The car was originally designed with a set of low profile BFG 295/40ZR18 front and 295/45ZR18 blackwalls mounted on billet wheels, which in some of the photos reside on the driver's side of the car. At SPEEDSTER we speculated the car might be more marketable with wires and wide whites, (especially in light of the "circus wagon" orange and white with white scallops and pinstripes paint job) so P205/60R15 front and larger P275/60R15 rear wide whitewalls mounted on Cragar chromed wire wheels ride on the passenger side. This is an old SCRAPE trick, since you can only see one side of the car at a time. The "pimp side" (wide whites) beat the "hot rod side" in public polling by a 9 to 1 margin.
At the outset I spoke about the car (and my tastes) being distanced from the mainstream of street rodding. Being so different, I wondered if the car would be accepted at rod events. When it was completed in summer 2004 I exhibited the car at Goodguys Indy (2 hours on Sunday), the SoCal party in Pomona, the LA Roadster's Father's Day Swap Meet, the Long Beach Swap Meet, the Concours on Rodeo in Beverly Hills and at the RM Auction in Pebble Beach. I'm happy to report that reaction was positive and powerful. In general, however, the concours crowd appreciated the car more than the "white bread" hot rod crowd. It amazes me how rodders walked by the invisible Viper-powered Boattail in primer at York and Louisville yet clustered around the painted car in Indy, Long Beach and Pomona.
Despite the fact it went across the auction block at 2:00 AM when all the bidders had gone home to bed, car collector and Five Star Ford dealership owner Sam Pack of Carrollton, TX paid $137,500 for the Boattail. You should see his collection!
Like most of my creations I'm glad I sold it because that allows me to move on with several other projects I could never otherwise afford. I have some unforgettable memories of driving that car. I parked it right off Ocean Avenue in Carmel on Thursday of Pebble Beach week when the tour cars were stopped there for lunch, I drove it down Highway 101 and saw the spectacular ocean view as I approached Monterey, and I experienced "the tunnel" with my pal and "agent" Riley Hopkins of Gig Harbor, WA. Next to the Doubletree Hotel at Fisherman's Wharf there is a long straight tunnel, two lanes going one direction in one tunnel and two lanes going the other in the second parallel shaft. The deal is to lag back so all the traffic drives away from you leaving the long stretch of tunnel open and empty in front of you. Then you reach under the dash and hit the switch to open the exhaust to straight pipes, start rolling in 2nd gear and get on the throttle. The exhilaration of acceleration for 1/8 mile compounded by the sound of that outboard-motor-sounding Viper with straight pipes echoing in the tunnel gives me goose bumps just to write these words. Memories. Just havin' fun with cars. Life is good.
A second full-fendered, enclosed rear pontoon Maserati Ghibli V8 powered boattail is in the works in Largo, FL (champagne over black, two tone), being built by Mike Akins, my "hood ornament" compatriot. And Rich Brandl Sr., builder of about four fabulous DECO RIDES Zephyrs including Eddie Rochelle's orange Street Rod Of The Year, is starting to build the speedboat Boattail highboy at his SUPERIOR CUSTOM CLASSICS shop in Hudson, FL. It will have C-5 Corvette powertrain and should be equally wicked. And there's a fully enclosed pontoon streamlined Boattail taking shape slowly in my garage, with twin bubble canopies, but that's another story.
If you're a rodder looking to expand your horizons and savor American and European coachbuilt classics, there are several auto museums, events and books I highly recommend. Just because some coachbuilt cars may be valued several more decimal places than your car doesn't mean you can't drink in their superb styling. American museums clearly have the best collections of coachbuilt cars (Delahaye, Delage, Talbot Lago, Bugatti, etc.)
AUBURN-CORD-Duesie MUSEUM, Auburn, IN. Spectacular Art Deco building, the original showroom and ACD offices. Open daily but the archives (library) is open Mon. & Tues. for you to poke around. (260) 925-1444.
NETHERCUTT COLLECTION & MUSEUM, Sylmar, CA. Equally spectacular Grand Salon, open daily, free, but call for reservation (818) 367 2251.
BLACKHAWK MUSEUM, Danville, CA. The last time I looked it had the best array of swoopy coachbuilt cars of any museum in a mind-blowing modern Deco architecture setting, Wednesday - Sunday, 10 AM - 5 PM, (925) 367-2251.
NATIONAL MOTOR MUSEUM, Beaulieu, England. Great collection of Land Speed Record cars. Be sure to schedule your visit the second week of Sept., for the Autojumble, England's largest auto swap meet.
SCHLUMPH MUSEUM, Mullhouse, France. Big collection of Bugattis.
PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE, Pebble Beach/Monterey, CA, The Concours is Sunday but is preceded by a week of other great events such as Concorso Italiano (2,200 Ferraris), Cars & Cigars Wed. at Monterey Jetport and RM Auction Fri.-Sat.. Middle of August. Oldest and still the top Concours in USA, and apparently in the world. (877) 693 0009. Tickets $100 & $125. Well worth the money, and it goes to charity.
AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE, Amelia Island, FL. Relatively new event but a spectacular event that might be the second best Concours on the planet (I've never been to the Bagatelle in France, although as of this writing it appears the LOUIS VUITTON CLASSIC in Paris and England has sadly crashed and burned). Amelia is well worth the airplane ticket. Trust me, go there and enjoy this incredible event, as it is clearly one of the best in the world.. Early March. Tickets $20 & 25. (904) 596-6201.
MEADOW BROOK CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE, Oakland University, Rochester. MI End of July.-beginning of Aug. A distant 3rd to Amelia but still has nice coachbuilt cars. They don't allow hot rods where Pebble and Amelia do, (on occasion.) Tickets $20 & 25. (248) 269 7672
FROM PASSION TO PERFECTION, The Story of French Streamlined Styling 1930-1939, by Richard Adatto. Spectacular book.
MOTORCARS of the CLASSIC ERA, by Michael Furman. Incredible cars. Incredible photography.
DELAHAYE 135, Marc-Antoine Colin, (in French) E-T-A-I, 20 rue de la Saussiere, 92641 Bpulogne-Billancourt Cedex, France.
Less than 500 units built in total. Design credit also to Gordon's unhearlded and exceptional clay modeler Vince Gardner.