The Vandergriff Chrysler | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal

Back in 2007, I by some means managed to get up the nerve to question just one of my heroes for an job interview. At the time, I didn’t know Gary Howard perfectly and didn’t know what to hope. By the time the job interview was above, I viewed as Gary a pal and when he passed in 2019, I considered him loved ones.

But it was all through that initial job interview that Gary laid some thing on me that will stick for good. I asked him a thing along the traces of, “Is there a historic custom made that signifies some thing a lot more to you or that affected you a lot more than other people?”

“…the Clif Inman ’57 Chrysler that Joe Wilhelm developed is likely as close to a ‘perfect’ personalized as I have ever observed. I just admired Joe so a lot for keeping the vehicle so simple and stunning. Sure, he did some unusual stuff afterwards on but as a whole his portfolio is inspiring. And he did every little thing on his very own conditions in a small store powering his residence – never succumbing to the economical forces that a ton of other men did.”

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

I imagine one particular of the explanations this quotation was so impactful to me is that as Gary softly spoke the phrases, I could see the well-known photograph (Andy Southard Jr.) of Inman’s Chrysler pinned to the wall just at the rear of him:

To this pretty day, whenever I see this photo I assume of Gary and smile. To him, this vehicle was perfection… and if anything is perfection to Gary Howard, it is perfection to me much too.


Danny Vandergriff (GotGas) shares a similar standpoint. Back again in 2008 or so, he picked up a ’57 Chrysler out of a discipline with desires of developing the auto along side his outdated gentleman. From the start out, he experienced no intentions of making an Inman clone. As a substitute, he picked a target calendar year (1959) and then crafted to the period of time – withdrawing influences from the Inman automobile and some others.

Mechanically, it is a really straightforward components. To get the stance, Danny just turned down the torsion bars up front and included a pair of 2″ blocks out back again. A hint of late-50’s tailor made rake is designed purely by rubber – 15×5 on ’56 Ford facilities with 7.10-15s up front and 15×7 reversed wheels out again with L78s.

The driveline is just as simple. The stock 392, having said that, does benefit from a present day TKO 5-velocity and to slow down all that mass, Danny did throw some discs up entrance. The vehicle was built to be driven and it has been.

But the factor is, the damn detail looks and feels like a pampered present auto. Like lots of of you, I viewed this auto get constructed on the HAMB. When I finally had an chance to analyze the motor vehicle in person, I expected a awesome homebuilt tailor made. What I noticed was some thing much a lot more than that – extremely detail in which it was deserved, great gaps, and make quality you would hope to see from a perfectly regarded specialist. Somehow, Danny managed to make a black car glimpse easy.

The physique is mainly unchanged. There’s no highlighted chop like on the Inman auto and as a result, you get that beautiful greenhouse framed by sleek pillars and a large amount of money of glass. This is accented by subtraction – all the things that could be shaved was shaved sans the distinctive aspect trim.

There have been, nonetheless, a few of vital additions. The first might be my beloved – the hood scoop. Consider it or not, it was shaped by the major edge of a 70’s period Jeep. And then, there’s the complete brilliance of the front bumper liberated from a ’57 Desoto and loaded with gold mesh.

“Gold,” you ask… Sure. Gold. And it was performed with function. As we move on to the interior, the initially issue you recognize is the swivel seat taken from a ’59 Imperial. It sets the basis for tastefully stitched personalized upholstery accomplished in black and sliver with pops of GOLD accents. All the things used, from materials to hues, speaks to cohesiveness and a level of innovative intelligence that you really don’t generally see.

You never glance at Danny’s motor vehicle and quickly believe about Clif Inman’s individual ’57. But you do assume about Clif Inman… or it’s possible additional correctly, Joe Wilhelm. Both of those Danny and Joe designed black ’57 Chryslers with sensibilities that have been born from comparable mothers. Indicating, these autos are not clones of each and every other, but they do share identical thoughts and ideas… and it is this intellectual assets that would make them each so special. It’s straightforward grace.


Before crafting this story, I experienced a really hard time choosing which angle to lean on. Clearly, I had to point out Gary Howard as he was truly my introduction to the relevance of the Inman vehicle. But I also definitely wanted to participate in up two angles that Danny stated on his tech sheet.

The initially is the strategy that Danny picked a develop period of time (1959) and utilised it as a gauge for anything he did. This is a apply I discovered by watching Lee Pratt as a result of the a long time and something I really don’t truly feel is finished as typically as it ought to be. Sticking to an real build interval with religious dedication is certainly required for the form of cohesiveness this vehicle has.

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

“Getting to make this motor vehicle with my dad has been one of my favorite experiences in life. He encouraged me each individual phase of the way, and he’s the 1 accountable for the bodywork and paint. It was a ton of get the job done, but pretty rewarding!”

Generational assistance on a auto impressed by a further era is some thing that can’t be acquired or normally attained through unnatural techniques. It is one thing that transpires because it was intended to transpire. This auto is fate. Joe Wilhelm would be so proud… and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gary Howard had a shot of Danny’s car or truck hanging up in his afterlife store.


Special many thanks to Tom Davison for taking pictures this car or truck at the Spherical Up for me. Motor vehicle demonstrates are a complicated venue for photoshoots, but Tom hardly ever disappoints.

Also, a many thanks goes out to Danny as well… He went out of his way to enable Tom shoot his automobile at the display and then went above and beyond on his tech sheet.

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