Monday, December 31, 2012

Thunderbird Once Again?

Rather than starting with a base photo for this 2015 Thunderbird, I used a black Sharpie and did a quick sketch on paper. Then I scanned the illustration and "played" with it in Photoshop to work it up. This Thunderbird would be a 4-seat personal luxury sport coupe to pick up where the 1971s left off. Power would come from an EcoBoost family V6s with hybrid assist. Rear-wheel drive biased all-wheel drive standard. Aerodynamics would be managed extremely well with a cd in the low .20s.

Still Unique in all the World and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cadillac 3-Window Business Coupe for 2014

The re-emergence of a bygone bodystyle

Happy Holidays from casey/artandcolour!

2014 As more and more "coupes" debut with four doors, I'm reintroducing a bodystyle not seen since the early postwar years, the 3-Window Business Coupe. The space behind the front seats is beautifully finished with built in nacelles for the optional fitted luggage. The huge trunk, which may be opened as a hatchback or smaller, separate trunk lid, is also finished to a high degree with brushed aluminum, leather, wool carpeting and polished wood. And yes, it's a plug-in electric vehicle.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2014 Audi e100 Coupe: Electric Boogaloo

Seeking to add a bit of old time drama and elegance to the electric car "scene," I submit my Audi e100 Coupe. Besides the unexpected pillarless greenhouse there are "hidden" C pillar windows behind the aluminum extruded roof louvers. The wheelbase is extended in the front for additional battery storage as well as giving a better front wheel-to-driver proportion and additional weight balance in the Quattro all-wheel drive system. Introductory color is Opalescent Pewter Mink.

Friday, December 14, 2012

2014 Malibu Maxx: Reimagined Hatchback Coupe

 I think it's time to bring back a high-style 3-door hatchback to the intermediate class. Clickable thumbnail enlarges to almost full-screen, as always.

The cool 5-door Malibu Maxx hasn't been in the Chevy lineup for almost 5 years. It was produced on the 6th generation 'Bu platform from 2003-08. For this chop, I decided the Maxx could be updated into a very glassy 3-door hatchback with a very glassy roof. The original Maxx had a stationary glass roof over the backseat, so this 3 door just extends that glass panel over the front seat, too. For the profile, I looked WAY back to the 1970s Chevy Monza, an Italianate body hung over a slightly modified Vega platform. The louvered B pillar and "pointed" greenhouse evoke that cool Monza in a way Chevy never has.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2014 Lincoln Continental. 21st Century Flagship

Artandcolour's admittedly over-the-top Lincoln flagship, the 2014 Continental sedan. Besides dwarfing its contemporaries in wheelbase and interior room, Lincoln's aluminum and carbon-fiber construction allows it to be the lightest in weight among its competitors. Add in a twin-turbo V12 Eco-Boost Hybrid drivetrain capable of 0-62 in 5 seconds and a combined city/highway mileage of 45mpg, and you have a very capable performer well able to carry the mantle of this vaunted brand. Polished aluminum fender shields, a new Lincoln styling cue, are thermostatically controlled engine compartment vents as well as inlets for the HVAC system. 22" wheels are aerodyamically designed for maximum brake cooling.
  • For the next 2 weeks, several of my cars are posted at Peter De Lorenzo is gracious as always to allow my work to be seen by his audience. Scroll down, here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2014 Cadillac ATS coupe—ATC?

Move over upscale German compact luxury coupes, there's a new ride in town.
It's just a matter of time before Cadillac's newest star, the ATS sedan is given a coupe sibling. My version, above, is not the all-out dramatically styled geometric paragon of haute couture as is the larger CTS coupe. This ATS coupe, or ATC most likely, is a bit more "practical" in appearance, more akin to the 3 series, A5 and C Class coupes. Gently rounded lines first seen on the sedan are gently becoming the new Art & Science norm, with proportion and stance as much a part of the brand's DNA as is the overt angularity.


One of the great commenters over at's Photoshop section, where I have been posting my car chops for years, suggested I increase the glass area of the coupe a bit. Since I had raised the beltline from the donor sedan, I lowered it back to production height to see how it looked. I'm torn. I always like my original intention, but I have no problems at all with the increased glass. I think it looks quite fetching, actually!

Friday, November 23, 2012

2014 Cadillac Seville: The New Standard of the World

This is a rendering for a 2014 Cadillac Seville, a longer-than-XTS, rear-wheel drive, twin-turbo hybrid flagship with all mod-con electronic geegaws and doodads.

