The Antique Automobile Club of America’s museum is, by its own description, “dedicated to the celebration, preservation and education of American motor vehicle history.” Given that stated mission, one expects to find carefully preserved Packards, Buicks, Cadillacs and (soon) even Tuckers within its walls, but encountering chopped and channeled hot rods, dressed in flamed and kandy-colored livery, would hardly seem likely. Beginning in January, however, the AACA Museum will (temporarily) broaden its scope to present The Art of the Build: Rods & Kustoms, an exhibit that celebrates the joys of automotive non-conformity.
Recognizing that automotive art comes in many forms, the exhibit will pay tribute to the visionaries who see beyond ordinary sheetmetal, to whom driving a production car is a sentence, not a privilege. Some of the vehicles to be displayed, such as the Neil Lea-built 1956 Chevrolet station wagon nicknamed The Handyman, began life as production cars, only to be sculpted by artisans in metal, leather and spray gun into something considerably more elaborate. Others, such as the Delahaye USA Pacific, are complete fabrications, constructed to evoke the feel of an era, but only loosely based on an actual production vehicle. A third class of vehicle, such as Rob Ida’s carefully crafted Tucker 48, pays homage to a car that once was, but in quantities so limited that remaining examples are too valuable to drive and enjoy.
The Art of the Build will feature a total of 16 custom vehicles, including cars, trucks and motorcycles. Included on that list (and in addition to cars already mentioned) are such notables as Kracklin Rose, a 1933 Willys 77 owned (and built) by Al Nosse; The 69er, a 1934 Ford Roadster owned by Chip Hoynitski; SwishAir, a 1957 Chevrolet owned by Daniel Swisher (guest curator for The Art of the Build); and D-Ranged, a 1983 Ford Ranger Pickup owned by Chick Deitz. The common thread behind these vehicles? All were Ridler Award contenders, nominated for the prestigious trophy presented annually at the Detroit Autorama.
To provide contrast, a stock 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS will be on display, along with Low Profile, a 1967 Camaro that was once described as “The World’s Most Beautiful Camaro” by Super Chevy magazine. Owned by Ken Faust, Low Profile is a multiple Grand Champion winner at the Street Machine Nationals (seven times) and the Hot Rod Super Nationals (three times), and has also picked up awards from Super Chevy, the International Show Car Association, Boyd Coddington, Soft Seals and Meguiars.
Proving that there’s more to the hobby than just cars, trucks and motorcycles, the exhibit will also include a few vehicles that may not fit the mainstream definition of a hot rod. The most recognizable may be the Wagen Meister, a Big Daddy Ed Roth creation that blends a Radio Flyer children’s wagon with a racing go-kart. There’s a motorized barstool, named Bloody Mary, along with a pair of motorized inline roller skates called Scoots, customized by George Barris.
The Art of the Build: Rods & Kustoms opens on January 24, 2014, and runs through April 27, 2014. For additional details, visit AACAMuseum.org.
Article courtesy of Hemings Daily, written by Kurt Ernst.