artist’s hot rod in show
An exhibition paying tribute to a renowned British pop artist includes the first ever US hot rod imported to the UK.
Gerald Laing was known for his images of famous faces, including Anna Karina and Brigitte Bardot. However, Laing also achieved notoriety for shipping his cutdown custom car, known as The Coffee Grinder, into Britain.
The two-seater, named after its creator, Adam Coffee, is based on a 1930 Ford Roadster, features a 283 cubic inch Chevrolet engine with fuel injection and a Duntov camshaft. It won many awards throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s and was a cover star of Hot Rod Magazine in 1959. When Laing brought The Coffee Grinder to London in 1967, it was a frequent sight around the capital. It inspired many of Laing’s early pop-art paintings, capturing the speed, excitement and exuberance of America in the 1960s. Organiser Emily Saunders says: ‘It caused quite a stir, even among people who don’t love cars.’
Laing, who died in 2011, described the car as ‘a perfect expression of the American Dream’. His hot rod stood outside the Fine Art Society’s premises in New Bond Street, London, when the exhibition opened on 20 September.