Batman Drives a Muscle Car and Other Projects That Kept Me Safe in 2020

Batmobile from The Batman (2022) 1 photo
Photo: Matt Reeves/Twitter
As we all contemplate socially distanced ways in which to kick 2020 goodbye tonight, why not put this year behind us with kindness? In the end, all we need to do is list some of the things that kept us strong over the past twelve months. You know, positive pieces of reality we can label under "certainty," which is a most valuable currency these days.
For one, over the course of this final week, my (naturally) automotive-dominated Instagram feed has been populated with plenty of year-in-review posts from creators whose work has been thoroughly appreciated this year, and for good reason.

And now I wish to give a shout-out to a few of the people who haven't posted their social media stats, despite the impressive quality and quantity of their 2020 efforts. Their projects have fuelled the stories I write in an attempt to keep us all dreaming, and for that, I am grateful.

Unsurprisingly, muscle cars have been a dominant theme for me, with the adventures mentioned below coming from both inside and outside American borders. And while some car lovers regard a part of these projects as opinion splitters, especially the renderings, I see them as bearing the wind of change.

Abimelec Arellano is a 21yo digital artist who builds small pixel universes around the machines he renders, including imaginary brochures that help us see how various modern icons would've looked if they had been born decades earlier.

However, I've chosen this 1971 Plymouth GTX-R project here since it helped with visualizing an amazing Viper-powered build by the Washington-based fabrication daredevils ower at Horsepower Northwest, which would've certainly rocked the 2020 SEMA show we never had.

Timothy Adry Emmanuel's computer uses electricity from the grid over in Indonesia, with his custom muscle car digital portraits being some of the most accomplished and radical in the business.

Heck, in the time it takes you to read the name of the 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Daytona, this 25-year-old artist will photo-realistically render one sporting the original car's NASCAR-dominating aero.

A team of muscle car rescuers led by a Californian enthusiast sounds like a successful recipe from the get-go. The die-hard aficionados over at mopars5150 saved more icons from fields and barns this year than I can count.

Oh, and by the way, these guys are always happy to go beyond the requirements of their label for a rare bird (or pony) such as a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 that had been sitting for almost half a century.

Is one of Detroit's Big Three indefinitely delaying the revival of a classic, tuning an old-school SUV into a crossover, or getting the number of doors on a modern comeback wrong? Leave it to Oscar V., the enthusiast behind the wb.artist20 label, to fix it using renderings that stick to the point as well as one's mind.

So, how about a 1968 Chevy Nova being brought back to the future as an example of this car lover's shenanigans?

Jon Sibal is one of the artists whose styling, sweat, and tears we've seen in the design of SEMA builds. Nevertheless, his 2020 project that will forever stick with me is a rendering portraying a mix between a Ram 1500 and a Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

Introduced months before the arrival of the factory insanity that is the Ram Rebel TRX, this was the gearhead's entry for the brilliant RAM Sketch Challenge FCA held back in April.

I came in contact with the revolutionary pixel work of Yasid Oozear half a decade ago, thanks to my fellow editor Mihnea Radu. The rendering realm has moved into the 3D world meanwhile, with this London-based artist being one of the top in the field.

Back in March, legendary Chrysler engineer Larry Rathgeb, who introduced NASCAR to the aero revolution in the late 1960s/1970s via the Dodge Charger Daytona, lost the battle to the global health crisis. Soon after, Oozeear came up with the virtual contraption below, which can be considered the digital generation's tribute to the work of the master engineer and his 200 mph record-setting achievements.

A digital art pioneer. This has to be the best way to describe Khyzyl Saleem. Based in Guildford, UK, the 26yo has managed to build what is pretty much every digital artist's dream, with his renderings becoming real-world builds (SEMA, baby!) and kits for others to install on their rides.

And, at least to these eyes, the muscle car he designed from the ground up for The Crew 2 game is his most impressive 2020 creation - this could easily serve as the ideal ride for Joker, especially if the supervillain would like to, say, reenact the infamous Bullitt chase with his favorite buddy (check out the next project, and it will all make sense).

Soon after director Matt Reeves tweeted a few images of the Batmobile we'll enjoy in The Batman, I realized this looks like the work of Ashley Livingston Thorp. After all, we've all seen samples of the artist's efforts, since we're talking about an American illustrator, graphic designer and creative director who has contributed to movies such as Prometheus, X-Men: First Class, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and others.

Sure, we won't get to see the masked Robert Pattinson hooning the new Batmobile until 2022 (thanks again, 2020!), but the sheer idea of Batman getting around in a muscle car-esque contraption makes the wait easier.

Now, a key ingredient of all the projects above, whether built from pixels, metal or both, is imagination. So, if this is some of the best work we enjoyed in 2020, imagine what 2021 can bring!
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
Andrei Tutu profile photo

In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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