By on April 9, 2013

Dodge Charger

They say that you don’t regret the things you do as much as you regret the things don’t do. I hope the auto manufacturers are listening, because when I look at so many of the fantastic looking four door sedans on the market today, I feel a sense of regret for what they aren’t doing, namely making two door coupes. I know there are financial considerations, probably tens of millions of dollars worth, at work behind the scenes. I understand, too, that there are likely to be engineering challenges and any number of other issues that a simple layman like myself can never really understand, but the fact that there are no really cool coupe versions of today’s hot sedans gnaws at me.

Thank God for artists like Casey Shain, a man of considerable talent who, like many of us, believes that today’s cars can be better. Unlike most of us, however, he has the talent and the ability to turn his thoughts into artistic reality. His website artandcolourcars.blogspot.com showcases his digitally altered “fake” cars and his love of all things automotive. It is filled with images that rival those of any professional design studio and I highly recommend checking it out. If you are anything like me, you will spend hours there.

Like so many of us, from the time he was a child Casey dreamed about designing cars. Instead, he earned a bachelor of arts from Vassar College and worked as a designer in the publishing industry for more than thirty years. These days he is a freelance book designer and a professional “starving artist,” but he spends much of his free time working with Photoshop and pretending to live that childhood dream. He says, “I’m the same doodler as when I was a child, only now my crayons are digital.”

Casey’s cars may not be real in the sense that they are made out of rubber, plastic and steel, but the detailed images he creates certainly have a life of their own. As a kid who grew up spending hours in front of the fire looking at the Sears Christmas catalog, I know there is a great deal of joy to be had simply looking at pictures and dreaming about the possibilities. Still, I hope that one day someone turns these ideas into reality. Come on car companies, don’t wonder “what if” – take a chance!

View more of Casey Shain’s work here: Casey Shain Car Photochops at Pintrest

Buick Verano “Skylark Hot Hatch”

Thomas M Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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53 Comments on “Casey Shain: Turning Pure Fantasy Into Virtual Reality...”


  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    i was always curious why they didnt do a 2 door charger

    • 0 avatar

      It’s called THE CHALLENGER.

      The Old Dodge Charger had 2 doors:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qBZ0i_TKesI/TZlTGWtxbBI/AAAAAAAAAhs/S-gJen6H8cg/s1600/1969DodgeCharger.jpg

      Making the Charger into a 4-door car did wonders for Chrysler/Dodge’s image. Can’t be a gangsta without one. However, it really bothers me when teens see my car and call it a “Charger”.

      • 0 avatar

        I will say that I think Chrysler did a great job on the Challenger and I am a fan. Of the big three’s pony cars I like the Challenger the best, but in a perfect world the Challenger would be a little smaller (and be a more direct competitor to the Ford Mustang) and the Charger coupe would occupy the larger slot. More choices would be a good thing, right?

        I’d also like to see a well done Dart hatch/coupe (like the Shadow had) with the hotted up turbo motor that is supposed to be available one of these days and, truth be told, that is the car I would probably actually buy.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Even I, steadfast wimp that I am, drool over the Challenger. To me, Mopar was always the most exciting maker of muscle in my yoof.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I didn’t know what Mopar was until I saw their logo printed on the window of my dad’s Dodge Caliber (thank goodness he got rid of *that* car!), so I obviously wasn’t around during muscle-car heyday of Chrysler Group or any of the other domestic brands. Still, seeing the late-model Challenger and its confident, genuine, in-your-face styling makes me feel like I do live in that era. At some point–hopefully sooner than later–I’m going to have to get one…

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          The current Challenger a pony car… heh. The Mustang and Camaro already stretch that, the Challenger blows the notion of being a pony car straight out of the water.

          However its historically accurate as the last Challengers and Barracudas were the largest pony cars of their time.

          • 0 avatar
            Pinzgauer

            The exterior of the Challenger is the best looking of the three, but the interior is terrible. Plastics quality on point with my old Neon and actually the Neon had more interior accents. Honestly, I was torn between the Chally SRT 8 and the Boss. The Chally drove great and was comfy and less expensive, but the interior was just awful. Ended up paying the premium and giong Boss.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “Plastics quality on point with my old Neon and actually the Neon had more interior accents.”

