Metallica frontman James Hetfield loves heavy metal, especially if it is brightly coloured and hot-rod fast. He might even say ‘Nothing Else Matters’
“Music has saved my life daily,” Metallica frontman James Hetfield said recently. “It has been a passion of mine since the early, early times. Music has been an outlet for me, it has been a connection, it has been a best friend for me for my whole life.” However, if music is his best friend, Hetfield is happy to have a side chick waiting in the wings for when he isn’t riding the lightning or serving up justice for all… his car collection.
And as you would expect we are talking serious heavy metal. Most of the cars in this list were featured in an exhibition called Reclaimed Rust at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles early last year and they are all absolute (head)bangers. “They weren’t doing me much good sitting in my garage,” Hetfield said. “I loved looking at them, but I didn’t want to auction them off and have them spread all over the world. This is a collection. It marks my life.” And obviously, rather than feature just ten of Hetfield’s cars, we decided to go all the way to eleven. One louder indeed….
1932 Ford Roadster ‘Blackjack’
Hetfield has a Ford tattoo on his right biceps, which in anatomical terms is pretty close to his heart… but not as close as this all-American hot rod is. It was a real labour of love, and Hetfield insisted that his 1932 Deuce Coupe only feature parts that would have been available to modifiers from back in the day. “That is close to a bolt-correct restoration because it’s difficult to improve that ‘32,” said Hetfield. “The whole idea was ‘What would it be like if some kid from the 1940s got hold of his dad’s old car and wanted to hot rod it?’ That was fun. That was more of a story we were trying to follow
1934 Packard ‘Aquarius’
Although it would be nice to think that this Packard looked like this in 1934, it wouldn’t be true. Hetfield and his collaborators Rick Dore Kustoms created the teardrop bodywork themselves and the aluminium sheet metal silhouette was hand-shaped by Marcel’s Custom Metal out of California. And under that coachworked body lurks a 6.2-litre LS3 V8, so beauty and the beast (rather than Some Kind Of Monster).
1936 Ford ‘Iron Fist’
Having owned this ratty 1936 Ford for a few years, Hetfield decided to show the old beater some love in 2006 and enlisted Blue Collar Customs to give it a major (we are talking a few years) overhaul. Not that Hetfield didn’t get involved himself – the axe-wielding frontman turned his hand to welding and shaping some elements of the car. But what makes this machine special is the bare metal clear-coated bodywork. Hetfield might tell you the paint is Invisible Kid.
1936 Auburn ‘Slow Burn’
One of the most beautiful cars in the collection, this 1936 Auburn is based on an original Boat Tail Speedster but modified by Rick Dore Kustoms again. An homage to the original, rather than a re-creation, this is made from fibreglass and is complemented by whitewall tyres and a stunning Egyptian leather interior. “I love the customisation of it,” said Hetfield. “I like having something unique, creating a prototype… You think, ‘Wow, they’ll never produce that.’ And then you can make it happen.” This award-winning example will certainly take your Motorbreath away.