The Vandergriff Chrysler | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal

Back again in 2007, I somehow managed to get up the nerve to check with a single of my heroes for an job interview. At the time, I did not know Gary Howard effectively and did not know what to count on. By the time the interview was around, I deemed Gary a pal and when he passed in 2019, I regarded him spouse and children.

But it was in the course of that initially interview that Gary laid something on me that will adhere permanently. I requested him some thing along the traces of, “Is there a historical personalized that means a little something much more to you or that motivated you additional than other individuals?”

“…the Clif Inman ’57 Chrysler that Joe Wilhelm built is most likely as near to a ‘perfect’ tailor made as I’ve ever observed. I just admired Joe so significantly for preserving the car or truck so basic and attractive. Certain, he did some strange stuff afterwards on but as a total his portfolio is inspiring. And he did all the things on his personal terms in a tiny store guiding his property – never ever succumbing to the fiscal forces that a whole lot of other guys did.”

“Hell, I guess I just stated it. I seem up to Joe Wilhelm. The Clif Inman ’57 inspires just about anything I do.”

I feel 1 of the good reasons this estimate was so impactful to me is that as Gary softly spoke the words and phrases, I could see the well known photograph (Andy Southard Jr.) of Inman’s Chrysler pinned to the wall just guiding him:

To this incredibly working day, whenever I see this photograph I imagine of Gary and smile. To him, this car was perfection… and if a little something is perfection to Gary Howard, it’s perfection to me much too.


Danny Vandergriff (GotGas) shares a identical viewpoint. Back in 2008 or so, he picked up a ’57 Chrysler out of a discipline with goals of creating the auto along side his previous guy. From the start, he experienced no intentions of setting up an Inman clone. As an alternative, he picked a target calendar year (1959) and then created to the time period – withdrawing influences from the Inman motor vehicle and some others.

Mechanically, it is a really easy system. To get the stance, Danny just turned down the torsion bars up entrance and extra a few of 2″ blocks out back. A trace of late-50’s custom rake is designed purely by means of rubber – 15×5 on ’56 Ford centers with 7.10-15s up front and 15×7 reversed wheels out back with L78s.

The driveline is just as easy. The inventory 392, nonetheless, does benefit from a modern TKO 5-velocity and to sluggish down all that mass, Danny did toss some discs up front. The vehicle was created to be pushed and it has been.

But the thing is, the damn factor appears and feels like a pampered demonstrate automobile. Like a lot of of you, I viewed this automobile get developed on the HAMB. When I at last experienced an prospect to review the motor vehicle in particular person, I predicted a pleasant homebuilt customized. What I saw was one thing far additional than that – extremely detail the place it was deserved, perfect gaps, and construct top quality you would anticipate to see from a effectively regarded professional. Somehow, Danny managed to make a black automobile look effortless.

The body is mostly unchanged. There is no showcased chop like on the Inman auto and as a consequence, you get that lovely greenhouse framed by swish pillars and a huge sum of glass. This is accented by subtraction – all the things that could be shaved was shaved sans the unique aspect trim.

There have been, nevertheless, a pair of significant additions. The very first may possibly be my preferred – the hood scoop. Feel it or not, it was formed by the major edge of a 70’s era Jeep. And then, there’s the complete brilliance of the front bumper liberated from a ’57 Desoto and filled with gold mesh.

“Gold,” you ask… Certainly. Gold. And it was done with objective. As we shift on to the inside, the initially factor you observe is the swivel seat taken from a ’59 Imperial. It sets the foundation for tastefully stitched personalized upholstery accomplished in black and sliver with pops of GOLD accents. Every little thing made use of, from supplies to colors, speaks to cohesiveness and a degree of artistic intelligence that you never typically see.

You never look at Danny’s car and promptly feel about Clif Inman’s possess ’57. But you do consider about Clif Inman… or maybe additional properly, Joe Wilhelm. Each Danny and Joe crafted black ’57 Chryslers with sensibilities that ended up born from related mothers. That means, these vehicles are not clones of every other, but they do share similar ideas and ideas… and it is this intellectual property that will make them both of those so distinctive. It’s simple grace.


Right before producing this story, I had a difficult time determining which angle to lean on. Of course, I had to mention Gary Howard as he was definitely my introduction to the great importance of the Inman motor vehicle. But I also actually preferred to participate in up two angles that Danny mentioned on his tech sheet.

The initially is the thought that Danny picked a build time period (1959) and employed it as a gauge for all the things he did. This is a apply I discovered by looking at Lee Pratt through the several years and anything I really do not really feel is performed as usually as it must be. Sticking to an genuine build time period with spiritual dedication is totally vital for the sort of cohesiveness this auto has.

And secondly, Danny wrote a thing that manufactured me smile:

“Getting to make this automobile with my father has been one of my favorite experiences in existence. He encouraged me every single stage of the way, and he’s the one liable for the bodywork and paint. It was a ton of do the job, but extremely gratifying!”

Generational assist on a car or truck motivated by another generation is anything that just can’t be acquired or normally acquired as a result of unnatural methods. It’s anything that takes place because it was meant to take place. This car or truck is fate. Joe Wilhelm would be so proud… and I would not be shocked if Gary Howard had a shot of Danny’s car or truck hanging up in his afterlife store.


Unique thanks to Tom Davison for capturing this car or truck at the Round Up for me. Automobile exhibits are a difficult location for photoshoots, but Tom by no means disappoints.

Also, a thanks goes out to Danny as well… He went out of his way to enable Tom shoot his car or truck at the present and then went earlier mentioned and past on his tech sheet.

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