Brooks Stevens’ Die Valkyrie becomes publicly available for the first time

Brooks Stevens’ Die Valkyrie becomes publicly available for the first time

Photos courtesy Joe Bortz.

No coincidence that the nose of Brooks Stevens’ Die Valkyrie concept car not only had the shape of a giant V but also a smaller V-8 emblem within the V: He wanted to make sure the first car he designed specifically for European car shows unmistakably announced its American V-8 powerplant. While it thoroughly impressed European showgoers, that big V and the car attached to it will soon get its first chance to impress the American collector car market as it heads to auction.

“He knew that one of the high points of the American market was its V-8s, as opposed to all the four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines in Europe at the time,” seller Joe Bortz said. “So he wanted to put it in their face.”

While Stevens considered himself a “self-styled aristocrat,” in the words of biographer Glenn Adamson, up until the mid-1950s the Milwaukee-based designer’s work almost exclusively focused on baseball-and-apple-pie American brands: Miller beer, Harley-Davidson, and the postwar Willys Jeep. However, according to Adamson’s “Industrial Strength Design: How Brooks Stevens Shaped Your World,” his work as a consultant for Alfa Romeo’s 1800 Sprint Series earlier in the decade got him to think beyond American shores.

Specifically, “Stevens had been intent on becoming a recognized name in European car design,” Adamson wrote. And he saw his chance to do so in Guy Storr, a public relations specialist he hired who happened to be French. Storr recommended a “centerpiece car” that Stevens would then debut at the Paris Auto Show and proceed to display on the European show circuit.

Stevens appeared to relish the opportunity to design a one-off show car; all of his then-recent auto design work concerned production cars, but he’d intermittently designed customs and one-offs — largely as commissions for friends — as far back as 1938 with a mild restyling of his personal 1929 Cord L-29.

For Storr’s recommended centerpiece car, Stevens went with the most un-European chassis possible: a 1955 Cadillac Series 60 Special on the 133-inch wheelbase with a 270 hp dual-quad V-8 engine and Hydra-Matic automatic transmission (chassis number 556078063). Why exactly Stevens selected a Cadillac chassis — and how he convinced GM to supply him with one — remains unclear, but Bortz said an undocumented story surrounding the car suggests that Cadillac officials at the time were exploring the possibility of entering the European market and saw Stevens’ project as a way to test the waters while maintaining plausible deniability should it fail.

Whatever the reason, Stevens certainly made no attempt to disguise the car’s underpinnings: The Cadillac wheels remained, as did the Cadillac steering wheel and dashboard, along with the aforementioned drivetrain. The rest, however, was all Stevens, and he made sure to emphasize that fact by taking out a design patent for the body later that year. Beginning with the huge V, the chrome trim bisected the headlamps — ostensibly to reduce glare for oncoming drivers — before going on to run down the fenders and the doors. The latter have two vent windows and, according to Bortz, are so wide that when they open “you can literally walk right into the back seat.” And while not many photos show it, the entire top is removable.

Stevens sent the chassis and his final design to Carrosseriebau Hermann Spohn in Ravensburg, Germany, a coachbuilder just as adept at implementing opulent designs as outlandish ones. According to Adamson, Cleveland business owner and city council member Irwin Metzenbaum funded the construction of the car, though to what end is unclear. From Ravensburg, die Valkyrie then debuted in Paris, as planned, and continued on throughout Europe before returning to the United States to tour the show circuit here.

While some sources claim Stevens went into limited production with the Valkyrie, only two are known to exist: the show car and a second. The latter currently resides in a private collection, but the former made its way back to Stevens after its tour; he purchased it for his wife, Alice, to drive, then placed it in the Brooks Stevens Auto Museum after she had put several thousand miles on it.

Stevens went on to make two more runs at the European market with custom-bodied cars — the 1955 Gaylord, another car that he had Spohn build; and the aluminum-intensive 1959 Scimitar, which Reutter built — before resuming his American automotive design work.

According to Bortz, he knew die Valkyrie resided in the museum but didn’t think about purchasing it for his concept car collection until after hearing of Stevens’s death in 1995. Though repainted once, he said the interior and drivetrain remain original with the odometer showing only the miles Alice Stevens put on the car.

In addition to die Valkyrie, Bortz will also put up for auction a 1932 Pierce-Arrow Twelve (chassis number 350087) that he bought out of a barn following 50 years of storage. According to Bortz, the Pierce-Arrow with LeBaron coachwork represented the marque at the 1932 New York Auto Show and is the only 1932 Pierce-Arrow with a padded top and landau bars.

