Lords of Metal
Arrow Lords of Metal

METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD loans six vintage cars to Nebraska Museum


Six vehicles from the private collection of METALLICA‘s James Hetfield are being displayed at the American Automobile Experience in Kearney, Nebraska. The cars were transported from the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Blueprint Engines and local Kearney donors reached out to the Los Angeles car museum and struck a deal to have Hetfield‘s cars on loan for a year.

Pete Stout, director of business for Blueprint Engines, said about Hetfield: “He is a huge car guy and he wanted to be able to share some of his private collection with the world. Here at the American Automobile Experience here in Kearney, we’re excited to have this fabulous display of vehicles here for a year.”

The six cars from the collection are:
1932 Ford Roadster – “Blackjack”
1936 Auburn 852 Speedster – “Slow Burn”
1936 Ford Coupe – “Iron Fist”
1937 Ford Coupe – “Crimson Ghost”
1937 Lincoln Zephyr – “Voodoo Priest”
1956 Ford F-100 – “Str8 Edge”

In 2019, Hetfield donated his car collection to the Petersen Automotive Museum. James has always been a car guy and shares his car journey to one of the coolest custom car collections around. Hetfield has described seeing cars in the same way he sees music: as forms of freedom and expression that convey the passions of their creator.

Hetfield’s collection included Voodoo Priest, based on a ’37 Lincoln Zephyr, a ’36 Auburn roadster named Slow Burn, a Delahaye inspired ’34 Packard, Aquarius, a ’36 Ford in bare metal called Iron Fist, a purple ’56 Ford F-100 pickup truck, and three cars by custom fabricator Rick Dore: Black Pearl, a custom 1948 Jaguar, a ’52 Olds named Grinch, and Skyscraper, a 1953 Buick Skylark.

The Hetfield cars will go on display next February in the museum’s Bruce Meyer Family Gallery. Along with the cars will be artifacts and memorabilia from Hetfield and METALLICA’s private collections.

Best known as a co-founder, songwriter, singer and guitarist for the heavy metal band METALLICAHetfield has also gained recognition in the automotive world for his unique collection of entirely bespoke vehicles. While the vast majority of collectors acquire vehicles by purchasing pre-existing examples, Hetfield elected instead to build his from scratch, channeling creativity often reserved for his music into the production of rolling sculptures.

Speaking to MotorTrend about his decision to donate the cars, Hetfield said: “I had a vision of not having to take care of these cars anymore because at some point… when I have these cars, at some point they have me. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep these things up and running, and in good condition. They were going to be either auctioned or donated or something. Then that did actually happen.

“I’m super grateful that the Petersen Museum was able to take the collection and keep it all together. That’s the one thing that I was really disappointed about, the fact that if they went to auction and they all went off somewhere different they wouldn’t be living together anymore, and it wouldn’t be as a collection. I think word got around to them, and they offered to take the collection. I was stoked. As far as the prestige of the Petersen Museum, and my collection being in there, it’s a huge honor. It really is.”

Asked if he misses the cars yet, Hetfield said: “I get to look at them every day in my book, man. Yeah, I miss driving certain cars and just being around them but, you know, they served their purpose. I got to get creative. I got to help other people get creative, all the different guys: Robert Roling, and Scott Mugford, and Josh Mills, the De Leys. I got to work with some awesome, historical people. Art Himsl, who did the paint on the Skylark. Darryl Hollenbeck. I met a lot of great people who have some old-school craftwork in their blood, which I love. I got to do these things. Now other people get to look at them.”

A book about Hetfield‘s cars, “Reclaimed Rust: The Four-Wheeled Creations Of James Hetfield”, was released in July 2020 via Insight Editions. In the book, Hetfield opened up his garage for an exclusive tour of the highlights of his incredible collection of restored and customized classic cars.

Social media