The Truth About Cars » Art http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:00:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Art http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Artists Come to Detroit to Paint Mural Inspired By Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” Murals But Don’t Bother Actually Seeing Rivera’s Original Work http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/artists-come-to-detroit-to-paint-mural-celebrating-diego-riveras-detroit-industry-murals-but-dont-bother-seeing-riveras-original-work/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/artists-come-to-detroit-to-paint-mural-celebrating-diego-riveras-detroit-industry-murals-but-dont-bother-seeing-riveras-original-work/#comments Sun, 01 Dec 2013 14:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=665890 When I write about cars, my words are inspired by the works of Leonard Setright. While I haven’t actually read a word of what he’s written I know his writing and have educated myself about it and its significance. Just how silly did that sound? About as silly as an artist saying that he’s inspired […]

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When I write about cars, my words are inspired by the works of Leonard Setright. While I haven’t actually read a word of what he’s written I know his writing and have educated myself about it and its significance.

Just how silly did that sound? About as silly as an artist saying that he’s inspired by a work that he hasn’t actually seen. What’s this doing on a car site? The work of art is arguably the greatest piece of automotive fine art in the world.

A mixed use building is in the final stages of construction in downtown Detroit near Broadway, Gratiot and Library Street (where the National Automotive History Collection resides nearby at the Skillman branch of the Detroit Public Library). The 10 story building is named “The Z”, from the fact that it zig zags across the property and, I’m guessing, from the fact that a branch of “The Y”, the YMCA, is nearby. It’s mostly going to be a parking structure but there will be retail stores on the ground floor.  Bedrock Real Estate Services, which is developing the project, worked with the Library Street Collective art gallery to make it more than just a sterile concrete place to put your car when doing business in downtown Detroit. Matt Eaton, curator of the Library Street Collective, commissioned 27 artists from around the world to visit Detroit and paint murals of what they experienced here on the walls of the parking structure. The building isn’t open to the public yet but they let the Detroit News in for a sneak peek.

Detroit Industry (north wall), Diego Rivera

Detroit Industry (north wall), Diego Rivera

One reason why they decided to have 27 fine art murals painted in a Detroit parking structure is that Detroit is home to one of the most notable murals in the world, a collection of 27 panels collectively known as Detroit Industry. The murals, depicting Ford’s massive Rouge Complex and the assembly of the Ford V8, were painted on the walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts by Mexican artist Diego Rivera, commissioned by Edsel Ford, the only son of Henry Ford and a great patron of the arts. Most people don’t know the works’ title, around Detroit they’re simply called the Diego Rivera murals at the DIA, part of the region’s cultural heritage.

Detroit Industry (south wall), Diego Rivera

Detroit Industry (south wall), Diego Rivera

This is the 80th anniversary of the Rivera murals at the DIA. The DIA has been in the news lately. You might have heard that the art institute’s collection might be sold to pay off creditors because of the city of Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy. It might be hard to sell the murals since they’re actually part of the building, located on Woodward Avenue, across the street from the main library and in the heart of Detroit’s cultural center. I’ve been seeing the murals since I was a child, they’re genuinely part of the region’s cultural heritage, the stuff of school field trips as well as serious scholarly study. My mother says that she remembers visiting the museum as a child and watching Rivera paint them. My mom’s 89 now and since she also ‘remembers’ that Tom Harmon played for *Michigan State when my father was going to veterinary school there, I double checked and it is possible. Rivera worked on the 27 panels, from small to immense, from 1932 to 1933, when Mom was 8 years old.

One of the new murals in The Z is called Unexpected Punchline,a massive work painted by identical twins Raoul and Davide Perre in just four and a half days. The Perres are, according to the Detroit News, international graffiti artists and muralists well known in art circles under the nom d’art of How&Nosm. According to the brothers, they have painted more than 500 murals in 60 countries over the last 25 years. Some were commissioned, others were “unauthorized”. I wonder how Bedrock will feel when some “unauthorized” Detroit “artists” decide to tag add their own works of art to the parking structure.

When asked about their mural’s significance, Davide Perre said, “We felt that it was important to point out that Detroit, now Americas’ first bankrupt major city, and its people seem to be left on their own. And we are talking about the largest racial demographic, the African-American group, making up 83 percent that is mainly affected by our country’s bad economy.”

Unexpected Punchline unabashedly borrows from Rivera’s DIA murals. College of Creative Studies dean of undergraduate studies, Vince Carducci, describes the painting: “The title riffs off the famous Joe Louis fist, which is visible at the right edge of the mural. But the actual hand itself looks like it could have been taken from the upper reaches of Diego Rivera’s famous “Detroit Industry” murals at the DIA. In fact, the entire piece comes off as a cyberpunk remix of Rivera’s masterpiece.”

Regarding Rivera’s DIA murals, Davide Perre said, “We feel somewhat a connection to it. Diego’s themes are very similar to ours, and like him we like to provoke the viewer but not straight in your face, but with some tact… It is the issues of everyday life, our surroundings, politics and other more serious problems that influence our creative decisions.”

“Like Diego, we usually tell a story of struggle for survival in an ethnically and financially divided society in connection with the injustices of the government. We are sure Diego had some restriction when he painted “Detroit’s Industry” or else it would have had a more obvious political approach. But our main goal, and we believe Diego’s too, was to express the extraordinary spirit of Detroit and strength of its people.”

