‘Black Pearl’ Highlights Car Show

Original Article:

PLEASANTON — For Metallica frontman James Hetfield, making music and dreaming up custom cars flow from the same wellspring: excitement and creation. Starting a new project with a drawing or idea and watching it come to life, he says, is just like writing a song.

“I love creating art,” Hetfield said via email. “And I love cars. For some reason I have a phobia of driving cars with no character.”

Hetfield, a Marin County resident and member of the Beatniks Car Club, has designed about seven customs since 2008, including four with his creative partner, award-winning car builder Rick Dore.

Their latest creation, “The Black Pearl,” is a highlight of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s 32nd Annual All American Get-Together, being held Saturday and Sunday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The car will be considered among about 40 entries for the Goodguys Mother’s Custom the Year award.

But perhaps the car’s most unique attribute is its lack of discernible make or model. The De Leys formed the showpiece from a drawing of Hetfield’s.

“We started out with a left-hand drive 1948 Jaguar Saloon,” Hetfield said. “We couldn’t get what we wanted out of it so we just kept drawing. Rick (Dore) had been in contact with Marcel and Luc so we just started from scratch.”

So far in 2014, the Black Pearl has snatched up numerous awards at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, and the Sacramento Autorama.

Goodguys spokesman John Drummond called the creation “groundbreaking.”

“I can’t remember the last time a car was scratch-built like this,” Drummond said. “They’re exploring new frontiers here.”

Handcrafted from sheets of aluminum by metal shapers Marcel and Luc De Ley, Hetfield’s sleek, one-of-a-kind Black Pearl blends stylings of classic coach-built European cars from the 1920s and ’30s with more traditional American customs. Its swooping, jet-black exterior features prominent fender skirts over the rear wheels; the dashboard gauges finished in classy Art Deco style. Keep Reading…