Art of the Build

Upcoming AACA Museum Display

Larry Jewett - December 24, 2013 09:20 AM

ImageAACA Museum
ImageAACA Museum
ImageAACA Museum

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A new year will begin with an unusual display at the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The new featured exhibit, The Art of the Build: Rods & Kustoms, is a departure from previous exhibits which have typically featured original vehicles or vehicles restored to original standards. The Art of the Build: Rods & Kustoms celebrates the cars and their creators that dared to be different by individually customizing their vehicles.
The world depends on mass-produced vehicles to make life convenient and comfortable. These vehicles and the factories that assemble them are what keeps economies growing, businesses flourishing, and families in motion. The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) prides itself on promoting the preservation and restoration of cars and other vehicles to the exact way a car left the factory for historical documentation.
But as typical human beings we are all individuals, and some are not content to possess an object that thousands of others could easily own. Many of these free-thinkers prefer to create a custom tailored vision of their unique persona. Some owners take this to the limit, completely altering a vehicle in every possible way to create a true "one of a kind". Many consider the prestigious Ridler Award, given annually at the Detroit Autorama, to be the highest honor for those in the rod and custom culture of the automotive hobby. The Art of the Build: Rods & Kustoms exhibit has a total of 5 Ridler contender cars: "Kracklin Rose", The 69er", "The Handyman", "SwishAir" and "D-Ranged". Two of these contenders made it to the "Great Eight" which is the final round leading to The Ridler Award.
The AACA Museum's "Art of the Build" exhibit focuses on individuals and the rolling art they have created. By treating each custom vehicle as a piece of sculpture, the Museum has planned this display as an art installation, celebrating each item for what it has become, not lamenting what it once was. Each of these vehicles has been carefully planned, and painstakingly transformed by hand to its current configuration. Metal has been shaped, worked and smoothed, leather has been dyed, stretched and sewn, paint has been sprayed, sanded and polished, and powertrains have been extensively upgraded by world-class craftsmen. It was feared that many of these skills would be lost to history, but thanks to both restoration and custom shops they have been resurrected.
The display will run from January 24 through April 27. For more details, visit