Monday, April 14, 2014
The "Black Pearl", the latest creation sponsored by Metallica founder James Hetfield, is a beautifully-constructed tribute to the custom coach-builders of the 1930's.
And though, in my opinion, it smacks a little too much of the 1937 Delage D8 120 Aerosport ...
...I applaud the obvious craftsmanship and care that went into this superb body (set on a 1948 Jaguar chassis)
Of course, the second thing that is going to get my attention is the dashboard. With prodigious funds available, and the brainpower and artistic vision of the team of Marcel and Luc DeLay, what stunning gauge set could they have conjured?
A re-worked Classic Gauges 1934 Plymouth set.
Not that it's not a pretty set, for sure, I know because I've seen plenty of them in lots of hot rods and local and National cruises. Just like this one.
To say I'm underwhelmed at the thought that the Goodguys Top Award Winner uses an off-the-shelf Mopar set is an understatement. It's terrible. You have a late-30's body design on a late-40's skeleton, and you bedazzle it with an early-30's gauge set of which I've owned dozens. The great designers of this Early-Twentieth Century era weren't looking backward with their interiors, they wanted cutting edge.
Just take a look at this car, the stunning 1937 Hispano Suiza Xenia...
Again, a car similar in design, 80 years ago, but look where they went with the gauges...
The designers chose to go with the most modern set-up they could conceive, away from the art deco excess of the previous years, towards a jet-inspired functional cockpit.
Now, I'm not saying the Black Pearl should have aped this concept (unlike the body, ahem..) but definitely it was their chance to think outside the box, and in my mind, they went safe, and pretty, and easy.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
The following is a selection of custom dashboards from the late 1950's to 1960, courtesy of Car Speed & Style magazine, April, 1960.
Let's take a closer look at some of these gauge set-ups from 14 award-winning show cars, shall we?
Here's an eye-catcher; a chromed panel set into a black dash, and a cool "Weird-O" stick-shift knob head. That is definitely the closest you will see to a "rat rod" look in any of these examples...
The padded dash was a big trend at this time...
Here is a great classic look. They've taken a Stewart Warner "Hollywood" panel, and run it upside down,,,
...which is very cool, and filled out the indicator lights with Cole Hersee "low-profile" boat lights.
It's a look that holds up even today.
More padded-dashes above, and a "Straight Five" SW panel in the top picture; nice.
Another SW Straight Five in the second picture, but this one...
...this one I love. It's the perfect blend of simplicity and design, a Stewart Warner boat panel in a hot rod Ford. These are neat panels that are still floating around today, and look great in any 30's rod.
It's originally a Chris Craft set-up, but with a speedo instead of the twin-tach, you've got a cool and functional gauge panel!
And notice something familiar here? That's right, it's the Hollywood panel from above, this time mounted the standard way.
A cool, dash, tuck-n-roll interior, an Impala steering wheel, and you're good to go!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
1959 was the year of the "long" dash (think the 1932 Ford Milner coupe from American Graffiti) in home-built hot rods, almost all of them with a bit of Von Dutch -type pinstripe flair around the gauges.
This was a roadster built for speed, with good looks to boot. Fat whitewalls, Continental Kit, fancy dual headlights... this was a sharp rig.
For his dashboard, he went part traditional, part race, and part James Bond...
Until Jerry pulled up next to his next victim.
Down came the glove compartment lid, and... boom! There sat a pair of twin Stewart Warner gauges, ready for action.
Judging from the sizes, I'd guess that the two were a pressure gauge and a tachometer. So while Jerry is doing the heavy lifting, the passenger is eyeballing the pressure and tach RPM's for fun and profit. Either he is shouting out shift points, or just enjoying the show as the tach needle seesaws through the gears. Either way, it had to be a blast...
The first time that an unsuspecting ride-along popped open the glove compartment it must've been a happy surprise. He had to have known he was in for a treat; a sleeper dash transformed at the touch of a button into a hold-on-to-your seat adventure!