With ‘Vette visionary Jack Wendel of Cedar Park, TX acquiring DELAHAYE USA and DECO RIDES from founder Terry Cook as of June 2021, those entities are expanding their styling horizons to include an array of rebodied Corvettes. These ‘Vettes will all be sold as complete finished turnkeys only, not as “kit car” bodies as is currently the case with the Zephyrs , Boattails and Bugattis DECO RIDES and DELAHAYE USA produces, which will continue to be sold as kit cars.
Expanding it’s like of coachbuilt inspired Bugattis, dragging the past kicking and screaming into the future, one of the new products currently in development is an electric powered Figoni & Falaschi inspired 1937 Delahaye. This “Nasty” low slung hardtop coupe with fully enclosed “pontoon” style fenders will have a true Delahaye appearing nose and grille shell.
Here’s projects we are currently working on or have recently sold.
General Motors spent decades developing the platform for their mid-engine C8 Corvette and it is a true engineering wonder. What some people are wondering about however concerns the styling of the exterior. Although GM is selling every C8 it can produce, numerous critics have said there are too many conflicting lines going too many different directions on the new C8.
Jack is taking on the challenge of hiring respected professional designers to to craft a much smoother, supple new exterior body to cloak the otherwise fantastic C8 platform. Stay tuned to this website for the big reveal.
Price of the yet to be named Wendel C8 rebody may be in the $250,000 ballpark. All of these cars will be based on a brand spanking new C8, not the new owners recycled used vehicle.CONTACT US
Another beautiful transformation DELAHAYE USA has in development will make a newer C6 look like the most classic of all ‘Vettes, the Larry Shinoda designed split-window 1963. The conversion will feature a carbon fiber body mounted. DELAHAYE USA will deliver a complete finished car. The classic fastback is the preferred body style, but a convertible conversion can be delivered. Price to come.CONTACT US
Twenty years ago the single car design that inspired Terry Cook to launch DELAHAYE USA was his personal and private vision of a chopped and dropped 1937 Type 57s Bugatti hardtop coupe with no B-pillar. Response on the internet from all over the world was so overwhelming Cook spent several years and untold dollars having a clay buck built professionally in Detroit with molds to follow. One year he drove his Honda Civic to Detroit twenty round trips from Jersey to check on progress of the project at the clay modeler. The following year he drove another twenty round trips to Ft. Wayne, IN to monitor progress. This body style was one of four Type 57s bodies Cook eventually developed along with derivations producing the Bella Figura coupe, the Pacific fastback and the droptop Gangloff hardtop.
We’re excited to announce that a new, second generation Nasty coupe is in the works. A new frame and chassis is being designed and built at Chad Morley’s HOT SHOE HOT RODS in Republic, MO. Nasty, and this car will sport fully enclosed Figoni & Falaschi inspired Delahaye “pontoon” type fenders all around.
Cook feels Guiseppi “Joseph” Figoni was one of, if not THE top,designer back in the mid-30’s to late 40’s in the european golden coachbuilt era. By copying the feel of Figonis’ work and cross-breeding it with brilliant Jean Bugatti’s fabulous Type 57s Bugattis, the result is this striking full custom Nasty body and fender combination. Add a smattering of Joe Figoni’s enclosed headlights from his stunning Talbot Lago teardrop coupes and the result is this Second Generation Bugatti Nasty/Delahaye/Talbot Lago mixed up and cross bread mutation.
We will be sourcing the drive components for our first venture into building electric powered cars at EV WEST in San Marcos, CA.
This is what T. Cook does that nobody else dares, morphing classic killer coachbuilt classics from the best of the best Paris artists like Figoni, dentist and after hours car designer George Paulin of Porteau and Russian furniture maker turned coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik. Then cross breed those cars with the killer father of the American custom car Harry Westergard in Sacramento back when two kids named Barris were sweeping out his shop and you understand the crux of DELAHAYE USA styling. We find the best looking cars in history and copy them.
At this point in time we don’t honestly know if the finished, morphed mutation is going to look good, but there’s only one way to find out. Build it and have a look.That’s exactly what we’re doing here, and you’re invited to come along for the ride.CONTACT US
Terry Cook has a very wide ranging perspective of what makes cars look cool. Individuality is paramount. You are an individual so don’t own a car that looks like everybody elses. Unique styling and lines that walk and talk are the objective, Sometimes the lines even shout! Horsepower means nothing to Cook but STYLING IS EVERYTHING. At the opposite extreme, consider an obvious complete lack of styling! Another of Cook’s mottos is TOO MUCH IS BETTER THAN NOT ENOUGH, which brings us to the Hudson project.
To Cook the best cars are rolling art. So why not go to the opposite extreme, do a switcharoo and find the ugliest American car ever made in mass production? Enter the 1956 Hudson Hornet Custom four door sedan! A solid candidate for ultra bad styling. Cook located and bought this semi-mint sweetheart in IL. He shipped it to Roger Austin’s ARC CUSTOM FABRICATION in New Smyrna Beach, FL, possibly the new capitol of the “slam body swap” conversion. Roger specializes in the “slam bam, thank you maam” school of rescuing two old cars nobody wants and converting them into a car that only somebody like Cook would want. Find a perfectly good 1994.Chevy Caprice, blow the body off, throw the Hudson body on the rolling Caprice chassis, and Viola!
