The Art of the Build: Rods and Kustoms
Whether it be Europe, Asia, here in America or anywhere in between, the world depends on mass-produced vehicles to make life convenient and comfortable. These vehicles and the factories that assemble them are what keeps economies growing, businesses flourishing, and families in motion. For most of the general population, a ‘showroom stock’ car is more than adequate. In fact, the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) prides itself on promoting the preservation and restoration of cars and other vehicles to the exact way a car left the factory for historical documentation. But as typical human beings, we are all individuals, and some are not content to possess an object that thousands of others could easily own. Be it a house, car, or even a fashion statement, many of these free-thinkers prefer to create a custom tailored vision of their unique persona. We are all (thankfully) guilty of this trait in some degree. Most manufactures now offer ‘boutiques’ within their dealerships catering to customers wishing to personalize their rides. Some owners take this to the limit, completely altering a vehicle in every form to create a true “one of a kind”. The AACA Museum’s “Art of the Build” exhibit focuses on these individuals, and the rolling art they have created. By treating each custom vehicle as a piece of sculpture, the Museum has planned this display as an art installation, celebrating each item for what it has become, not lamenting of what it once was. Each of these vehicles has been carefully planned, and painstakingly transformed by hand to its current configuration. Metal has been shaped, worked and smoothed, leather has been dyed, stretched and sewn, paint has been sprayed, sanded and polished, and powertrains have been extensively upgraded by world-class craftsmen. It was feared that many of these skills would be lost to history, but thanks to both restoration and custom shops they have been resurrected. Some of these vehicles started life as a production vehicle; some are completely built from scratch. We invite our guests to examine the minute details, ponder the thought and build processes, and marvel at the end result of each vehicle on display.