Perre must be very familiar with Rivera’s work, after all, he kept called him “Diego”.

“We have not seen it in person, though we know it and educated ourselves about it,” Davide Perre said. “Unfortunately, we had a very tight schedule, and finishing our mural had priority. We literally walked from the hotel to our mural, back and forth, and that was it. But we have been in Detroit before and have gotten to know most parts of Detroit very well.”

Wait, what? They know it and have educated themselves about Detroit Industry, they feel inspired by it, have a connection to it but their schedule was just so tight when painting their own mural they just didn’t have the time to get over to the DIA and actually, you know, see their supposed inspiration with their own two eyes. It wasn’t their first visit here. They want us to know that they’ve visited our fair region before and that they’ve gotten to know not just some of the city but rather “most parts of Detroit”, and not just in a cursory manner, but “very well”. The Perres are visual artists who have been here more than once but haven’t bothered to see the region’s most famous artwork, one they say inspires them, now that they have a commission to be inspired thereby.

When the Perres were painting the work they were in town for four and a half days. I’m sure that it was hectic but the DIA is just two miles up Woodward from the location of the Perres’ Unexpected Punchline. You can walk the distance, take some time enjoying and studying Rivera’s murals and then walk back downtown in far less than half a day. They could even have stopped in to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit since it would have been right on the way there or back. MOCAD is currently having a show, The Past Is Present, with works commissioned, coincidentally “to begin where Rivera left off”. I suppose, though, that if you are internationally famous vandals graffiti artists and muralists, your time is in great demand. I’m sure they had someplace very important to be for that additional half day.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Z facility opens up early next year. I was thinking of going down there and checking out the murals, particularly the Perres’ Unexpected Punchline, but now that I’ve seen photos and learned about it, I suppose there’s no need for me to see the real thing.

*Tom Harmon won the 1940 Heisman Trophy playing for the University of Michigan, which my father did actually also attend, earning an associates degree in civil engineering while in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during WWII, but he was in Ann Arbor years after Harmon had graduated.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Art and Design at The 24 Hours of LeMons 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/vellum-venom-vignette-art-and-design-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/vellum-venom-vignette-art-and-design-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons-2013/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:50:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=631010 My worst moment at the College for Creative Studies was during Portfolio Review: a presentation of one’s body of work since the beginning of the semester.  So it comes as no surprise that my favorite parts of a LeMons race is judging the artistic(?) themes of the cheaty $500 race cars in attendance.  Let’s combine […]

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My worst moment at the College for Creative Studies was during Portfolio Review: a presentation of one’s body of work since the beginning of the semester.  So it comes as no surprise that my favorite parts of a LeMons race is judging the artistic(?) themes of the cheaty $500 race cars in attendance.  Let’s combine the two for this quick vignette into an alternate world of automotive design: come up with a moderately creative theme, say or do something idiotic, make me laugh and perhaps I’ll forget about that fancy header…or those super cheaty shocks that supposedly “came with the car.”

Did you really think that car design ends in the studio?

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A 1990’s Pontiac Trans Am is a great canvas. This aftermarket(?) hood works well with the warning sign cribbed from an OSHA-compliant industrial zone. It’s mounted and cut in a way to harmonize with the body’s cut lines…for a reason…

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Right. A toxic waste of a machine. Also note the sweet T-top covers.

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Major props for the Terminator 2 style dying hand in a pit of goo!  This was a great theme that made good use of the Firebird’s real estate. This was a short and sweet Portfolio Review, also because F-bodies are so horrible in LeMons!

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The Tow-Mater themed Miata is a local favorite.  “His” eyeballs went up for this LeMons race, as it was a full 24 hour running.  While not as cute with those square headlights in play, this team did a fantastic job impersonating the vehicle of many a kid’s fancy: check out the weathered paint on the door!  And since this Miata is only moderately cheaty with good-natured racers in tow, well, it’s hard to hammer them too hard during their Portfolio Review.  IMG_1479

Yup, Escort Service.  You just know these guys will fare well in their Portfolio Review. Because this is probably painted on a…IMG_1480

Ford Escort.  While this platform has uber LeMons potential with enough cheating and a decent crew, many an E30 must die in the paddock before it’ll ever win.  Combine that with the truly tasteless (yet clever) theme involving the famous Escort name…yeah, they got off easy. Ish.

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This Shelby (yes, Shelby!) Daytona Z made plenty of friends at the race. Usually Engineers aren’t the most creative with themes…but…IMG_1485

Okay, this isn’t especially clever, but mechanical engineering formulas/jargon on a car tuned by Shelby himself is entertaining. Because we all owe so much to Nikolaus A. Otto!

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Supposedly that’s the formula for an automobile’s exhaust composition. Some of the elements look right to my unverified eyeballs, but it didn’t help this Shelby. It barely ran long enough to produce said byproduct of the Otto Combustion Cycle.

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Beaker from the Muppets sealed the deal: this Shelby sailed through its Portfolio Review easily.  Great theme on a horrible K-car!  How could it NOT dominate the slowest class in LeMons???   (It didn’t, remember it’s still a K-car.)IMG_1496

I had to dress up for my Portfolio Review, so I appreciate it when racers do the same.  Kudos to the flying sausages!
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Great artwork too, by the way.  Someone definitely listened to Rob Zombie when they attacked the hood of this Porker.