            I actually found this funny as it’s entirely not true.

            First off, the door trim and dashboard on the Neon is rock hard…I know…there were 2 of them that floated around the family a 99 and 04. The one on the Challenger is a rubbery material, it doesn’t sound hollow.

            Second the interior of the Challenger was by design to be dark. Hence the black headliner and everything else being black.

            Yes the Challenger still has 1st generation LX parts in it, but it’s not Neon quality. The Mustang may have shiny parts, but take your fist to the dashboard….yea it’s rock hard…just like the Neon.

          • 0 avatar
            Pinzgauer

            I could care less about soft touch. Sitting in the Challenger reminded me of the boring black dash in the Neon. I dont normally knock on dashboards so I cant talk about hollowness of the sound, as I dont care. They really need to put some alternate color guage bezels or something inside that car becuase its just cheap feeling. Or atleast offer some decent optional trim kit. It seems incomplete to me. Just sitting in the car not moving it felt 0% special and worth nothing close to its price. Driving it was another story, as it drove great. But seriously the interior just feels like they designed the body and moved on to something else.

            There was clearl some thought to the design of the mustang dash and I find it both functional and nice to look at during times when you’re cruising. I believe it ties into the retro feel of the car very well and is suitable for the price of the car.

          • 0 avatar
            CV Neuves

            Thoroughly agree with Pinzgauer: by far the best looking Pony. It is a beauty! But ….

            Only one colour available for the interior – and, worst of all, no convertible.

            I did not bother to enquire more details, as it was dead early in the race – despite a most beautiful body. I have met chicks like that too.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Since you mentioned the Barracuda, I believe the replacement for the Charger will resurrect that name (albeit under the SRT brand) and it will ditch the neo-retro look. We pretty much know that the next Mustang is going to have some kind of sleek, world-class look to line up with the rest of Ford’s portfolio, and I’d imagine GM to follow suit with the Camaro circa 2015 or 2016.

            That said, enjoy your retro pony cars while you can, because I think that era may be drawing to a close.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          +copyright violation of my brain

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          I wish y’all would stop it. That Charger coupe drawing was so realistic, I almost logged off, so that I could shoot down to a Dodge dealer to see what they cost. I happen to like it, though I wonder if it would hurt Challenger sales. I would compare the success of its look to that of the last two Accord coupes, great variations on their sedan sisters. But, don’t compare either the Charger coupe drawing or the real Accord coupe to that abomination, the Altima coupe. I really like the sedan version, but the Altima coupe looks like it was designed by Hyundai designers of the mid 1980′s.

          The Flex Country Squire has two strikes against it. The proper model name for the top-of-the=line two door Ranch Wagon, if it’s going to be a retro Ford, is the Parklane(look up 1956 Ford Parklane in Google Image), and the wood insert needs to go, the Parklane is all about chrome, not wood. And, though it’s a nice image, there’s an unmistakeable Nomad vibe(no complaint, other than that’s not a Ford).

          Can’t say much about the Impala coupe, if you liked the new Impala, and coupes come back into fashion, the illustration looks nice.

          Please, no Cadillac bustleback coupe, I didn’t dig the Superfly look of the original sedan, this coupe illustration is a couple of notches below that. And besides, on the great design end of the equation is the CTS coupe, which looks super in photographs and on the road.

          The Buick? It’s 90 percent stunning, the missing 10 percent is the Buick grille that only Norelco or Braun could love. The basic hatch reminds me of the late Saturn/Opel Astra, a very good thing. I’d lose the Buick grille and substitute something similar to an Opel one.Also, do away with Buick nameplates and substitute Skylark.

          The Supra? Somebody sneak that illustration out to Toyota, and tell them to get a move on with production. Don’t bring up LFA, a very slick car, but I was told that it’s out of production

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “to that abomination, the Altima coupe. I really like the sedan version, but the Altima coupe looks like it was designed by Hyundai designers of the mid 1980′s.”

