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.

Hagerty Predicts Collectible Car Auction Prices will Slow

Venerable collectable car expert, Michael Hagerty, predicts recent soaring auction prices for collectible automobiles will slow.

In 2010, when the economic concept of the "New Normal", was formulating itself in the public mind, the big money was quietly placing bets on collectible automobiles as a new form of "hard currency". Were they right? Yes, classic car auction results validate that investing in rare automobiles as an appreciating asset was a smart move at that time.

As America has struggled with the recession, rejiggered health care, student debt and a housing crisis, the appreciation in classic car prices has been unprecedented since 2010. But now come the first withering signs that this economic bubble may be about to burst. Will the prospect of a new "Asian Contagion" courtesy of China's slowdown tarnish the allure of poring dollars into automotive investments?

Auction results at this time of this writing point to a slowdown in price increases overall, although premier examples of one-off or extremely limited production automobiles continues to increase. 



Many stunning examples of custom coachbuilt cars from Carrozzeria Touring will be featured on the lawn at Pebble Beach this year. Touring Superleggera patented their process of using a tubular design systems overlaid with thin alloy to construct a super lightweight automotive body. Some of the resulting construction are stunning as well as competitive due to their lightweight.

Hold onto your hat. 570S to appear at Pebble Beach Concours this year.

There was a time when attending the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was a pleasure and a passion. After reading this Jalopnik blog, I feel like it's become a parody of itself, a bit like Cannes Film Festival.

Thankfully, the cars haven't changed, so the delight is still there for Car Culture enthusiasts. Saddle up!


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 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



Last fall, at the Goodwood Revival an amazing 1936 LG45R Rapide set a record price for Lagonda. One might hope to see more Lagondas like this 1939 Lagonda V-12 Drophead Coupé at the featured display of British prewar cars on the lawn at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours.




Do Cadillacs stretch? No, but Mercedes Benz.

Speed Queens in the pre-war era drove a tough road to win the right to compete against men in the popular automotive racing circuit. It wasn’t until 1932 when men and women were officially allowed to compete against one another at the Inter-Club Race. Racing then became very interesting indeed with many women blowing the doors off their male racing counterparts leaving sweet pea flowers trailing in their contrails.
Here racing legend Margaret Allan is shown behind the wheel of a 6.5 liter Bentley at Brooklands in 1936. For all women in motorsports racing, may the force be with you.

In anticipation of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Car Culture has created a duPont Motors Pinterest Board. Here, we’ve curated some examples of the few remaining 537 produced motorcars built by the venerable duPont Motor Manufacturing Company of Wilmington, Delaware.

You can also contribute directly to this board by becoming a Car Culture collaborator on this Pinterest group board dedicated to DuPont Motor Manufacturing.

If you are planning on attending the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance next weekend, you can select your best duPont photos and post them to our group collaboration duPont Pinterest board. Car Culture will then ruthlessly edit and annotate the cars so that everyone can experience the duPont automobiles even if you were unable to attend the Concours.

Sign up to become a DuPont collaborator by emailing Car Culture at We will then authorize you to pin directly to the Car Culture Pinterest duPont board.

Be creative in your photography and help annotate the history surrounding this interesting American automotive marque. 

Follow Car Culture's board duPont Motor Manufacturing Company on Pinterest.