From a very young age, Jacques Grelley loved car racing. He was a class winner at Le Mans 1961, which inspired his designs of famous original racing-car posters and photography from the golden age of automobile and Grand Prix racing.
Amassed during his life as a professional race-car driver and auto- racing enthusiast, many of his iconic images are familiar to even casual fans; to early auto- racing and Grand Prix aficionados, they represent the most affordable and accessible connection to this celebrated racing era..
Racing Posters is only one of many successes in a long line of accomplishments for the remarkable Frenchman.
Grelley’s life has been auspicious: He was unknowingly used as a bicycle courier in the French Resistance in World War II; and at age 8 from a cliff-top perch, he witnessed the Allies streaming at dawn at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
After surviving the war, he was a spectator at the first Le Mans 24-hour race in 1949 and narrowly escaped death in 1955 as a car went into the grandstands, killing 83 spectators and driver Pierre Levegh, and injuring an additional 120 bystanders in the most catastrophic accident in racing history.
Six years later, Grelley and two teammates made their own history, winning their class in 1961. Grelley became a personal friend and confidant of drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Maurice Trintignant, and friend to many other racers of the era, including Carroll Shelby and Stirling Moss.
He later became a highly successful wine merchant in the U.S. before starting his Racing Posters business.
One of the unique aspects of Grelley's business was the interesting media he used for his reproductions. Our vintage posters cannot only be purchased on traditional stock, but also on clocks, ceramic tiles and tapestries. Plus, we've recently added other specialty products to the growing list of offerings.
Our Collection now include our Official Poster Reprints and — their derivatives including:
Jacques was a fixture at motor- racing events around the world with his unique collection. What is so significant about him is that many of the posters and images available for purchase carry a personal story. Grelley was living history, and the stories he shared behind his incredible collection are priceless.
In 1993, England's "Classic Car" magazine recognized Jacques Grelley's auto racing poster collection as the world s largest. A native of France, Mr. Grelley has lived 'n the U.S. He was also a serious collector of vintage race cars —his stable included several Deutsch Bonners and the Alpine Renault M63 prototype from Le Mans '63.
During an interview from Automobile Magazine in August 1994, he said:
"I started my collection of original Racing Posters in 1965. By 1980, I had about 500 posters, at which point I became a serious collector. Today. in 1994, I have more than 2200 posters; dating from 1894, to the most current Of G.P. Endurance or Rally races (and any other race) from 32 different countries over the world ... and the collection is still growing!
Many people ask me, Why Racing Posters? Well, it is my hobby, and, if you know what you are doing, it can also be a good investment. Since 1894, thousands of expert writers reported, most with authority and great detail, almost every race in the world and also about the lives of the great race car drivers. In 1993, more than 1400 books connected to auto racing were published worldwide along with thousands of magazine and news articles. Yes, auto racing is very much alive
I do not write books, but I can display the history of auto racing in posters. If I take only 10 posters, one for every 10 years from 1900 to 1990, you will have a visual idea of the evolution of auto racing. In 1991, I displayed 500 posters during a banquet in Palm Springs, California, at the occasion of Rick Cole's tribute to the great Phil Hill, who became 30 years earlier the first U .S. World Champion in Formula One.
It is very sad that since 1989 all the G.P. posters in the world look like funeral posters, with the ugly F-I destroying what could be a beautiful print. We owe that disaster to the sinister mortician: Bernie Ecclestone.
The price of racing posters was crazy high from 1985 to 1990. It is more now. There are many ways of participating in "poster passion." Originals are always more intriguing and, of course, have the highest collector interest in the long run. Some can be quite reasonable and trades are possible. However, if those are out of reach, many reproductions are available for visual enjoyment.
Le Mans, Monaco, the Mille Miglia and many old posters are still bringing high prices but don 't forget that in 25 years, a poster from 1994 will be a collectors item. So, it is not too late to start!
By the way, please look in the basement, the attic, or in the bottom of an old drawer little treasure might be hidden!"