère leaving the second part of the Esses on its way to a popular victory.
The Le Mans 24 Hours Le Mans, June 10-11 1967
Early in the race the Ferrari 330P4 of Chris Amon and Nino Vaccarella leads the Chaparral 2F driven by Bruce Jennings and Bob Johnson. Neither car would finish the race, as the Ferrari caught fire and burnt out while the Chaparral had electric maladies.
The German Grand Prix Nurburgring, August 1 1976
Niki Lauda gets airborne at Flugplatz with the Ferrari 312T during practice. Notably, it was in this particular race on the second lap that Lauda had his infamous accident on the approach to Bergwerk, suffering severe burns.
Click here to view all the Klemantaski Collection photos available in the Winding Road Racing store.