The artist and creator behind the fiery rabbit is Bill Neale, a major star in the world of fine automotive art. His masterful paintings serve as centerpieces for many private and museum collections around the globe.
A founding member of the prestigious Automotive Fine Arts Society, Neale has garnered awards and accolades at some of the most prestigious automotive fine art shows in the world. For decades his work has been regularly featured in Car and Driver, Automobile Magazine, Road & Track, Cavalino and Sports Illustrated.
He’s been drawing cars and airplanes ever since he can remember. Neale earned his bachelors and master degrees in Art at the University of North Texas with graduate studies at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute.
Neale draws inspiration from his personal experience as a former SCCA amateur racecar driver and from time spent with legendary drivers at some of the most exciting races of our time. “My first sports car was an MG TD. I also drove a Lotus, A Triumph and several Porsches.”
Neale blazed the trail in automotive art when it wasn’t popular. “I’ve always loved painting cars, but automotive fine art was not taken too seriously by the ‘establishment’ when I was starting out,” explains Neale. So I went into the advertising business. This allowed me to make a living during the day and then hit the canvas with my automotive art at night.” His successful career in advertising took him from Creative Director and V.P. of Tracy Locke/BBD&O to owning his own firm, Point Communications, until he sold it in the late eighties.
“Bill’s paintings are historically accurate, impeccably detailed and emotionally irresistible,” says Gerald Roush, fine art collector and editor of the Ferrari Market Letter.
The key to Bill’s success is his ability to paint a subject in the medium which best captures its spirit. Most artists typically paint in only one medium, but Bill is equally skilled with watercolors, acrylics and oils. The result is a style that is all his own.
Recognized as one of the most prolific automotive artists of our time, Neale is often noted for his friendship with Carroll Shelby. “In my opinion, Bill is simply the best automotive fine artists in the world today,” Shelby said. “As co-founder of the Automotive Fine Art Society, he helped take a little known field and make it one of the most visible and coveted art genres.”
Both native Texans, Neale met Shelby back in the 1950’s at the Caddo Mills race track. Both former WWII aviators, the pair quickly became close sharing their love of fast cars and dirt bikes. Shelby said, “We hit it off. We lied to each other all afternoon. He likes to tell people that our relationship has naturally manured over the years.”
During the raucous, no holds barred era of the nineteen-sixties, Neale and Shelby, along with other Shelby Rat Packers – Dave Witts, Tom Tierney and David E. Davis, would unwind hunting, racing dirt bikes and – God knows what else – at a dusty and deserted town called Terlingua that Shelby and Witts co-owned.
It was there Neale first scribbled his now famous logo. What started out as a joke among friends, gave panache and notoriety to the small Texas ghost town and evolved into the classy racing emblem coveted by racing enthusiasts and mavericks the world over.