The Pierce-Arrow and die Valkyrie will cross the block at Worldwide Auctioneers’s Auburn sale, which takes place September 2. No pre-auction estimate has been released. For more information, visit


Atlanta Concours d’Elegance to host reunion of Lozier automobiles

Atlanta Concours d’Elegance to host reunion of Lozier automobiles

1909 Lozier Model J Briarcliff Roadster

1909 Lozier Model J Briarcliff Roadster, owned by Corky Coker of Coker Tire. Photo by Tommy Lee Byrd.

Its cars once sold for roughly twice the price of a Packard and nine times the price of a Ford Model T. At the very first Indy 500, a stock example — minus the rear seat, fenders, and lights, and fitted with an auxiliary fuel tank — finished second, only to be returned to the factory, refurbished, and sold as used inventory. Though Lozier isn’t a household name today, the former luxury American automaker once built cars to rival Rolls-Royce, and this year’s Atlanta Concours d’Elegance, taking place from September 30 to October 1 at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Georgia, will host a rare reunion of Lozier automobiles.

Henry Abraham Lozier got his start by building sewing machines and bicycles, turning the Cleveland brand of cycles into one of the world’s most respected marques. In 1897, he sold the business to the American Bicycle Company for the reported sum of $4 million, and in 1900 founded the Lozier Motor Company in Plattsburgh, New York. Initially, the company built motors for marine applications, since the family spent much of its leisure time boating on nearby Lake Champlain. As demand for automobiles increased, the company cautiously expanded into this arena, too.

Vintage Lozier advertising images courtesy of the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance.

In 1903, Henry Lozier died, leaving a growing business — and a sizeable fortune — to his family. It was son Harry who stepped in to take over the business, gradually putting more focus on the automobile side of things. As with bicycles, Lozier was determined that his family would build the best motorcars in the world. Doing so meant relocating the business to the epicenter of the automotive world, and in 1910 the company relocated from upstate New York to Detroit, Michigan.

Lozier was among the first manufacturers to embrace left-hand drive, at a time when such things weren’t regulated by state or federal governments. Instead of conventional friction bearings, Lozier’s chief engineer, John Perrin, specified roller bearings and ball bearings wherever possible — including the crankshaft. His laser-like focus on quality meant that just a single vendor proved capable of producing forgings that met his standard for durability, though the isolated shop was sometimes inaccessible in the winter months.

1914 Lozier Model 84

1914 Model 84 owned by Todd Lozier. Photo courtesy Atlanta Concours d’Elegance.

Lozier engines also used three separate oiling systems to prevent failure, and at a time when fuel pressure was determined by the driver, passenger or riding mechanic operating a hand pump, the company used exhaust gas pressure to force the fuel through the lines. A spark arrester was used in the system to ensure that the risk of explosion was reduced, if not altogether eliminated.

1911 Indy 500

Ralph Mulford drives to a second-place finish at the 1922 Indianapolis 500. Photo courtesy IMS.

To demonstrate his company’s engineering superiority, Lozier entered two cars into the 1911 running of the Indianapolis 500. Teddy Tetzlaff, driving the number 34 car, began the race from seventh position on the grid, while teammate Ralph Mulford, driving the number 33 Lozier, began from the 33rd spot. Tetzlaff was out on lap 21, the victim of an accident in the field, while Mulford drove on to finish in second, behind the Marmon Wasp of Ray Harroun.

Earlier in 1911, Tetzlaff had driven a stock, 49-horsepower Lozier to a world speed record, covering 100 miles in one hour, 14 minutes, and 29 seconds. It isn’t clear if either accomplishment boosted sales or brought the company the recognition it sought, but pressure from the ever-increasing number of manufacturers began to take its toll. In 1913, Lozier’s designer, Frederick Chandler, left with several key members of the company’s management team to start the Chandler Motor Company, which produced visually similar automobiles at a much lower price point.

To counter the slide in business, Lozier launched a mid-priced car in 1914 at the insistence of its stockholders, but it was too little, too late. Faced with no alternative, Lozier attempted — without success — to negotiate a merger with the Ford Motor Company, and in 1915 the automaker that once advertised “On mountain trails the safest, on country roads the swiftest, on city boulevards the most aristocratic — Lozier” was forced to file bankruptcy.