Because Cook always likes to weave a bit of humor into his creations, and because the Hornet is so ugly it looks like it was built in Russia, why not hang a pair of red ambassadorial flags on the front fenders? Or buy a pair of lifesize gunrange targets with the next president of the United States, Kamilla “Commie” Harris and her good soviet friend Alexandria Occasio-Cortez from TORRES TARGETS in Santa Monica, CA. Tape their heads in the rear door windows with their boss Vladamir Putiin looking over their shoulder whispering his instructions in their ears and you get the picture. We’re applying for the personalized license plate PUTIN and doubt the Nazis at NJ Motor Vehicle will grant it. A politically incorrect daily driver. Stay tuned for the further adventures. This one is going to be fun.CONTACT US
Cook’s current beater and almost daily driver is a 1962 Dodge 440 Dart Wagon. A-rat rod if you will. Cook may have invented that term in the mid 1990’s. Rusted, naturally patinad green 9 passenger wagon with rearward facing drive in movie seat. With trusty 318 power and :”typewriter drive”, it did the NJ to Detroit Autorama run in Mar 20 without a hitch (except when a phantom squirrel sounded like it got entangled with the heater motor half way across PA enroute home).
With three empty vintage matching green tacky nauga suitcases lashed to the roof rack and vinyl lettering on the rear windows that says
State of New Jersey
REFORMATORY FOR WOMEN
DRIVER CARRIES NO CASH
With personalized license plate BD GRL, the question arises, just how much fun can you have with a car for only ten grand? It’s far too paltry to sport one of our prized DELAHAYE USA chromed emblems.CONTACT US
After 19 years of work, our one-of-a-kind, 88% scale, fiberglass and steel tribute to the famed Maharaja Duesenberg was completed and sold at the WORLDWIDE AUCTION in Auburn, IN in may 2021 for a whopping hammer price of $310,000.
It is a modern day interpretation of a true classic. Never intended to be a replica, it was a styling exercise inspired by one of the most beautiful cars in history. A rolling work of 1930’s art with 502 Chevy, power windows, cruise control and A/C.
The last Duesenberg ever made before AUBURN CORD DUESENBERG went out of business in 1936 was a spectacular roadster built on chassis number 2,614 for Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar (1908-1961) of Indores, India. With a one off body made in Croydon, England by coachbuilders GURNEY NUTTING, gifted young designer John Batchley deserves credit for the sweeping lines. Many feel it is one of the best looking Duesenbergs ever made. Reportedly when it came out of the jungle in India to be shipped to the USA in 1956, it was cradled in a sling between four elephants!
The car offered here was a scratch built project of Terry Cook of DECO RIDES and DELAHAYE USA. His passion is to blend hot rods and pre war European classics into unique creations that emulate the flair of mid to late 30’s coachbuilt cars with modern conveniences and amenities. Cook had seen a postage stamp sized painting of the Doozie and never realized it was a real car. It was a pleasant shock the first time he encountered the real car at the fabulous invitation only Louis Vuitton event at Rockefeller Center in New York City in 1999. He was awestruck. Flat overwhelmed.
The real Maharaja is owned by retired Air Force General William Lyons. Cook was allowed entry to photograph the car in the General’s palatial, marble floored Orange county, CA “garage” (see photo). If you haven’t heard, Gary Cooper’s similar 1935 SSJ roadster sold a few years ago at the Gooding auction at Pebble Beach for 22 million.
Cook, a former editor of Car Craft and Hot Rod Magazines and staff writer at Car and Driver, had his notorious custom ’39 Lincoln Zephyr “Scrape” on display at the same spectacular Louis Vuitton weekend long event. It was fate. With the credentials needed to get inside the velvet ropes holding the spectators at bay, he Iiterally drooled all over the Maharaja Doozie for three days. Savoring and closely scrutinizing the flowing lines, he realized that from the cowl back, the GURNEY NUTTING body was very similar to the slightly smaller 1939 Zephyr fiberglass DECO RIDES convertible body his company produces.
The immediate similarity between the two cars that sparked the vision in Cook’s mind was the distinctive tapered shape of the decklid of both cars. The contour of the rear half of the body and the rear fenders clinched it. Superimposing the profiles of the two cars over one another, it was amazing that the contour of the decklid, rear fender and rear of the door of the two cars were amazingly close, once the Duesenberg image was shrunken to 88% using the shrink button on his copier.
Making his vision a reality, Cook started his two decade quest with a Fat Man Fabrications frame and one of his Zephyr convertible bodies with the hood and fenders from firewall forward removed. The vision of the Maharaja tribute was clear in Cook’s mind, but he is a “wanna-be” designer and journalist, not a hands on builder. Transforming the Zephyr body to emulate the real car was a matter of finding the right bodyman who had a great eye for design. Ed Flanagan of Mendham, NJ, is a retired Art Director from a big NYC ad agency and an extremely talented rod builder. He is also a whiz with fiberglass. He accepted the challenge and did a masterful job of sculpting and duplicating the often overlooked but beautiful sweeping reveals in the rear fender area that photos don’t really show. (See comparison rear 3/4 photos of two primered DECO RIDES Zephyrs). He also changed the contour of the leading edge of the door from a straight line to match the curvature of the Duesenberg.
Finding the Duesenberg front clip was a serious challenge and here Cook got lucky. Famed CA panelbeaters Marcel and Luc Delay had built a steel reproduction grille shell and J model front fenders which were gathering dust because the customer who ordered them never came back to pick them up. Cook acquired them, had fiberglass molds made off the fenders and sold the fenders to a man restoring a real Deusenberg. Cook didn’t want to use these beautiful steel fenders on a glass car when he knew they deserved a real Duesenberg home.
