Thursday, March 27, 2008

Finally found out what the story is on this custom

No idea where the first photo came from, the full side shot, but the bottom 3 and the full write up are here:

It's a 1937 one of a kind made by a mechanic at the San Fransisco Chris Craft boatworks (they were a prominent luxury wood yacht company until they switched to fiberglass in the mid 60's), it was restored by customizer Art Himsl in '02.

Dubbed the Zeppelin by Art Himsl, it started out its life as a prototype house car built by a mechanic at the Chris-Craft boat dealership in San Francisco. A San Francisco doctor who had high hopes of manufacturing a number of them commissioned the vehicle, but World War II material shortages effectively ended his quest. Records show that it was registered in 1942 as a Plymouth house car.

Himsl discovered the vehicle in 1968 when he and his friend Ed Green saw the aft end of it sticking out of a barn in California’s Napa Valley. Himsl and Green used the vehicle for a few years as sort of an office, but they did not begin a serious restoration until 1999. The first order of business was to refurbish and modernize the drive components. Air-lift bags were added to all four corners, a 350 Chevy engine replaced the old flathead engine, and most of the old running gear was replaced. The original skin on the vehicle was a mixture of steel panels and stretched fabric. Himsl ripped off all the old skin and replaced it with a modern material Stitz Poly-Fiber. Fenders were replaced (the original vehicle did not have front fenders), the nose was reconstructed, and Himsl applied a spectacular finish in an Art Deco theme. The vehicle was rechristened in 2002 as the 1937 Himsl Zeppelin Roadliner.