Over its lifespan, Lozier produced a few thousand automobiles, hitting its peak in 1912 with 600 units built. Today, roughly 30 Loziers are known to remain in the United States, and the “Lozier Reunion” class at the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance hopes to include as many as eight. Todd Lozier, a descendant of the company’s founder (and a Lozier owner), will act as an honorary judge for the category, and cars confirmed thus far include Corky Coker’s 1909 Lozier Model J Briarcliff Roadster, which won its class in the 2003 Great Race, and Jim Grundy’s 1908 Lozier Type I.

1909 Lozier Model J Briarcliff Roadster

Corky and Cameron Coker run the 2003 Great Race in his 1909 Lozier Model J Briarcliff Roadster. Photo by Tommy Lee Byrd.

For additional details on the 2017 Atlanta Concours d’Elegance, visit


Lucas Test Cards

Lucas Test Cards

Lucas test card

Photos by Richard Lentinello.

Back in the 1960s, and possibly the early ’70s, Lucas Electric Limited of England issued these test cards to assist owners of British-built cars and trucks with any electrical problem they may encounter. Be it Lucas electrics, or Autolite, Delco, Bosch, and Magneti Marelli, all automotive electrical systems, regardless of where they are manufactured, do fail every now and then. Having these test cards on hand helped many car owners diagnose those problems.

Lucas test card

I recently received these four Lucas Test Cards in the mail from Jeffrey Miller, the son of the previous owner of my 1967 Triumph GT6, who’d found them while cleaning out his father’s garage. Each test card measures 6-inches wide by 4.25-inches, and opens to a full 16.5-inches. Printed on stock similar in thickness to a postcard, they are coated to protect against dirty fingers while in use.

Lucas test card

Each test card is numbered, and clearly states which part of the electric system it’s focusing on. When opened, there are a series of tests to conduct to fix that particular problem. The information is direct and to the point and easy to understand, while the insightful illustrations are equally comprehensible. The tests continue on the back side of the opened card; for the Ignition Test Card there are 13 tests in total to check.

Lucas test card

While they may have been created for vehicles equipped with Lucas electric systems, these test cards are not only invaluable in accessing and fixing problems in all cars’ electric systems but help owners better understand exactly how those systems work.

Lucas test card


San Francisco, 1964

San Francisco, 1964

Date: August or September 1964

Location: San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California

Source: Clint Sundholm photo, courtesy Gary Sundholm. “Taken while on a family trip from Australia to Canada. We had been living in Australia since 1962 and returned home to Canada to visit family in Saskatchewan. My father worked in the oil and gas drilling business back then, in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.”

What do you see here?


Hemmings Find of the Day – 1966 Mercury Park Lane

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1966 Mercury Park Lane

1966 Mercury Park Lane fastback

1966 Mercury Park Lane two-door hardtop for sale. From the seller’s description:

This beautifully optioned classic is completely original, unrestored, rust free and remains in very good to excellent condition throughout. Single family ownership since new and comes with original Bill of Sale.

This vehicle has never been winter driven and has averaged under 1,000 miles per year! Current mileage reads 48,000 miles.

This car is turnkey and ready to be enjoyed; everything works.

428 CID Super 345 Horsepower V8 Engine Code Q
Dark Blue Metallic with White Top
White interior
Power Steering
Power Brakes
Power Windows
Tilt Steering
White Wall Tires
Remote Mirror Control

Selling price is $18,000 CAN or $14,105 USD

1966 Mercury Park Lane fastback 1966 Mercury Park Lane fastback 1966 Mercury Park Lane fastback 1966 Mercury Park Lane fastback



Location Marker


Magnifying Glass


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Brooklands Racing Circuit declared “at risk,” preservation plan in the works

Brooklands Racing Circuit declared “at risk,” preservation plan in the works

Photo courtesy Historic England.

The Brooklands race track will, in all likelihood, never again host a competitive race. The ravages of time and the encroachments of development have ensured that fate. Keeping the remaining sections of the track from continuing to fall into disrepair, however, is the aim of a new effort kicked off this month to preserve the world’s oldest dedicated motor-racing venue.

Last officially used for an organized motorsports event in 1939, the track has far from lain dormant during the last 80 years. Vickers and Hawker aircraft rolled off production lines there during the war, and the former cut out a section of the track to lengthen its runway. German bombs damaged or destroyed parts of the track. Warehouses and hangars covered up portions of the track. Roads cut through it, housing developments and parking garages sprung up along it, and trees planted to camouflage the easily-identifiable-from-the-air high banks eventually tore up the surface.

