The Klemantaski Collection

The British Grand Prix; Silverstone, July 14, 1956. Before the start of the race Juan Manuel Fangio, the best driver, chats with his friend Louis Klemantaski, the best motor racing photographer. Fangio went on to win. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images

Louis Klemantaski, probably the best-known racing photographer of them all, was born of Anglo-Russian stock in 1912. He covered racing of all types from 1936 to 1974, his remarkable compositional skill and trademark technique of short lenses and bold panning giving a convincing feel of speed.

The friend of many drivers, as his relaxed pose with Fangio at the 1956 British GP makes clear above, he rode five times in the Mille Miglia, taking remarkable onboard shots. Here we present some of his most evocative images.

Italian driver Eugenio Castellotti at Tertre Rouge in the early laps of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, June 1955. He shared this Ferrari 121LM with Paolo Marzotto. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

24 Hours of Le Mans, June 11/12, 1955

Eugenio Castellotti leans in against the centrifugal force at Tertre Rouge. In the early laps of the endurance classic, his Ferrari 121LM jousted for the lead with Fangio and Hawthorn.


Prescott Hill-Climb, May 14, 1939. George Abecassis roars up into the Esses in his two-liter Alta. In this photo one can see the twisting road ahead and the slide of the car caught by the driver. Much is blurred by motion, but the steeringwheel is in perfect focus. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Prescott Hillclimb, May 14, 1939

George Abecassis drifts his 2-litre Alta into the Esses on the Gloucestershire hill. Though car and scenery are blurred as the driver winds off lock, the steering wheel is pin-sharp.


The French Grand Prix; Reims-Geuex, July 3, 1938. Rudolph Caracciola making a magnificent start in his Mercedes W154, his tire smoke almost hiding the car behind him. He finished second behind Manfred vonBrauchitsch and was followed by Hermann Lang in a Mercedes sweep. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

French Grand Prix, July 3, 1938

The phenomenal power of the Mercedes W154 is almost palpable during Rudolf Caracciola’s tyre-blistering start. He finished second over the Flat expanses of the Reims circuit.


Alberto Ascari tops the hill at Raidillon on his way to a victory with the Ferrari 500 F2 during the Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps, 22nd June 1952. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Belgian Grand Prix, Spa, June 22, 1952

Klemantaski’s low viewpoint captures the climb through Eau Rouge to Raidillon, where Alberto Ascari sits completely composed in his Ferrari 500 in the year he became World Champion.


The French Grand Prix; Rouen-les Essarts, July 7, 1957. Early morning in the Rouen paddock which was in a lovely grove of pines � the Ferraris are in line to be fueled before the start. Car n. 16 was to be driven by the FrenchmanMaurice Trintignant, but did not finish. Once again Klemantaski uses the natural composition of the surroundings in early morning to evoke the silence before the thunder of the coming race. In the race itself, Fangiowas totally dominant in his Maserati 250F, presaging his astounding victory at the Nürburgring which would come a month later. Starting from pole position, he finished almost a minute ahead of Musso�s Ferrari. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

French Grand Prix, Rouen, July 7, 1957

The Scuderia Ferrari lines up before the race to take on fuel in the pine grove which was the paddock at Rouen-les-Essarts. Early morning sun highlights the flanks of the modified Lancias.


The Ferrari driven by Peter Collins and Louis Klemantaski arrives in the pit lane for refuelling during the Mille Miglia, April 1956. Louis Klemantaski: 'Coming in at high speed for our second refuelling, my heart stopped when the waiting mechanics were about to be annihilated. But such was their faith that they stood their ground and we halted just as the bonnet touched Parenti?s flag.' (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Mille Miglia, April 28/29, 1956

Some of Klemantaski’s most arresting images came from within the car. In 1956 he accompanied Peter Collins on the Mille Miglia. At the second refuelling halt, he pressed the shutter as Collins braked the Ferrari to an inch-perfect stop.


British racing driver Peter Collins at the wheel of the 3.5 litre Ferrari Monza Type 857S during the Giro di Sicilia, Sicily, which he won, 8th April 1956. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Giro di Sicilia, April 8, 1956

Familiar from the cover of Enzo Ferrari’s book Piloti, che Gente, this remains probably the finest shot of a racing driver at work ever taken from aboard the car. Klemantaski sat alongside Peter Collins who won the 671-mile event in a Ferrari Monza.


Before The Mille Miglia; Maranello, May 1957. The team cars (the famous type 315 and 335 Sport four-camshaft models to be driven by Taruffi, von Trips, Collins and de Portago) being prepared in the factory courtyard at Maranello with the Collins/Klemantaski car at the left. It is almost like a ballet in rehearsal. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Maranello, May 1957

Ahead of the Mille Miglia, Ferrari staff swarm over still unpainted team entries. Klemantaski will again passenger Collins; Taruffi will win ahead of von Trips; de Portago will crash with tragic results.


Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina driving the #28 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia-Ferrari D50 Ferrari V8, drifts around Mirabeau during an early morning practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, 13th May 1956. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Monaco Grand Prix, May 13, 1956

Low sun shadows Fangio’s Lancia-Ferrari as he drifts round Mirabeau during morning practice. Despite the tanks obscuring the kerb, his astonishing precision is clear.


Between the two 'Porfido' corners at Monza (now the Parabolica) Alberto Ascari looks back over his shoulder from his Ferrari 375/F1 and directly into Klemantaski?s camera during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, 16th September 1951. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Italian Grand Prix, July 16, 1951

On his way to victory at Monza, Alberto Ascari glances back from his Ferrari 375 to see whose Alfa Romeo 159 is edging up on him. A fortuitous moment, beautifully captured.


The French Grand Prix; Rouen-les Essarts, July 7, 1957. Here is another wonderful photograph from the 1957 French Grand Prix taken during practice at the Ferrari pits. N. 16 is the car of Maurice Trintignant which is being just fired up and n. 14 is the car for Mike Hawthorn. Meanwhile, mechanic Luigi Parenti directs the orchestra at center stage! (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

French Grand Prix, July 7, 1957

Diagonals of shadow and concrete intersect in an unusual overhead view of the Rouen pits. Hawthorn’s Ferrari 801, the final Lancia DSO derivative, waits as Trintignant’s is fired up.


John Surtees, in the Bowmaker Ferrari 250GTO, driving through Paddock Bend during a practise session for the Peco Trophy Race, Brands Hatch, 5th August 1962. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Peco Trophy, Brands Hatch, August 5, 1962

Standing virtually on the Paddock Hill Bend kerbing, Klem is almost looking down on John Surtees in the Bowmaker Ferrari 250GT0, bringing an immediacy today’s long shots lack.


Racing driver Eugenio Castellotti with his Ferrari 'Squalo' walking to the grid before the start of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, 11th September 1955. The man with all the cameras is the well-known photo-journalist Bernard Cahier. (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images)

Italian Grand Prix, September 11, 1955

Eugenio Castellotti looks confident as the mechanics wheel his Super Squalo Ferrari to the Monza start-line. His third place behind the superior Mercedes was the car’s highest result.