Rick Dore Black Pearl

Wherever lies the line between coachbuilt car and custom car, between handcrafted work of rolling art and aesthetically altered automobile, rock star James Hetfield and custom car builder Rick Dore have obliterated it with their latest car, and in the process captured the Goodguys Custom of the Year award.

Hetfield, front man for the long-lived heavy metal group Metallica, has long been known for his taste in high-end custom cars. A member of the Beatniks car club, Hetfield’s customs have progressed over the last decade or so from a simple chopped 1936 Ford to a radical chrome-bedecked 1936 Auburn Speedster to the Voodoo Priest, his chopped and V-12-powered 1937 Lincoln Zephyr that took the World’s Most Beautiful Custom award at the 2012 Sacramento Autorama.

For his latest custom, though, Hetfield went beyond merely modifying an existing car. Designed with Rick Dore, who handled the customizing work on Voodoo Priest, the car may have started out with the chassis of a 1948 Jaguar Mk 4 and some renderings inspired by the Art Deco era of European coachbuilding. Specifically, some have pointed to the work of Figoni et Falaschi and Letourneur et Marchand as influences on the car’s styling, but Hetfield has said that it’s meant to combine the best of European coachbuilding design and American custom car design from about the same era. “We started out with a left-hand-drive Jaguar, [but] we couldn’t get what we wanted out of it so we just kept drawing,” Hetfield told the Contra Costa Times. And Thanks Conta Times for reuse!