While the Grand National Roadster Show is highlighted by the naming of America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, one of the most talked about vehicles at this year’s show had us looking towards future GNRS events. It may not have been a contender at this year’s show but it will certainly be a heavy weight once it’s finished, assuming the owner and builder decide to enter it into the judging circle.
Coach built by an iconic individual who has been responsible for several high-profile builds, Rick Dore’s “Aquarius” sat in the main hall commanding attention that could have only been matched by the gilded idols in Grecian temples of olde.
For those who weren’t in attendance at this year’s GNRS, the following is the full transcription that was on Aquarius’s show placard: “It all began with a stack of sheet aluminum and an idea to inject some American custom car styling into classic coach building design ideology. The result is Aquarius, a completely original, hand-formed coach built custom for the ages.
For those familiar with the work of French coach builders Figoni and Falaschi, their influence–and specifically that of the ’38 Delahaye 165 cabriolet–is apparent. But equally at play is the sinister elegance born from American customizers of the 40s and early 50s. Long and low, the roadster has a familiar silhouette that’s all its own.
The flowing teardrop body is complemented by aggressive details like the beautifully scalloped side pipes. Enclosed pontoon fenders carry chrome rearward while the ornate DuVall-style windshield and lift-off hardtop exude early hot rod spirit.
It’s a delicate balance with undeniable rhythm and flow, masterfully executed by some of the most gifted hands in custom car building and metal shaping.”
Aquarius is owned by James Hetfield of Metallica, and is a magnificent follow up to the singer’s Black Pearl, a saloon style vehicle built on a Jaguar frame and also created by Rick Dore. You can learn more about this Goodguys Custom Car of the Year recipient in Rod Authority’s past coverage here. Below is an excerpt from that coverage:
“In addition to the Goodguys 2014 Mother’s Custom of the Year, [Black Pearl] won the Sam Barris award as well as the Custom d’Elegance at the Sacramento Autorama,” says Goodguys. Hetfield isn’t just a rockstar with an idle-interest, boredom-inspired need to drop money on extravagant cars because, “it’s what rock stars do.” He has been a heavy hitter in the show circuit previously earning the 2010 Goodguys West Coast Custom of the Year award with this 1936 Auburn boat tail speedster named “Slowburn.”
With a track record and automotive taste such as Hetfield’s paired with the skills to conjure up a masterpiece inherent within Dore, we’re sure that the list of awards that will grace Aquarius will be plenty.
Aquarius was styled by Rick Dore, Marcel, and Eric Brockmeyer. The hand formed panels are mounted onto a 1934 Packard frame. Ron Mangus upholstery graces the interior and Coker tires move this celestial chariot along. Keep a look out for Rod Authority’s follow up on Aquarius upon its completion.