Starting with the XTS donor image, I replaced the original fastback 6-window greenhouse for a more tradition 3-box sedan. The new C-pillars are nicely faceted and lead to a roofline nodding back to the '75 X-body Seville. I lengthened the hood and pulled the front wheels forward for the new V8 drivetrain. The wheelbase is 10 inches longer than the front-wheel drive XTS with an extended rear passenger compartment as well. The extended range battery pack is nestled in the platform's raised center spine for handling and packaging needs, making this the first top-of-the-line Cadillac sedan to offer four Nappa leather-covered electronic Recaro bucket seats.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Second Generation Tunnelback XL, 1972

1972 Ford XL SportsRoof, courtesy casey/artandcolour.

C H O P — Ford's 1971 redesign of its full-sized car line reverted to a single coupe style, a severely formal-roofed pillarless coupe with a C-pillar at least three-feet wide. This chop restores the second, "faster" roofline choice, or SportsRoof in Ford parlance. It also restores the "XL" nameplate which was unceremoniously dumped after the 1970 model year. The '69-70 Sportsroof was a flying buttressed, tunnelback, full sizer with almost perfect proportions. The roofline was shared with Mercury resulting in the now-classic Marauder coupes.

For this second generation tunnelback, I greatly enlarged the side windows of the production formal coupe. I gave the C-pillar the look of the '67 Galaxie XL, but with the '69-'70's inset rear window. I left virtually everything else "production" on this "XL," the extra-cost spoke wheelcovers, the bodyside rub strip, the proper width whitewall tires.

And having grown up with a '72 LTD Brougham coupe in high school, LIght Gray metallic with a black vinyl roof, I can verify that those optional spoked wheelcovers are HEAVY but meticulously crafted.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

1961 Dodge Lancer GT—Hardtop Coupe

This rendering shows what a dedicated 1961 Dodge Lancer coupe have looked like. The pillarless coupe Dodge produced was hamstrung in the looks department by the beancounter decision to use the exact same roof stamping as the sedan. This meant an additional, stationary window was needed in the C-pillar, which just looked odd with the pillarless glass in front of it. My coupe shows what they could have done if they had OKed a second, sportier, dedicated coupe roofline. It almost hints at sister division Plymouth's Barracuda coming up for '64. With bucket seats front and rear, this Lancer GT would have looked great next to that year's Corvair Monza sport coupe and would have predated the Mustang by three and a half years. Falcon wouldn't have a hot pillarless coupe until the '63 model year.

About the early sixties Lancer in general, it's clear that it's a sister to the original Valiant. I'm convinced that in '61 though, Dodge pulled off the better looking car. I didn't change anything in the front of this rendering, and look at those awesome lines! The grille is expensive looking, the and fender blisters work perfectly with the headlights and hood. With the windshield laid back a few degrees and the roofline lowered a couple of inches, my reversed C-pillar accentuates the rear fenders. It was suggested by an actual stamping in the production car's fenders.

Not My First

This is't the first early sixties Dodge Lancer I've rendered. This road warrior/daily driver sedan was done a couple of years ago. As in the chop at the top, I changed the C-pillar to include that reversed kink. There is a little pressed indentation in the production Lancer's and Valiant's doors (or fenders on coupes) that looks like it would lead to this pillar. The actual production C-pillar doesn't relate as well. I also gave it suicide doors just because I think they're cool, lol. The Lancer in the base photo was in better shape than "mine." I did all the battle-scars and aging in Photoshop.

Not My First
I just realized this is my 100th post here. Time flies! I just wish I could do new ones every day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Imperial Convertible, 300 Sport Wagon. Past Retro.

A mid 2000s 300 front clip, an extended wheelbase and a '69-'71 fuselage era-inspired Imperial body combine to make this very elegant 2008 Imperial Crown Convertible.

S H A M E L E S S   S E L F - P R O M O T I O N — My two little blogs clicked over 400,000 combined hits recently. Yeah, lol! To "celebrate" here are two more retro-inspired Chryslers I've created. These were done in my early days of rendering cars in Photoshop, 2005 or 2006, and the quality is a bit rough, but I love these two cars. Thanks to everyone that checks out my work and makes this blog-thing worthwhile!
An original '55 300/Imperial front clip is mated with a restyled 2005 Magnum sport wagon body. I also added typical Exner-period chrome rocket taillight tubes in the rear. I would love to see this car on the road, lol.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1964 Imperial Crown LWB 5-passenger Sedan

Inspired by the 5-passenger Mercedes Benz 600 of the mid 1960s, I've smoothed out Elwood Engel's '64-'66 Imperial's styling for this long wheelbase Crown sedan. I think it's the poster child for mid-century coolness and modernity.

C H O P S — And now for something completely different from my exuberantly elegant Exner Imperial redux, the dark blue '62, here...

... Elwood Engel's '64 clean-lined Imp elongated and smoothed out for this long wheelbase owner-driven Crown sedan. The cabin is enlarged and extended rearward for maximum second row accommodations. The color palette is "subtle Turbine car" with a much darker copperfire hue for the body and a lighter gunmetal gray for the vinyl roof and leather-and-broadcloth interior. Pulled up next to an appropriate mid-century house, this Imperial is ready for an early morning, high-speed run out to Palm Springs with four jet-setting friends and their perhaps, dubious, luggage.

B  O N U S   P I C :

I've also chopped this Imperial Crown Coupé 2-door limousine. This would be an ultra smooth, long wheelbase chopped roof luxury express.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2014 Regal Century coupe

It's time there was a coupe in the Buick showrooms. Or five! I'd like to see two door versions of the Verano, Regal and LaCrosse and a new dedicated sports coupe. Buick showrooms should also offer a choice of front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive platforms. Above, is my Regal Century coupe. I've slightly reproportioned the entire body. Notably I've reduced the front overhang and extended the wheelbase in front of the windshield, hinting at its newfound rear-wheel drive setup, and massaged the roofline and greenhouse. The famed Buick "sweepspear" is now an angular indentation shadowing the window space above it.

Other possible new Buick coupes from artandcolour:

Skyhawk, RWD 2-seat GT hatchback

LaCrosse Centurion, AWD luxury 5-seat coupe

Regal GS, FWD 4-seat coupe

Verano Apollo GS, AWD turbo hatchback coupe

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1962 Imperial Lebaron Southampton: Facelifted

This chop of a 1962 Imperial LeBaron 4-door hardtop, or Southampton, is a facelift that might seem pretty minor unless you were to see them side-by-side. After Exner's classic 1957s came out with their sculpted-in-form lengthy rear fins, which put the emphasis on the rear of the car, he began thinking about his "next" look. This next look, as previewed by the 1960 Valiant, would have gone back to classic proportions with a long hood and short rear deck. There was an emphasis on fender forms, as evidenced by the Valiant and the '62 Fury and Polara. "Ex" suffered a major heart attack before these cars could be finalized, the so-called "S-cars," and his successor, Elwood Engel, took things in a different direction.

"My" Imperial, above, takes the '57'-63 chassis and body, but changes it in some ways to more closely replicate this new emphasis on the front. I lengthened the hood and wheelbase around six inches in front of the windshield, giving a more classic steering wheel:axle proportion. I shortened the rear deck by about the same amount, giving a forward rather than rearward "motion" to the car. I also gave this imposing sedan rear fender skirts. I'm not really positive Exner would have, he was very much moving into a classic look with full wheel cutouts, but I like skirted rear wheels. I like to think I might have been able to talk him into it, at least for one year, lol. I left the amazing separate chrome front- and rear lights, but I lowered the roof about three inches for a bit more of a custom look. I also "finished" the chrome rocker panel trim behind the now-skirted rear wheels, the entire bottom of the car now edged with chrome.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bentley's 2-Seater V12 TD/h Super Coupe

How about a longitudinally mounted V12 Turbo Diesel hybrid-assisted 2-seat Bentley supercar? 

C H O P S — My Blue Train Coupe would take on the AMG SLS, certain Aston Martins, Maseratis, and Ferraris. Its combination of diesel and electric power could provide typical Bentley massive low-down torque. This new luxury supercar would be able to traverse continents with speed and grace.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

They Took My Advice: 2013 Enclave

The 2013 Buick Enclave, top of the illustration, has finally resolved its greenhouse treatment in exactly the way I suggested they should in September, 2010, bottom of the illustration.

D E S I G N   A N A L Y S I S   U P D A T  E – In September, 2010, I wrote a post named, "My Cranky Old Man Andy Rooney Moment." I gave a short design analysis of the 2008 series Buick Enclave's greenhouse, or window treatment. Briefly, I didn't like the side windows rimmed in chrome for a unified look, while the enclosed B- and C-pillars were treated differently. The B-pillar was matte black and the C-pillar was always body -olored. They should both have been matte black or both body-colored. It just didn't work as a design detail, to me. For the original post, click here.

