These guys have gone way beyond just a custom paint job.
Let us begin by getting the definition of the term 'Art' out of the way first. One of the shorter explanations given by the Oxford Dictionary is the following: 'Works produced by human creative skill and imagination'. Great, so we can all agree up front that the automobile is already a work of art even as it rolls off the production line.
In the eyes of certain car fans, a standard production car is more of a blank canvas from which they can create something even more special. From the merely whacky to the truly awe-inspiring, we have selected some of the very best art car creations that make you look at the common automobile in a whole new way.
The BMW M1 was the German marque's first ever mid-engined supercar and thanks to the short 453 car production run, it has become a valuable classic since its introduction back in 1979. Now, perfect condition examples can be worth up to $650,000 these days but even a badly wrecked one can go for as much as a brand new i8.
Back in 2015, Bring a Trailer listed a sad looking 1980 M1 for sale, it had been crashed in 1985 and had sat forlornly in a garage for 30 years. An avid car collector going by the name of PKI eventually bought this wreck and then found another burnt out M1 to join it less than a year later. He has now gone into a bit of detail about why he bought two very expensive write-offs.
Initially intending to combine these two wrecks into one working car and use the remaining parts for his two existing M1s (yes, life is unfair), PKI decided instead to turn the mangled bits of metal into automotive art and hang it in his three-story garage. While it is truly something special, this is the most 'normal' art car you will see here today.
The Volkswagen Beetle is the single most successful model ever built on a single platform. Its evolution from a cheap transport solution for the German masses in the 1930s to a symbol of peace and love in the 1960s and then as a base for countless replicas and beach buggies is a fascinating one.
It has been out of production since 2003 but the humble Beetle lives on in many forms like this oddly squashed Beetle Sphere, a creation by artist Ichwan Noor. It is actually the second bug he has squashed, so to speak, this one being a 1953 model.
The Porsche 911 is in many ways a descendant of that original Beetle, but aside from some very superficial similarities, they have developed in very different directions. The latest GT3 RS may already be considered a work of art just the way it is with a price tag to match. One fan by the name of Hannes Langeder decided a few years ago to create a gold-clad version of the previous-gen 997 GT3 RS that was also fully driveable. The catch? The gold cladding is aluminum foil and the engine is you: as the Ferdinand GT3 RS art car is a plastic frame mounted on bicycle bits.
Come to think of it, with the way used Porsche prices have been heading skywards these days, even this one may soon be financially out of reach.
Taking the idea of a deconstructed sports car one step further, Benedict Radcliffe has made a habit of creating life-size wireframe models of iconic sporty vehicles like the Subaru Impreza, Lamborghini Countach and the admittedly less sporty London black cab.
Parked on the street outside, they look just like escapees from a Tron movie. They may not be driveable but wouldn't having one mounted in your living room wall look super cool anyway?
Back in the States, we have our fair share of artists drawing inspiration from the automotive world. Jim Reinders decided to repurpose 39 expired American 'classics' and recreate the mystic Stonehenge that tourists flock to in England.
Jim's version in Nebraska follows the placement of the original stones so accurately that they even line up with the Summer Solstice. The only thing that could perhaps improve on this magnificent creation is the addition of an actual Pontiac Solstice to the collection.
The annual Burning Man event held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada is claimed to be the ultimate place for anti-consumerism and self-expression. It is also the setting for some of the most intricate, elaborate and amazing car-based creations you will ever see.
For one week the desert is filled with all manner of crazy artistic creations. Describing the mobile machines that roam the landscape would take up a fair few paragraphs of incoherent text, so it is best to take a look at our images below to get an idea of what can be done when art meets the automobile.
While turning your daily-driver into a fire-spitting eight-legged robot thingy is probably a little impractical, seeing these kinds of innovative and creative ideas sure does show how versatile automotive art can be.