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Ditto this Toyota Supra with the Texas flag on the hood, made out of Shiner Beer bottle caps. Passed Portfolio Review with flying colors!

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They say it’s Chuck Norris, I think it’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Plus it’s an E30, so this Portfolio Review might go poorly!

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This Buick Century was “hand painted” in support of a local charity in Austin.  Part horrible Art Car, part horrible LeMons racer.  I LOVED IT.  IMG_1510

How can you say no to a vehicle with this much style? With a suspension so soft that the rear sloshes in harmony with the front when you push down on the front bumper?  It literally felt like a water bed with no internal baffles.  Sailed right through the Portfolio Review!

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Pretty obvious, but totally worth a laugh on inappropriateness alone. But this was (IIRC) a super-cheaty Integra, and no amount of low-brow humor can overcome that!

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A brilliantly executed theme on a VW you’d otherwise forget.   IMG_1519Slapping a mannequin onto a Honda Civic does not a good theme make, but seeing the underwear’s collection of track filth netted a hearty laugh. 

IMG_1520Plus it’s a Honda Civic, so it’ll be driven waaaay too hard and the head gasket will go explodey…Portfolio Review, Passed!

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One of my favorite cars is next.  This Ford Probe is an eye catcher in the world of crap cars for a good reason! Note the attention to detail in the paintwork and the craftsmanship in the spoiler made of license plates.

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Retaining the (rather cool when new) Probe SE graphic in your custom LeMons mural? Brilliant! IMG_1526_2

Even their name has some style…even if “some other guys” kinda ruined it.

IMG_1526_3Considering Houston is the home of the Art Car scene, this Probe does a good job mocking the genre. Or is it paying homage?

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And lastly, the Probe’s roof. Michaelangelo would be proud…except not.

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If Upton Sinclair ever ironically drove a Dodge Neon race car in the Land of Steakhouses…

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A truly horrible theme for an increasingly less horrible LeMons racer. At least the team (all two of them) dressed to match the Gas Monkey thing.  This Datsun roadster is all-electric, and considering its terrible (but ever improving) on-track performance, “aping” a horrible TV show that grows on you…well, it totally made sense. What’s that sound that Richard Rawlings always makes?  Wow-ooooh!

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Because Barbie always wanted a GMC Caballero.  Did they ever make a Ken doll with a mullet? IMG_1569

Another winner in this race for losers, they sailed through the Portfolio Review on theme/vehicle choice alone.  They offered to bribe and we told them it wasn’t necessary!

And with that, an apology: I’m sorry to soil your finely honed eyeballs with these horrible excuses for car design.  I promise to do better next time. But thanks for reading…and I hope you have a lovely week. Still!

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Detroit Knows Art http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/detroit-knows-art/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/detroit-knows-art/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 14:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496168 Charles Maher, Bloomfield Hills, MI We seem to be in a bit of a museum mood, what with Thomas Kreutzer’s report on the expanded Pierce Arrow Museum in Buffalo, NY., the continuing story about the Petersen Museum selling off part of their collection, and speculation on what will happen to the valuable art, cars and other items that […]

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Charles Maher, Bloomfield Hills, MI

We seem to be in a bit of a museum mood, what with Thomas Kreutzer’s report on the expanded Pierce Arrow Museum in Buffalo, NY., the continuing story about the Petersen Museum selling off part of their collection, and speculation on what will happen to the valuable art, cars and other items that belong to city-owned museums in the wake of Detroit’s filing for municipal bankruptcy. In the comment thread to our second post about the Petersen, the relationship between the world of cars and the world of fine art was raised by narcoossee, and 3Deuce27.

I suppose Detroiters are a bit touchy when it comes to things like fine art. After all, Detroit is, at heart, a factory town and proud of that fact. Our dreams are made of iron and steel, not pastel chalk and pretty paintings.

IMG_0053David Chapple, Detroit, MI

Folks from outside the region think of Detroit that way as well. Someone once asked me, in the wake of Chrysler’s Imported From Detroit ad campaign, “Just what would Detroiters know about style?”. I simply pointed out that Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the original World Trade Center towers, and two other of the 20th century’s greatest architects, Albert Kahn and Eero Saarinen, didn’t just design buildings for Detroit, they designed buildings in Detroit. All three of their firms were based in the Detroit area. Saarinen’s onetime business partner, the great designer Charles Eames and Eames’ wife Ray, also spent formative years in the Motor City.

IMG_0167Gerald Freeman, South Lyon, MI

Today, car enthusiasts and collectors are pushing the art world to embrace the art that goes into making and selling cars along with some cars themselves as examples of fine art. Frederic Sharf’s book on styling studio art, Future Retro, and the related show at Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, are examples of that effort. Getting that recognition for the artistic talent involved in making cars is one of the rationales for the Petersen’s sell off, the museum’s management says that they want it to be one of the best art and design museums in the world.

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Steve Purdy, Williamston, MI

It may have taken some time and effort to get the general art world to take notice but the local creative community in Detroit has appreciated the contributions to the art world by the automotive industry for over a century, and not just because captains of Detroit industry donated a lot of art to the Detroit Institute of Arts. The institution that is now Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, which continues to train a good fraction of the people who design cars around the world, started out in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, with Kahn, whose factory designs changed the auto industry, as one of the founding members. In the more than a century since then, many of the Society’s and CCS’s instructors and faculty have been working designers in the auto industry. Perhaps even more than the DSAC/CCS, Detroit’s Scarab Club, a hangout for artists and art lovers, has been the nexus of Detroit’s fine art and automotive worlds.

