What do you want to be when you grow up? I had absolutely no idea when I was a kid, that’s for sure. But I had no life experience, no idea who I was or who I would become, so how could I know? As my age hit double digits I started building up some idea of the things I really enjoy in life.
By the first time I picked up a guitar I knew 2 things: I wanted to drive fast cars and I wanted to be a rock star.
That rebellious rock’n’roll attitude never really went away, much to my parents’ dismay. I still find myself drawn to antisocially loud music with real instruments, real talent and way too much hair! Some cars are pure rock’n’roll too and I love ‘em.
Jimmy Law’s 1954 Chevy started life as a fairly boring 4-door family saloon. It was a perfectly acceptable car to use to drop the kids at school or do the weekly shopping; something your neighbours would glance at approvingly as they walked their perfectly trained Labradors with their Stepford wife and 2 and-a-half children past your driveway.
A while ago, I got my first taste of driving a 1950’s Chevy. That car was a perfect example of a loving restoration back to original condition. It gave a real sense of what it was like to cruise around in the 50’s in your “average” family saloon.
This one is a little different…this is Bad Apple.
The recipe is simple, but effective. The result is ludicrous – the boring family saloon is transformed into the kind of car that scares people back into their houses as you cruise through the neighbourhood on a Sunday morning.
Aaron Kaufman is famously quoted on numerous occasions saying that to “increase the attitude, you decrease the altitude” and this car is a perfect demonstration of that. Sitting so close to the ground makes it look longer, more stretched out and almost sinister – an effect that’s amplified tenfold by the lowered roofline and the thinned out glasshouse.
The colour, however, is the visual feature that hits you first and hits you hardest. The body work and roof-chop have been exquisitely executed and restored to give a perfectly flat, smooth base for the beautiful metallic green paint. The matt black accents and roof add even more to the already-overflowing bucket of attitude.
The front of this car genuinely looks like it wants to eat you alive. This bad apple is 100% rock’n’roll! Your mother wouldn’t approve and that’s half the point.
Almost nothing about this car is as it would have been from the factory. It has Jaguar suspension fitted with air bags that allow you to drop it onto the ground or lift it slightly to float down the road in unbelievable comfort. The roof has had a good few inches chopped out of it to make it look angry.
All the external door handles and excessive trim have been shaved off the body work, giving the car extremely smooth lines all around. The matt black accents over the chrome details make it look positively apocalyptic and the 305 V8 in the nose makes a noise that could make it the epicentre of a major earthquake.
Those chrome side-exit exhausts have no mufflers in them, so there is nothing to dampen the noise from the big V8. It’s a strange sound, not like your normal V8 burble, because the pipes are separated all the way through (and I suspect that a non-stock cam is involved).
The result is an enraged thumping on either side of the car.
It sounds marvellous and yet, at the same time, makes you want to cower and hide behind the nearest shelter. The engine is a lazy, low revving tour de torque that makes easy work of hiding the car’s weight.
As if this rumbling, terrifying green monster rolling down the road wasn’t enough to frighten the suburban civilisation of Somerset West, we were joined by four of Jimmy’s brothers from El Corazon on their bikes. With that amount of noise, chrome and leather rolling down the road, it’s very hard not to get noticed. I’m pretty sure the neighbourhood watch were informed of gang activity on our arrival.
Being an incredibly talented expressive artist, Jimmy clearly has an eye for details. He designed the “bad apple” logos on the side of the car himself, as well as the green embroidery on the seats and my personal favourite, the demonic looking caricature on the door-cards. Even the skull gear knob is unique to this car.
But, is Bad Apple a bad apple?
The air suspension makes it superbly comfortable and smooth. The engine has that signature American low-end grunt that makes cruising a pleasure. Even though I only got a short drive in this car, I can confirm that it is simply impossible to go anywhere in this thing without grinning like an idiot.
So, not really then. It’s just a terrific build.
The scary looking guys in their black leather with El Corazon insignia on the back aren’t the “bad apples” you might assume they are either. Jimmy and his biking brothers are some of the funniest and nicest guys you’ll ever meet and the stereotypes of bad-ass tattooed biker-gangs simply don’t apply. We spent more time laughing during this shoot than taking pictures!
Just like my beloved rock’n’roll, there appears to be a lot more depth here than is apparent on the surface. The cliche of not judging a book by its cover applies perfectly to the world of bad-ass muscle cars and bikes.
I now know 3 things: I still want to drive fast cars, I still want to be a rock star and I’ll hang out with the Bad Apple any day.
A big thanks to Jimmy for letting me shoot his incredible sled and all his brothers who joined us on their bikes for this unforgettable shoot.