Jim in his Ford GT40P #1027 at Watkins Glen International racetrack. This race coupe from 1966 was used by MGM to film Formula 1 race cars in the movie Grand Prix.

James Ladwig

A Lifelong Passion for Racing

When Jim Ladwig was a young boy, he turned a lawn mower and a wooden box into a racer; at 13-years-old, he took two batteries to be charged and used them to turn over his grandfather's 1927 Stearns-Knight. Jim and his friends knocked the car off of its blocks in the garage and cruised around Oak Park, IL until the police caught up with them. While in high school, Jim worked at a filling station and tune-up garage next to a used car dealership. In 1958, while a G.I. in France, he got his first taste of racing after seeing the famed endurance race, 24 Hours of Le Mans.

His passion for racing continued into adulthood; his first company car at AGI was a GTB4 Ferrari. When he flew to AGI's pressing plant in Indiana, he would have a Shelby Mustang rental waiting for him. In 1994, he was convinced by friends to compete in his first rally, the Copperstate 1000 Road Rally, from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon in a 1960 Porsche 356B Roadster. 

Jim and Paula Ladwig in their Porsche 356B Roadster at the Colorado Grand (1995)

Jim and his wife Paula shared a love of vintage cars and racing. Paula also developed a passion for cars when she was a child, as her father and uncle ran a successful Packard dealership in Stamford, Connecticut. Growing up, her favorite words were “Avanti,”  “Plymouth Fury,” and “Barracuda.” 

As with their other collections, Jim and Paula never had a “car barn” full of untouchable, pristine relics; they both believed in using something if you had it and truly living with what you love, whether that be an iconic photograph, a playful piece of folk art or a rare vintage car. 

Jim and Paula at their second Copperstate Road Rally (1995)

“He drove (and crashed) the real deal.”

The Collection of James and Paula Ladwig

The collection of Grammy Award winning designer James Ladwig and his wife Paula, also a designer, reflects a remarkable life together doing what they loved — traveling, collecting, racing vintage cars and being immersed in the world of music. Wright is proud to present this diverse and intriguing collection.