Classic Guitars From Ter-riff-ic Cars

17 July, 2014

It's a shame when a vintage vehicle has to be dismantled, but if it has to be done there are surely worse fates than becoming part of a lovingly hand-made electric guitar!

Yes, those who like to carry their passion for classic cars into other areas of life may have just found their dream ticket - a fully-functioning instrument based on their pride and joy.

Australia-based Dave Gartland makes bespoke aluminium guitars using design elements from vintage cars.

He has even used parts of the cars, such as lights and name emblems, in his impressive instruments.

Dave, originally a sheet metal worker, moved to Australia from the UK in 2008 and it's from there he creates his original masterpieces.

The guitars can take 165 hours to finish; with paint, polish, welding and assembly all done painstakingly by hand.

Among his career highlights are an FJ Holden guitar with a working back light from the car in it; a 1957 Chevrolet Belair making use of the vehicle's side panels and even an instrument based on the 60s Batmobile!

A 1959 Cadillac guitar features the famous name logo from the dashboard, complete with the same distinctive script font used by the makers. 

Mr Gartland says he always thought he would "never" have the cash to buy a classic car himself, but always thought the idea of a guitar based on the '57 Chevy would be "pretty cool".

He told Hoon TV that after that he made a Cadillac model using car lights, things just progressed from there.

A love of rockabilly got him interested in creating a double bass from metal, which he did in 2010, and that led to a hobby making bespoke guitars with a 1950s design.

His company is named Ali Kat, and he has now turned his hand to motorbike-themed guitars, some based on sports cars and others inspired by a type of karate.

Classic car nuts who fancy a special guitar can order a custom product from Mr Gartland, who says he has made instruments to match customers' cars before.

If you can't quite stretch to one of them, Ali Kat is recording a CD on which a '57 Chevy Delux is used by blues musician Chris Finnen.