Bodymen are normally the unsung heros of many great looking cars, and Flanagan deserves much of the credit for this slick transmutation from Zephyr to Doozie. It’s the little touches that make the car. When you look at the top of the interior of the doors you don’t notice that the door sill is spring loaded so that when the glass closes fully and drops out of sight, the door sill snaps shut to minimize the slit for the window. When the window is raised it automatically opens just enough. Very slick.
Ed likewise deserves the credit for the Herculean task of designing and building a resin buck from scratch to emulate the large DuVall windshield. The job of fabricating it in brass went to young Jason Gallow of EAST COAST RESTORATION in Bridgeville, DE. The windshield frame, grille shell, hood shutters, hood hinge, horns, headlight bar and other trim like the protective brass strips on the running board from ROTAX METALS in Brooklyn was chrome plated by Marty Baker of NEL METAL RESTORATIONS in Philadelphia.
When building a car from scratch, proportions are all important. If they are wrong, it gives all the naysayers something to immediately point out that makes the car look funny or wrong. To make the car’s proportions correct, FAT MAN FABRICATIONS in Charlotte, NC was charged with the task of stretching the frame from 127 to a 135 inch wheelbase. The original J Model had a massive 153.5 inch wheelbase while this smaller tribute has a 135 inch wheelbase to keep the body proportions correct. This was dictated by the size of the comparatively large Zephyr body compared to that of the even larger Duesenberg.
Up front the rolling chassis consists of a FAT MAN FABRICATIONS Independent Front Suspension with power disc brakes, coil overs, dropped Fat Man spindles and power steering rack. The 9 inch Ford rear uses a conventional 4 bar trailing arm rear suspension with Panhard bar. Five DAYTON WIRE WHEELS were made to order and wide white COKER tires emulate the original car. FAT MAN hung fiberglass fenders with the apogee of the fender directly over the front axle centerline. Then he fabricated the steel hood and side panels. Rather than copying the screened hood side panels on the Maharaja, Cook preferred the long arched louvers on some Duesenbergs. Brent “Fat Man” VanDervort himself punched them with someone else five feet away holding the sheet metal as he rotated the side panels through the louver press. If you think that sounds easy, you try it.
If you know J model Duesenbergs, the leading edge of the front fender is similar to that of a 1932 Ford. The GURNEY NUTTING fenders were one of a kind curving downward. Flanagan grafted the front of a fiberglass 1936 Ford fender onto the glass fenders to make them begin to roll under. He added the splash panel that hangs down from the edge of the fender aft of the front wheel like the difference between a ’32 and ‘33-’34 Ford fender.
The end result was a car with beautiful proportions. Unfortunately because of the shortened wheelbase and 88% shrinkage, Cook sadly decided there was insufficient room to put a rumble seat in his recreation like the original. Remember from the outset this was never intended to be a replica, just a beautiful car inspired by the original.
The task of final assembly went to Junior Kelly and the team at BAD DONKEE HOT RODS of Hanover, PA. They did everything from soup to nuts including wiring, bodywork, prepping for paint including the complete frame, brake lines, fuel lines, gas tank, installing the engine and trans, exhaust system, driveshaft, fabricating the framework for the lift-off convertible top, installing the windshield and door glass, creating the dashboard, AC outlets and glove box doors, aluminum radiator and AC condenser, rear view mirrors, brake booster and pedal, floor shifter, ’37 Ford taillights, bumpers, headlights, running lights and vintage horns.
Five instruments, a speedo, gas, oil pressure, voltmeter and temp gauge were mounted in an engine turned cluster in the center of the dash. The period correct Rolls Royce steering wheel came from David Roger’s LUXURY JUNKYARD in Greenville, SC. BAD DONKEE even fabricated a functioning defroster from the AC/heater unit by VINTAGE AIR. They sprayed pickup bed liner type undercoating on fenders and body because this car is a driver.
The reproduction Duesenberg exterior door handles and trunk handle as well as the flying lady hood ornament came from the late great sculptor Don Sommer of AMERICAN ARROW in Clawson, MI. Shutters for the grille were vintage Lincoln Cook found at fall Hershey while hunting for parts. They were replated and BAD DONKEE installed a solenoid with linkage to make the shutters open when the ignition is turned on and snap shut when the ignition switches off.
Ample motivation for the mini-Maharaja comes from a new 502 cu. in. big block Chevy backed by a new Chevy turbo 400 automatic transmission. Wanting a clean uncluttered engine compartment, when Cook saw the finned valve covers on the crate motor, he bought another pair and asked BAD DONKEE to fabricate a custom air cleaner cover that matched them. Because Cook wanted quiet elegance, cast iron exhaust manifolds with a set of not-raspy mufflers were used in place of steel tubular headers. While its not a race car by any means, with 502 cubes it responds when you punch the desired foot pedal. A tilt steering column and tall LOKAR floor shifter were used to maintain the vintage flavor. One more little touch, the inside of the hood was painted in the matching two tone black/orange paint scheme as the exterior. Although they are non functional, Cook had a pair of large snap-top gas filler caps from MOON EQUIPMENT installed on the top of each rear fender to look like the real car. The functional gas filler cap is hidden in the trunk.
The interior trim was done by BAD DONKEE’s Mike Sholley. Leather cowhides were dyed to match the orange of the exterior paint by LEATHER FINISHERS of Newark, NJ. Little touches like covering the two flush doors on the bulkhead behind the seats for access to the rear area for the battery and the glove box doors in the dash were sweet. One glove box door conceals the controls to the AC unit, the other has room to stuff your gloves. Mike also covered the top frame for the 4-bolt lift-off top using Hartz Stayfast cloth from HARTZ CORPORATION. The small rear window with a chrome bezel around it came from ROD TOPS in Ellsworth, MI.
