In the postwar era, Los Angeles was ground zero for the emergence of a racy custom car aesthetic that was largely based upon the 1949 - 1951 Mercurys, the most modern automotive design lineup in the immediate postwar era.

’Twas a shocking sight to see the small collection of Mercury Customs on the lawn at Pebble Beach juxtaposed against the elegant show-winning Isotta Fraschini and a spectacular assemblage of Ferraris, but after the shock wore off, one could see the hand of craftsmen shaping sheet metal to their own purpose, the stuff Concours celebrate in their annual assemblies.

Shown here In all it’s chopped and channeled glory is the 1951 Mercury ICM Custom Coupe created by builder Barris Kustoms for client Bob Hirohata. Squint your eyes a bit when looking at the profile view of this car and you may see echoes of the famous French coachbuilders Figoni et Falaschi chrome slash that adorned the sleekest automotive designs of the 1930s.

Barris Kustoms clearly had an unrestrained gleam in their eye when they expertly removed the Mercury B pillar, lowered the car and chopped the roofline to exaggerate this zoomy body design. Plenty of lead was used to fill the holes left after carving the original Mercury into its new configuration. The entire confection was completed in only 97 shop days—just in time for Bob Petersen’s 1952 International Motorama held in Los Angeles. The insane production schedule may have been a blessing in disguise for the finished car is minimally adorned except for it’s broad, bold body strokes. Frozen in time within the hammered metal of this 1951 Mercury Custom is the flash and dash of the immediate postwar design period.

In days to come we will celebrate new unrestrained automotive designs expertly thrown together in a matter of weeks as expressions of man’s need to exert his own style over his transportation. Let’s hope the results will be just as successful as Pebble Beach showed us this year in this interesting display of customized Mercurys.
Car Culture is delighted to announce the arrival of a very special collectable:

The Dashboard: Volume 1 Portfolio Edition

Limited to 25 sets including a print and custom boxed book
Signed by Lucinda Lewis and Tom Matano
The Dashboard doesn’t resemble any book I’ve ever made before. It’s hand-made, with quality like some of the coachbuilt cars portrayed on its pages and also sold as prints on www.carculture.com. Featured on the cover is the 1927 Delage Type: 1.5 Liter Grand Prix Car--Louis Delage's masterwork. 
Strictly limited to just 25 sets, these original books are signed by photographer Lucinda Lewis and Automotive Designer Tom Matano and presented in a hand-made archival clam shell box.
 
Famed automotive designer, Tom Matano, has provided insightful comments on each dashboard featured with the book. Automobiles portrayed and discussed range from the 1901 Panhard et Levassor 10hp Cab to the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Matano's comments are enlightening and instructional to the automotive aficionado and add a new dimension to Lucinda Lewis’s photographs featured within the book.
 
The Dashboard is designed and printed by Artisan Books in England on Library of Congress certified archival paper, embossed and bound by hand. The resulting collectable edition is a piece of craftsmanship and has been nominated for a major publishing award.
 
Definitely Better than a Box of Chocolates.
 
In addition to the book, each Solander box contains a large 11 x 14 inch giclée print of the 1937 Cord Model 812 Berline Limousine from the book. The prints of course, are also signed and numbered in pencil by Lucinda Lewis. Remember, there will only be 25 prints in this edition of the 1937 Cord Model 812 Berline Limousine Dashboard.
Prices increase as the edition number becomes higher. Buy Early.
Size 14 x 16.5"
First Come - First Serve. Free Shipping
Every two years, professional drivers suit up to drive pre-1979 vintage race cars around the original track circuit of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race is broken into classes pairing cars that previously competed at Le Mans against vehicles that likely ran against them during the actual event. This racing recreation is an opportunity for car owners with a passion for motorsports to viscerally experience similar Le Mans competitive conditions.
For 2016, the Le Mans Classic will be help July 8, 9 and 10. Be there or be square. The stunning photos accompanying this post were created by Laurent Nivalle in 2012.

 A recent Bonham’s auction featured a “barn-fresh” 1958 Aston Martin DB Mark III Sports Saloon.

Encrusted in dirt, rust and who knows what else, the stellar lines of the Tickford body shown through. The winning bidder was to receive the Aston and the trunk contents, revealed in the attached photo. Check out the (not-so-round) wheel!. Looks like he was driving over molten lava.

There are "grand" automobiles, and then there are "colossal" vehicles such as this ponderous, yet stately woody wagon. 
It's hard to imagine the flexing that must have gone on inside this wooden-bodied eight-door station wagon when negotiating a tight corner on the highway. All that wood--creaking and groaning. Perhaps it was melodic to ride inside one.
This 1940 LaSalle Special Bodied Wagon marked the last year of production for the LaSalle marque, the brain-child of Alfred Sloan who sought to expand the market influence of Cadillac.
Woodies will be featured at the 2015 Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance.