The friendship of Metallica front man James Hetfield and custom kingpin Rick Dore has been fruitful to say the least. The duo has produced a string of top flight kustoms lately, culminating with their latest effort – a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr they like to call the “VooDoo” Priest. The sleek, low slung tail dragger took home the Goodguys 2012 Mother’s West Coast Custom of the Year award at the Goodguys 30th All American Get-Together in Pleasanton last weekend, adding to an already crowded trophy case. Earlier this year the car took home the 2012 H.A. Bagdasarian Award – World’s Most Beautiful Custom at the Sacramento Autorama.
In thinking up the car, Hetfield confided to Dore his vision was a traditional custom that played on existing factory styling. Everything about a stock ’37 Zephyr screams coolness. They pulled it off and created a traditional yet elegant custom with a sinister flare – something akin to a hard driving power chord.
Keith Dean, son of the late Dick Dean, is responsible for, among other things, lowering the lid on the ‘Priest. He also gets credit for the “Coke bottled” rockers/running boards, molded ’38 Zephyr rear quarters and other subtleties like leaning the doors slightly forward, adding custom taillights and laying back the stock headlights. The flawless paintwork (including coming up with the custom-mixed colors: Candy Apple Red over raspberry) was all done by Darryl Hollenbeck at his Vintage Color Studio in Concord, CA. Sherm’s Plating is credited for all the shiny chrome including the handmade lower body trim (from brass stock).
The ‘Priest rides on a modified stock chassis with a Mustang II front end, Ridetech air bags and a 9-inch Ford rear end. The original Flathead V-12 remains intact rebuilt and revitalized by H&H Flatheads. It’s a polished and plated work of art with chromed Stromburg 97 carburetors. Behind the V-12 now lies a C4 automatic transmission. The car rolls on Wheel Vintiques 16-inch artillery style chrome wheels with hand lettered Zephyr caps wrapped in Firestone 600-16 bias wide whites from Coker Tire.
Inside the cabin is an amazing art deco interior of black mohair, vanilla white and candy red accents commissioned by Craig Hopkins. The ’41 Lincoln steering wheel looks completely at home resting atop a ’40 Ford column. Tony Gomes at Tri Valley Auto Glass handled all the flat glass installation.
The victory in Pleasanton marks the second time in three years Hetfield and Dore have teamed up to win the Goodguys/Mother’s West Coast Custom of the Year award. Their ’36 Auburn boat tail roadster “Slow Burn” took home the same honors back in 2010. You can see the “VooDoo Priest” this fall in the Champion’s Arena (featuring all 2012 Terrific 12 award winners) at the Goodguys 15th Southwest Nationals, November 16-18 in Scottsdale, AZ.
The runner’s up for the Goodguys 2012 Mother’s West Coast Custom of the Year award included David Hoakstra, Lake Havasu, AZ (’60 Cadillac), Bud Wolfe, Graham, WA (’60 Edsel), Anthony DeFreitas, Pleasanton, CA (’51 Merc), Doug Beattie, Vancouver, WA (’40 Ford).