Monday, April 14, 2014

Dissect A Dash #8: The James Hetfield ( Metallica ) "Black Pearl", America's Most Beautiful Custom

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. 

Um, yeah.

Not that it's not a pretty set, for sure, I know because I've seen plenty of them in lots of hot rods at 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.


  1. I will compliment their choice instead, as though you are very spot on that it was a safe choice, I dig that old Plymouth gauge set as simple yet graceful, and pretty in design. Damn, that sure is a good photo of the gauges! (snicker, laugh)

  2. Ha, yes, great picture by an obscure blog called Just A Car Guy, ha! (I did credit you the Terraplane set!). No doubt, it is a pretty set; but for America's Top Roadster, I expect a set-up that I can't whip up from my local swap meet!