May 16, 2022

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Half the Automotive

10 Coolest Art Cars of the Last Decade

The art car has a history of creating an avenue for car owners to express their individuality in the increasingly uniform nature of the automotive world. What began as a hippie movement in the late 1960s has transformed into auto brand sponsored art.

The content and meaning of these vehicles vary with each art car and often express political, social, personal or purely decorative themes.

Some art cars are seen as a popular movement engaged in rescuing the automobile from corporate uniformity, according to the Art Car Museum in Houston, while others represent how minorities, subcultures and modern artists influence the cultural life of the United States.

Scroll down to see some of the coolest art cars of the last decade.

Lamborghini Huricán EVO

Lamborghini Huricán EVO Art Car
Paolo Troilo was commissioned by the Italian carmaker to explore themes of man’s power and the car’s bull symbol using his fingers.
Automobili Lamborghini

Lamborghini commissioned Italian painter Paolo Troilo to explore the power of man and machine on a Huricán EVO. On display at the Palazzo Serbelloni in Milan this past November, Troilo painted an expression of man’s power, its fusion with Lamborghini’s bull symbol and the concept of myth using his fingers.

BMW M6 GT3

 BMW M6 GT3 by Cao Fei
The 18th art car from BMW pays tribute to Asia’s ancient spiritual wisdom and its spread into the third millennium.
BMW of North America, LLC.

Chinese artist Cao Fei blended the tradition of BMW with the futuristic style of her digital art to create this multimedia approach to the BMW M6 GT3. There are three distinct components to the piece: a video that focuses on a time traveling spiritual practitioner, augmented reality features picturing colorful light particles (accessible through a dedicated app) and the BMW M6 GT3 race car in its original carbon black.

Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley Flying Spur Art Car
To encapsulate its commitment to diversity, Bentley commissioned the “Unifying Spur.”
Bentley Motors

As an encapsulation of the British luxury carmaker’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, designer Rich Morris was hired to paint the “Unifying Spur,” a customized Flying Spur that was unveiled just before Pride Month 2021. All nine colors of the progress flag are represented, as well as the words “Love is love” traced through faces, figures and shapes.

Hyundai Tucson N Line

Hyundai Tucson N Line Art Car
The color scheme is meant to draw focus to the sporty design of the company’s N Line.
Hyundai Motor America

The Korean automaker commemorated the European launch of the Tucson’s N Line in 2019 by hiring German artist Andreas Preis to create the “Drive a Statement” Project Tucson. Hyundai’s Engine Red serves as the base color. The black, white, red and blue colors draw focus to the N Line’s aggressive and sporty design.

Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan Artcar by Richard Phillips
The Taycan was auctioned globally in April, all proceeds were donated to Switzerland’s non-profit association Suisseculture Sociale to support artists in Switzerland who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Porsche AG

In December 2020, Porsche collaborated with American artist Richard Phillips to create the Taycan Artcar live at the Leuehof pop-up restaurant in Switzerland. To create the Taycan Artcar, Phillips applied his large-scale Queen of the Night painting from 2010 which was inspired by the work of Swiss landscape artist Adolf Dietrich.

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Atlas and Tiguan

Volkswagen Golf, Atlas, Tiguan by Mimi Kvinge
Originally, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack was the only wintery artcar in 2017 but the company decided to expand the fleet to the Atlas and Tiguan in 2018.
Volkswagen AG

In support of the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, Volkswagen commissioned artist Mimi Kvinge to paint the Golf Alltrack, along with the Atlas and Tiguan. The wintery peaks of the design pay homage to the Pacific Northwest, where Kvinge is from.

The cars have appeared at major ski and snowboard resorts to promote educational training for ski and snowboard instructors across the country.

Porsche 996 Swan

996 Swan by Chris Labrooy
The swan is considered a symbol of happiness in China, meant to represent the how happy Porsche is to celebrate 20 years in China.
Porsche AG

Scottish digital artist Chris Labrooy was offered the opportunity to transport one of his digital works into real life by Porsche. The swan, a traditional symbol of happiness, was chosen. The Porsche 911 Type 996 was the first Porsche sold in China and the 996 Swan was designed to pay homage to its 20th anniversary in China.

The artcar made its first public appearance in Shanghai, China at the beginning of November 2021 and is expected to make more appearances in the near future.

Volkswagen Scirocco S

Volkswagen Scirocco S by Jason Whipple
Nicknamed the ‘Million Dollar’ Scirocco, the car has appeared on the cover of Performance VW Magazine and several automotive enthusiast events since its reveal that thte 2018 SEMA Auto Show.
Rotiform Wheels/Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen enthusiast Jason Whipple spent the better part of a decade taking apart and rebuilding his 1980 Scirocco S from scratch with a new engine management system, replaced the transmission, and added custom wheels. Whipple then partnered with a graphic artist to hand-paint the vehicle with a rainbow motif and graphics.

The vehicle sparked interest when it was unveiled at the 2018 SEMA Auto show as it now offers social commentary, sporting phrases like “The future is our fault,” and “Things won’t change until we do.”

Maserati Levante

Maserati Levante Art Car
The Italian luxury automaker collaborated with brand ambassador and chef Massimo Bottura to highlight the company’s customization program.
Stellantis

Maserati designed this SUV with brand ambassador and chef Massimo Bottura to show off its Fuoriserie customization program. The colorful splashes hearken back to Bottura’s youth of racing vintage cars through the Italian countryside with his brothers, peppering them with mud. The multi-colored display that wraps around the car’s exterior is mirrored by similar inserts in the cabin.

The car was displayed at the 2021 Motor Valley Fest in Modena, Italy.

Lexus UX

Lexus UX Art Car
London tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe was hired to outfit this Lexus UX with Japanese art themes.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Billed as the world’s first tattooed car, the premium carmaker hired London-based tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe in 2020 to transfer her 15 years of experience working on humans to cars. Using a Dremel tool to carve off the paint, she etched a koi fish and waves onto the side of the UX while working in other motifs of Japanese art throughout the body.