IMG_0107Michael Goettner, Sylvania, OH

From the Scarab Club’s website:

The Scarab Club was founded in 1907 by a group of artists and art lovers who enjoyed meeting regularly to discuss art and socialize.  The desire to form an arts organization in Detroit during the first third of the 20th century was partially intertwined with the birth of automotive design and the evolution of advertising art inspired by the burgeoning automobile industry.  Although generally viewed as a heavily industrial city, Detroit’s artistic community thrived from the success of the automobile.

Many of the original founding members of the Scarab Club consisted of automotive designers, advertising illustrators, graphic artists, photographers, architects, and automobile company owners.  Scarab Club members inspired each others’ artistic spirit by entering their artwork in the Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists held at the Detroit Institute of Arts under the auspices of the Scarab Club from 1911 to 1928 and the DIA from 1929 to 1974.

IMG_0011Clark Gordon, Detroit, MI

Anyhow, with all this talk of art, cars and car art, I remembered that for the past couple of years, a group of artists, painters, photographers and sculptors, has put together exhibitions called Detroit Knows Art in downtown Detroit office building lobbies. This is as good an excuse as any to post the photos that I took of the 2012 Detroit Knows Cars exhibit at the Chase Tower. Keeping with this post’s theme of the nexus between art and automobiles, among the artists whose work was on display were retired Ford designer, Howard “Buck” Mook, who is absolutely proud of the 1974 Mustang II because it was one of the best selling Mustangs ever, and Camilo Pardo, who is so proud of the Ford GT that he designed he’s done a series of fine art paintings of the car. Other participating artists were Alex BuchanDavid Chapple, Gerald FreemanMichael GoettnerClark GordonJim HaefnerTom HaleJay KokaCharles Maher, and Steve Purdy.

IMG_0105Jim Haefner, Troy, MI

IMG_0017Tom Hale, Northville, MI

IMG_0068bJay Koka, Toronto, ON

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Alex Buchan, Warren, MI.

IMG_0097Buck Mook, West Bloomfield, MI

IMG_0128aCamilo Pardo, Detroit, MI

 

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo Art Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1987-volvo-740-turbo-art-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1987-volvo-740-turbo-art-car/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491436 Since I’ve built (and daily-driven) what I consider to be an art car, I’m not against the concept of an art car. The problem is that you get 100 random-beater-with-army-men-hot-glued-all-over art cars for every brilliant Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. Because affixing random crap all over a cheap car is an accepted route to a certain segment […]

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08 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I’ve built (and daily-driven) what I consider to be an art car, I’m not against the concept of an art car. The problem is that you get 100 random-beater-with-army-men-hot-glued-all-over art cars for every brilliant Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. Because affixing random crap all over a cheap car is an accepted route to a certain segment of San Francisco Bay Area artistic circles, I’ve found a fair number of these things in Northern California wrecking yards. Here’s the first turbocharged art car I’ve seen in my travels.
25 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the same Oakland yard in which we saw the 1985 Toyota Master Ace art car last year, and today’s Volvo is the latest in a series of forlorn-looking art cars that broke something expensive and/or racked up too many parking tickets in revenue-crazed cities such as Berkeley or San Francisco. There was the semi-famous Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace Ford Taurus wagon and the skull-bedecked ’69 Mustang before that car, and I’m sure that a fair number wash up at junkyards on the route between San Francisco and a popular art-car destination in Black Rock Desert.
29 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStrangely, no effort was made to incorporate the TURBO INTERCOOLER emblems into the decor.
13 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinLots of beads, lots of feel-good messages (why don’t any art cars have big Nietzsche Family Circus graphics?), the usual stuff.
30 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car will be getting crushed soon, but— even as I write this— somebody is gluing 10,000 mirror fragments on a Mercury Topaz, continuing the infinite spiral of art-car life.

01 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Tailgate Mural Fails To Spare This Expedition From Crusher’s Jaws http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/tailgate-mural-fails-to-spare-this-expedition-from-crushers-jaws/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/tailgate-mural-fails-to-spare-this-expedition-from-crushers-jaws/#comments Thu, 16 May 2013 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=488640 You see a fair amount of customization among the inmates of a high-turnover, self-service wrecking yard; sometimes it’s a full-on time-capsule RX-7 and sometimes it’s the kind of thing Manny, Moe, and Jack would build after a week-long ether-and-DMT binge. Here’s a fairly well-executed, if puzzling, airbrush mural I spotted at a Denver yard a […]

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03 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see a fair amount of customization among the inmates of a high-turnover, self-service wrecking yard; sometimes it’s a full-on time-capsule RX-7 and sometimes it’s the kind of thing Manny, Moe, and Jack would build after a week-long ether-and-DMT binge. Here’s a fairly well-executed, if puzzling, airbrush mural I spotted at a Denver yard a few months back.
02 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven with the swastika vandalization— which may have hastened the depreciation of this truck’s value and helped lead to its junkyardization— you can make out some weird details on the subject’s face. There’s a certain air of Juggaloism in the semi-clownlike makeup, but what does the “Under Oath” caption mean?
04 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf only junkyard vehicles could talk!

