It all started for David Treffer as a 6-year-old growing up in Germany.
His father, Brough, was an American working for NATO in the 1960s. On weekends, when he wasn't working, his father would take him to Formula One races and other local sports car events.
"It was fantastic," said Mr. Treffer, now 38. "I knew all the drivers on sight. But when I was 13, I stopped thinking of them as heroes. It was my 13th birthday, and I was at Hockenheim, and Jim Clark was there. He was my hero. I got his autograph in the morning, and he was dead by 1:15. That was the end of hero worship."
But it wasn't the end of his love for motor sports.
And now, Mr. Treffer owns and operates the only art gallery in the state that deals strictly with motor sports art.
Maryland Motorsports, which features limited edition automotive art and collectibles, is tucked away on Second Street, among several other businesses, just a few feet from dozens of sailboats anchored along the Annapolis docks.
"The question we hear most often is: 'Why are you here among the boats in Annapolis?' " said Mr. Treffer, who began his art business as a mail-order operation. "My response is that once you're a race fan, whether it's yachts or air or cars, you're a race fan."
He opened the gallery last November, employs two assistants, and this year hopes to do "about $100,000 in gross sales."
The artwork at Maryland Motorsports covers everything from Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR and Trans Am to international endurance racing.
And the art ranges from inexpensive posters to works costing as much as $3,000.
The styles vary from Alan Fearnely's scenes of LeMans and Formula One races to Joe Barden's tightly cropped, brightly colored renditions of Indy and Formula One cars.
Mr. Barden, 40, lives in Northern Virginia and works in commercial and government computer sales.
But always he has had a love of painting.
He has tried wildlife, Civil War, World War II and Vietnam art, but none of it satisfied him the way painting race cars and drivers has.
"I've always loved cars," he said one day while bringing new work to the Annapolis shop, where Mr. Treffer serves as his agent. "In 1986, I was exposed to IndyCar racing. I saw a race and enjoyed it."
By 1991, he had settled on a style, different from others who made the cars part of a scene.
"To me, a race car is rolling art," Mr. Barden said. "I just concentrate on the car and the driver and try to figure out what makes the car and driver unique. . . . I try to close in on the car as tightly as I can. You never see the entire auto in my work, never end to end, wheel to wheel. I want to bring the fans as close to the car and driver as they have ever been."
The results have been good sales, including a recent one of Al Unser Jr. "crossing the bricks" as winner of the 1992 Indianapolis 500.
It is signed in pencil by Mr. Unser. The painting sold for $2,300 to a man in Severna Park.