Metallica rocker James Hetfield’s scratch-built coupe is Goodguys’ 2014 Mother’s 
Custom of the Year.
Rock & roll music and custom cars have a lot in common. A creative spirit, immense talent and uncompromising dedication are required to create and reveal the inner soul of a song or a car. James Hetfield has mastered both. His band Metallica sits in the prestigious Rock & Roll Hall of Fame while serving as the face of heavy metal music for decades. His ever-growing stable of custom cars has won hot rodding’s biggest prizes. His latest effort, a coachbuilt custom he designed with partner Rick Dore is his most powerful statement yet. 

Unlike Hetfield’s previous customs, Black Pearl is completely scratch-built. It’s not any particular make or model. The teardrop contours and seamless lines of 1930s coachbuilt European and American luxury cars inspired its sculpted, handmade aluminum body. It rests on a custom chassis that utilizes the outer frame rails of a ‘48 Jaguar.

Southern California’s Marcel and Luc De Lay, two of the top coachbuilders in the world, handled the forming, shaping and building of the body. Said Hetfield of the De Lay’s prowess as metal sculptors, “As an artist myself, I see the passion, dedication and perfectionism it takes to be good at your craft. I am humbled by their gift of metal sculpting. The fact that they started with an 8×10-inch drawing and ended up with a complete car is a testament to the ability
of the human mind and hands. It still blows people’s minds when they ask what
body we started with and we say ‘steel sheets.’”

Darryl Hollenbeck, Vintage Color Studio, offering a perfect contrast to the brushed brass trim, painted the Black Pearl in a deep PPG black. Inside the cabin is a stellar Ron Mangus interior. Wheelsmith Fabrications made the black artillery style wheels featuring matching brushed brass caps. Under the hood is a 375-horsepower 302 cubic-inch Ford. But, this car isn’t about power – it’s about style. It’s also about expanding horizons and breaking new ground.

In addition to the Goodguys 2014 Mother’s Custom of the Year, The Black Pearl won the Sam Barris award as well as the Custom d’Elegance at the Sacramento AutoRama.

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