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The Car Craft Dream Rod

The Car Craft Dream Rod was designed by the staff of Car Craft Magazine in 1961. The first drawings of the car appeared in Car Craft October 1961. In 1963 Bob Larivee of Promotions Inc with the approval and help of Car Craft Magazine commissioned Bill Cushenbery to build the Dream Rod. Bob approached Cushenbery to build the car after he had seen the Silhouette at the 1963 Grand National Roadster Show.

The car was completely custom-made using some production car pieces. Bill built the car on a 1952 Jowett Jupiter chassis using a VW torsion bar in front. The frame was originally done in gold metalflake. The front fenders and doors were taken from a 1960 Pontiac, upper rear quarter tops are from a 1960 Chevrolet Corvair, the windshield and top are from a 1953 Studebaker, and the rear window is a rear window from a 1957 Borgward Isabella Sedan turned upside down. Inside, the car featured a 1958 Mercury dashboard restyled with a 1959 Lincoln ashtray. The car got its power from a 289 Ford engine.

The Dream Rod was completed late in 1963, and went on from Bill’s shop to tour the custom car scene. Bill had preserved the flavor of the original drawings during the build, but had also felt free to vary many of the details. As only two dimensions can be shown on paper, things began to look different when they were tried in the three dimensions of sheet metal, so Bill felt he had to do some modifications in order to make the car look as good as possible.

The Dream Rod carried the electric control system that Bill Cushenbery had developed for the Silhouette a step further into the future. On the Dream Rod they were operated with a remote control “black box”. The remote control led to a bit of sport, and while the car was under construction Bill would occasionally slip across the street to a coffee shop, taking the control box with him. As he enjoyed a sip of black brew, he’d casually flip a switch and punch a button. All sorts of havoc would go on back at the shop. A workman sanding down a body panel would suddenly be confronted with a popping hood or a flapping door. H/T >

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