I guess I can count Buick as one of my readers, lol. The brand new face-lifted 2013 Enclave has taken my advice and treated its B- and C-pillars equally, both in matte black. Since the area is rimmed with chrome, it just looks so much better to have the darkened windows and pillars acting as one shape.

The bright Buick crest on the C-pillar is a really nice new touch. I'd love for them to bring their "Tri Color" logo back with its red, white, and blue, shields. A bit of color used on today's updated all-chrome logo would look great. 2014, perhaps?

My version of the current Buick logo. I like the updated facets and clean style Buick has created, but without color, it seems too flat to me. I've added color back into it, above.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blasts from the Past: Early Chops

Chopped in the "early days" when I was posting my work at Autoweek's Combustion Chamber forum, 2005, this large hybrid Buick would have revived their classic "Electra" nameplate. And, really, wouldn't that be an awesome name for a plug-in electric car? Electronic "aero-spats," or fender skirts, could tilt open a few inches in the front to assist in brake cooling, tilt open in the back for braking assistance creating more drag, or remain closed for maximum aerodynamics. They would also be powered "out and up" for tire changing.

My Caducatillac, a high-end Cadillac "pickup truck" with a bespoke custom Ducati motorcycle "holder" in the back. Pushing a button would open the rear tailgate and set in motion a conveyor belt of sorts to "park" or "retrieve" the motorcycle and lock it in place. This is based on the early 2000's Caddy concept car, the Imaj, and was chopped in 2006 or so.

Another Buick, this time a large, rear wheel drive Lucerne 225 luxury sedan. Evoking the vaunted Electra 225 nameplate, this would be a petrol- and diesel-powered formal sedan. A modern take on GM's formal roofed late '70s and early '80s sedans, this sedan would have all the bells and whistles in a more subtle styling package than contemporary Cadillacs.
Mercedes is about to introduce a compact-sized 4-door "coupe" to its lineup, based on the corporation's newest A Class. In 2006-07, I created this tiny sport sedan from a C Class. I bet they end up looking fairly similar. I shortened the C Class sedan's hood and wheel-to-dash proportions to simulate a front-wheel drive platform.
Chopped back in 2008, with this Scion xB Cabriolet, I just wanted to see if I could inject some fun, and better proportions to the second generation box. Could be a Mini Cab competitor at a lower price point.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Something Different: Lincoln MK/GT V12

This is a quick chop representing a two-seater Lincoln V12 sports coupe, the MK/GT. It would be the marque's "halo car" and be priced in the high $60Ks. All contemporary electronics would be present, the V12 would use Eco-Boost technology, and perhaps even a hybrid-assisted, stop/start drivetrain. Click image to enlarge to a full 1100 pixels.

Monday, August 6, 2012

1958 Lincoln Premiere Coupe Pickup

Just the thing for the "Gentleman Farmer" of 1958—the Lincoln Coupe Pickup.

C  H O P S — While "chatting" on FB today, in a post about the original '57 Ranchero and '59 El Camino, I mentioned that I liked both of thm, but that I'd like an uplevel interior in them. The Fairlane 500 and Impala trim would have been nice to be able to choose, but then again, in that time period, both of those car-based trucks were considered pretty "fancy" anyway, even with their bargain basement interiors. I began to wonder what a similar period Lincoln or Cadillac car-based pickup would look like. At the time, I thought the Lincoln Mark's reversed C pillar would look great on a pickup. I had a few minutes tonight to relax, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I soon realized that I preferred the "regular" Lincoln Premiere's wraparound rear window. It would give a bit more space behind the front seats, perhaps to enable them to recline, and it also gives a nice symmetry with the front windshield. And it's not as if the car needed an extra foot of cargo space, lol, this first series of unit-bodied Lincolns was almost 19-feet long to begin with! I "painted" the car in a period salmon-beige with a white roof and Photoshopped a new background in that complimented those new colors. I also added some of my flowers, lol. I think this worked out a million times better than expected. At least! : )

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Lincoln Project Continues: MKS/2 Plug-In

Bringing Two-Tone Back! My newest Lincoln illustrated in Palm Springs with the available Copper and Pewter Luxury Group.

C H O P S — My latest Lincoln would be a sleek plug-in Hybrid, RWD/AWD replacement for their MKS. The MKS on sale now, at its core, is based on a Volvo platform, from the days Ford owned that Swedish marque. I used Volvo's new S60 sport sedan as the base for this sedan then. I extended the front end to make room for a brand-new Inline 6 EcoBoost, the first new inline engine from a domestic automaker in quite some time. I also extended the rear overhang for more trunk space and so the rear seat could be moved back a few inches for more legroom. Most obvious, perhaps, is a return to a classic two-tone paint job, in this case, the Copper and Pewter Luxury Group. Lincoln has a long history of designer packages and "luxury groups" based on colors and this bold 21st century interpretation just might help get New Lincoln noticed. 

