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Metallica's James Hetfield wins custom car of the year for "Black Pearl"


James Hetfield's "Black Pearl" JaguarJames Hetfield's "Black Pearl" Jaguar

It's been four years since Metallica's last new album, but lead singer and co-founder James Hetfield has been busy touring and with a different kind of metal-bending. A long-time hot-rod collector, Hetfield and his car pal Rick Dore has won top prizes for his cars before, but his latest creation — known simply as the Black Pearl — has been named custom car of the year by the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. And for good reason.

The Black Pearl isn't a hot rod, but an entirely custom vehicle; all of the body panels were hand-formed from aluminum by Marcel and Luc De Lay, based on designs from Hetfield, Dore and themselves, along with a custom interior and wheels. While it has the frame of a 1948 Jaguar, and a Ford V-8 good for 375 hp, the Black Pearl was meant more as a work of automotive art than a speedster.

"I am humbled by their gift of metal sculpting," Hetfield said of the De Lays. "The fact that they started with a 8x10 drawing and ended up with a complete car is a testament to the ability of the human mind and hands. It still blows people’s minds when they ask what body we started with and we say ‘steel sheets.'"

It's quite the fade to black.