Motor City Rides 

Rick Ruiner Lappin’s customized 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse also happens to be his MFA Graduate Thesis sculpture from Eastern Michigan University. The 23-foot-long boat of a car gets a whopping 8 miles to the gallon and features Model T brake lights, mortar shells, a chomping mechanical jaw, bat fins and a jet engine port in the back. In part inspired by the Batmobile, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Animal House’s Deathmobile, Rick’s Bat Hearse spent nearly two years in EMU’s sculpture studio where he worked on it almost every day. On weekends he’d cause enough destruction onstage with the Ruiners to make a Keith Moon hotel tantrum look like a stroll in the park — TVs, mic stands, PAs and clothes washers were all fair game.

Rick now teaches art at EMU when he’s not gigging with the four bands he’s in (the Ruiners, Superhero Hotrod, the Coronados and the Fanguls). Lappin says the Bat Hearse is “a tribute to the loss of my generation’s heroes while playing into the subversive nature of modern heroes.” It also happens to have plenty of room in the back for a smashed TV or two.

More by Doug Coombe

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