Cars come in all shapes and sizes and can be as different as the people who drive them. Some people view cars as a blank canvas, and increasingly, mechanics, artists and engineers have transformed their vehicle into a stunning work of art.
Car body art got its start in the 1960s when hippies began customizing vehicles with peace signs and psychedelic patterns. Today, car enthusiasts can find customized cars in every city and around the world. If you enjoy automotive body repair and car artwork, check out these four creative car transformations.
Utility Kinetic Insect
Swamp Mutha by Ann Harithas
Nokturnal Car Club’s Custom Creations
BMW 3.0 CSL by Alexander Calder
The Utility Kinetic Insect, called UKI, is a unique machine with pulsing wings, a surround sound system, LED lights, and all-terrain tires. Make Mob, a group of engineers and creative thinkers constructed UKI at their workshop in Melbourne, Australia. The team was inspired by Mad Max, nature, circus equipment, and bugs found in the Australian outback.
UKI sits on a modified four-wheel-drive chassis and runs on electric power. While the mutant vehicle only reaches speeds of approximately six miles per hour, UKI has an impressive sound mixing desk and has traveled to festivals such as Burning Man in 2017.
Artist Ann Harithas wanted to create a symbol of the swamps and bayous where she lived on the Gulf Coast. The 1982 Chevrolet Monte Carlo features gold-rimmed tires, a gold body, and a hand-painted scene showcasing swamp creatures such as alligators, rats, and ducks. Harithas also added deer antlers, skulls, and hand-crafted snakes to the Monte Carlo’s roof.
Part of the permanent collection at the Art Car Museum in Houston, Texas, Swamp Mutha is an example of visual appeal and self-expression. Mechanics, artists, engineers, kids and thousands of others travel to see it each year.
Hector Esquivel, president of the Los Angeles, California chapter of the Nokturnal Car Club, began building custom cars when he was just 15 years old. Over the last four years, he has spent about $90,000 on his personalized yellow truck. His organization continues to grow each year with more than 250 members and 28 chapters across the United States, Europe, and Asia.
In addition to transforming regular cars into show-stopping rides, Esquivel and a few others crafted a custom golf cart with 14-inch rims, airbags, air ride suspension, LED lights, TVs, and an Xbox 360 in the back for passengers. The golf cart was a way for him to challenge himself and create something new and exciting with his son in his spare time.
The first car in BMW’s series was entered in the 1975 “24 Hours of Le Mans,” a race in France. Before it raced, artist and sculptor Alexander Calder modified the now-famous car with intense colors on the hood, sides, and roof. Still impressive by today’s standards, the BMW 3.0 CSL features:
- Six-cylinder inline engine
- Four valves per cylinder
- Twin overhead camshafts
- Displacement: 3210 cm³
- Power output: 480 bhp
- Top speed: 291 km/h
Calder’s painted masterpiece raced for seven hours before a defect forced it to retire. It’s now on display in London for car enthusiasts and BMW fans to enjoy.
Learn Automotive Repair Skills at Trade School
While some people transform their cars as a hobby, many workers in the auto repair industry use their skills to help repair cars after serious collisions or minor damages. If you’re interested in learning more about auto body paint and refinishing techniques, computerized paint-mixing systems or laser measurement technology, explore our auto body repair program.
If you’re interested in automotive mechanics—including car parts removal and inspection, energy, electrical circuits, manual and automotive transmissions, fuel systems and air conditioning repair—check out our automotive service and repair program.
*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department. Grad rates, debt and other consumer disclosures at apexschool.com.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.