I placed this new Lincoln in front of a classic Mid Century Modern home in Palm Springs I found while Googling. I think you'll agree it's a classic pairing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lighter and Glassier Accord Coupe for 2014?

To answer the headline, sadly, no. This lighter and glassier Accord coupe isn't going to be introduced at any time soon. 

C H O P S — Honda Styling's long descent into heavier, thicker, fuller, blobbier cars continues unabated with their recently introduced Accord Coupe for 2013, and I continue to try to push them in another direction, lol. Hondas once had some of the lowest beltlines and thinnest pillars around. No longer. I've tried to bring back a simpler Accord coupe with this chop. It's a hatchback, too. I think all Hondas should have hatches. And badass, high-strung, and frugal, cutting-edge, powerplants and drivetrains.

2020 Lincoln MKH/3

The Future of the Performance Luxury Sedan?

Well, sometimes you just want to have fun: Turning a Ferrari FF into a H-igh-performance H-ydrogen fuel-cell H-ybrid Lincoln kinda fun!  The MKH/3. Click on image to enlarge, as always.

This roomy-but-small Lincoln would be offered in the year 2020 and would include a hydrogen fuel-cell, as well as a tiny supercharged diesel engine and programmable lithium-ion hybrid drivetrain. "Gas" mileage would be measured in the months, not miles and when plugged into the grid at night, your little Hot Rod Lincoln would create enough energy to run your 21st century clean & green home the next day. A solar-paneled roof would help power the Lincoln's batteries during the day.

Base photo was the just-introduced Novitec-Rosso Ferrari FF.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2013 Flex Country Squire Sport Activity Coupe

The Flex Country Squire's woody heritage is recalled on the new Coupe in two ways. Brushed stainless steel trim strips on the body sides remind one of the famous "yacht" paneling, and the electronically assisted liftgate is adorned with a hefty and artful slab of actual American Walnut, beveled and embossed, highly varnished, and waterproofed. Click on image to enlarge. They can be further enlarged by right-clicking on "View Image" or by saving to your hard drive.

Paying respects to the original 1951 Ford Country Squire, the marque's first use of that iconic name, this completely contemporary Sport Activity Coupe is a 2-door wagon just like that '51. Prominently featured is a forward angled "basket handle" C pillar, a nod to the Crown Victoria coupe of '55-'56, the '77-79 Thunderbird and the early '80s Fairmont Futura sport coupes. And yes, I said "C pillar." Just behind the long single side doors are small triangular windows, shades of vintage Thunderbirds, which slide electronically into the pillar when the doors are opened, creating the first, true, pillarless coupe from Ford in decades.

The standard Flex's severely vertical roof pillars were ditched, along with the third row of seating. With the slanting and aerodynamic roofline, the interior has been reconfigured for only four people. Twin rear bucket seats were moved back and closer together, taking advantage of the space formerly reserved for the third row. The rear side panels have "wraparound" sections leading to the rear buckets, and with the full length central console, giving the rear seat the comfort and glamour of Ford's 1960s Thunderbirds.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2013 Lincoln MKL/xh. '49 Cosmopolitan Redux!

The Lincoln MKL would be the marque's flagship lineup, available in sedan, coupe and shooting brake bodystyles, unique in America. Drivetrains would include rear wheel- and all wheel-drive and powertrains would consist of Ecoboost and Hybrid engines. Lincoln nomeclature would grow to include an "x" and an "h" to denote the all wheel drive and hybrid options. An "s" model would mean the car was equipped with the most powerful supercharged engine available. The "L" models would be approximately 18-inches longer than the current MKS, with a wheelbase in the 118-120 inch range. I know I use "suicide doors" quite often on my chops, but there is a reason to include them on my Lincolns, besides their historical ties to so many classic Lincolns.  They would add so much "street theater" to the car's reputation. They could be powered opened and closed for little expense or engineering issues, and would really make the marque stand out in a daily driver's experience. I think they're exactly what Lincoln needs to differentiate itself in today's market. Click image to enlarge to almost full screen!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

1966 Thunderbird Speedster Showcar

"If I Had Been There"
Quick Study: Loyal blogreader, "Bobf," suggested I try a Speedster version of the mid '60s Thunderbird. This is what I came up with, in the manner of a period '66 Ford showcar, complete with Cragar wheels, whitewalls, cut-down windshield and redesigned side glass. I "welded" the rear fender skirts into the body, removed the doorhandles and nameplate, added the sidepipes and a modified '66 Mustang scoop trim piece, all things they might have done in the Ford studios of the time. I wouldn't mind taking a country drive in this Tbird! I started with a base photo from a website called Bold Ride, found a background image at a wallpaper site and did the rest with the magic of Photoshop.

