In­dus­trial Art

Hot Rod - - Contents - hHOTROD. COM/ Dou­glas-Glad

I am be­com­ing a be­liever that cus­toms and race-car de­sign are get­ting to the level of fine art. A good ex­am­ple is the re­cent of­fer­ing of a 1962 Fer­rari 250 GTO for $45,000,000 at Sotheby’s in Mon­terey, Cal­i­for­nia. As post­war art goes, this is in the same league as an orig­i­nal Basquiat or Warhol. Those are some big dol­lars for some­thing de­signed to get from A to B—and C on the week­ends.

But this re­ally isn’t news. The SoCal car-cul­ture in­dus­try has made bil­lions of dol­lars since WWII sell­ing ap­parel and mag­a­zines for the sake of look­ing at cool stuff—or art, if you will. Now more than ever, cars are treated like a can­vas to recre­ate the look of age or rust, or even the ap­pear­ance of use by a fic­ti­tious speed shop or dairy us­ing a logo on the door. We have our own lex­i­con for it. Words like fab­ri­cated, stance, and patina can re­place ar­ti­san, aes­thetic, and baroque.

We might mark the day when the first Hemi ’Cuda went for more than $1 mil­lion at auc­tion as the be­gin­ning of the au­to­mo­bile as col­lectible art. Or the first car com­mis­sioned as art, for the sake of art, by a mil­lion­aire in­vestor who may or may not view it as some­thing to drive. Both have hap­pened in the last 15 to 20 years.

But you don’t need $45 mil­lion to get in­volved. If there is a vi­sion of a fa­vorite car or build in your head, get out there and try to re­al­ize it.

A car show is es­sen­tially a huge out­door gallery, and the builders and tin­ker­ers can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about the skills you need to build some­thing cool. Even the masters cre­ated bad art at first, so don’t get dis­cour­aged if it doesn’t look the way you wanted. Get back in the garage and try again. When you’re fin­ished, send us a photo.

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