01 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Casey Shain: Turning Pure Fantasy Into Virtual Reality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/casey-shain-turning-pure-fantasy-into-virtual-reality/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/casey-shain-turning-pure-fantasy-into-virtual-reality/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 10:40:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483694 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, […]

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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”

Dodge Charger Ford Flex Country Squire Chevrolt Impala 2 door fastback 1981 Coupe Seville Buick Verano "Skylark Hot Hatch" Toyota Supra Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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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Question Of The Day: What Is The Strangest Thing You Found In A Car? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/question-of-the-day-what-is-the-strangest-thing-you-found-in-a-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/question-of-the-day-what-is-the-strangest-thing-you-found-in-a-car/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2013 14:30:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483689 Press fleet vehicles are full of little surprises. A rap CD with a certain word used 200 times in a three minute song. Then there are the unusual litany of condoms, leftover roaches (the smokable variety), and paternity results that no doubt tell you more about your peers than you ever thought possible. Finally, there […]

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Press fleet vehicles are full of little surprises.

A rap CD with a certain word used 200 times in a three minute song.

Then there are the unusual litany of condoms, leftover roaches (the smokable variety), and paternity results that no doubt tell you more about your peers than you ever thought possible.

Finally, there was a trade-in that topped them all. I called it the Thelma and Louise car.

Two young ladies decided to chronicle their love affair on the headliner of a 1990 Volvo 740 wagon.

Oh the tales! Oh the pictures! From the very front of the windshield to the rear tailgate, I got to read up on more raunchy poetry and admired a surprising variety of artistic renderings, just by folding the rear seats and taking in all that scenery.

It was like caveman scenery. Except there was no cave and certainly no man.

I didn’t buy the vehicle. Honest. It was actually owned by Stan the Old Man when he was a wholesaler. Like any true Southern gentleman, Stan replaced the headliner and preserved the remnants in something that probably resembled a sock drawer.

This brings me to our question for the day. What is the strangest thing you found in a vehicle? Extra credit will be given if the thing you found can be associated with any felonies or celebrities. Double credit if you can combine the two.

Note: I always give credit whenever a good idea comes from an outside source. In this case, Christopher Little was the direct inspiration for today’s QOTD.  

 

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Cʼétait un Rendezvous On Blu-Ray – A Reason To Upgrade From Betamax http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/c%ca%bcetait-un-rendezvous-on-blu-ray-a-reason-to-upgrade-from-betamax/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/c%ca%bcetait-un-rendezvous-on-blu-ray-a-reason-to-upgrade-from-betamax/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 17:18:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=472377 Believe it or not, C’etait un Rendezvous is actually Claude Lelouch’s second most famous film involving motorsports – but as far as we know, Un homme et une femme hasn’t come out on Blu-Ray yet. Long the stuff of underground legend, Rendezvous gained popularity over the last decade as a cult car-guy film, eventually getting a […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Believe it or not, C’etait un Rendezvous is actually Claude Lelouch’s second most famous film involving motorsports – but as far as we know, Un homme et une femme hasn’t come out on Blu-Ray yet.

Long the stuff of underground legend, Rendezvous gained popularity over the last decade as a cult car-guy film, eventually getting a proper DVD release. In the era of easily accessible GoPro cameras and Youtube, the idea of an illegal street racing video is banal at best. But in 1976, this was automotive pornography crossed with high art.

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François Bruère, Artiste Officiel Des 24 Hueres Du Mans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/francois-bruere-artiste-officiel-des-24-hueres-du-mans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/francois-bruere-artiste-officiel-des-24-hueres-du-mans/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=468359 Some positions are dream jobs. Let’s say that you’re a car guy and that you like to paint and that you also happen to live in France. What could be a better job than being the official artist of the 24 Hours of LeMans race? François Bruère is that car guy and that’s his dream […]

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Some positions are dream jobs. Let’s say that you’re a car guy and that you like to paint and that you also happen to live in France. What could be a better job than being the official artist of the 24 Hours of LeMans race? François Bruère is that car guy and that’s his dream job. I first came across François while he was setting up his display at the automotive art show & sale that was part of the Concours of America at St. John’s festivities in suburban Detroit. Bruère has spent 30 years refining a style that combines hyperrealistic renderings of automobiles with sepia toned backgrounds, often historic, that give his work a distinctive, immediately recognizable style.

In addition to showing his works regularly at the Concours, Bruère has also been commissioned by the Concours to produce a poster of this year’s two Best of Show winners. The American winner was a 1933 Chrysler Imperial CL Sport Phaeton owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini, and the Foreign winner was also a 1933 model, a Delage D8S Coupe Roadster owned by the Patterson Collection. In a manner of speaking Bruère’s painting is one artist rendering the work of other artists, though they worked with steel and chrome instead of paint and canvas. Both of those cars have custom bodies. The D8S was was a design exercise, a concept car if you will, a collaboration between Delage and one of the most prestigious French coachbuilders, Carrosserie de Villars, for the 1934 Paris auto salon. The Chrysler has a body made by the equally prestigious American coachbuilder LeBaron. The car and its provenance are unique. By 1933 LeBaron was part of the Briggs body company and it was being run by designer Ralph Roberts, who would go on to design Chrysler’s dual cowl Newport show cars. This Imperial Sport Phaeton (it’s not quite a dual cowl body since the rear passenger’s windshield cranks down into the thin panel behind the front seat) was customized by LeBaron per Roberts’ direction and given by him as a present for his wife. An automotive rara avis : a one of one designer’s car, an already custom car further customized by the factory. The Imperial was part of the esteemed collection of the Milhous brothers and the Cassinis paid $1.21 million for it last February.