B T W :
This car inspired me... I'd love to see a TV show based on the automobile industry in Detroit, circa 1958-71. It could be a Mad Men-ish look at a major automotive design studio, and its execs, designers, clay modelers, and their wives, boyfriends, affairs, drinking and swearing habits, their custom cars, rushed clay models, weekends at the Grosse Point Yacht club, hijinks, shenanigans, their personal relationships... You know, but with a heavy emphasis on the cars and how those cars affect their lives, professionally and personally. There could be a 10-minute Epilog at the end of each 80 minute episode; an historic "sidebar" of an actual show car and short history and sexy trivia.

B T W :
Marty Martino, a new reader to casey/artandcolour, but a long-time car builder and afficionado, mentioned the '63 Thunderbird Italien when commenting about my Speedster. A long time ago, I did a chop of what a square-edged '64 'Bird might have looked like with a fastback, hence my '64 Italien 2. I think this chop is about 5 years old. I'll take another stab at a factory Tbird fastback one of these days.

A full length brushed aluminum lower body side strip was added, too.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

1961 Plymouth Fury Design Tweak

Refining One of Virgil Exner's Last Masterpieces
For this week's design tweak, I chose a 1961 Plymouth Fury 2 door hardtop. While I find the original Exner design stunning, its contemporary buying public didn't agree. Many automotive hacks wracked their brains trying to colorfully describe this car—The Car that Ate Tokyo—a riff on the Japanese horror flicks of the day, comes to mind, and they still do to this day in classic car magazines. The "pinched" grille and dramatic headlight placement seems to be the car's main issues, although the suddenly finless body was referred to as a "plucked chicken" by Exner himself. My main issues are with the details. There are fussy chrome doodads, fussy side sculpturing and an abundance of shiny chrome slathered in the front. Ironically, Lexus is just now introducing its new "spindle" grille across its entire lineup, and it's almost exactly the same shape as this '61 Plymouth. See the BTW sidebar at the end of this post. Let me describe how I "fixed" it to my own tastes.

T H E   C H O P — First I "radiused" the rear wheel wells. This means I opened up the fenders to reveal the entire wheel and tire. The original had a very low wheel opening which didn't really relate to the front wheel well and made the rear end look like it was dragging. I think this change did the most for "lightening" the look of the car. I resculpted the sides, continuing the front fender shoulder all the way to the back of the car instead of ending it at the front door. I also eliminated the ornate trim behind the front doors, and lowered the entire car about 3 inches so it sat closer to the ground hugging the tires more. At the front, I blackened-out the grille, which simplified the look of it, and made the dramatic "swoosh" around the protruding headlights work better. I added a satin chrome "header" above the now-black grille, with P-L-Y-M-O-U-T-H letterspaced across it. This serves to "rationalize" the grille shape, giving more prominence to the horizontal aspects of it, rather than the angularity of the opening. The front bumper was simplified too, deleting the rather baroque center section with its five raised ridges, and I raised it a few inches so it wasn't so close to the ground.

The original photo of the '61 Fury. Note the odd way the front fender shoulder sculpturing stops at the front door cutline, though the chrome trim continues. Also, just behind the front door is a set of chrome hash marks that seem really out of place, though they do serve as a start for a small sliver of white paint, matching the two-toned roof. The rear of the car seems to drag, a combination of the now-finless rear fenders and very low wheel well opening.


Exner has the last laugh after all, as Lexus introduces its brand new "Spindle" grille on its entire lineup. I call it an updated '61 Plymouth grille!

U P D A T E :  For some reason my chop wasn't enlarging from the thumbnail. Now it should be.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1971 Cadillac Eldorado Design Tweak

This was a fun chop to create! I've been thinking of older Cadillacs a lot lately, and have been finding original publicity photos online and saving them to my hard drive. This was a black-and-white press photo of the new-for-1971 Eldorado convertible, a car that is most definitely a modern classic. In addition to the design changes, detailed below, I added in a subtle 4-color hand-tinted look to the rendering.

