August 17, 2022


Nuts about Car

The Vandergriff Chrysler | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal


Again in 2007, I someway managed to get up the nerve to talk to a person of my heroes for an job interview. At the time, I didn’t know Gary Howard well and did not know what to count on. By the time the interview was more than, I regarded Gary a pal and when he passed in 2019, I thought of him family members.

But it was all through that first job interview that Gary laid anything on me that will adhere permanently. I asked him something along the strains of, “Is there a historical customized that suggests some thing far more to you or that affected you extra than some others?”

“…the Clif Inman ’57 Chrysler that Joe Wilhelm developed is most likely as shut to a ‘perfect’ customized as I’ve ever witnessed. I just admired Joe so significantly for retaining the auto so straightforward and attractive. Positive, he did some odd stuff later on on but as a complete his portfolio is inspiring. And he did almost everything on his personal conditions in a tiny store at the rear of his household – under no circumstances succumbing to the economic forces that a whole lot of other fellas did.”

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

I think a person of the good reasons this quote was so impactful to me is that as Gary softly spoke the words, I could see the well-known photograph (Andy Southard Jr.) of Inman’s Chrysler pinned to the wall just driving him:

To this pretty working day, when I see this image I consider of Gary and smile. To him, this vehicle was perfection… and if a thing is perfection to Gary Howard, it is perfection to me too.


Danny Vandergriff (GotGas) shares a equivalent point of view. Back in 2008 or so, he picked up a ’57 Chrysler out of a field with goals of setting up the automobile along facet his old person. From the commence, he experienced no intentions of developing an Inman clone. As an alternative, he picked a target yr (1959) and then created to the time period – withdrawing influences from the Inman automobile and some others.

Mechanically, it is a really simple system. To get the stance, Danny just turned down the torsion bars up entrance and included a couple of 2″ blocks out back again. A trace of late-50’s personalized rake is designed purely by rubber – 15×5 on ’56 Ford facilities with 7.10-15s up entrance and 15×7 reversed wheels out again with L78s.

The driveline is just as straightforward. The inventory 392, however, does reward from a contemporary TKO 5-speed and to gradual down all that mass, Danny did throw some discs up entrance. The motor vehicle was constructed to be pushed and it has been.

But the matter is, the damn thing seems and feels like a pampered demonstrate car or truck. Like several of you, I watched this car get designed on the HAMB. When I eventually experienced an chance to research the auto in particular person, I expected a wonderful homebuilt personalized. What I noticed was a little something considerably far more than that – ultra element the place it was deserved, great gaps, and create good quality you would hope to see from a well regarded specialist. Somehow, Danny managed to make a black car or truck appear easy.

The physique is mostly unchanged. There is no showcased chop like on the Inman automobile and as a end result, you get that lovely greenhouse framed by graceful pillars and a huge amount of money of glass. This is accented by subtraction – anything that could be shaved was shaved sans the distinctive aspect trim.

There were, nonetheless, a pair of important additions. The first may possibly be my favored – the hood scoop. Believe it or not, it was shaped by the primary edge of a 70’s era Jeep. And then, there’s the absolute brilliance of the entrance bumper liberated from a ’57 Desoto and loaded with gold mesh.

“Gold,” you ask… Certainly. Gold. And it was done with purpose. As we go on to the interior, the first factor you discover is the swivel seat taken from a ’59 Imperial. It sets the basis for tastefully stitched custom made upholstery performed in black and sliver with pops of GOLD accents. Everything made use of, from supplies to shades, speaks to cohesiveness and a stage of resourceful intelligence that you never normally see.

You never glance at Danny’s automobile and instantly believe about Clif Inman’s personal ’57. But you do imagine about Clif Inman… or it’s possible more properly, Joe Wilhelm. Each Danny and Joe constructed black ’57 Chryslers with sensibilities that were being born from equivalent moms. Indicating, these cars and trucks are not clones of every single other, but they do share very similar ideas and ideas… and it’s this intellectual home that makes them the two so specific. It is very simple grace.


Just before composing this story, I experienced a tough time deciding which angle to lean on. Obviously, I experienced to mention Gary Howard as he was genuinely my introduction to the worth of the Inman car or truck. But I also actually wished to perform up two angles that Danny outlined on his tech sheet.

The very first is the strategy that Danny picked a develop period (1959) and utilized it as a gauge for almost everything he did. This is a practice I uncovered by looking at Lee Pratt as a result of the yrs and a little something I really don’t come to feel is accomplished as normally as it really should be. Sticking to an actual establish interval with religious devotion is unquestionably needed for the sort of cohesiveness this car or truck has.

And next, Danny wrote one thing that built me smile:

“Getting to build this auto with my dad has been a person of my favorite experiences in life. He inspired me every single action of the way, and he’s the just one liable for the bodywork and paint. It was a ton of get the job done, but very rewarding!”

Generational support on a automobile impressed by a further technology is a thing that can’t be purchased or if not received via unnatural approaches. It is one thing that comes about due to the fact it was intended to materialize. This automobile is destiny. Joe Wilhelm would be so proud… and I would not be shocked if Gary Howard had a shot of Danny’s motor vehicle hanging up in his afterlife store.


Special many thanks to Tom Davison for shooting this automobile at the Round Up for me. Car or truck reveals are a tough venue for photoshoots, but Tom by no means disappoints.

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


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