The Chrysler dominates the painting, sitting in front of the Delage in the foreground while in the background is the valet entrance and bell tower of St. John’s, a former seminary. Because of Bruère’s sepia tone backgrounds, the Chrysler particularly stands out since the white Delage tends to blend in. It’s not surprising that the artist highlighted the Chrysler. It’s an impressive car, one of the first American cars to have a hood that extended to the base of the windshield. Roberts had earlier done a proposal for Lincoln with that cowl-less feature that had been rejected by Edsel Ford so he just parked it in the garage at LeBaron’s Detroit facility. Later, when Walter P. Chrysler was at the same garage inspecting a proposal for the Imperial, he saw the Lincoln and told Roberts that was what he wanted. Already sleek by 1930s standards, Roberts customized his wife’s car with lengthened front fenders and skirted fenders in the back, lowered headlights, “French disc” wheel covers, and a radiator shell that was painted, not chromed. Also, Roberts moved the sidemounted spare tires to the back of the car.

More pics here.

Though I think he has the color a bit more aqua than the darker steel greyish green of my own photos of the car, Bruère captures the magnificent Chrysler quite well. If you want a copy of the poster, you’ll have to wait until next year’s concours. In the meantime, though, you can buy signed prints of the poster Bruère did of an Auburn roadster for the 2006 show as well as other historic show posters at the Concours’ web site store, starting next week. Bruère sells prints of his other works at his own website, Orpheograff.com.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Question: What Subject Matter Will Go On Your Custom Van’s Airbrush Mural? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/question-what-subject-matter-will-go-on-your-custom-vans-airbrush-mural/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/question-what-subject-matter-will-go-on-your-custom-vans-airbrush-mural/#comments Fri, 28 Sep 2012 15:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=461884 In the ’72 Dodge Tradesman Junkyard Find earlier this week, I referred to the iconic custom-van airbrush mural with “jousting knights battling Aztec kings in a zebra herd at the Mars Base.” All of those elements were seen on the flanks of plenty of Chevy Vans and Econolines back in the 1970s (though you didn’t […]

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In the ’72 Dodge Tradesman Junkyard Find earlier this week, I referred to the iconic custom-van airbrush mural with “jousting knights battling Aztec kings in a zebra herd at the Mars Base.” All of those elements were seen on the flanks of plenty of Chevy Vans and Econolines back in the 1970s (though you didn’t often see more than one per mural), and— now that we’ve got the benefit of nearly 40 years of hindsight— we can think about what could be done today with the art form of the custom van.
Unfortunately, my custom-van project is a window-equipped Dodge Sportsman, so I can’t get any serious airbrush work done to it (I will get plenty of pinstriping, of course). If I ever get a windowless “molester van,” however, I think I’d go for a mural combining science-fiction and low-rider-style Aztec motifs, complete with gold leaf on the helmets of the astronauts/Aztec warriors, all done in super-pneumatic pinball-machine-backglass style. How about you?

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Toyota Master Ace Art Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1985-toyota-master-ace-art-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1985-toyota-master-ace-art-car/#comments Sun, 09 Sep 2012 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=459486 If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you need something to drive to Burning Man, you’ll find that the glue-a-bunch-of-stuff-all-over-a-random-vehicle art-car approach will let your ride fit in just as effortlessly on the playa as the soccer mom’s Voyager blends in at the mall parking lot. I’m not against art cars (I […]

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If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you need something to drive to Burning Man, you’ll find that the glue-a-bunch-of-stuff-all-over-a-random-vehicle art-car approach will let your ride fit in just as effortlessly on the playa as the soccer mom’s Voyager blends in at the mall parking lot. I’m not against art cars (I consider my 1965 Impala Hell Project to be an art car at heart), but I prefer the approach of the artists who built such fine machines as the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir or the street-driven Denver Pirate Ship to the type who feels contempt for the canvas disappearing beneath their hot-glue gun. Anyway, the upshot of the large number of Bay Area art-car types who glue 10,000 plastic army men or Lucky Lager caps all over their cars is that many of them wind up in self-service wrecking yards. Here’s a Toyota Master Ace aka Toyota Space Cruiser aka Toyota Van that I spotted last weekend at an East Bay self-serve yard.
The thing about these cars is that the owners often pick up many parking tickets and/or don’t do any maintenance on the mechanical components. That’s probably how the skull-covered ’69 Mustang and Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace Taurus wagon ended up getting picked over for parts by befuddled junkyard shoppers.
The dash of this Master Ace is covered with wedding toppers, graduation-cake decorations, and plastic bowlers.
It’s too bad that spell-checkers don’t work on backwards writing.
A Master Ace should be good for many more miles than 209,691. Very slow miles, sure, but more of them.
It looks like a thrift-store toy bin exploded in here.
Here’s a cool find: an ANC pin from the apartheid era.
The Department of Mutant Vehicles probably wasn’t impressed by the Thrift Store Explosion Master Ace (how could you be impressed when you’ve got stuff like the Telephone Car driving around?), but I’ll be it went over big at the Forbidden Island.