For this design "tweak," the biggest change I made was restoring the hidden headlights of the 1967-68 Eldorados. Besides being a very period touch, hidden headlights really clean up a front end. I broadened the grille to full-width, removed the stand-up hood ornament and added the Cadillac wreathe-and-crest to the hood, a '67-'70 styling cue. Then I cleaned up the bodysides, removing the mid-level chrome spear and the front nameplate and engine logo. I moved the front cornering lights down into the rocker panel to blend better with the chromed rocker panels between the wheelwells. I left the nifty decorative rear fender "vent" as it's such a great nod to not only the original Eldorado of '53 but most Cadillac models of the '50s. Then I added back in a teeny tiny letterspaced E-L-D-O-R-A-D-O nameplate on the lower front fender and a wreathe-and-crest logo on the rear fender. Last addition? A Connecticut license plate.

Overall, I tried to "clean up" a classic GM design. Ballsy perhaps, but the late, great Bill Mitchell isn't around to yell at me, lol. But that would be COOL!

T E C H N I C A L   T H O U G H T — At first I completely "shaved" the sides of the car, airbrushing in a perfect white paint job where I had removed the chrome bodyside spear etc. But the sides looked too "flat" without reflections. I looked back at the original image and added back in the very subtle horizontal reflections all along the lower sides of the car. Now I think they look like I didn't quite remove the chrome spear correctly, lol. I went back and forth several times, with them, without them, with them, without them, finally deciding to leave them in the final rendering.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Buick Encue—Their Active New Middle Child

Meet Buick's midsize crossover, my new Encue, slotting nicely between their small Encore and their large Enclave. Woody, my friend that writes Woody's Car Site blog, suggested this chop and I thank him for the idea! The base photo was the brand new for-Europe-only Chevrolet Trailblazer. I modified the Encore's front clip to fit the wider and longer Trailblazer body and added a few casey/artandcolour touches including Buick's famed "Tricolor" badge, the letterspaced B-u-i-c-k nameplate above the grille and the chrome "teeth" in the now-functional scoops below the headlights. Other detail changes include a taller rearmost side window, the glass paneled roof, and a few added chrome embelishments here and there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Needs Work! '80s Imperial Crown Coupe

1982 Imperial Crown Coupe—restoration needed! One of my tongue-in-cheek chops, this was a perfectly acceptable 1982 Imperial coupe when I started with it. I gave it a more "private" greenhouse with a stainless steel "crown" roof section, much wider C pillars, a 1960s Imperial nameplate on the trunk, and larger wheels on blackwall tires. Then I gave it rusty patches bubbling up in several places, chalky paint and a For Sale sign, placing the car in a typical stretch of car dealerships in Anytown, USA. I think this design could have worked, Chrysler certainly wasn't against retro styling, the Imperial often flaunted Classic-era touches. (I did this chop a while ago, but couldn't find it posted. Maybe I just didn't label it properly, but if that's the case, please enjoy it a second time!)
: )

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First Gen Audi TT Tweak

Could the third generation Audi TT draw inspiration from the bold first gen rather than the meek second gen? As much as I loved the original TT, the uninspired second series left me cold—unusual for an Audi, one of my favorite brands! For this chop, I started with the original '90s TT and enlarged the side windows. This made the roofline flatter and less bulbous and also opened up the interior. I dropped the door handles a few inches to better line up with the head- and taillights, and I darkened the rocker panels except for the lower doors. I like the "form follows function" look of the rounded lower doors "breaking" the dark rocker trim. I also added a three-dimensional embossed Audi nameplate to the doors. Following the existing cutlines on the trunk/hatch, I divided the taillights into separate clear and red sections and gave them a high-tech grid appearance for updated LEDs. To match, I did a similar treatment with the wraparound front headlights. I enlarged the wheels and blackened portions of the rim for a much bolder look and actually raised the ride height a little bit. This TT would be a Quattro model, and I like the idea of a slightly higher-riding vehicle, perhaps for rallying. The glass roof section rounds out the changes I made to this iconic little German sportscar.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fusion Energi 5-door Hatchback: Plug-In Sleekness

My newest stab at playing with Ford's hot new Fusion is this sleek 5-door hatchback. Besides the sleeker greenhouse, and new black glass roof, I darkened the rocker panels. I also detailed the taillight graphics with a matte black panel tying them together with a chrome license plate plinth for a bit of sparkle. With today's cars virtually monochromatic from wheels to roof, I miss the darker/brighter/two-toned detailing that older cars featured. I think they added great visual interest when done well. New, lighter wheels a  bit of sporting appeal to this electric plug-in Fusion Energi.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2013 Lincoln MKZ/C: Luxury Hybrid Pillarless Coupe

2013 MKZ/C—Coupe based on the MKZ sedan concept. I shortened the trunk and rear overhang a few inches, and I pushed the front wheels forward a few inches, for more classic proportions. Pillarless coupe styling would be a first for entry-level luxury hybrids.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2013 Fusion Futura Coupe, Lincoln MKZ

2013 Ford Fusion Futura coupe—An even sleeker next-generation Fusion, this 2-door coupe revives the Futura nameplate. Available in all the same trim and powertrain versions as the sedan, the Futura boasts an interior with four bucket seats and a full length console. Also available in an identical looking 3-door hatchback version.