Today about half of the original racing surface remains in non-contiguous chunks, and what surface remains has grown rippled and inconsistent due to the use of unreinforced concrete when constructing the 2.75-mile track. While the Brooklands Society has campaigned since the late 1960s to preserve the track and the Brooklands Museum Trust has maintained a short section of the track and the Finishing Straight adjacent to the museum itself, a host of different industrial, residential, and local governmental entities now control all the various slices of the track.

The current condition of the Brooklands track hasn’t gone unnoticed, however. Historic England, the organization charged with protecting the country’s monuments, historic buildings, and other places of importance, has included parts of the track on its Heritage At Risk Register and earlier this month convened a meeting of museum officials, property owners, and local governments to discuss how best to preserve the entire track.

“We appreciate that many owners may not understand the importance of the site and will not have experience of managing a scheduled monument,” Historic England’s Clare Charlesworth said. “So we are providing general guidance on the simple steps needed to maintain the structure and more detailed help where needed. We hope that by bringing together all those who act as guardians or neighbours to this amazing piece of history, we will be able to foster new relationships and take practical steps to improve the condition and maintenance of the site.”

As part of the preservation effort, Historic England gave the museum £30,000 in funding to prepare a Conservation Management Plan, which the local Elmbridge Borough Council has put up for consultation. Largely intended to prevent future developments from further degrading the track, the plan does call for necessary maintenance and repairs of the track surface as well as oversight of all preservation efforts by either the museum or Historic England. The six-week consultation will remain open to public comment until August 18.

The museum, meanwhile, has been raising funds toward its own $10.8-million restoration of parts of the track. Funded in part by a £4.681-million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, that project — announced two years ago — has already resulted in a partial restoration of the Finishing Straight, long covered by an aircraft hangar. According to the museum, 97 percent of the funds have already been raised for the restoration, with about £250,000 left to go.

For more information on the Conservation Management Plan, visit or


After three-year delay, Library of Congress begins adding National Historic Vehicle Register information

After three-year delay, Library of Congress begins adding National Historic Vehicle Register information

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

From the beginning, the architects of the National Historic Vehicle Register intended to not only document some of the country’s most important vehicles, but also place that documentation in the Library of Congress (LoC), making it publicly accessible. More than three years and nearly 20 vehicles later, the Library has posted the first of those documents to its website.

“The situation isn’t one that we like, but we’re just happy that the records are finally starting to appear,” said Richard O’Connor, the National Park Service’s chief of Heritage Documentation Program, which oversees the National Historic Vehicle Register’s entries into the public record.

According to O’Connor, the delay results directly from a backlog at the LoC. “It’s not just the HVA’s materials, but all of our materials,” he said, noting that while the Heritage Documentation Program has worked with the Library since the Thirties, the Library didn’t start digitizing any of the program’s materials until 1997. “And we’re producing archive materials all the time, so the backlog just keeps getting bigger. We work with a good crew of people over there, but these problems are definitely above their pay grade.”

Likewise, the Historic Vehicle Association has continued to add vehicles to the National Historic Vehicle Register regularly since kicking it off with a 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona in January of 2014. Mark Gessler, president of the HVA, said his organization has taken the delay in publishing the records all in stride.

“Digitization has been an on-again off-again priority under the prior LoC leadership and, of course, a victim of scarce funding,” he said. “Each quarter we submit and then its in their mill.”

Records for four Register-listed vehicles — GM Futurliner No. 10, a World War I 1918 Cadillac Type 57, the 1964 Meyers Manx known as Old Red, and the Indianapolis 500-winning 1938 Maserati 8CTF known as the Boyle Special — recently went live on the LoC’s website. Included in those records are each vehicle’s ownership history, documented modifications or restorations, photographs, line drawings, and technical descriptions. The HVA has inducted or announced the induction of 15 other vehicles into the register.

Along with posting the records to its website, the LoC collects photo negatives and paper documents printed on materials designed for conservation and longevity. All physical materials are then stored in “state-of-the-art curatorial facilities” at Fort Meade in Maryland, according to O’Connor.

In addition to the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) — under which the National Historic Vehicle Register technically falls — the Heritage Documentation Program includes the Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historic American Landscapes Survey. The program also sets forth the guidelines for inclusion into all three. Under the terms of the partnership between the HAER and the HVA, the former prepares drawings of cars to be included on the register while the latter prepares the histories and photography and funds the documentation.

According to Gessler, a Senate bill introduced in April proposes to establish the National Historic Vehicle Register as its own separate entity out from under the jurisdiction of the HAER, though O’Connor said that wouldn’t likely speed up the rate at which the LoC adds records to its website.

