1937 Studebaker Extremeliner Woodie by “POSIES”…
Estimate : $ 175,000 – $ 250,000 US
400 bhp, 350 cu. in. Chevrolet LT-1 V8 engine, modified GM 700-R4 automatic transmission, custom tubular chassis, independent front suspension and live rear axle, four-wheel coil-over shocks, and hydraulic front disc, rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 116″
– Built by Ken “POSIES” Fenical
– A world-famous Art Deco-inspired custom creation
– 1994 Chevrolet Corvette LT-1 power, GM automatic
Ken “POSIES” Fenical’s “Extremeliner” is an Art Deco, wedge-shaped woodie influenced by the mid-1930s Cord 810/812 and Lincoln Zephyr. Sporting a unique look and delicious proportions, it took the custom world by storm, winning countless awards and redefining the custom car movement’s direction. Every design element challenges the viewer, representing nothing short of a milestone custom.
Fenical began with the headlights, grille and front fenders from a 1937 Studebaker, but after carving up those components and then adding countless freshly fabricated details, the result leaves virtually none of the long-gone South Bend, Indiana marque’s heritage. Instead, this remarkable effort takes customizing into a realm previously reserved only for concept cars.
Development of the “Extremeliner” began in 1994. The process took five years to complete. POSIES says he was influenced by Andre Dubonnet’s streamlined “Xenia” coupe of 1937, which was built in France on a Hispano-Suiza chassis. However, there are many Art Deco influences at play here as well, from cars as diverse as the Cord 810/812 and the Lincoln-Zephyr, as well as the Figoni et Falaschi-bodied Delages and Delahayes of the late 1930s. That said, this car is completely unique, exemplifying POSIES’ inimitable style.
Thom Taylor, hot rodding’s premier artist, produced a series of detailed sketches that helped POSIES and his talented crew execute a creation that broke every mold and helped underscore just how sophisticated contemporary customs have become.
A one-off tubular steel frame became the Extremeliner’s foundation. That curvaceous unibody, with its steel framework and 20-gauge steel panels, was entirely handmade at POSIES, along with the aluminum hood and fender skirts. The exterior panels were initially hand-fashioned of wood to make molds, which were then cast in fiberglass and painstakingly wood grained to simulate the real thing.
All the exterior panels were blind-mounted from inside, and then the fasteners were covered with jute and bamboo interior materials. The carpeting is sisal, while the upholstery is tan leather with an ostrich graining. It is exotic, to be sure, but this car is fully usable and strikingly beautiful. Glaspro, of Santa Fe, California, fabricated the window glass. Incredibly, there is not a flat piece of glass, or for that matter a straight line, on the entire car. The editor of Street Rodder magazine, Brian Brennan, called the resulting car “a study in radiused curves.”
Inside, there’s a three-bar steering wheel, a custom, multi-slotted and layered center console, VDO instruments, Teas Design seats, Vintage Air, a full-on Alpine/Kicker stereo system, and accoutrements that complement the deco feel. Other deco influences include the grille bars, decorative tri-bar wings on the steering wheel, hubcaps and fender skirts, the long, gracefully tapered skirts themselves and the winged bumpers. Hella lamps in front and custom taillights on winged stands help light the way. Famed Parisian coachbuilders Joseph Figoni and Ovidio Falaschi would recognize the intent of this custom, and we think they would approve.
The running gear is totally state-of-the-art; the power plant is a ’94 Corvette 350-cu. in. LT-1 V8 with Edelbrock valve covers and an Edelbrock/BBK 58-mm throttle body and Corvette catalytic converters, fitted with a Deltrans 700-R4 automatic transmission. The independent front suspension features coil-over shocks and 11-inch disc brakes, while a Currie-modified Ford nine-inch rear end mounts drum brakes. A Mustang II rack and pinion steering unit provides control, while custom 17-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels mount BF Goodrich Comp T/A radial tires. The slanted radiator is a custom Walker unit. A fiberglass, designer engine cover is visible when the multi-layered hood is raised.
The dramatic PPG paint finish, called “Luminescence Gold Razzleberry,” was a first when it was applied to the Extremeliner. The unusual shade complements this car’s marriage of light and dark wood graining, and its light-induced changeability lends a sense of movement to this car, even when it is at rest. The Extremeliner’s exaggerated yet perfectly defined shape epitomizes the essence and timelessness of Art Deco design.
Although it started with a familiar silhouette, that of a long-roofed two-door station wagon, the visual presence of the finished Extremeliner has been stretched and curved into an artistic exaggeration of the wood-bodied genre. The extreme windshield rake, the sweep of the flowing fenders and door panels, the tapered lights and the repetitive horizontal wing theme work to intrigue the onlooker, then please the eye repeatedly as the viewer discovers more exquisite details.
Extensively featured in virtually every rodding magazine and lauded and celebrated at the top custom car shows, the Extremeliner truly represents the high-water mark of the custom car scene during the 1990s. Its provenance and collectability today are unquestioned. Without doubt, Ken “POSIES” Fenical is one of the acknowledged masters of contemporary custom-car design and execution. The fortunate buyer of the Extremeliner will own a one-of-a-kind, award-winning car and one of POSIES’ finest creations.