It all began with a Corvette. My mom had a 1959 when she met my dad, and shortly after they wed, a 1964 Stingray Convertible joined the family. Those days, seat belts were optional. The 1964 Stingray might have been a 2-seater, but my parents made 4 people fit by letting me and my sister sit in the opening under the convertible cover compartment. Long on fun, but short on safety—not something you could get away with today.
Time passed, and I found my life full of things occupying the space in my head where the memories of those Corvette cruises lived. I was visiting the first AutoMotorPlex campus in Minnesota in 2009, and I saw a giant 18’x16’ painting of a classic Corvette on a scenic drive on the inside of condo owner Sheldon Hess’s garage door. The memories came flooding back, and I was inspired to start collecting automobiles and memorabilia which reminded me of the childhood I look back on so fondly.
A giant tachometer – revs up the conversation at their garage condo.
Corvettes were just the beginning with my mom. She was also a big fan of Formula 1. We would frequently drive from our family home in western Massachusetts to Montreal to watch races. The love for Formula 1 racing handed down from my mom has allowed us to share many wonderful experiences through the years. We even traveled to COTA in Austin Texas to take in a race together. My mom knows all of the drivers, all of the rivalries, and all of the rich history of Formula 1.
What fascinates me the most about F1 cars, is the staggering amount of technologies working in tandem, that allow an F1 car to go from a 200-mph straightaway run, into a hairpin turn, and back up to speed in a matter of mere seconds. The steering wheel of an F1 car is a technological marvel in and of itself. Buttons, knobs, switches, sensors, screens and more, give the driver granular control over every part of the car. Just seeing an F1 steering wheel would be enough to spark a lifelong passion!
I definitely had the passion and the vision for my automobile and memorabilia collection, but not the space. So, my wife and I purchased a private garage in the newest AutoMotorPlex facility in Medina, MN. I hired a designer to bring my ideas to life, and tie in my love for Formula 1 in a tasteful and functional garage/loft buildout.
Central entertainment area featuring Formula 1 artwork.
I wanted an art centerpiece that captured the F1 of yesteryear, neon signs of my favorite car marques, and to have the garage walls covered in larger-than-life artwork. There’s something about a giant tachometer on the wall which simply “starts the conversation”! Garage buildouts are a bit of unspoken competition between the 180 members at the AutoMotorPlex in Medina, and I wanted mine to not only stand out but to genuinely reflect my passion.
Their garage condo centerpiece is an impressive commissioned back-lit artwork from Doug Buchanon of Garage Graphics, featuring a Formula 1 Dan Gurney Eagle Weslake print by David Townsend of Sports Car Art
I commissioned a special piece of artwork—of a Gurney Eagle Weslake to adorn the loft area of our new garage. Doug Buchanan of Garage Graphics out of Omaha helped bring the idea to life. He used dye-sublimation printing, producing extraordinary detail in a large back-lit display. The photo is from artist David Townsend, and also features my favorite track, Circuit de Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. Uniquely, this is not only an incredibly life-size photo but also an intricate technical illustration showing the inner workings of engine suspension, brakes, etc. Another great signed and original photo we found for our garage condo is of Kimi Räikkönen, Formula 1 world champion. He is pictured driving a Ferrari SF15-T at the 2015 Canadian Grand Prix, headed around the curve with at least one tire in the air!
Original signed photograph of Kimi Räikkönen, Formula 1 world champion.
One of my favorite pieces is my racing simulator. Although, I don’t think they are collectible yet. However, I expect they might follow in the footsteps of the PacMan machine in the future, as it is such great fun to “play”. I get to drive my favorite car on my favorite track anytime—and I don’t even have to leave my garage! My Mom is at it again, but now with my daughter Sara… going on drives and sharing driving experiences together, bringing the passion for cars and the motorsports lifestyle to life for her. It’s called “GarageLife” for the next generation!
Favorite car marque neon signs light up their garage space.
As told to Bruno Silikowski by Joseph M
Giant 16’x18’ Corvette painting on inside of Sheldon H’s garage door back in 2009. Bruno snuck in the picture, so everyone could see how really big this artwork is!
March/April 2020 edition
Issue #9 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
AutoMotorPlex – written by Bruno Silikowski