Music, Metal and Cars: Metallica to Host Car Show

James Hetfield's 1936 Auburn Roadster, Slow Burn

Whatever you think of heavy metal, there’s a distinct correlation between thrashing music and powerful cars. Both can be loud, obnoxious, inspiring, passion-invoking, fuel-dripping outlets for aggression, experimentation and pride.

It’s not surprising, then, that the leader of one of the world’s most prominent metal bands also has a passion for cars.

As a Metallica fan, I’ve long known that singer/guitarist James Hetfield is an oil-bleeding car guy. His 1936 Auburn Roadster, known as Slow Burn, is shown above. He’s also the proud of owner of a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, called Voodoo Priest, a ’36 Ford 5-Window Coupe and a 1956 Ford Pickup.

Personally, I’m of the belief that those older classics are better off restored instead of chopped into custom vehicles, but I can also appreciate the desire to create something no one else in the world has. Anything that fosters a passion for cars and keeps that old metal on the road (or show circuit) is good in my book!

To celebrate the infusion of cars and metal music, Metallica’s upcoming Orion music festival will include a custom car and motorcycle show and, I hope, many of Hetfield’s personal cars.

According Hetfield’s video on the Orion site, the show, which is free to enter on an application basis, was conceived

MetallicaSo everybody can get a taste of the automobile passion and obsession that I have. The idea is for a Metallica fan to come in and experience stuff they wouldn’t normally see if they wouldn’t normally go to a car show.

Way to introduce some car culture to a new generation of metal-heads, Mr. Hetfield! Hopefully some young people will see that fire-breathing cars can be as addicting as venomous chords of churning metal.

People who have cars selected for the show will receive two free two-day general admission passes to the festival, which takes takes place June 23 and 24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Awards will be given for the best custom, hot rod, muscle car and custom motorcycle at the show. The deadline for applications is May 15, so if you don’t have a car to enter, get on the CarGurus used listings and start searching! You might get lucky.

I think more popular artists should combine concerts with car shows. Do you?


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  1. I like restored cars too better than chopped ones.But I think the idea of mixing a car show with a music festival is brilliant! Maybe I haven’t given enough credit to Metallica, I’ve always thought of them as stoned losers, but it seems these guys, or at least the singer, has a real head on his shoulders. Even if it’s just filled with chords and cars! Cool.

  2. Well, around here the Woodward Dream Cruise (we locals call it the Woodward Nighmare Curse) always has a lot of entertainment along with many dozens (if not hundreds) of concurrent car shows, along with the zoo on Woodward Avenue. Given what I’ve seen for rock concert crowds, I’m not sure if I would want 20,000 drunken stoners staggering around my cars.
    Like you, I have mixed feelings about cutting up vintage cars to hot rod. Around here, hot rods are literally a dime a dozen, so common that they become boring, so seeing a lovingly restored classic on the road is a real pleasure. As for the Auburn, nex time you are in Indiana, stop by in Auburn and go through the Auburn-Cord-Dusenberg museum. It’s in the plant where these magnificent cars were built, and you can see what they looked like before trashed by a torch-wielding doper.

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