2013 Lincoln MKZ Glassroof sedan—My attempt to "productionize" the MKZ concept. I changed the greenhouse to a 4-window instead of the concept's 6-windows. I lengthened the trunk and rendered the glass a bit flatter so the section over the front seats can slide back over the rear window, a la Porsche's Targa model these days. I resculpted the trunk and rear fenders to square them up a bit. Still an oddly proportioned car, but I think that might be a good thing. I've always thought that if a design is universally loved at first sight, it's too comfortable, too familiar. The cabin-centric shape of this new Lincoln just might be the next big thing in fully contemporary vehicles.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Looking Good with Wood! Some Old, Some New-ish

Kia Piccanto Outdoorsman edition—I've created many, many cars with wood siding. Growing up, we had a Country Squire at one point, and I've just always loved the look of them. In the "early days" the wood was real of course, structural even. Then it became a decorative touch, and was eventually replaced with Dinoc appliques, a "contact paper" of sorts. All of my creations would use something I'm not sure even exists yet, "Microveneers." This treatment would be super thin veneers of real wood, sandwiched in between the paint layers and the clearcoat top finishes. This wood would be able to follow any body contouring and curves as it would be paper thin. Some of these Woodies in this post were done 5-6 years ago, some are from the past year, and some have been updated today to include the paneling. Enjoy!

Lincoln MKW—Created before the current MKT was introduced. This would be a sleek and luxurious Lincoln station wagon.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Concours wagon—This generation of Malibu has just been replaced, but sadly, there will still be no wagon option, woody or not.

Mercedes GLK—This photochop was created before the current GLK was introduced. I thought it might look more like its bigger brother, the ML, but I was wrong. Mercedes chose to make it boxier, more like the GL SUV. And you can't get Microveneer doors on any of 'em!

Lincoln Cosmopolitan Estate Wagon—This avant garde luxury station wagon would sit at the top of the Lincoln range, with various types of wood available, burled walnut adorning this example. This chop dates back to 2006.

Audi A6 Allroad Black Forest Edition—Because Audi will never do it, I did, lol.

1940 Lincoln Continental Wagon—Hearkening back to the prewar Lincoln Continental, this "sport wagon" would have used the convertible's two front doors and added a wood-trimmed wagon compartment. This chop has run in the Letters section of Collectible Automobile.

Buick Apollo MPV—Estate wagons are a part of Buick's past, and I hoped to show that they could be a part of Buick's future as well.

Buick Special Estate Wagon—This little wagon was chopped several years ago, before anyone knew Buick would even introduce new, and smaller, European-inspired vehicles. I take complete credit for them doing so, lol.

Buick Enclave Estate Wagon—When the Enclave was first introduced, I found it a bit lumpy looking. At first I just cleaned it up the way I'd like to have seen it, sleeker even though it's a large crossover. Then I decided to give it an old-world touch by adding the wooden paneling. Crude now that I look at it, but this was done about six years ago.

Pontiac G8 Safari—This would have been Pontiac's top-of-the-line rear-wheel-drive sportswagon, bringing back Poncho's classic "Safari" moniker. No Pontiacs today at all, regardless of the wood.

Ford Interceptor Country Squire—Again, a very old chop, pretty darn crude, but my heart was in the right place... I used the same chrome Country Squire nameplate that was used on the very first 1951 model, also a 2 door—the only 2 door Country Squire ever built.

Jeep Grand Wagoneer woody—The woody version of the Grand Wagoneer I created for Automobile magazine last year.

Jeep Wrangler woody—My most recent Jeep chop, adding a classic woody look to the Wrangler 4-door. This could be produced tomorrow, for real, if Chrysler wanted to! They have so many special editions of the Wrangler, I think they should build this one, too!

2013 Beetle 4-door with Woody Option—Not only is the New New Beetle not available with 4-doors, it's not available with woody. It's a shame, lol!