Marc’s Blog: The Art Car

Marc’s Blog: The Art Car

Our son Max popped back home recently and left his newish car with us for a couple weeks.

Fortunately, there’s nothing modified, raucous or ratty about this vehicle at all – you might even say it looks decidedly unremarkable as a factory standard, Japan-built family wagon.

‘The turbo’s a nice touch’ I remarked, spotting the sneaky scoop in the bonnet.

‘Extra power when you need it,’ Max murmured with a smile.

The boy in me wondered how nippy this critter truly was, so after he left I thought I’d take it for a quick run – sensibly of course since sustained (or any) loss of traction really isn’t my thing.

Now, picture cheek-shuddering g-forces; eyes expanding in utter disbelief and a jellified me almost airborne. Crikey, it’s quick alright.

After a cup of tea and a lie-down, I reflected that things have certainly changed in the last few decades.

Quite a few moons ago, at age 15, my first car was a little more sedate.

The shapely Morris van was a thing of beauty however, boasting a bountiful 998cc. I’m not too sure how many horsepower it had, but figured since it could go a little faster than a cantering pony (downhill only) then it had to have at least one. Or possibly two – depending on the wind direction.

Lifting the bonnet for the big reveal (and to top up the oil again, yes, all of the time) it was clearly obvious that there wasn’t much in there that could go wrong– in fact, there really wasn’t much in there at all.

But the old British wagon served me well, so one day in a ceremonial moment of youthful inspiration I would show my appreciation with the furnishing of a racing stripe. Behold fat bands of hand-painted metallic purple to grace the center of the hood forever. El Presto! Now she genuinely looked fictitiously fast.

At varying levels, customizing cars has gone on for decades. But lately things have gone up a notch with the rise of the ‘Art Car.’ Truly an artistic expression on wheels, the ‘Art Car’ is created by an artist to convey complex visions, philosophies and ideas.

Famous singer Janis Joplin probably got things started when she roared around in her psychedelically-painted Porsche in the 1960’s. And then John Lennon was a veritable style virtuoso in his paisley Rolls Royce.

Despite humble beginnings, the ‘Art Car’ movement has really taken off – spreading from the United States to Canada, Europe and beyond.

I wonder if New Zealand might be ready for this phenomenon right now?

It’s just that we’ve got Max’s car for a few more days, so here’s an opportunity to back it into the workshop for a little ‘artistic intervention.’ This may include, but is not limited to, generous amounts of fiberglass, paint and stainless chicken-wire.

Still some research (and possibly permissions) required before I reach for the grinder, but I’m thinking a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ theme would be perfect here.

Complete with tail, teeth and a woolly fleece – I reckon it’ll be a real howler.