Because the paint on the real Maharaja was not a candy or pearl, BAD DONKEE used PPG paint and clear when they painted the car. It was pinstriped in with both black and orange paint duplicating the original car.
The custom fitted luggage in the trunk is a story in itself. Three separate suitcases were designed so they could be easily installed or removed. Wood craftsman Brian Matthews of Carlisle, PA is to be credited. Essentially it is a bar with various glasses, plates, ice container, shaker, silverware, table cloth and napkins rather than a picnic basket. Each suitcase straps in place when it is time to travel. It is nestled in the forward portion of the trunk over the spare COKER whitewall tire and DAYTON WIRE WHEEL. Licensed and registered for the street, with the long wheelbase and large diameter tires, it rides and drives beautifully. This poor man’s Duesenberg presents the classic look but with AC, PB, PS, power windows, cruise control and 502 inches of big block under the hood, it is a driver. An iconic sleeper guaranteed to wow the guys at the country club.
One of the good things that happened while exhibiting at the Global Auto Salon in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Thanksgiving 2019 was Cook bumping into Brazilian Formula One World Champ, two-time winner of the Indy 500 and CART Championship, Emerson Fittipaldi. Terry says “Emmo” was a neat guy and liked my Maharaja Duesenberg Tribute. He gave my Doozie a “thumbs up”.
Car was sold at WORLDWIDE AUCTIONS in Auburn, IN in May 2021 with a hammer price of $310,000. With buyers commission, it was $346,000, the highest price ever paid for a DELAHAYE USA car. This also may be a world record for a Chevy powered fiberglass bodied street rod sold at auction! Cook had a $200,000 reserve on the car and when bidding passed that mark and the pressure was suddenly off, Cook went into “the zone.” For six and half minutes bidding climbed up over $300,000. Cook had never experienced this feeling, as if he was under water, floating in another dimension. It was bliss.CONTACT US
Our unfinished fiberglass-bodied modern day interpretation of Ralph Lauren’s 5+ million dollar masterpiece, his 1937 Type 57sc (supercharged) Gangloff Bugatti drophead (see photo of his car at Pebble Beach). Gangloff is a famed French coachbuilder. Ralph’s car is not for sale, but we can build you a duplicate of this tribute replica or sell you a kit so you can absolutely stun the guys at your golf club. A "poor man’s Bugatti" if you will. BAD DONKEE HOT RODS in Hanover, PA is currently completing this car for Cook’s own personal enjoyment.
Ralph Lauren has impeccable taste in cars. He has only three Bugattis, all of which are incredible including his 40 million dollar + Atlantic. When we saw his 1937 Type 57sc Gangloff drophead at PAUL RUSSELL AND COMPANY’s shop in Essex, MA we launched a 15 year quest to build a modernized replica from scratch that we could both afford and enjoy.
Our "Tribute" car has a convertible top with fixed windshield posts and working power windows installed so the car can have air conditioning. DELAHAYE USA fiberglass body kit ($14,900) mounted on our rolling chassis ($9,900). Beautiful folding top (not included in aforementioned price) hides away completely in special boot between trunk and passenger’s compartment. Hinged trunk, hinged convertible top boot cover, hinged and latched doors. With a 127-inch wheelbase, ten inches longer than the original Bugatti, there is considerably more interior space. Headroom and legroom for a 6 ft. 10 in. basketball player. Shoulder to shoulder room for two NFL tackles.
Just forward of the storage boot for the top there is a sculptured rear passenger compartment bulkhead (see magenta photo). It runs across the rear of the interior to provide structural rigidity and support to the B-posts and suicide door hinges. This shelf is designed to accept three curved, custom-fitted suitcases designed to artistically fill the space. They tuck upright behind the seats. Our three custom suitcases shown are covered in faux alligator fabric, but you can redo them in any fabric you choose to match your interior. The center suitcase is narrower and holds your choice of a magnum of champagne or a large bottle of congac. A vertical leather strap (not included or shown) running through each handle would secure each suitcase.
There is one new bucket seat pictured in the car that we are not satisfied with and are replacing with Fiero buckets. It will have front-rear adjustment on tracks with a reclining seatback and far better upholstery. Jerry Ambrosi of MASTERS AUTO UPHOLSTERY in Newton, NJ will recover the suitcases and bucket seats in real Alligator or Crocodile.
This car includes a brand new small block Chevy V8 crate motor with 4 bbl. carb & new automatic transmission installed, but there is room for any engine you might desire if you build a similar Buagtti drophead.
This car has high quality rolling chassis by Gary Brown of BROWN's METAL MODS in Port Leyden, NY but we are currently upgrading to a chassis built for our Bugattis by Chad Morley of HOT SHOE HOT RODS in Republic, MO for our Bugatti line.
It includes a 9-inch Ford rear with axle housing, axles and third member with disc brakes. Rear suspension is a triangulated four link with quality coil over shocks. Includes gas tank with quiet, in-tank fuel pump.
The prototype drophead shown is not for sale. It is to be part of Terry Cook’s collection. DAYTON WIRE WHEELS will be substituted for the existing solid steel wheels, but the existing steel wheels shown with Bugatti exact Ralph Lauren replica wheel covers from LAMARR DISCS are for sale. Expensive. It has tilt steering column installed with BORGESON steering linkage and steering wheel. Beautiful redwood dash, under cowl metal support structure, doors hinged and latched with door handles. Two small doors in top of cowl for easy under dash access.