“And at this rate, I don’t think it would be fair to guess when the rest of the (National Historic Vehicle Register’s) records will be up,” O’Connor said. “We still have one big backlog ahead of us — the Farm Security Administration’s photos from the 1930s, which the Library has wanted to digitize for years.”

Established in March of 2013, the National Historic Vehicle Register includes cars and trucks that meet at least one of four criteria: association with important American historic events, association with important American historic figures, its design or construction value, or its informational value. Inclusion on the Register does not restrict the owner of the vehicle from restoring, modifying, or using the vehicle however they wish.

For more information about the National Historic Vehicle Register, visit


Virtues and vices of photographing black cars

Virtues and vices of photographing black cars

1969 Buick GS 400

The late day sun illuminates the grille and the concours-quality detailed front suspension of this 1969 Buick GS 400, but the importance of this photo for this article is how the side has reflected the surrounding scene right down to the proper colors for the pavement, sand, boulder, water and tree line. It certainly grounds the car to its surroundings, but some may say that the details of the body side don’t stand out due to the reflection. Photography by author.

Some automotive photographers maintain a love/hate relationship with shooting black cars. While it’s important to be able to photograph a black car or any dark colored car to meet the standards of the respective publication in which it will appear, it usually takes more effort and forethought to accomplish than it would with brighter colored cars.

Those online, magazine, and TV ads you see featuring black cars bathed in liquid light with all of the highlights in just the right places and no unwanted reflections on the body are usually the result of using professional lighting equipment, likely including huge light boxes. Considerable post processing may have also been performed. Yes, these images are beautiful, but spending lots of money, time, and effort is not what this article is about.

1969 Buick GS 400

This is the same day and location, but the Buick is about 50 feet away from where the lead photo was taken and it’s about 15 minutes earlier. This positioning removed most of the side reflections and the polarizer helped with the rest. Thankfully the sun was low enough, so that the lower body lines and rocker panel are still defined. Is this photo more or less interesting than the previous one?

Instead, its intent is simply to help owners overcome some of the frustration they may have encountered when trying to photograph their own black or dark colored cars. Since this article is based purely on my experiences over the years, some other photographers may have different opinions.

A well-done black finish on any vehicle essentially becomes a large compound-curved mirror that reflects everything around it. Reflections that are perfectly rendered in the black car’s finish may be much less obvious in a like-model that was painted white or other bright colors and set up in the same location at the same time of day.

Consequently, more care has to be taken to eliminate or reduce undesirable reflections like mailboxes, fences, signs, trees, power lines, other structures and other vehicles, while still trying to retain the body’s details. It can be a real challenge, especially because the situation changes with the design of the car.

1978 Pontiac Trans Am SE

The challenge of this background for the 1978 SE Trans Am was that the car had to stay very close to it because that’s where the road was. Thus we’d have to live with the resulting reflections of the leaves on the hood, windshield and roof. However, the polarizer did a pretty good job of minimizing their impact. The attributes of this background include framing the car with the orange and gold leaves, how they tie in with the gold bird and stripes and the orange parking lamps, and the fact that the driver’s side still retains a clean horizon line.

For instance, slab-sided cars will likely pick up more reflections of items that are directly facing its side and at the same relative height, but a bit less of items above or below it. A vehicle featuring heavily sculpted sides will do the opposite under the same circumstances, however, and reflect more sky and ground instead.

Another issue is that in my experience, direct sunlight in late morning/early afternoon when sun is high and intense is not kind to black cars (not to mention other-colored cars). The body sides of black ones fare even worse in this situation, however, because the character lines and the gaps between panels can sometimes disappear into the blackness.

Additionally, photographing a black car with flash provides a less dramatic result than using flash with finishes of lighter colors. However, the non-black surfaces like the wheels and bright trim will still react to the added light as they normally would, so there is a chance that they can become overexposed in the effort to brighten the body.

Don’t mistake this with flash hotspots, which are simply a reflection of the flash itself in the paint. You can get plenty of those in black cars just like any other color, but they are generally distracting and not welcomed. Though someone will likely point out scientific reasons as to why black and dark colors react differently to the light than lighter colors do, I’m not delving into that topic here.

