|Original List Price:||$3,300|
|Tune Up Cost:||$100|
|Chassis Number Location:||Whatever DMV assigns it|
|Engine Number Location:||Chevrolet 350/on the right head|
|Club Info:||National Street Rod Association, 4030 Park Ave, Memphis TN 38111|
|Alternatives:||Spend $300,000 building your own design|
“Scrape” was offered by RM Auctions at their August 18 and 19th event in Monterey, California and sold for $275,000, which included the premium.
Customs and hot rods are often a hard sell. They are an expression of one person’s opinion of automotive design and badly done ones provide insight as to why some people think plaid pants and a striped shirt make a good-looking outfit. On the other hand, Terry Cook, the former Editor of Hod Rod and Car Craft Magazines, has a strong background in rodding design and knows what looks right and elegant. For instance, when the top on “Scrape” was being chopped, he drove to the shop to take a look and said, “Whack it down two more inches and call me in the morning.” He was right—the lower top fits the flowing lines of the car perfectly.
The underlying car, the Lincoln Zephyr, was often considered undesirable, its redeeming quality being as a source of parts for Continentals. It was conceived in 1932 as the Briggs Body Company was looking for a way to expand its business with Ford. Edsel Ford, on the other hand, was a victim of his father’s inflexibility and Lincoln, his only sanctuary, was under financial pressure. John Tjaarda, a Dutchman working for Briggs, presented his streamlined designs for a mid-priced car to Edsel Ford and with much secrecy the Zephyr moved forward. It was introduced, with favorable response, at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair. In the late 1930s the Zephyr evolved into a very attractive, streamlined vehicle, and in 1951 the Museum of Modern Art recognized the late ’30s Zephyrs for their advanced automotive styling.
Those who have restored a car from the ground up are quick to tell the tale of their trials and tribulations and most swear that they will never do it again. Building a car from scratch and incorporating personal design ideas intensifies the project by at least a couple of frustration levels.
There are a few significant customs and perhaps “Scrape” will become one of them. Only time will tell if that occurs. In the meantime, it has completed the show and publication circuit and has “been there, done that.” Is $275,000 an unrealistic number for this car? At shop rates of $60 per hour, plus parts, the car could not be duplicated for that amount. Perhaps even more important, the new owner, the Petersen Museum, has a piece of creative automotive art in its collection that has already basked in the national spotlight. While we may not be able to forecast how the automotive community will judge “Scrape” in fifty years, at this moment, it stands as the most recognizable, and arguably the most attractive, custom car ever built. —Carl Bomstead