Steve Heller's Fabulous Furniture
The Bubble Car

The Bubble Car started out as a 1948 Plymouth 4-door sedan. I aquired it in 1985, and knew then exactly what I wanted to do with it. It had sat outside for many years in the field where it was pushed or driven. Although the floors were gone and the entire lower extremity was rusted away, it was really straight with absolutely no dents, and all the stainless and trim was perfect. I knew that the front fender could flow right into the rear fender and decklid and produce a little speedster that would be the essence of 1948 Plymouth.

After cutting the roof off, I cut the entire car into it's design components. The front and rear fenders were cut like a jigsaw puzzle to flow into one really long fender or one really short car. I had to fabricate some filler pieces--the front wheelwells of a 1965 Buick Skylark made a perfect cockpit surround, and the trunk lid of a 1950 Oldsmobile made a perfect transition between the Plymouth decklid, fender, and cockpit. The windshield is the two vent windows from the Plymouth welded together. The entire body is mig-welded into one monocoque structure, that we then mounted on a lawn tractor chasis.

In 2002, with steering and brakes but no motor, we won first place and people's choice at the Kingston Artists' Soapbox Derby.

The Bubble Car Cockpit

In 2003, we were invited to the Art Car exhibit at the International Automobile Show at the Javits Center in New York City, so we switched the chassis to a running lawn tractor. The Bubble Car made CNN news eleven times between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. that day, because CNN reporter Jeanne Moos was cuckoo crazy about it!

It's painted in the same colors as my custom 1959 Cadillac, Fintasia, gotham gold with pink, purple, and lavender flames, and pinstriping by Legends of Pinstriping Howie Nisgor. Two asides about the Bubble Car: One, before we put the taillights and third brake light (were they ahead of their time or what?) back on, the Bubble Car looked exactly like an old Porshe bathtub speedster. Two, because the wheelbase of the tractor is so short, the Bubble Car can turn around in it's own space. It has to be seen to believed! Oh, and top speed is just over Mach One.

Watch this video. Listen for the screech of the brakes at the finish line!