There’s a fine line between coachbuilt and custom cars, but nevertheless the handcrafted Black Pearl (it’s not Johnny Depp’s car) is a thing of beauty – and the visitors of the 2014 edition of the LA Auto Show will dully corroborate.

The car has been dreamt by rock star James Hetfield (Metallica rings any bells?) and then built by custom cars expert Rick Dore – and the end result shows how a proper masterpiece needs to be created. No wonder they also snatched the Goodguys Custom of the Year award. Hetfield, the front man for the long-lived heavy metal group is a well-known high-end custom car aficionado. Toghether with Dore, they started off from the chassis of a 1948 Jaguar Mk 4 and then let their imagination loose with a capable mix of Art Deco and retro-inspired European coachbuilding.

“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,” was cited Hetfield in an interview with the Contra Costa Times. The body has been shaped by famous panel beaters Marcel and Luc De Lay and made by hand out of aluminum and all that remained from the original Jaguar chassis were the outer frame rails – used to support a new 375 HP Ford V8, mated to a Ford C4 automatic transmission. There’s an Mustang II-style independent front suspension and a four-link 9-inch rear axle, GM sourced-front discs and Ford Explorer discs at the back.


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