Body of this car may be painted all black, or white like the beautiful Bug with rear fender skirts shown that Cook photographed at the Schlumpf Museum in Mulhouse, France. Or it may get a two tone silver paint scheme breaking at the beltline. Cook has decided yet. It will have rear fender skirts. A pair of ’35 Chrysler headlights which have V-d lenses to match the V-d stainless Type 57s Bugatti grille are used. Replica Bugatti front fender marker lights.
BAD DONKEE is wailing on the car and hopefully it will be finished in 2021. Stay tuned for the further adventures.CONTACT US
Former Editor of CAR CRAFT, HOT ROD Magazine and CAR and DRIVER staff writer (“Turtle Wrangler”) Terry Cook of DELAHAYE USA first saw Ronald Benach’s 1948 Type 175s Delahaye with Jacques Saoutchik coach built body, restored by Fran Roxas, at Pebble Beach 2000. (See photo of turquoise streamliner). It changed his life.
Cook was overwhelmed and hired pro young designer and ART CENTER grad John Caswell to create a modern day interpretation of a big, fully pontoon fendered car as a tribute to Saoutchik. It was dubbed project SULTAN out of respect for the many cars famed Russian coach builder Jacques created in the 1920‘s and 30‘s for Kings and Potentates. They were some of the most beautiful, flamboyant and expensive cars in the world. Photoshop renderings by Gary Fulkerson show what the car would look like when completed. Primered steel body photos show what our unfinished SULTAN looks like now. Cook is currently finishing the car for his own collection, thinking of painting it black with all trim plated in copper, not chrome.
Starting with his scale drawings, John worked with pro clay modeler Todd Storrs of AUTOMOTIVE JAZZ in Detroit to build a 1/4 scale clay model which was then digitized. Working with Steve Wilkonski of REVOLUTION DESIGN in Madison Heights, MI to create the car digitally, a wood body buck was built at a yacht builder ISLAND CATAMARANS in Thailand by Claude Petit (from Luxembourg). Because it was far less costly than having it done in the UK or USA, over several years a steel body was then hammered from that buck by Englishman Kevin O’Connor’s CAR KOLOR in Saatahip, Thailand. A 30 year old Laotian did all the metal work. They had no experience with aluminum so they made it from steel. It is double wall thick, a bulletproof armored car.
It was then shipped to San Bernadino, CA where Little Louie Check of RED LIZARD MOLDING COMPANY hand formed the ornate small diameter decorative exterior brass body trim. The car is now in master panel beater Tommy Caruso’s shop CONTOUR METAL SHAPING in Plainfield, NJ having the larger brass exterior trim, the grille, the windshield frame and interior sculpting done. Tommy’s cars have won the coveted BEST OF SHOW Award at the Pebble Beach Concours three times in the past dozen years! He is top notch when it comes to panel beaters, but like most metal bangers and fabricators, he’s invisible and never gets the credit for his work that he so richly deserves. We hope to change that and give credit where it is due.
Finding the right people and assembling a team of talented artisans to accomplish this work of art is an incredible challenge. With true master craftsmen like Caswell, Storrs, Wilkonski, Check, O’Connor, (the unnamed Laotian kid), Brown, Fulkerson, Vetter, Kelly, Rogers, Caruso and newcomers to the project like sculptor Chan, woodman Severns, graphic tatoo/graffiti artist Mr. Cartoon, plater and metal massage master Selich, PR whiz Stares, it’s a gang bang of the best of the best. Cook feels like he is directing a symphony orchestra of incredibly gifted, master craftsmen to create a rolling masterpiece like no other. The finished project will tell the tale.
Cook has mistakenly stumbled into the wrong panel beater’s shop on more than one occasion to only find unqualified, non-symmetrical results, time overrun situations and sky high runaway pricing. Quality panel beating is a lost art. Tommy Caruso is the right guy for this job. A true master craftsman.
After Little Louie fabricated the three long taillight spears from brass for the decklid and peaks of the rear fenders, Cook sent them to Mike Vetter in Mico, FL of THE CAR FACTORY who designs and builds totally incredible futuristic vehicles. Vetter fabricated the long red lucite taillights that Caswell had designed into the car.
When it comes to chrome platers you think you just send them the parts, they throw them in the tank and send them back to you. Luckily I found Mark Selich of THE FINISHING TOUCH in Chicago who rates at the very top when it comes to this specialty. The part you don’t see is the painstaking preparation of the parts before they go in the copper and chrome tanks. Nothing shows imperfections more than chrome, and Mark is a true master at making the imperfections go away before plunking them in the tank. He is a Concours winning master craftsman, an exception to the rule..
The car is being built as a rebodied Bentley with title and matching VIN plate for the firewall. Working with David Rogers of the LUXURY JUNKYARD in Greenville, SC as a source for Rolls & Bentley parts, we started with a 1953 Bentley frame, Gary Brown stripped it to bare metal and added a modern independent front suspension and late model Ford 9-inch rear using coil over suspension and modern brakes. Air bags will allow the car to drop from ride height slightly but it will not be a rocker panel scraping lowrider. BROWN’s METAL MODS in Port Leyden, NY completed the chassis and mounted the body on the frame. Firewall, full floorboards, and front and rear wheel tubs were fabricated and installed in the car.
We wanted something totally unique so we had John Caswell design an asymmetrical interior with a single driver’s seat and a wrap-around couch. Bottom seat on passenger door flips up for entry and exit. It’s a wraparound cocktail lounge couch and a swivel bucket seat for the driver. Wait until you see the dash.
