Monday, January 31, 2011

ROD-A-DAY :: '64 Chevy Biscayne Pinner "service car"

1964 Chevy Biscayne Pinner "service car" from

I came across this photo doing some browsing of photos of '62 Chevy Biscayne wagons (because they are oh so early sixties minimalistic, like a beautiful woman wearing only red lipstick), and just had to make a post about it. The story of this peculiar car - only three were ever made - is as follows (from the original forum post by the owner, Hotrod Dwayne):

"It started life as a 1964 Biscayne wagon, when new only three Biscayne wagons were shipped to Pinner Coachworks for this conversion. Service cars were popular mainly in the 1930's thru the 1950's, larger funeral homes who could afford one used them as the workhorse of the business. They were mainly used for removals (removing the deceased from their home is more discreet with a service car) but also used to fetch caskets from warehouses or taking chairs & flowers to the cemetery. Production numbers were very, very low for service cars, only the most profitable homes could afford yet another coach in their fleet (a coach-built cars are extremely expensive) and Pinner only built three of these in 1964 only. All three were delivered to a distributor in Brooklyn NY & sold locally.

How were they built? The rear doors were removed, then the door jambs were cut out. All the window posts were cut out and then the car was cut in half & stretched 30". Somehow they formed new sides for the car to fill the now huge void (door skins were not reused) & a single sheet of steel to fill in all the windows on each side.
They were finished off with large chrome wreaths & 3 narrow chrome spears on the window filler panels. All 3 were black with full custom made gold interiors. I do have all the coach-specific parts & the full interior. In the professional car world these three cars are still highly talked about, desired, & sought after.

Of the three mine is the only one known to exist. It was last seen in the 1980's in a driveway in Brooklyn & photographed by an enthusiast. These 5 photos have been in several coach-related books & publications through the years as they are the only photos to ever surface."

It's those kinds of awesome stories (plus a million other things, obviously) that really get my blood racing for old cars. No fucking shit. I tried to contact Hotrod Dwayne, but had to join a million random internet forums and have to now wait for my membership to be approved before I can email him and ask for continued updates. I'd really like to see how the restoration of this baby pans out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lost America :: Photography of the Abandoned Southwest

Troy Paiva is a designer and artist who, in a quest for means to be creative outside of his heavily art-directed nine to five job, took up photography. He'd been traveling the Southwest for much of the 1970's, and since 1985 has been photographing some of the great abandoned wastelands of Americana using a technique called light-painting. The result is an visual feast for nerds like me called LOST AMERICA.

Pontiambulance, via Lost America Flickr.

Light painting is, in essence, shooting a long exposure photo (camera on a tripod), typically at night or in a low light setting, with a light source being the only thing that moves, allowing you the ability to, in Paiva's case, highlight different areas of the scene with different colored light sources. (He uses flashlights or strobes covered with theatrical colored gel filters.)

, via Lost America Flickr.

He truly has a massive portfolio of work done this way, and most importantly to me, a slew of photos from old junkyards, collector car scrap yards, and various other galleries of automobile related polychromatic magic. Most of the the locations that Paiva shoots in are either in such disrepair he is putting himself in harm's way for the love of his work or he is forced to trespass on the property to get the shots he wants, giving him serious badass bonus points. But he does what he does for the benefit of people like you and me: preserving the last remaining remnants of an era long gone, of a time when our country felt new and full of hope and (outlandish?) dreams.

Dart Seneca
, via Lost America Flickr.

Unsurprisingly, many of the places featured in Lost America have completely disappeared, either and the hand of man or by the ever erasing scheme of nature, so it is a blessing to have this work to look back on. For more, check out the Lost America Flickr page and hear Troy Paiva give an interview on the technique involved in capturing these images.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tattoos for your Tuckus :: Electric Solos Motorcycle Seats

I like it when people make stuff. Handcrafted goods in this country have been disappearing at an alarming pace over the last few decades, and I am always excited when I come across someone putting their nose to the grindstone, producing quality artisan products. I get even more excited when these handcrafted goods are badass, either functionally or aesthetically. In Alex Higgins' Electric Solo tattooed motorcycle seats, you have both.

Higgins hard at work in his studio.

Alex's work is a combination of two of the most symbiotic things in rockabilly culture - tattoos and custom parts for your ride. He has logged in over 15 years of tattoo experience, and uses his mastery of old school flash to provide custom bike aficionados with a way to bring even more of their individual style to a bike build.

Some examples of Higgins' work.

And if you decide you'd like a matching piece of work on your own rawhide (aka, your skin!), you can find Alex working as a resident tattoo artist over at The Tattoo Factory in Chicago.