Paul and Erik Hansen are the owners of Resilience, this classic but contemporary '52 Buick custom, but they are just part of the team responsible for the creation of the car. The father-and-son enthusiasts made a big splash about 5 years ago with a '32 Ford roadster nicknamed Sedeuced. That car was a huge success, starting with its premier appearance at the 2004 Detroit Autorama (where it was a Great 8 finalist for the Ridler Award). The roadster was invited to the Fresno Autorama a few weeks later, and was named America's Most Beautiful Roadster at the Grand National Roadster Show in 2005.
Blackie Gejeian has been a hot rodder since the Forties. He has personally selected the cars for his invitation-only Fresno Autorama for 50 years. When the Hansens won the Street Rod Sweepstakes Award with Sedeuced in 2004, Blackie told them, "Do yourself a favor, don't build another roadster. Build a sled. You've proven that you know how to build a hot rod. It'd be interesting to see what you can do with a custom."
Blackie's advice made an impression on the Hansens. Erik told us he's always been a fan of lead sleds and early customs, and his dad Paul said they both were inspired by some of the customs built in the early days by Dick Bertolucci and Harry Westergard. They were also impressed by some of the customs being built currently by Tim and Carrie Strange.
Tim and Carrie are the owners of Strange Motion Rod & Custom Construction in Cambridge, Illinois, and are well-known for their award-winning cars. One custom they'd never completed was a '52 Buick Riviera they'd started in the late Nineties. The build-up had been going well until the owner's wife found out how much money he was spending, and the project came to a sudden halt.
The Hansens and the Stranges had met a few years before, and when Erik and Paul found out about the abandoned Buick project, they called Tim. Fortunately, Tim was still eager to finish the car and was able to convince the owner to sell it. By the fall of 2007, the Buick was back at Strange Motion, ready for some attention. The project really got rolling in January of 2008 at the Grand National Roadster Show when the Hansens, the Stranges, and Brian Stupski got together in person and started putting together ideas for the project.
Brian Stupski is an illustrator and designer (and occasional R&C contributor), and has worked with Tim on previous projects. Paul calls Brian "the translator" of the five-person team-the one who could "take the concepts and translate them into something that could be seen in a drawing and applied to the car." Brian's concept illustration of the Riviera appeared in this magazine in April 2009 as "Dream Car of the Month," and the finished car, the result of a collaboration of five people, doesn't deviate very far from Brian's artwork.
"We wanted to pay homage to the customs of the Fifties," Erik explained. "We tried to give it the flow and old-style flair of 50 years ago, without denying that we're in 2009-and, hopefully, have a car that will be just as cool 50 years into the future." If there's one word that defines that concept, it's resilience.