Bettie Page

Shortly after I started the wagon project, I got the idea in my head that I needed to have a pin up mural painted on the inside of the hood. I had decided that the engine compartment would be satin black and that the 5.7 L Dodge Hemi would remain in close to the same condition that it was in when it was installed in the 2005 Durango donor, bar codes and all… It gave me the all business no billet glitz industrial look that I wanted, but it was somewhat boring and it needed a bit of something to spice it up some.

[singlepic id=5941 w=320 h=240 float=right]I first saw photos of Bettie Page in a magazine that belonged to the cook who worked at the hospital where my mom worked and we lived. The cook was ex US Navy who had served in WWII and like most guys at the time was less than politically correct and even though he was married, had shall we say a strong love for the female form. Given that he was an old guy – mid 40s – who had been everywhere, done everything and had all the stories to tell, I spent a fair amount of time at his cottage listening to everything he had to say, and when he wasn’t talking, I was looking at his collection of magazines … ahem…

All this was taking place around the time that I was coming of age in around 1956 when the Dodge wagon was then new, so to me, it just seemed fitting that Bettie should adorn the wagon as well.

[singlepic id=5939 w=320 h=240 float=left] For the past several years, when ever I would go to a car show I would always be on the look out for an airbrush artist who could actually render the female form in some way other than the cartoonish bomber art look that you find on many a true hot rod. A few years ago I saw a 1955 Chrysler hardtop at Goodguys that had this wonderful pinup airbrushed on it’s trunk. I finally was able to meet up with the artist at the 2011 Spring Goodguys show in Scottsdale his name is Charles Armstrong and at the time he was working in Prescott. Since then he has relocated to Street Rods by Auto Art at 13023 N Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, Az. (602) 284-0785

As luck would have it, this fall’s Goodguys Shop Tour had Becks Custom Motorsports on the tour and I was able to get Charles to the side for a few minutes to explain what I wanted to have done to the inside of my hood.  Charles quickly got the intent of what I was looking for and we sat down at his computer and went through several photos of Bettie in classic art form taken by Bunny Yeager. He chose a pose similar to the one that is now on the hood, and I quickly noted to him that he and I were totally on the same page. We talked again at Goodguys on Friday and Sunday and I was convinced that I had found the right artist for the job.

Oh, and Charles not only is a class airbrush artist, but he is also does full custom automobile paint jobs. Charles also works with a long time friend; Brad Houk who does metal finishing and custom body work. As a team Charles and Brad have produced many outstanding hot rods and custom cars over the last 20 years.
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In between multiple trips to the valley in the past month and several end of the year photo projects, I managed to order all of the parts to hook up the A/C and heater, then finish the wiring and install the dashboard. I also ordered the materials for the brake and fuel lines. I hope to be able to start it up by the middle of January, then finish up the insulation, install the seats, floor and glass. I am hoping that I will be able to get it down to the upholster sometime in March.

Time will tell…


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