Road & Track Mag

ROAD & TRACK Aug. 1972

Don Potts:

An elegant requiem for the
Golden Age of the Automobile

“Master Chassis”


photos: M d”Hamer

by Hal Crippen

THE FIRST CAR of Don Potts is actually an extraordinary assemblage—a concours d’elegance of one man’s work.  The title itself has a sort of parallel to Tom Swift and his Electric Runabout and the objects themselves are resonant with the objects of a now—lost American boyhood—an American Flyer wagon, a soap box derby car, a first bicycle—but here raised to the Nth power of imagination.



“Master Chassis”

At a time when true craftsmanship, and even the idea of it, is fast disappearing in automobiles, and even the very existence of the automobile is called into question, Don Potts has paid a necessary act of homage to the greatest of automobiles.  One thinks of Bugattis, Lancia Lambdas, early MGs, birdcage Maserati frames.



“Stainless Steel Body”

The craftsmanship is literally stunning--but it is no more important to know that Potts’s spent six years on this creation than it is to know Michaelangelo’s back bothered him in painting Sistine Chapel.  The Potts car is simply there in ultimate perfection.  The aim of the craftsman is to reveal rather than to conceal—and thus this Vesalian anatomy of the idea of a car, beautiful in its nakedness.



“Fabric & Steel body”

It is a fantasy of a car—ultimately useless, somehow gut-exciting, doomed and yet with a strange optimism.  It is a car for dream riders in dream landscapes.



“Basic Chassis”

The entire work consists of the Basic Chassis of wood, the Master Chassis, motorized and radio controlled, and two bodies, one of stainless steel and the other of fabric and steel. The whole work must, for the purpose of classification, be considered as sculpture, but actually it exists beyond classification simply as a work of art.  It is not something that one could buy to “decorate” a space.  It is, in heroic scale, both a monument and a memorial of an age.



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