Four Wheels and Six Strings: A celebration of the car and the guitar
Since Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats recorded “Rocket 88” in 1951, cars and music have had an undeniable link. As the subjects of songs or more recently as eye candy in music videos, there is something about four wheels that fits perfectly with six strings.
Throughout the summer, this connection has been commemorated in an exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The exhibit, Rock Stars’ Cars & Guitars features more than 19 cars and 30 guitars that each represent a piece of rock history.
The guitars in the exhibit span many different decades and genres. Two guitars commemorate Bo Diddley: his personal “cigar box” guitar and a custom Gretsch “Billy Bo” model custom-made for ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons based on Bo Diddley’s designs. Other guitars include a 1973 ES- 335TD played and signed by Chuck Berry and Kirk Hammett of Metallica’s “Skully,” a black 1987 ESP Custom with skull and crossbone inlay.
Along with the collection of guitars, the exhibit brings some of the most iconic vehicles of album cover and music video fame together, from the 1932 Ford Phaeton featured in Van Halen’s 1984 “Hot for Teacher” video to the true “Little Deuce Coup” – a heavily-modified 1932 Ford called “Silver Sapphire” that graced the cover of the Beach Boys’ classic album. Some of the rocker-owned wheels on display are John Lennon’s psychedelic 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V and a number of cars from Billy Gibbons’ personal collection, including his personally-designed “Cadzilla” 1949 Cadillac.
The exhibit opened to the public on June 9 and ran throughout the summer; it will wrap up on September 30. A concert series is also being held at the Henry Ford Museum to accompany the exhibit. It kicked off on July 12 with ‘80s alt-rocker Bob Mould, and has since featured the family-friendly Candy Band and the Gore Gore Girls. The final installment of the series will take place on September 13 and will feature the Detroit band The Offramps.
The Henry Ford Museum is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors and $10 for youth; members and children four and under are free. The museum is part of The Henry Ford, a history attraction that also is home to Greenfield Village, a historical restoration of Henry Ford’s birthplace, the Henry Ford IMAX® Theatre, the Benson Ford Research Center and The Ford Rougue Factory Tour.