Aug 19 2016 Exclusive: From the Helck Family Collection- Driver Louis Wagner

For  23 years, artist Peter Helck was a close friend of Louis Wagner, the winner of the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race. This friendship was marked a multitude of correspondence between France and the USA, including artwork from Helck and photos from Wagner.

In another exclusive, here are some of the never-before-published Wagner photos documenting his racing career from 1903 to 1906. All photos courtesy of the Helck Family Collection.


Howard Kroplick

1903 Dourdan Race

In 1903, 21-year old Wagner joined the Darracq racing team. Here he is driving a Darracq voiturette. Note Wagner signed the photo for Helck.

1903 Circuit des Ardennes, Bastogne, Belgium

Wagner finished first in the voiturette class for the 1903 Circuit des Ardennes.

1903 Paris-Madrid Race

Was in third place among the voiturettes when the ill-fated race was stopped.

1904 d'Arras du Kilometer Race

1905 Gordon Bennett Elimination Race

1905 Circuit de Bresirar

1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Wagner (right) and Victor Hemery (left) at the Darrcq headquarters at the Hotel Glenwood in Glenwood Landing.

Wagner and his mechanician Victor Demogeot.

The 1905 Darracq team with Wagner in the driver's seat and Victor Hemery on the far right. Hemery would win the race in a Darracq.

The Darracq team

1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Wagner (right) at the Hotel Glenwood

The 1906 Darracq team. Wagner would win the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race in the #10 Darracq.

Wagner driving the winning Darracq in front of the grandstands on Jericho Turnpike in Westbury.


Aug 14 2016 Ariejan Bos 6:12 AM

Again a very beautiful photo collection! Thanks again for sharing. A small additon/correction, as the Circuit de “Bresirar” must be a small reading error. This photo was probably taken during the 1905 Coppa Florio, which was held at the Circuit de Brescia. Wagner started with number 8, also finishing at 8th place!
An interesting feature I didn’t notice before is the circular seat on the 1903 Darracq voiturette, which were apparently raced without mechanician. Could this seat be turned around?

Aug 22 2016 frank femenias 4:31 PM

Great century+ old photographs and excellent quality to boot. These images are impossible to come by today and wonderful to view early history of the auto. Thank you gentlemen for sharing these gems

Jan 17 2017 Alain 12:22 PM

Louis Wagner était le frère de ma grand-mère et en cherchant des documents sur sa carrière, je suis arrivé sur votre site. Je pensai, ainsi que mes cousins, qu’il avait commencé sa carrière de pilote en 1905; mais d’après vos archives c’est en 1903 qu’il a débuté. Formidable, je vais pouvoir compléter le diaporama que j’avais commencé pour la famille avec les photos que je possédai déjà.
Encore un grand merci.

Louis Wagner was my grandmother’s brother and I have been looking for documents about his career and found your website. I thought, as did my cousins, that he had begun his career as a driver in 1905; But according to your archives, he began in 1903. I will now be able to complete the slideshow I had began with the family photos that I already owned. A big thank you.


Sep 18 2019 James Thorne 11:13 AM

Un message envoyé dans l’espoir qu’il sera vu par Alain, petit-neveu de Louis Wagner
Je suis secrétaire de la société du musée de Brooklands en Angleterre, où Louis a remporté le tout premier Grand Prix de Grand Bretagne en 1926.
Je voudrais bien pouvoir vous écrire directement et en savoir plus sur votre grand-oncle. Peut-être que le musée a plus d’informations à son sujet que vous aimeriez voir également?
Si ce message vous parvient, écrivez-moi s’il vous plaît au Musée - les détails se trouvent sur le site Web
James Thorne
Translation to English:-
A message sent in the hope it will be seen by Alain, Louis Wagner’s great-nephew
I am company secretary of the Museum at Brooklands in England, where Louis won the first-ever British Grand Prix in 1926.
I would like very much to be able to write to you directly and to find out more about your great-uncle. Perhaps the Museum has more information about him that you would like to see, too?
If this message reaches you, please write to me at the Museum – details are on the website at
Thank you!
James Thorne


Leave a Comment