June 1, 2023


Automotive and technology

The Vandergriff Chrysler | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal


Again in 2007, I by some means managed to get up the nerve to talk to just one of my heroes for an job interview. At the time, I didn’t know Gary Howard effectively and didn’t know what to hope. By the time the job interview was above, I viewed as Gary a pal and when he handed in 2019, I considered him spouse and children.

But it was through that very first job interview that Gary laid something on me that will stick without end. I questioned him a little something together the lines of, “Is there a historic tailor made that signifies a thing more to you or that influenced you far more than other people?”

“…the Clif Inman ’57 Chrysler that Joe Wilhelm crafted is likely as near to a ‘perfect’ tailor made as I have ever seen. I just admired Joe so a great deal for trying to keep the vehicle so basic and beautiful. Confident, he did some weird things later on on but as a total his portfolio is inspiring. And he did almost everything on his possess terms in a little store guiding his home – never succumbing to the money forces that a large amount of other men did.”

“Hell, I guess I just stated it. I look up to Joe Wilhelm. The Clif Inman ’57 conjures up just about almost everything I do.”

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

To this extremely day, any time I see this photo I think of Gary and smile. To him, this car was perfection… and if one thing is perfection to Gary Howard, it’s perfection to me much too.


Danny Vandergriff (GotGas) shares a identical perspective. Again in 2008 or so, he picked up a ’57 Chrysler out of a discipline with desires of making the motor vehicle together aspect his outdated person. From the start out, he had no intentions of developing an Inman clone. Alternatively, he picked a target 12 months (1959) and then crafted to the period of time – withdrawing influences from the Inman car or truck and some others.

Mechanically, it is a pretty simple formulation. To get the stance, Danny just turned down the torsion bars up entrance and added a few of 2″ blocks out back again. A hint of late-50’s tailor made rake is developed purely by rubber – 15×5 on ’56 Ford centers with 7.10-15s up entrance and 15×7 reversed wheels out back again with L78s.

The driveline is just as straightforward. The stock 392, nonetheless, does profit from a modern TKO 5-pace and to sluggish down all that mass, Danny did throw some discs up front. The vehicle was created to be driven and it has been.

But the factor is, the damn matter seems to be and feels like a pampered exhibit auto. Like many of you, I watched this motor vehicle get built on the HAMB. When I finally had an possibility to study the vehicle in individual, I expected a pleasant homebuilt custom. What I saw was one thing considerably far more than that – ultra detail wherever it was deserved, ideal gaps, and create quality you would be expecting to see from a nicely regarded experienced. Somehow, Danny managed to make a black motor vehicle search effortless.

The human body is mainly unchanged. There’s no featured chop like on the Inman automobile and as a end result, you get that attractive greenhouse framed by graceful pillars and a big total of glass. This is accented by subtraction – anything that could be shaved was shaved sans the exclusive facet trim.

There have been, having said that, a couple of crucial additions. The initial may well be my favourite – the hood scoop. Consider it or not, it was fashioned by the primary edge of a 70’s era Jeep. And then, there is the absolute brilliance of the entrance bumper liberated from a ’57 Desoto and stuffed with gold mesh.

“Gold,” you ask… Sure. Gold. And it was carried out with purpose. As we transfer on to the interior, the to start with point you observe is the swivel seat taken from a ’59 Imperial. It sets the basis for tastefully stitched tailor made upholstery accomplished in black and sliver with pops of GOLD accents. Every thing applied, from materials to colors, speaks to cohesiveness and a degree of imaginative intelligence that you do not often see.

You never glimpse at Danny’s motor vehicle and quickly believe about Clif Inman’s individual ’57. But you do imagine about Clif Inman… or perhaps additional appropriately, Joe Wilhelm. Equally Danny and Joe designed black ’57 Chryslers with sensibilities that were born from related mothers. That means, these cars are not clones of every single other, but they do share similar thoughts and ideas… and it is this mental house that would make them each so specific. It’s straightforward grace.


Ahead of crafting this story, I experienced a tricky time deciding which angle to lean on. Certainly, I had to point out Gary Howard as he was truly my introduction to the value of the Inman car or truck. But I also really needed to play up two angles that Danny mentioned on his tech sheet.

The initial is the notion that Danny picked a build time period (1959) and employed it as a gauge for all the things he did. This is a observe I learned by seeing Lee Pratt by the many years and a thing I do not truly feel is accomplished as generally as it need to be. Sticking to an actual establish period with religious determination is absolutely important for the type of cohesiveness this car has.

And next, Danny wrote some thing that created me smile:

“Getting to build this auto with my father has been one of my favorite experiences in lifestyle. He encouraged me each individual phase of the way, and he’s the one liable for the bodywork and paint. It was a ton of work, but very gratifying!”

Generational assist on a automobile encouraged by another technology is a thing that simply cannot be bought or if not acquired as a result of unnatural means. It’s something that occurs mainly because it was meant to take place. This vehicle is fate. Joe Wilhelm would be so proud… and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gary Howard had a shot of Danny’s car hanging up in his afterlife store.


Unique many thanks to Tom Davison for shooting this vehicle at the Spherical Up for me. Motor vehicle shows are a difficult venue for photoshoots, but Tom in no way disappoints.

Also, a many thanks goes out to Danny as well… He went out of his way to permit Tom shoot his auto at the clearly show and then went over and beyond on his tech sheet.


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