Originally the trunk compartment would have contained custom fitted luggage in the front portion (see Styrofoam mock-up photos) with a hidden space tire well in the floor. After sorting through no less than six different candidates from as far away as MO, cook found Scott Severns from OAK MOUNTAIN CUSTOM WOODWORK, ironically in the town next to him of Long Valley, NJ. It won’t be custom fitted luggage, it will be wraparound cabinetry. Hang onto your socks for this, it will be beautiful burl city.
Up front we wanted something very special in the way of a hood ornament so we hired car designer/sculptor Ray Chan of ATOMOTIV DESIGN in South Lyon, MI to sculpt a suitable piece of art in clay. It will be cast in brass or bronze at MICHIGAN ART CASTINGS in Leslie, MI. Wait until you see it.
And speaking of fine artists, we’re excited to say we have hired Mark “Mr. Cartoon” Machado from LA to create the fine artwork we intend to have engraved into the wide brass fender trim spears that wrap around the front fenders whichTommy Caruso is hammering out. “Cartoon” as he is known worldwide, is one of THE top graffiti and tattoo artists in the world. He has done top rap artists and many NBA players. In that world, having a Cartoon tattoo is an absolute must. We are in process of figuring out to have Cartoon’s artwork CNC engraved into the .040 thick sheet brass spears. There is a documentary on Netflix called “LA Originals” featuring Cartoon. This final touch will be the piece de re’sistance of Sultan.
The car has a new old stock B80 Mark Five Rolls Royce/Bentley straight eight engine (possibly NOS never run, it was still in the crate when we got it from David Rogers) and rebuilt Bentley/Rolls Royce automatic transmission. It will be sent to vintage engine expert Bill Bicknell in Rolla. MO to be checked out on the engine stand. The guys from BAD DONKEE dropped it in the massive football field long engine compartment of the Sultan for a test fit and it looks like it was made for the car.
This is an enormous car over 18 feet long with 135 inch wheelbase. Easily the most spectacular undertaking of all the cars designed and ever created by DELAHAYE USA.
P.S. When we were at the Lake Tahoe Wood Boat Concours we came up with a joke. Why not make a speedboat that looked just like the Sultan to tow on a streamlined open trailer behind the car? People asked us if we were serious. After a little thought, since we have the digital design for the car, we are committed to building an 80% scale speedboat that matches the Sultan. We might call it the Sultress. We’re investigating having it 3D printed and are searching for a vendor who can do that with a 20 x 10 x 5 3D printing bed. We’re working with tri-maran hull designer Merfyn Owen to make sure the thing at least floats. Steve Wilkonski of REVOLUTION DESIGN is spearheading the project. All it takes is time, money and the right very, very talented people.CONTACT US
In the Summer 1999 issue of RODDERS JOURNAL #9 which featured our revolutionary SCRAPE ’39 Zephyr coupe on the cover, there was an 8 page spread of artwork by then up and coming artist/designer Chip Foose before his TV show OVERHAULIN’ made him a worldwide superstar. One of his loose sketches was a streamlined boattail speedster. It caught Cook’s eye and he contacted Foose and arranged for plans to build the car. Based upon the strong financial success of DECO RIDES selling fiberglass Zephyrs, Cook tackled the task of building a variant of Chip’s Boattail as a fiberglass kit car. Incidentally if you’ve never had the peasure of meeting him, Chip is a great guy who is not stumbling over his ego like some overnight TV celebrities we won’t mention.
After a struggle with several tries to find the right guy to build the buck and molds, DECO RIDES premiered the orange and white ”Creamsickle”. Chrysler Corporation was kind enough to donate a Viper V-10 motor and trans for the project. Actually they gave Cook a slightly used running Viper with windshield, radio and headlights that had all the body panels removed. The door skins, hood, trunk, fenders, etc were given to various artists to decorate which were then door prizes for a Viper owners event Chrysler held. Rather than throwing the remaining car in the crusher, they gave it to Cook. FAT MAN FABRICATIONS in Charlotte, NC built the frame and SPEEDSTER MOTORCARS in Clearwater, FL completed the car. The open wheelwell white scalloped orange boattail was sold at the RM Auction in Pebble beach for about $131,000 in 2001.
Always trying to deviate from the same old, same old boring street rods, Cook chose a Maseratti Quatroport V8 to power the next boattail. It featured open front wheelwells combined with fully enclosed rear “pontoons”. The engine influenced the FOOSARATTI name for the car which was completed by Mike Akins of Clearwater, FL. It was subsequently sold at another RM auction in Pebble Beach for $105,000.
The single car that drastically inspired Cook to switch from traditional American rods and customs and start building european coachbuilt influenced hot rods was the 1939 “Shah of Persia” Type 57 Bugatti with body by coachbuilder Achille Vanvooren. Already a lover of lowered, fender-skirted American custom cars, Cook first saw this Bugatti in 1995 at the Reading, PA Concours This car was distinguished by four fully enclosed “pontoon” style fenders. Cook was transfixed. A life-changer.
Other beautiful streamlined cars of that era that featured enclosed wheel fenders were several of Figoni & Falaschi’s Talbot Lago Teardrop coupes, several F&F 135M Delahayes, and two of Figoni’s fabulous Type 165 1939 Delahayes. Perhaps the earliest enclosed pontoon fendered car of note was Germans Erdman & Rossie’s streamlined 1935 500K Mercedes. The Germans were trying streamlining to improve aerodynamics to improve fuel economy. In any case Cook as hopelessly hooked on and fascinated by pontoon fenders as a styling que. Consequently in Cook’s personal evolution of playing “wanna-be” car designer, pontoons would play a big role.