53 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 32 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 34 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 37 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 39 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 41 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 42 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 43 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 44 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 45 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 46 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 47 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 48 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 49 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 50 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 51 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 52 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Murilee Meets MoMA: Junkyard As Art http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/murilee-meets-moma-junkyard-as-art/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/murilee-meets-moma-junkyard-as-art/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 21:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=457040 Israeli artist Ronen Wasserman turned recycling into an art form. Literally. For the Ronmen TinMan design studio, Wasserman creates on-off furniture pieces from recycled car parts. Says TinMan in its mission statement: “At the TinMan studio, we are aware that the availability of raw materials is limited.” “To promote awareness of smart consumption habits and […]

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The sink itself is a recycled oil sump

Israeli artist Ronen Wasserman turned recycling into an art form. Literally. For the Ronmen TinMan design studio, Wasserman creates on-off furniture pieces from recycled car parts. Says TinMan in its mission statement:

“At the TinMan studio, we are aware that the availability of raw materials is limited.”

A peaceful use

“To promote awareness of smart consumption habits and maximize the resources at hand, we use parts of cars and motorcycles found in junkyards, and transform them into functional, useful products that are used daily.”

“Doing so, we infuse these parts with a second life, while preserving a hint of their glamorous automotive history.”

Not your father'slamp  - Picture courtesy laughinsquid.com A peaceful use The ultimate knick-knack machine - Picture courtesy laughinsquid.com The sink itself is a recycled oi sump Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Art Car to Daily Driver to Drag Racer: 10 Years of My 1965 Impala Hell Project http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/art-car-to-daily-driver-to-drag-racer-10-years-of-my-1965-impala-hell-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/art-car-to-daily-driver-to-drag-racer-10-years-of-my-1965-impala-hell-project/#comments Thu, 19 May 2011 21:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=395412 I put in four years and thousands of posts at Jalopnik, writing about most of my formative cars… but never once did I write the story of the car that served me longest, gave me the most miles, endured the most engine swaps, and generally laid claim to a bigger piece of my heart than […]

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I put in four years and thousands of posts at Jalopnik, writing about most of my formative cars… but never once did I write the story of the car that served me longest, gave me the most miles, endured the most engine swaps, and generally laid claim to a bigger piece of my heart than all the rest of my motley lifetime fleet combined: a 1965 Chevrolet Impala sedan, built at the long-defunct South Gate Assembly Plant in Los Angeles, equipped with a 283/Powerglide drivetrain, and painted Artesian Turquoise. Today, at last, the story begins.

I bought it with tax-refund money during my senior year of college, with the idea that it would serve as my canvas for a high-concept mixed-media performance/installation art project (don’t worry, my version of an art car isn’t a ’79 New Yorker with plastic army men hot-glued all over it). This it did, helping pry loose a degree from the Regents of the University of California, and then it— totally unexpectedly— won me over and became a more-or-less bulletproof daily driver that put 100,000 miles under its wheels during the following decade. It moved me and all my possessions across the country and back, earned me the nickname “Mad Max” from my coworkers at Year One, survived the rigors of living on the streets of San Francisco, and accepted parts from hundreds of junkyard donors. By the end, it sported a three-dimensional patina that would make the most inked-up Billetproof hipster swoon with envy, and it was knocking off mid-13s at the strip with a low-buck small-block. It’s going to take a while to relate the entire story, so check in after this weekend’s LeMons race (part of the six-races-in-seven-weeks 24 Hours of LeMons Springtime Death March) to get the next installment.
Next: The Purchase.

1965 Impala Hell Project Roundup

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Car Photograph of the Day: Valet Ballet by Phil Waters http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/car-photograph-of-the-day-valet-ballet-by-phil-waters/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/car-photograph-of-the-day-valet-ballet-by-phil-waters/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2011 17:30:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=387406 The Denver MCA boasts something that most museums don’t have: a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle parked on its nose outside the building. I’ve been trying to shoot a worthwhile photograph of this fine sculpture by Gonzalo Lebrija, entitled Entre La Vida y La Muerte, but I just don’t have the boss camera skilz to do it […]

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The Denver MCA boasts something that most museums don’t have: a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle parked on its nose outside the building. I’ve been trying to shoot a worthwhile photograph of this fine sculpture by Gonzalo Lebrija, entitled Entre La Vida y La Muerte, but I just don’t have the boss camera skilz to do it justice. Fortunately, I know a guy who does.

The Chevelle still has the engine, transmission, interior, the works, and appears to be in pretty good condition. Was it worth removing a solid classic Detroit car from street duty in the name of art? I say it was worth it; 425,300 Chevelles were built for the 1968 model year, so it’s not exactly rare, and Lebrija’s sculpture has thousands of non-car-freaks contemplating one of Detroit’s best designs.

