Heavy metal Bug
Scott Lankton's anvil on wheels
From the July, 2014 issue
"I thought it was so cool. I couldn't resist it," says Scott Lankton about Black Betty, the 1976 Volkswagen Beetle he purchased three years ago. (The Ram Jam 1977 cover hit "Black Betty," playing on the radio on the way home, inspired Betty's name.) With some eye-catching modifications, it now advertises his work as a custom metalworker and blacksmith artist.
"I found when I was driving around town, people were looking at it and asking me about it, so I thought, 'Why not make the luggage rack a little stronger and put an anvil on it?'" Lankton recalls. He reinforced the roof rack with metal leaves and a wren, then topped it with an authentic iron anvil and antique steel hammer. He added his logo and "Fe"--the chemical symbol of iron--to the car's sides and posted his studio name and website in the rear window. A vertical white-and-red racing stripe begins at Betty's hood near an "IronAge" vanity plate and extends to the trunk where an "Obehave" plate--previously on Lankton's silver 1963 Morgan--conjures the hipster coolness of Austin Powers.
Both cars will be at the Rolling Sculpture show on July 11 (see Events). Betty can also sometimes be seen parked near Lankton's home and studio on Jackson Road, near two ceramic carrots, an enormous iron daffodil, and the remnants of a wooden peace sign that fell victim to this winter's harsh weather. (Lankton will soon create a more permanent metal one.) And she's also often out cruising town. "Once," Lankton says, "when I was at Stadium Hardware, an older woman said, 'My gosh--it looks like [you're making] a delivery for Wile E. Coyote!'"
[Originally published in July, 2014.]