While the original Generation One DECO RIDES Boattail speedster had open wheelwells, another was built on a wrecked C5 Corvette chassis by SUPERIOR CUSTOM CLASSICS of Hudson, FL. Starting life as a car with no fenders, It evolved into the first Generation Two boattail with pontoon fenders all around. It started as the Highbouy with real wood speedboat inserts laminated into the hood and decklid. Then the enclosed pontoons front and rear were added by Gary Brown. That car sold at the Keels & Wheels auction in TX for $105,000.
Several more Gen Two pontoon fendered boattails followed with the black Type 57 Bugnotti which sold for $227,000 at the Gooding Scottsdale, AZ auction and the more extravagant orange and black “Bugnaughty” built by BROWNS METAL MODS in upstate Port Lyden, NY. That car sold for a disappointing $179,000 at the RM Auburn auction despite extravagant body trim, unique taillights and hood ornaments.
You will have noticed that while many of these cars are fiberglass street rods with Chevy engines, because they are unique with elegant styling, they consistantly sell for two to three times the market price for the beautiful but all too common lookalike ’32 Fords.
Another boattail that Cook hired Gary Brown to build was inspired by Land Speed Record holder and 1926 Indy 500 winner Frank Lockhart. It featured individual pontoons that covered the tires but were “floating” and not connected to the body of the car. The headlights swiveled and turned with the thin front wheel covers. One trick Cook did on this car was mount a set of real Ferrari V-12 valve covered cloaking the heads of the small block Ford engine. Just having fun with cars.
You may have noticed that each of Cook’s creations were distinguished by a humorous knickname. That’s because Cook’s outlook is that all old cars are fun, and each deserves its own individual personality or identity. No two cars he builds are the same. Each is a separate work of rolling artwork.
Cook found that when you deviated from the norm and start building “different” cars like his boattails and Bugattis, you lose the robot pack mentality of the same old ’55 Chevies, ’32 Fords and Mustangs. Consequently sales of Boattail Speedsters and subsequent DUSA Bugatti inspired replicas are not as strong as Cobra kit cars. Sadly many beautiful and sophisticated coachbuilt cars go right over the head of many of today’s so called “enthusiasts”.CONTACT US
This body and rolling chassis was a cross-breed combination of two fiberglass body kits built by DELAHAYE USA. The body, one piece droop snoot hood and grille shell are our 1937 Bugatti Type 57s Pacific fastback. The four pontoon fenders are pirated from our Generation Two Boattail Speedster kit. This is an experiment, a design exercise we had never tried before. What you see is a mockup of parts propped in place to give us a first look. It was literally made from parts Cook had left over in his garage.
The mounts attaching the fenders have to be developed and were not included at this price. The fenders shown were simply blocked in place for these photos and yet have to be adapted and mounted to the car.
Styling wise, there are three optional front ends to choose from. The first, presently included with the car shown here, has our "droop snoot" one piece hood and shorter Type 57s Bugatti fiberglass grille shell. It includes two hood side panels.
The Type 57s Bugatti would require your choice of external bolt-on headlights. Our suggestion? See direct front view of man holding a Lucas P-1000 headlight next to Bugatti grille of a primered grey roadster or the photo of the red and black car with big Lucas headlights mounted on car. They are as big as manhole covers, but we love them.
A second nose is a copy of a Figoni & Falaschi Talbot Lago "Teardrop" coupe with hidden headlights. See photos of silver car with straight tube bumper or front 3/4 view of red Talbot Lago.
The third choice is a copy of a 165 Delahaye nose with hidden headlights. This is something we are working on and developing. See clay mock-up of grille shell with Delahaye USA emblem on nose OR the unfinished aluminum bodied roadster with a brass grille shell OR the wood buck of grille shell for panel beater.
We have not made a Talbot Lago nose but are moving along nicely on the Delajhaye. We are exploring these alternate nose treatments as we continue to develop the Swoop Coupe design.
Hinges for the doors, hood and deck lid do not exist at this time and are not included. However we are searching for a reliable vendor to develop and produce them. On this particular car the fiberglass inner and outer door skins and interior side window and inner windshield bezels are included along with a round trunk lid. These doors are designed so you can put Specialty Power window mechanisms in them.
The car pictured sold quickly butI we can make a new one for you for the same price. You have a choice of fabricating traditional rear hinged suicide style doors OR shooting the moon with Mercedes Benz 300 SL "Gull Wing" style door hinges in the roof, which would make this car even more exotic.
The two quick and dirty red renderings show our pontoon fenders on our Bugatti Fastback and folding top drop head bodies. These were the seed planted in our mind that launched the Swoop Coupe development .The sketches look interesting, let’s spend too much time and money to investigate the idea.
Presently the front wheel and tire can be changed by jacking the nose of the car up, unbolting the wheel and slipping it out the bottom opening of the pontoon without removing the fender. An alternative, at additional cost, would be to cut an opening in the side of each pontoon fender and cover it with a bolt-on fender skirt. We’re working on it. See photo of our black boattail speedster at the Pebble Beach golf course with ocean in the background. These are chrome plated metal skirts, but they could be painted body color. We are experimenting with offering removable skirts for future pontoon fender sales. Note side spears and grille mesh opening in hood side panels in that photo that could be incorporated into Swoop Coupe.
This experimental design mashup of body and fenders was purchased by WWE wrestling superstar and movie celebrity John Cena. (see picture attach). He is one of the stars in the hit movie F9: THE FAST & FURIOUS SAGA. He reportedly owns 20 muscle cars. The project is being completed by EXTENSIVE METAL WORKS in Houston, TX.
