Vehicle Spotlight | 1953 Buick Skylark “Skyscraper” — Petersen Automotive Museum


“Skyscraper” is the first car Hetfield created with Rick Dore. Building on the Skylark’s rarity, further customizations were made to accentuate the car’s shape—its badges were removed and the front bumper was smoothed. The interior of “Skyscraper” uniquely reflects Hetfield’s musical side, with a bass-drum pedal accelerator and gauges that resemble Fender pearloid guitar picks. The matching ESP guitar and Mesa Boogie amplifier were displayed alongside the vehicle at car shows.

BUILDER : RICK DORE KUSTOMS 

INTERIOR: ERIN RUDDY, WITH VINYL STITCHING BY JEREMY DONKERSLEY, LUX INTERIORS 

ENGINE 350-CUBIC INCH CHEVROLET V-8 

COLLECTION OF THE PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM | GIFT OF THE HETFIELD FAMILY

INSPIRATION

When Buick set out to create the Skylark, they employed a factory customization process, hand modifying stock 1952 Roadmaster body panels and windshields based on designer Ned Nickle’s sketch for alterations to his personal Buick Roadmaster. Although advertised as an “ultra-modern sports car,” changes included customization techniques such as rounded wheel wells, a lowered door height, and a lowered, or “chopped,” windshield. “Skyscraper” can be interpreted as an extension of the process of customization utilized in the Skylark’s genesis.


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