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Old 05-08-2009, 06:41 PM
Kerry Pinkerton's Avatar
Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Near Huntsville, Alabama. Just south of the Tennessee line off I65
Posts: 7,625
Default Scratch build Art Deco Roadster

The Art Deco Imperial Roadster

A project by Kerry Pinkerton

Above is a PhotoShop rendering of an Art Deco styled roadster I've been building for a couple years. Target completion is late 2009...or not....
This project has had several starts, stalls, re-starts, and discoveries along the way. I've learned a lot; about metal shaping, about engines, about chassis, about friends, and about me. If you follow along, you might learn a few things too.

If you would like to post a comment feel free, or you can email me at Posting a comment IN THIS THREAD gives me permission to use your comments elsewhere should I ever decide to write a book or something. If you don't want to be quoted, don't make the post or send the email.


I originally started documenting the build on but for several reasons decided to move the content to a separate location that is accessible to anyone. Now that we have with no restricted access, I'll move the content here from my business web site.

A couple years back there was this fantastic thread on regarding a group design of a fictitious Bugatti.

The premise of the thread was that there was a mid east sultan who wanted a modern art deco coupe for his wife. Unfortunately, too many designers and no single decision maker led to a bunch of design compromises that made the cabin too small for my 6-2" body. In addition, the body was designed around no chassis/engine or anything so it was just somewhat impractical as something that could be built by a single individual much less a group.

That said, I fell in love with the style and it rekindled my long dormant desire to build a car from the ground up. For me, the fun was going to be building the body. That was going to be the hard part...or so I thought. More on that later.

During the original thread I was very excited about the overall 'look' of the car but definitely wanted something that I could be comfortable in. In addition, I WANTED A ROADSTER! Finally, being a practical sort, I knew that I had to start with the constraints of the mechanics and the physical cabin then design a beautiful body around those constraints.

About this time I remembered a friend in St Paul who had a stalled LoCost project (Lotus 7 clone) that was available. Humm, I could build a nice swoopy body on that chassis I thought... I found myself needing to go up that way anyway so I arranged to go pick up the chassis.

When I got everything back in Alabama, there was some good news and some bad news. The good news was the chassis was 90% complete and all the pieces parts were there. Suspension, frame, 4AGE Toyota motor, tranny, rear end, and a bunch of extras.

The bad news was that the motor while supposedly a runner, it looked 'bad'. The REALLY bad news was that I barely fit in the cockpit. It was pretty obvious that while I might be able to make this car look like I wanted, it would never be the car I wanted.

I messed with this configuration for several months before I realized the motor was JUNK! Given everything else, I advertised the kit on the LoCost_USA site (way too cheap it turned out) and started over....for the first time.
Kerry Pinkerton
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