            I was thinking that the Altima coupe sometimes looks like a cheesy version of the G35 — proportions all wrong of course, but you can see some of the styling cues.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    LOVE the Charger concept…it has *just* enough retro without going overboard. I had a ’70 Charger 500 in white with black vinyl roof and this one reminds me of it just enough that I’d buy a new version. Anyone listening at Fiatsler?

  • avatar
    shaker

    Nice work on all of these – but… I can’t help thinking that if the wonderfully rendered Charger Coupe were to turn around and show us the face of the sedan, it would be like that time that you were checking out that tall blonde in the jeans jacket at the airport, then she turns around, and IT’S A DUDE! (And your brain does the mental equivalent of spitting something out).

    Of course, if that’s your preference, then that’s fine, too. :-)

    But for me, the Charger Coupe CANNOT have the face of the sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “But for me, the Charger Coupe CANNOT have the face of the sedan.”

      Agreed! That’s a beautiful rendition, but it would need a Challenger or Dart nose for me to like it more.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The MkV Supra already exists.

    It’s called the Lexus LFA.

    Why Toyota won’t just admit that is beyond me.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      The Supra was a crazy-powerful grand tourer. The LF-A is a boutique supercar built not to be the fastest in the world (and it isn’t), but merely as a demonstration of Toyota’s engineering prowess. Much like the 2000GT which it is a spiritual successor of.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        “The Supra was a crazy-powerful grand tourer”

        Not the 1990 model that I had, it was a complete dog and a reliability nightmare.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Oh yeah, you’re right, but I was thinking of the big picture.

        Look at the vehicle’s proportions. Look at the positioning within the company’s product portfolio. Look at the performance. Look at the fact that it’s (not just really, not just grotesquely, but hilariously) overpriced. It also has only two seats.

        And, the MkIV was a sort-of engineering demonstrator for Toyota, in the sense that you could get one loaded with options.

        To me, the whole “LFA” business is like how the last of the Mercury Cougars was really the third-generation Ford Probe, in all but name.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Agreed. Toyota and Honda need to bring back the Grand Tourer two-door coupe before they find that their age-sales quotient reach former Buick levels of Octegenarians. Nissan seems to understand this with the 370Z and Altima coupe as well as Mazda with the RX-8.

      To this day, still look for a nicely kept 2001 Prelude Si 6-speed for sale and can honestly say I haven’t looked at Honda’s since it’s demise.

      • 0 avatar

        I thought his take on the Honda Vigor was awesome. Seriously, check out his website and the list ofl inks on the right. There are hundreds of good cars in there.

        http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_szY6czURhx0/TUl69wtepKI/AAAAAAAADzY/wblnMYrKJWI/s1600/HondaVigor2.jpg

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Flex and Impala win. Well done!

  • avatar

    Dodge – Aston-Fusion.

  • avatar
    detlump

    Some folks already made a real 2-door Charger from a 300 SRT8:

    http://www.streetlegaltv.com/news/from-new-to-old-chrysler-300c-srt8-converted-into-69-charger/

    But the grille looks like a 70, and the taillights are definitely from a 68. Still, it looks better than some of these Camaro/Firebird/GTO conversions.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a good idea, but it looks a little “too retro” to me. What I want is a modern take with some of the old design cues, not a close match on something old. If I was that set on getting an old one, I think I’d pay the money and get one.

      It reminds me of those odd Excalibur cars they built in the 1970s: http://www.ooyyo.com/detail/c=CDA31D7114D2854F111BF66FBA813544CD821F/7136920887243800895.html/

      OK for some I suppose, but kind of odd…

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I think a Charger coupe would be a great addition if for no other reason then to attract the buyer who wants a Charger but doesn’t want to drive a “Cop Car”

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    I’m proud to say that I’ve been an admirer of Casey’s (aka Art) work since he posted on the old Autoweek Combustion Chamber. He’s extremely talented.

    I’m also ashamed to say that I kinda like that Seville he worked up.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I have tried to like the current Charger and I get the preference for a 4-door in the market place but the car just looks ungainly to me.