Price for Swoop Coupe as shown here as of Jan. 1, 2021
Available for immediate worldwide delivery
Our unfinished, fiberglass-bodied, modern day interpretation of the classic Type 57s Bugatti coupe sitting on rolling chassis has been sold. Our NASTY Bugatti body ($14,900) mounted on a new DELAHAYE USA rolling chassis ($9,900) with optional "droop snoot" one piece hood top, two side panels and shorter grille shell (add $450). No engine or transmission or but plenty of room for any engine/trans combo you desire. No interior seats or upholstery. A demonstrator we used at car shows to exhibit our glass bodies and rolling chassis.
Aggressive laid back curved windshield with no B-pillar "hardtop" styling. Windshield and rear glass installed. No windows in the doors but they are designed to bolt in a Specialty Power Window kit and slide in rear quarter windows. Includes 2 Dayton wire wheels and tires on passenger side and 2 polished mags and tires on driver’s side plus one extra rear mag wheel. Includes full floor pan & firewall, four fenders, grille shell, one piece hood top and two hood side panels, doors and hinged decklid with a fin. Headlights and stainless grille included and installed. Not a exact replica, but a streamlined, lengthened "Tribute" to Jean Bugatti.
We can build you another Nasty using our new rolling chassis for the above mentioned prices.CONTACT US
Cook always loved the styling of Mark IV 1937-’48 Jags. On several occasions he came close to buying one because he saw a radically chopped saloon (4 door) at the Memphis Street Rod Nats four decades ago owned by HOLLIE SWINDLE (attached photo). When he heard a ’47 4-door owned by JAMES HETFIELD (famous lead singer of METALLICA) was for sale, he bought it and shipped it to STEVE’s CUSTOM SHOP in Torrance, CA.
There we had panelbeater Steve Hogue move the B-post back 10 inches, stretching the length of the front door with plans to weld what remained of the back door closed. The car is currently at BAD DONKEY HOT RODS in Hanover, PA where it is being completed for a new owner. For motivation, Cook had Gary Brown stuff a brand new supercharged 540 HP LSA Caddy V8 and transmission into it. BAD DONKEY is turning it into a 5-window coupe.CONTACT US
KIT AR BODIES NOW AVAILABLE: Based on the original famed SCRAPE coupe, we offer 1939 Zephyr Coupe, Convertible, Fastback Sedan, and Sedan Delivery fiberglass kit car bodies. Zephyr bodies will be totally hand laid. All bodies come with a sturdy metal support structure built into the cowl and A-pillar area, in the B-pillar area, and in the rear of the body. They come with hung and latched doors, and hung (hinged) hood and trunk. Hood and trunk are not latched.
You can now order a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe, Convertible, Fastback Sedan, and Sedan Delivery fiberglass body direct from Delahaye USA. Delivery time is estimated from 30 to 45 days from the date your 50% deposit is received.
ORIGINAL or OPTIONAL DROOP SNOOT HOOD: Your choice at no additional price.
GRILLES: A reproduction aluminum grille that fits the car from the inside is available, $775.
HEADLIGHTS: '39 Ford Deluxe headlight bucket #91A 13026 with ribbed lens 91A 13060-S or clear lens #78 13060 CL from CW Moss in Orange, CA. Call 714-639-3083 for pricing.
WINDSHIELD: A custom cut safety glass windshield is available for $485 f.o.b. Torrington, CT.
DASHBOARD: A two-piece (top and front face) fiberglass dashboard is available for $279.
ROLLING CHASSIS: Fat Man Fabrications of Charlotte, NC, a respected manufacturer who has built thousands of chassis over the past 30 years, offers a rear wheel drive rolling chassis (no wheels or tires) specifically made for the Delahaye USA rear wheel drive Zephyr. The price is $8,875 f.o.b. Charlotte, NC. It features 2 x 4 mandrel bent frame rails, 1 x 2 x .120 rectangular tube center supports/cross member assembly, front cross member of 3 x 4 x .310 tubing, and eight body mount "outriggers" plus firewall support tabs. The frame comes standard with Fat Man's Stage IV (coolride) front end, polished stainless steel control arms, ultra low front cross member, power rack and pinion steering box, 11" Ford bolt pattern disc brakes and 2" dropped spindles. It includes the engine and transmission mounts for any popular combination (you specify). It has a triangulated 4-link rear suspension with your choice of coil over shocks or coolride air bags supporting a used 8 x 58 inch Ford rear end with 28 spline axles, used gearset, and used drum brakes. In either case, a rear sway bar is included. If you choose air bags in the rear, an Air Ride Technologies ARC-2000 2-way manual control compressor kit is included. An ARC-4000 4-way or better kit (a $300 optional upgrade) is recommended to better control body sway. Other upgrades are also available (brakes, etc).
ZEPHYR SEDAN DELIVERY BODIES
We have recently developed a set of molds for the Sedan Delivery body which can be used for both front and rear wheel drive configurations. The front wheel drive Deliveries will be able to haul a chopper motorcycle inside. The floorboard in our Sedan Delivery body does not have a transmission hump, a raised driveshaft tunnel or a kickup in the rear floor to accommodate a rear wheel drive, as the floor is totally flat from front to back. It can be modified for the rear wheel drive applications. A raised roof version (not available at this time) will fit production Harleys or could be equipped with hand controls for wheelchair-bound drivers to enter through the back ramp and roll to the front of the passenger's compartment to drive the car! For full information on the Sedan Delivery,CONTACT US