Monday, February 27, 2012

Detroit Autorama: Another year in the rearview.

Well, I'm officially runnin on empty. The weekend was absolutely great though! Saw some decent sales, got to see some old friends, and even made some new ones. The Artsist Alley in the basement is a cool mix of different types of arts which makes it fun to be part of. I love this show, though by the end of a third day of being a salesman, I dont know how some of my fellow artists do that as a full time gig.. it takes a LOT outta ya! 

I took a bunch of pictures, which I'll eventually get uploaded, but in the mean time, I did a quick search for coverage, and came across "Boss Mustang's" flickr show coverage, which I think has a good mix of stuff from the upstairs, as well as the downstairs.

Check it out: Autorama 2012 Slideshow

Friday, February 24, 2012

Autorama 2012: Set up Night

A few shots before the masses.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Countdown to Autorama: And so it begins...again.

I'll be headed down to COBO Center in Detroit later, to set up shop for the weekend. I'm looking forward to bringing my SLR to take some pictures without the crowds, which is one of the cooler parts about set up night. I will try and update throughout the weekend, so stay tuned.

In the mean time, heres a picture of the first Autorama, 60 years ago!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The 1955 Futura

Twice a week, I teach a class in Detroit at the College For Creative Studies, which I graduated from some years back. Tonight, I had the students sketch Batmobiles as their in-class midtern assignment. As inspiration I brought in a bunch of pictures of existing movie cars. Of course, when you google Batmobile, you cant help but come across the Barris built original, which made me wonder about the car and it's roots. I knew that car was a ford of some type or another, but I always just figured the body was a Barris design, based on a late 50's underbelly. It's never been one of my favorite cars, so I've never really paid it much attention. But the thought nagged at me, so I started hunting to verify what that car started life as.
Now perhaps being a self proclaimed "car guy", this should have been common knowledge. I mean, it probably goes with the territory of knowing what each character of "American Graffiti" drove, or knowing how many times the black Charger looses it's hub caps during the chase scene in "Bullitt" (5... and yes I'm a dork.) But I never realized that the car had such a cool history!

The 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept: (pictures taken from various internet souces)

Some info taken from

"The original Batmobile,...was originally a concept dubbed the Lincoln Futura. Designed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company, the Futura was constructed entirely by hand in Turin, Italy for an extreme $250,000. Much like many other concepts, the Futura was never actually put into production. The Lincoln Futura made its official debut on the auto show circuit in 1955.
Even in comparison to other eccentric and exotic vehicles in the 1950's, the Futura's design style was considered extreme and even impractical. Unlike other concepts of the day though, the Futura was fully operable and featured a complete powertrain. The concept featured double, clear-plastic canopy top, huge outward-canted tailfins on both ends of the car and exaggerated hooded headlight pods. With a chassis that came directly from a Lincoln Mark II, the Futura was powered by a 368 cubic inch Lincoln engine and powertrain.
As a show vehicle, the Futura was a tremendous success and was well received by an excited public that loved the futuristic machine. The Futura's headlights and tailfin motifs were used on production Lincolns for the 1956 and 1957 models, though in a much less ‘loud' way.
Pearlescent, frost-blue white was the brand new color painted on the Futura, in Schmidt's attempts to capture the iridescence of the fish he had viewed in the Caribbean. This brilliant color was created by Ghia who ground and pulverized the scales of thousands of fish to mix into the paint color.
George Barris purchased the Futura concept and since the car had never been titled and could not be insured, it remained parked behind its owners shop for several years. The Futura was allowed to fall into disrepair and many would have assumed that the story ended here.

Not so for the Lincoln Futura.
Barris was asked to design a theme vehicle in 1966 for what became the Batman TV series and he contracted styling Dean Jeffries to actually build the vehicle for the show. Starting with a 1959 Cadillac, Jeffries started on the design and the original fabrication for the Batmobile. The studio demanded something faster than that, and it was more than Jeffries could deliver, so he sent the project back to Barris. Barris used Jeffries initial vehicle, but he also had a feeling about the Futura due to its unique winged shape that made it a great beginning for the creation of the Batmobile. Bill Cushenberry was responsible for all metal modifications of the Batmobile."

Despite how over the top the original car was, I find it strangely elegant and I really like it! ....which makes me dislike the Batmobile that much more.

Anyway. I'll post the students versions of what a Batmobile should look like on my class blog later. Feel free to check it out if you'd like!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blueprint: "We Three Kings"

These bad boys have been two years in the making... well  maybe a year and a bunch of months procrastinating, but the idea has been bouncing around my brain for that long anyway... :)

For the second installment of Blueprints, I wanted to do a tri-fecta of Mercs: a 49, a 50 and a 51. A hardtop, a convertible, and a coupe. It just so happens that there are three Mercs that fit the bill, that I've lusted over for years. With my stockpile of old mags, and the awesome resources of Rik Hoving and Kustomrama I was able to get enough good reference to hopefully do the cars justice.

They are going to the print shop tomorrow so i can get proofs and color tests then they will be ready for order.

If you want to pre-order them, drop me an email with your contact info at  Prices are the same as my other blueprint sets, so you can get 'em on the cheap!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Car Craft Illustrations of yesteryear

I could write a huge entry about some of the stunning concept work done by guys like Harry Bradley, and I will... at some point, but I just came across these as I was finishing up a new series of sketches based on some famous Mercurys, and I thought they were worth sharing. I found these and others on Metaphors in Motion while searching for some technical drawings. I recognize a few of them from mags that I have in my monstrous collection of old mags inherited (and I say inherited, but it's actually more saved them from my mother's spring cleaning wrath) from my father. Others I've never seen. All are pretty cool in their own right.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

70's Mopar Awesomeness

It's hard to tell from the ad, but it wouldn't surprise me if they actually painted the car all those colors to showcase the available range....Makes me wonder if it still exists, tucked away in some dudes garage under a bunch of boxes... what a rad find that beast would be. I would rock it as is in all  it's "ass in the air," multicolor, zoomie pipe rockin glory! ;)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Steve's 72 Vette: More Teaser Action

Just got these cell phone pics from Steve. He's in the final assembly stretch to get his bagged 72 Vette together for Autorama. Be on the look out for it on the upper floor.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Barn Find Friday: 57 Flaked Vette

I wish the photos were better on this one... you'd expect that if you intend to ask north of $40k for anything, you'd at least take the time to post a few good shots of it.  Anyway, this thing looks pretty gnarly. Nothing like a Vette gasser with bass boat flake and 25 years of dormant dust build up.. Pretty cool.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Blueprint: line work teasers...

The soon to be released "We Three Kings" Series... almost there!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

From my Travels: Bill Spencer's, Utah

More finds from my '03 road trip to CA. Believe it or not, this was not a functioning junkyard. We were driving along, and saw a few cars in someones front yard. The house was up on a rise from the road and as we slowed we saw an old man on the porch, so we decided to stop and say hello. His name was Bill Spencer, and he was super nice. He told us he had a few cars in the back and that we were welcome to take a look. Because of the hill, you couldn't see any of this from the road... but behind his house was a little mecca of old tin huddled into the mountain side! Some were for sale if he found that the price was right, none were advertised. If we had some cash and a 3 car trailer we would have been in some serious trouble!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Countdown to Autorama: 3 weeks

Just got some photos via cell phone form my good friend Spike, who's laying thick clear down over the patina gnarled 52 Columbia's the peak that I got:

Helllllls yes.