A twist on the concept of the art car

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The art on this 1983 Land Rover 110 art car is on the vehicle's frame, not its exterior sheetmetal | CoolNVintage photos
Artist Vasco Costa created colorful art on the vehicle’s frame

Here’s a twist on the concept of the art car: Instead of painting the vehicle’s exterior, Portuguese Land Rover restoration shop CoolNVintage and Lisbon artist Vasco Costa painted only the frame, undercarriage and just a few other parts of a 1983 Land Rover 110. 

“Which, of course, raises the question: Why? And why paint a car where no one can see it?” CoolNVintage asks itself in its news release.

“Our cars eschew flash for the design mandate ‘form follows function,’ built for people who understand ‘journey’ the way we do,” adds Ricardo Pessona, CoolNVintage founder. 

CoolNVintage customers are “People who understand that art is a profoundly personal thing, and, like ‘place,’ doesn’t need to be worn on one’s sleeve, on a baseball cap, or on the side of a car blaring that it is special. People who understand that in any event, art is not only a thing but an experience.”

CoolNVintage was founded to bring Land Rovers back to life. It calls the iconic mid-century vehicles “simple, honest, utilitarian, timeless.”

In restoring vintage Land Rovers, CoolNVintage also updates them with powertrains, suspension components, air conditioning, Connolly leather, power steering, integrated wireless speakers, etc.

Take a peek under the wheel wells

“When you drive a vintage Land Rover – even one spec’d beyond factory original as are all of ours — you have to separate what’s important from what’s not, an ability to live the signal and lose the noise,” Pessona said, suggesting that when you drive, you leave your iPhone at home, or at least turn it off while driving. 

“Whatever you need to take care of, you do it before you hop in, because now everything – everything – is about the journey.”

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CoolNVintage’s latest Land Rover build is the art-car version, which is for sale, though the asking price is not published.

However, the company notes that “the one fortunate owner of this vehicle will always have the opportunity to put it up on a lift or crawl underneath it to reveal the artistry of the artist and engineers who brought this car back to life and share it with whomever he or she wishes.”

“At the start of this project, some people said, ‘this is a stupid idea’,” Pessoa noted.

Such comments, he added, “only cemented our resolve to do it.”

Artist Vasco Costa
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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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