The artworks in this book show the history of the car from its creation up until the start of the 1970s. The posters have been chosen for their importance, rarity, beauty and innovation, as well as for what they represent in terms of significant historical, technical and artistic stages of the motor car. They showcase the work of the designers and illustrators who constantly strove to come up with new ideas and styles to match the technological progress of famous names such as Peugeot, Mercedes Daimler, Renault, Citröen, Bugatti, Buick, Fiat, Rolls Royce and Chrysler, as well as others that are less well-known nowadays.
As the cars developed, so the daredevil drivers and entrepreneurs found increasingly daring exploits with which to show off their prowess and endurance. Emmanuel Lopez charts the history of car racing from early competitions such as the Paris-Rouen in 1894, which saw steam-driven carriages going head-to-head with petrol engines over a 126 km course, through the start of international races and on to the Grand Prix, the rise of circuits such as the Nürburgring and the legendary Le Mans 24-hour Race.
Not to be forgotten are the innovations that enabled cars to become better and better: Michelin's pneumatic tyres, Gentilhomme's car horns, brakes by Boyriven and Triplex windscreens. Alongside these, developments in petrol and engine oil were equally important in making the motor car both a must-have for travel and an enthralling spectacle when racing.
It was not just the cars that changed during this time; the illustrative styles did too. The work of artists such as Berhard, de Valério, Cappiello, Cassandre, Chéret, Ernst, Falucci, Gaudy, Grün, Hohlwein, McKnight Kauffer, Pal, Privat-Livemont and Rochegrosse shows the important variety of styles used by illustrators in this era and brings the wonderful cars and races to life in vivid color.