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As a young commercial artist, Robert Carter left England for a motorcycle adventure in the United States. He malfunctioned one day in Chico, California. It’s now been the entrepreneur’s home and workplace for more than 45 years.
A vintage car and motorcycle enthusiast, Carter owns Carter Artworks. He creates large, vivid paintings of famous cars and motorsports venues. He’s also a motorsports enthusiast with extensive knowledge of the machines he paints.
Carter is our guest on Episode #100 of The Weekly Driver Podcast. Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and I began the podcast nearly two years ago. We’ve covered a lot of miles with a diverse selection of guests.
Carter is as enthusiastic as any of our interviewees. We talk with him about his automotive paintings, his passion for cars and motorcycles, fraud in the automotive memorabilia industry and his worldwide travels on bikes.
Often creating 4×6-foot presentations in enamel, Carter works for museums and raceways, and he has pieces in well-known automotive auction houses. His works range from $5,000 to $20,000.
But Carter’s driving passion remains with motorcycles. He owns many and participates in rallies and riding adventures in far-flung countries.
Carter’s career in Chico began with contracts with agricultural companies to make fruit labels. But the demand for his specialty work waned after more than a decade.
“I was still a motorcycle nut and still into cars,” Carter said recently during Automobilia Monterey, the three-day memorabilia expo during Classic Car Week. “One day, I just took a fruit truck label and instead of adding oranges, I put a Ferrari in there.
“It looked so much better. That’s how it got started. One painting I have is really the best canned tomato label you’ll ever see.”
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