Archive for the ‘Art Cars’ Category

The Plaidmobile

Tim McNally has been working on his car continuously for over 5 years. The car began as red, and Tim added all the plaid elements himself by hand. It takes nearly one year to fully paint the car, and unfortunately by the time he’s done it’s time to start over…. Tim says he working with a new paint that will last a lot longer, but I do have to wonder… why not just use a stencil? After he changed the car to plaid, he began telling the state that the car was now plaid. Whenever the car’s registration was due, he sent it in to the state with the color red crossed out and the word plaid written in. When he received his registration back, it would still say red. But after 4 years the state finally gave in, and the proof is in the picture below…

Sierra Exif JPEG

Sierra Exif JPEG

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Sierra Exif JPEG

Sierra Exif JPEG

Hoop the King of art

Hoop began designing art cars in 1985, and often uses small foreign cars such as the Fiat 850, the Italian Isetta, the Volkswagen Beetle (the old kind) and small 3 wheel cart vehicles. He often covers his vehicles with what is called fun fur. Since it comes in many bright colors, it is well suited to his type of art. Hoop has created time machines, space traveling vehicles, vehicles devoted to luck, and even a vehicle that is a self portrait.

Hoop created the King of Art (and the requisite costume and crown) after appearing on some tv shows such as Richard Bey. It gave him a persona which made him stand out from other artists. Hoop is an artist by nature, producing not just art cars, but paintings, drawings and conceptual art as well. Hoop grew up surrounded by the Andy Warhol crowd that were part of the scene in east Village, and you wouldn’t need him to tell you that to know it. Everything about Hoop screams “artist” from his appearance and clothes, to his manner of speech and the way he carries himself.

Car & Driver has sponsored a wild car contest, and Hoop has won two of the top 10 awards. Why are art cars so popular? Says Hoop, “Take an art car, park it next to a Ferrari, and it’ll get more attention.” The latest project he’s been involved in is a follow-up to Harrod Blank’s 1992 documentary. Blank released a second book called Art Cars: The Cars, the Artists, the Obsession, the Craft. Said Blank, “At first people would have thought I was nuts. People would have thought Hoop was nuts. Now 20 years later, he’s a superstar in the art car world.”

Hoop has a collection of celebrity fingerprints, which is exactly what it sounds like. He would attend parties in the city and if he saw a celebrity he would ask them for their fingerprint. It’s amazing how may of them would comply. In his collection of celebrity fingerprints are such people as the Amazing Kreskin, Captain Kangaroo, George Plimpton, Curtis Sliwa, Michael Anderson (the dwarf from twin peaks) Uncle Floyd, Tiny Tim, Bill Boggs, Allan Ginsberg, Cousin Brucey, Al Lewis, Joe Frazier, and the original Kramer, Kenny Kramer.




When I asked Hoop to pose with his cars, he donned his Hi-Tek Hoop hat and a gold colored jacket. He then said, “I don’t feel like gold today, I feel like silver…” He grabbed a can of silver spray paint, and spray painted the jacket silver, and after it dried, he posed for the pictures…



Hoop dismantled this double ended van a few months before I met with him, but in this picture you can see the design is two van fronts married together, a rather Monster Garage type feat if you ask me. He told me that it always turned heads, and on numerous times he was stopped by the police, who would invariably go to the rear of the vehicle and then wonder where the driver was….This happened a few times in Montclair, but after the second time it was usually to have the officers picture taken with this most unusual vehicle. Much like the police of Long Beach are all familiar with Jessie James, I am sure most of Montclair is familiar with their resident art car artist.

Hoop is a big fan of public art, and stated that many times he would drive into the city in one of his unusual cars specifically for the purpose of leaving it parked on the street overnight so people could look at it and marvel. He would often leave the Good Luck truck complete with wishing well, and would find money throw into it. He eventually put a pad of paper and pen next to it, and sure enough he would find that people had written their wish down and throw the paper (and some money) into the wishing well.



Hoop entered the time machine into the weird car contest at the Lead East 50’s car show and came in second.

Hoops notoriety in this area of art caught the attention of Mattel, maker of Hot Wheels contacted Hoop about creating an art car related to their new series of toy cars” city heroes” Originally they wanted a design based around a taxi cab but Hoop immediately squashed that idea. “Fireman and police officers are heroes, not taxi drivers.” Hoop mulled over the design and finally settled on a meter maid car which he decorated with over 1500 matchbox cars and other car related toys and items. Mattel wanted the car in time for a toy show at the Javitz center. It was debated what would happen to the vehicle after the show but Hoop convinced them to let him keep it, and that he would display it at various art shows or art car events.


See all my Hoop pictures here

I received this email from Nathan:

I’ve got one for the Art Cars section. This interesting vehicle is in the Paterson Museum…


Montclair Art Car Parade

Montclair has had an art car parade 3 years running. I managed to grab some snaps before the parade but couldn’t make the parade itself.







The aloha car was designed by a woman whose daughter has an art car. She said she wanted to do one, she loves the beach, so her daughter suggested the aloha theme….


This heap tried 8x to park in front of me and his car kept stalling. Almost hit me.



This guy collected license plates from every state and bolted them to his vehicle.






yes, the instruments are meant to be played…





A car of junk. Neat-o. but people tend to rip things off as souvenirs.




I’m not entirely sure what these red things all bound up with wire are supposed to be. But it’s inventive, I’ll say that.

Santa’s Other Sleigh


Two VW’s



The painted car


The car has been painted with hundreds of designs, words, figures and such. The owner told me that he keeps several cans of paint in the trunk, and whenever he goes to a show he lets people there paint whatever they want on the car, whether its words or a design. He often goes to hospitals and other places where there are sick or disadvantaged children are, and lets them go to town. Periodically he paints the entire car to give it a blank canvas and starts again.

That 50’s Car


This car entered a weird car contest held at a 50’s car and music show in Parsippany. Designed to resembled a booth at a 50’s diner, the car is still a work in progress. When finished it will have a parquet floor and more condiments and food on the table itself.

Houston Art car Museum

If anyone has any plans to be in or near Houston TX and you have an interest in art cars you may want to check out the Art Car museum. Houston is actually credited with creating the Art Car craze and has one of the largest parades each year in late April.