Tony Singer: Vintage Auto Posters

by Rob Alen

The journey to one's life calling is full of zigs and zags. Tony Singer, known for his, began in New York and ended up in California. Making his mark in a significant way in the car enthusiast world. Like many who have found themselves drawn to automobiles, he had car pictures and posters before he had cars. It's a common rite of passage for your dream car to be first a poster on your bedroom wall.

With a youthful attraction to art, he began in high school and later college to dabble in painting and print making. As time passed and his expertise improved, he worked in a small, high-quality printing company which lead to the big time, New York.

Left: Tony Singer Right: ACF 1938. World renowned art by Geo Ham, for the Auto Club de France event run at Reims.

There business and talent came together to become one of top high-quality, color printers in the New York metropolitan area. Along the way there was a Porsche Super 90 Coupe, Carrera four-cammers, several 904s, 550s, and vintage V-12 Ferraris. Those wall posters were becoming real. He started seeking the whole package and traveled to swap meets in the Pennsylvania area for poster art. And to California in the early days of what is today's Monterey Car Week. A hobby was approaching a business. By 2003, he moved to California.

Left: Cycles & Automobiles Exposition 1897.  One of the earliest posters I've ever seen, done for the village of Liege, Belgium.
Right: Martini  Outstanding image featuring the speeding Martini car and the policeman holding up the stagecoach to let them by. Only time I've ever seen this Swiss poster.

With printing came the early days of the poster. It was a utilitarian way to make announcements to the community. But to fast forward, it was in the mid-1850s with the advent of lithography printing the poster informed, educated, and excited people with color and drama. Art and commerce came together. Posters were temporary, quickly going up and then disappearing from the circular kiosks of Europe touting aperitifs and travel to the sunny Mediterranean.

In the modern age of the early 20th century the popularity of posters continued and they "advertised" automobiles. Automobile companies raced their cars and posters told people about it.

Left: Mille Miglia 1952-1957 original vintage Porsche Factory race commemorative poster 550 Spyder Carrera Coupe
Right: World Championship 1962 world championship original vintage Porsche commemorative poster

Mercedes-Benz used an Austrian artist, Hans Liska, whose paintings of Mercedes victories exaggerated speed with the car jumping out of the frame. Of course, the Porsches (Father and Son) saw this, and when Ferry Porsche started running their small sports car outfit, once again he used racing to build a reputation and race win posters to tell people about it.

Porsche, employed artist Erich Strenger who built their brand image through his creative talent in the applied graphic arts. Tony wrote a book on it, "Porsche Showroom Posters - The First 25 Years." Go in any Porschephile garage and you will probably see one of Strenger's designs claiming victory at the Targa Florio, Monte Carlo Rally, and the 24-Hours of Le Mans.

Left: V Carrera Panamericana original vintage auto race event poster 1954 Right: Europa Bergmeister 1966 original vintage Porsche Factory commemorative poster 906

Now we come to a decision you will have to make: do you put a reproduction up or get a period-original. Tony only sells originals. While a reproduction can satisfy the eye, a period-original poster hits the heart. Authentic, genuine, a slice of time.

If you are a regular to Monterey Car Week, a must stop is AutomobiliaMonterey at the Embassy Suites in Seaside. It is there because of Tony Singer. His hobby had become a business and he created AutomobiliaMonterey to be authentic and genuine, drawing the best, reputable dealers of automotive ephemera from around the world. As the car world seeks to return to its equilibrium, AutomobiliaMonterey will return in full next year August 15-17, 2022.

Automobilia Monterey, annual August show

All images, Tony Singer

motor>spirit - Rob Alen