Andy Warhol and BMW once showed that a car could be an honest to goodness work of art. But a street artist like Banksy is used to a slightly larger canvas—so he chose 17-ton box truck instead.
Bonhams is set to sell a 1988 Volvo FL6 truck painted by the enigmatic street artist at the Goodwood Revival Collector’s Motor Cars and Automobilia auction later this month. Entitled Turbo Zone Truck (Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be in Charge), the hand-painted truck was completed long before his rise to international megastardom.
According to the auction house, Banksy began painting the Volvo at a friend’s request during a New Year’s Eve party he attended in Spain in 1999. The artist would go on to spend the first couple weeks of the millennium finishing what remains one of the largest pieces that can officially be traced to him.
The truck’s painted exterior is rife many of the motifs that have come to define the artist’s work in the nearly two decades since, including winged monkeys, swat officers, gas masks, TV and allusions to the fed-up proletariat. It also features “Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be in Charge“ sprayed across the driver’s side, along with Banksy’s stenciled signature in not one but two places.
Originally owned by the artist’s friend Mojo, the truck remained in use for years after its painting, touring through Europe and South America with the Turbozone International Circus, a traveling company the auction house says is known for its pyrotechnics. Unlike many works attributed to Banksy, there is little debate over the provenance of Turbo Zone Truck. It also includes a certificate from the Pest Control Office, the handling service that acts on behalf of the anonymous artist.
Turbo Zone Truck is expected to fetch in excess of $1.3 million when it goes up for auction on September 14. And unlike a certain other Banksy piece that recently sold at auction, it seems unlikely that the Volvo will self-destruct following the winning bid. Check out more photos of the box truck below: