The Vandergriff Chrysler | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal



Back again in 2007, I someway managed to get up the nerve to ask a single of my heroes for an interview. At the time, I didn’t know Gary Howard perfectly and didn’t know what to expect. By the time the interview was above, I considered Gary a pal and when he handed in 2019, I deemed him family.

But it was in the course of that 1st job interview that Gary laid some thing on me that will adhere forever. I questioned him one thing along the strains of, “Is there a historical custom made that suggests a thing much more to you or that influenced you more than other folks?”

“…the Clif Inman ’57 Chrysler that Joe Wilhelm designed is possibly as close to a ‘perfect’ custom made as I have at any time seen. I just admired Joe so significantly for maintaining the car or truck so very simple and wonderful. Sure, he did some bizarre stuff later on on but as a complete his portfolio is inspiring. And he did almost everything on his have phrases in a small shop powering his home – in no way succumbing to the money forces that a large amount of other men did.”

“Hell, I guess I just claimed it. I glimpse up to Joe Wilhelm. The Clif Inman ’57 evokes just about every thing I do.”

I feel a single of the reasons this estimate was so impactful to me is that as Gary softly spoke the words, I could see the famous photograph (Andy Southard Jr.) of Inman’s Chrysler pinned to the wall just behind him:

To this extremely working day, each time I see this photo I feel of Gary and smile. To him, this car was perfection… and if one thing is perfection to Gary Howard, it’s perfection to me also.


Danny Vandergriff (GotGas) shares a related perspective. Back again in 2008 or so, he picked up a ’57 Chrysler out of a field with desires of setting up the car together aspect his old person. From the get started, he had no intentions of constructing an Inman clone. Instead, he picked a target year (1959) and then built to the period – withdrawing influences from the Inman car or truck and other individuals.

Mechanically, it’s a extremely simple formula. To get the stance, Danny just turned down the torsion bars up front and additional a pair of 2″ blocks out back. A hint of late-50’s custom rake is developed purely by means of rubber – 15×5 on ’56 Ford facilities with 7.10-15s up entrance and 15×7 reversed wheels out back again with L78s.

The driveline is just as basic. The inventory 392, having said that, does gain from a fashionable TKO 5-velocity and to sluggish down all that mass, Danny did throw some discs up front. The motor vehicle was constructed to be pushed and it has been.

But the thing is, the damn thing appears and feels like a pampered demonstrate vehicle. Like numerous of you, I watched this car get created on the HAMB. When I at last had an prospect to research the car in individual, I expected a good homebuilt custom. What I observed was a thing significantly a lot more than that – extremely depth in which it was deserved, ideal gaps, and develop high-quality you would hope to see from a well regarded expert. Somehow, Danny managed to make a black car or truck appear effortless.

The human body is mainly unchanged. There’s no showcased chop like on the Inman auto and as a end result, you get that gorgeous greenhouse framed by sleek pillars and a large total of glass. This is accented by subtraction – every thing that could be shaved was shaved sans the distinctive aspect trim.

There were being, having said that, a couple of significant additions. The to start with may be my favourite – the hood scoop. Imagine it or not, it was fashioned by the foremost edge of a 70’s era Jeep. And then, there is the absolute brilliance of the entrance bumper liberated from a ’57 Desoto and crammed with gold mesh.

“Gold,” you ask… Yes. Gold. And it was finished with goal. As we shift on to the inside, the 1st matter you discover is the swivel seat taken from a ’59 Imperial. It sets the foundation for tastefully stitched custom made upholstery performed in black and sliver with pops of GOLD accents. Every little thing used, from products to shades, speaks to cohesiveness and a stage of imaginative intelligence that you never generally see.

You really do not glimpse at Danny’s automobile and immediately assume about Clif Inman’s own ’57. But you do assume about Clif Inman… or probably far more correctly, Joe Wilhelm. Each Danny and Joe designed black ’57 Chryslers with sensibilities that were being born from very similar mothers. That means, these cars are not clones of every single other, but they do share similar views and ideas… and it’s this mental house that would make them both equally so specific. It’s straightforward grace.


Prior to writing this story, I experienced a tough time selecting which angle to lean on. Naturally, I had to mention Gary Howard as he was seriously my introduction to the relevance of the Inman auto. But I also seriously wished to engage in up two angles that Danny talked about on his tech sheet.

The very first is the thought that Danny picked a make period of time (1959) and made use of it as a gauge for all the things he did. This is a exercise I acquired by observing Lee Pratt through the several years and a little something I don’t truly feel is performed as frequently as it should really be. Sticking to an genuine develop period with spiritual commitment is totally required for the sort of cohesiveness this car or truck has.

And next, Danny wrote a little something that built me smile:

“Getting to establish this motor vehicle with my father has been 1 of my favorite experiences in daily life. He inspired me each individual step of the way, and he’s the a person responsible for the bodywork and paint. It was a ton of get the job done, but really rewarding!”

Generational guidance on a car inspired by another era is something that can not be acquired or normally attained through unnatural ways. It’s one thing that takes place simply because it was intended to take place. This automobile is fate. Joe Wilhelm would be so proud… and I wouldn’t be astonished if Gary Howard had a shot of Danny’s auto hanging up in his afterlife shop.


Unique thanks to Tom Davison for capturing this motor vehicle at the Spherical Up for me. Automobile displays are a challenging venue for photoshoots, but Tom hardly ever disappoints.

Also, a thanks goes out to Danny as well… He went out of his way to enable Tom shoot his motor vehicle at the demonstrate and then went over and further than on his tech sheet.


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