    This coupe rendition really nails it!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The thing that was off-putting for me was the front and rear door handles not being on the same plane. Once I got over that, I was sold. The 2011+ models look a lot car better than the ’06-’10 IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxseven

      No dice. Changing from four doors to two doors doesn’t help the Charger. It still looks like a life-sized Hot Wheels toy. The car has so many aesthetic flaws, it is impossible to fix without a complete re-do of the body. I’d love to see Shain exercise more artistic license with the Charger.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        @Maxseven, what’s wrong with wanting a life-size HotWheels car?? HotWheels had hundreds of ‘Customs’ of every sweet muscle and sports car EVAH and I’m still jonesing over owning a Double Demon or Beatnik Bandit!

        • 0 avatar

          You can buy a real life size Hot Wheels car from Chevy. They’re making a Hot Wheels edition Camaro that you can buy.

          carsindepth.com/?p=11600

          I just interviewed Mike Alexander, who built the original Deora with his brother Larry.

        • 0 avatar
          Maxseven

          Well I suppose if you are into that sort of thing – nothing is wrong. My opinion is that the Charger is a plebeian, hack-job of design execution. It would only be fair though, for me to admit being a euro-snob of sorts; So perhaps I am biased.

          The Challenger is a much better example of a good looking muscle car.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Even though traditionally the 2dr Ford wagon was the Ranch, I would totally rock that Flex Country Squire with a 3.5L GTDI motor. Bonus points for the tasteful use of wood trim.

    Also, the Impala looks suprisingly good as a coupe. Whodathunk?

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yes, love that Impala. Is that b-pillar on the Flex an homage to the Fairmont coupe?
      http://image.hotrod.com/f/12595222/hrdp_0810_20_z+hot_rod_pump_gas_drags+78_ford_fairmont.jpg

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Something about huge chunks of the front and rear ends of modern cars being made of floppy vinyl denies their ever having the sexiness of those all-metal oldies, particularly the Mopar ‘fuselage’ bodies.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Not to be a wet blanket but good luck getting a pillar-less hardtop to pass side impact crash testing.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I say good riddance to 2door versions of 4door sedans (even though I own one). Now that having 2 doors doesn’t mean stiffer chassis all these really represent are a way to overcharge for a less useful version of a car. If you want a coupe get an actual 2door sports car. Cars like the Accord coupe and the Altima coupe spring to mind as blatant rip offs.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    The coupe versions of sedans are pretty cool, but a 2 door Flex makes absolutely no sense. You might as well make a 2 door Caravan.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “a 2 door Caravan”

      Closest I can find is the Ram C/V Tradesman. It only has two *people* doors since the sliders open upon nothing but beautiful flat-floored space.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    COUNTRY SQUIRE OMG.

    Now that’s out of my system. Fantastic! The Seville bustleback coupe, not so much. The Impala coupe has an air of Brooklands about it, at least in the rear half.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Beautiful work, Casey!!

    I’ll just leave this here.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&rlz=1C1LENP_enUS479US479&biw=1000&bih=489&tbm=isch&tbnid=rij0P_BL0Tl6ZM:&imgrefurl=http://www.flickr.com/photos/carphotosbyrichard/3810884121/&docid=hFMkuoFUpJKELM&itg=1&imgurl=http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2652/3810884121_7c6c67149c_z.jpg&w=640&h=333&ei=lDNkUfzCL-mciALEgIHICQ&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:85,s:0,i:348&iact=rc&dur=966&page=8&tbnh=162&tbnw=284&start=78&ndsp=12&tx=144&ty=78

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Thomas, those Sears Christmas catalogs were the best. The race tracks, engine model kits, SST smash-up derby–I want it all. Even if I knew I was too old, those red cars (both battery and pedal-powered) were intriguing. Thanks for posting. Casey has some skills. I turned a Flex into a pickup on paper. I like the idea, but I have no skills.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Ooh I know! Yukon Denali High Sierra :D

  • avatar
    jed592

    So that’s where De Lorenzo gets these drawings!

  • avatar
    Michael500

    Casey is ‘da man! You gotta see his take on the Lincoln Town Car- his version would have saved the Lincoln brand, which will be dead soon.
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mjtVCG1V_YE/UQgutBB2ziI/AAAAAAAAIJQ/wVTDdNc5voY/s1600/2011LincolnTownCar.jpg


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