1978 Pontiac Trans Am SE

This rear photo shot on the same overcast fall day in the adjacent parking lot offers an excellent example of how the body shape determines what is reflected in the sides of the car. The trees you see behind the car nearly surround this parking lot, yet above the main body crease, the side reflects the sky (the streaks are clouds) and below the crease the ground is reflected. In this instance, the resulting photo is cleaner than if the trees were reflected. The gold stripes and bright door edge molding also accentuate the design aspects of the Pontiac.

Black cars can still be photographed in the sun, but they will generally look considerably better when the sun is low like in the early morning or in the evening. The same is true for other colors, but black just seems to be more sensitive to it.

Light pavement or gravel can lighten the appearance of the lower fender, rocker panel and lower rear quarter panel areas on a dark colored car, but it’s basically a result of the ground being reflected in the paint. You will have to decide if that effect is desired. The light gravel or pavement also provides a light and color contrast with the dark lower body and tires, which can be pleasing.

Boldly colored backgrounds can be used to great affect with a black car, since black goes with any color. If the car has differently-colored graphics or stripes, the background color can be chosen to complement them, adding further interest to the photo. Very bright or white backgrounds should be avoided however, because the contrast can be too much with the black subject.

A polarizing filter can aid in removing reflections from either the side or top of the car, just as it does for other colors, but it’s not a fix-all for a poor shooting location. You may find that in order to remove unwanted side reflections with the polarizer you’ll then be forced to live with gray sky reflections on the hood, windshield and roof when shooting on an overcast day. It may be better in that instance to find a location that produces side reflections you can live with, so you can turn the polarizer to saturate (remove the gray sky reflection) the hood, windshield, and roof.

1971 Pontiac GTO

Direct sunlight brings out a truer black in this 1971 GTO than we’d likely see on an overcast day. This shoot was earlier in the day than I’d normally like to shoot a black car, but it worked out okay. The stripes, door edge guard and rocker and wheel well trim help to break up the black panels. The white letters are just slightly starting to blow out, however.

If you are shooting outdoors and you want the cleanest reflections possible, you’ll have to work for them. You’ll need to find flat, smooth ground for clean lower body reflections and a cloudless sky for smooth upper body reflections. Also, there shouldn’t be any trees, fences, structures, power lines or anything unwanted remotely close enough to the car to reflect in the paint. Don’t forget to choose a time of day when the sun is low and at your back, the sun has just set, or the sky is overcast. Those are a lot of considerations, but each one is important. Now you know why desert photos are so popular.

Since it’s rare to be able to meet all of those conditions, you’ll likely have to make some compromises just like we do every time we photograph a car. Survey the foreground/background/lighting situation, set up the car, decide what you can and can’t live with, and make your adjustments accordingly.

Of course there are seemingly countless post-processing procedures that can be utilized in your favorite photo editing software to enhance the photos, but to reiterate, this article is simply geared toward a car owner who would like to take a nice photo of his/her black car and not worry about spending lots of time in Photoshop.

Triumph TR3

You may recognize this Triumph TR3 photo from the lighting article. Just after sunset, the horizon line picks up an orange highlight, as the rest of the ambient light turns bluer.

As you can see, none of the photos presented here are perfect by any means. They all contain compromises and are simply examples that illustrate the results of techniques I’ve used. None have been Photoshopped. This way you can see them as they came out of the camera.

When attention is paid to the eccentricities of working with a black paintjob, the resulting photos can be quite pleasing and just as striking as those of other color cars. If you own a black or very dark colored car, hopefully some of what was presented here will be useful to you.

For further information regarding photographing your car, see these past articles: “Take better photos of your car, today,” “The story behind this action shot,” “Ideas for backgrounds when photographing your car,” “A few lighting tips for photographing your car,” “Shooting the moon…behind a Z/28,” and “Behind the shoot: 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6.”



Iron Invasion

Iron Invasion

October 1, 2016 saw the 5th annual Iron Invasion take over the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Illinois. Traditional hot rod and custom fans from around the Midwest once again came out in droves to take it all in.

This event, which came into existence after the 10 year run of the well-known Hunnert  Car Pileup came to a close, was created by John and Kim Wells to benefit the Helping Hannah’s Heart Foundation. October weather can be a crap shoot and the rain or shine policy has been put to the test a few times, but that has never stopped the enthusiastic crowds from coming to take in the cars, motorcycles, live music and other fun stuff that the Invasion has come to be known for.

If the photos don’t convince you to attend, then head over to to see the reason behind the event. It benefits families with serious needs and has enhanced the lives of many. The rodding community has responded strongly to the need.

More Info

Words: Dan Podobinski; Photos: Dan Podobinski, James Whistleman, Fritz Schenck


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