Top photo credit/copyright, © 2011 Phil Waters Design
Please do not reproduce or distribute without approval

Valet Ballet by Phil Waters Entre la Vida y la Muerte, by Gonzalo Lebrija. Image source: Denver MCA. ValetBallet2 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Sex And The Common TTAC Reader, Kinsey Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/sex-and-the-common-ttac-reader-kinsey-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/sex-and-the-common-ttac-reader-kinsey-edition/#comments Sun, 28 Nov 2010 09:34:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=374823 Yesterday, we ran a story about Art Ross. Ross was the Oldsmobile Chief Designer in the post WW II heydays. He was also a prolific and gifted pornographer. Cars and sex have always been related for some reason. Did you know that in Germany, where the car was invented, “Verkehr” can mean both “traffic” and […]

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Yesterday, we ran a story about Art Ross. Ross was the Oldsmobile Chief Designer in the post WW II heydays. He was also a prolific and gifted pornographer. Cars and sex have always been related for some reason. Did you know that in Germany, where the car was invented, “Verkehr” can mean both “traffic” and “intercourse?” I render the guess that there are more people that begun their life by the dashboard light than those who passed away in the passing lane. Many are convinced that autos have aphrodisiac qualities. Many heavily object and say that a car is just a conveyance. Then there are some who think cars are just as vile as porn, and both should be banned. Where does the dear TTAC reader stand in this discussion?

I’ve lived and worked through this antagonism all my professional life. Even at automakers, there are those who think the best car ad is a Soviet style list of specs, accompanied maybe by a cut-away picture. (A good cut-away demands a higher budget than a porn flic shot in Hungary, but I digress. It’s easy …) Others think one should dispense with the car altogether (they all look alike) and show lifestyle scenes instead. What does the TTAC reader think? Let’s take a clinical approach and look at raw numbers only, delivered by the soulless TTAC host computer.

The Art Ross story clearly was yesterday’s most read story. It narrowly beat out Michael Karesh’s review of the Hyundai Sonata Turbo. It was a photo finish, both stories were less than 100 clicks apart. Naked women have a greater attraction on the common TTAC reader than a Hyundai – but just barely.

Now add to that the fact that the Hyundai story was already a day old. On the day it ran first, it had handily beat out … nope, the winner on Friday was “What New Car Is The Best Value For Money?“ That one had attracted twice the numbers of eyeballs than the blown Hyundai.

However, the next day, and with a starting position slightly better than sex, the Hyundai story spooled up fast, raced out of the gate and remained the leader of the pack for most of the day – until sex came from behind and won by a hair.

What does that tell us? The common TTAC reader is interested in sex only slightly more than in a Sonata that had a blowjob. Both topics are valued higher than money: On Saturday, the raunchy Ross report and the Hyundai review received 50 percent more attention than the value for money story that had won the previous day.

Now for the juicy part. Sonatas aside, what genres REALLY pique the TTAC reader’s discerning interest?

The traditional art of Art Ross, including portraits, surrealistic paintings, and a treasure trove of some of the finest car designs of the last century were offered-up for further viewing at The Art Of Art Ross.

A collection of vile and repugnant porn, devised by a deviated degenerate, a lot while he was supposed to support the war effort by designing camouflage netting that kept our fighting men from being bombed by the enemy, was – for strictly scientific reasons – referenced under Erotica By Art Ross. It came with ample warnings. The nauseating nature of the material was clearly flagged.

Now guess what received more clicks.

One more time, you guessed it right. Erotica By Art Ross did beat The Art Of Art Ross more than six to one. Drawing conclusions is left to the reader. All I can say is that warning labels do not impress our readers. They appear to be, as the saying goes, “sure in their sexuality.”

This is where the story would end, would there not have been a late entry. After a death-defying race to Toronto (and after declining my suggestion – made in jest – to type on his iPhone while driving) Jack Baruth wrote the story of a cookie monster that escaped a smashed 1984 vintage Audi GT (I remember them well) unharmed. Said story was posted at 6 in the evening. With sex and Sonata having an 18 hour lead, the story had impossible odds. Old racer’s adage: Better to enter a race late than never. The others could break. Jack’s accident report raced up the charts. By the end of the day, it made a podium finish, coming in third, after sex and Sonata.

In today’s very early morning, Baruth leads, with the Sonata two laps behind, closely followed by Paul Niedermeyer’s story about a futuristic RV from 1959. Pornography is back in the field.

Four possible conclusions (multiple choices ok):

  • The B&B value their lives more than sex or money.
  • If it (barely) bleeds, it leads.
  • Jack Baruth is one reckless heck of a writer.
  • Sonatas will rule the world.

Over to you.

(PS: As this story goes to press – so to speak – word reaches us (finally) that “hyper-texting” leads to sex, drinking or drugs. Scientific fact. Was LaHood right after all? Should Jack Baruth have written the story as a prelude while driving, instead of wasting a precious hour on a laptop in a motel? Will we ever know?)

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The Art Of Alfa Romeo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/the-art-of-alfa-romeo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/the-art-of-alfa-romeo/#comments Wed, 17 Mar 2010 22:17:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=349395 Alfa Romeo has launched an official fine art collection, which can be found at www.alfaromeoart.com. With their gracious permission, we bring you this selection of some of the luscious images now on sale there. Too bad none of them answer any of the pressing questions facing Alfa today.

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Alfa Romeo has launched an official fine art collection, which can be found at www.alfaromeoart.com. With their gracious permission, we bring you this selection of some of the luscious images now on sale there. Too bad none of them answer any of the pressing questions facing Alfa today.

alfa9 alfa15 alfa14 Druck alfa12 RZ_Alfa_Vorlage_Druck_FStumpf alfa4 alfa13 alfa3 alfa5 alfa1 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail alfa2 alfa11 alfa16 alfa6 alfa8

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