Rusty Plastic: The Patina Art of Ace Rakes
By Anna “HotRod Doll” Marco
Pix Courtesy of Ace Rakes
Transforming the plastic body of a remote control model car into the appearance of rusty metal is an art form.
Ace Rakes is chip off the old block. His father, William Rakes, surrounded his son with art and cars and their household was a giant creativity project. Ace, who has never attended art school, was always encouraged to be artistic and as a child, his school notebooks were filled with images of Spider Man, scary monsters and cars. Today, he has amassed a huge collection of vintage Marvel Comics and his model car artwork is sold to finance his real car builds (1951 Hudson Pacemaker). He calls his little 1/6-scale creations, “patina art.”
Several years ago Ace received two remote control cars as gifts. The ’41 Willy’s and ’54 Chevy sat unfinished until Ace watched the documentary “Back From The Dead” starring Ian Roussel who struggles to make a hot rod out of spare parts. Inspired by Ian’s unorthodox approach to auto fabrication, Ace redesigned his model projects by turning plastic into metal using only steel wool and spray paint to achieve “ a well-worn, perfectly seasoned old hot rod. It doesn’t get any prettier.” The results are so realistic that everyone is shocked to discover these miniature vehicles aren’t really heaps of steel.
Recently Ace was approached by Christeen Vertress to paint a 1964 Ford Thunderbird (with a faux patina paint job) for her daughter Laikyn’s College graduation present. The car was orange and black and they basically just wanted it a different color. Being the artist that he is, Ace, wanted the car to really stand out, something you wouldn't ever see on the streets. So he started doing research on Ford racecars and found a picture of Dan Gurney's 63 Ford Galaxie (Holman Moody NASCAR). It was decided it would become the paint scheme for the T-bird. It took a month to finish the paint job and everyone that has seen the car in person thinks it's a true patina. Laikyn’s grandfather had been a professional painter/body man for 40 years. Ace proudly recalls, “When he saw the car he said, "It couldn't have been done any better" which was the best thing I could've heard. The T-bird is actually her daily driver and it looks like a racecar but is still fully street legal. I plan on painting a few more early 60's Ford, Chevy's and Dodge's to look replicate NASCAR and take them up to our local circle track and race around. I already have a few more “fauxtina” jobs lined up.”
Ace is a member of the Cam Winders CC (Washington) and when he’s not building unique model cars, he is cranking Leon Redbone or Skrillex on the stereo or cruising around the Rebel Riot, Billetproof or Cam Winders A-Go-Go car shows. Future plans include finishing his full-sized automotive projects and continuing to build 1/6-scale art that folks will appreciate and enjoy. Meanwhile, he dreams of owning either a 1951 Henry J or 1941 Plymouth Coupe but jokes, ““If you want it bad enough, you can make it.” Contact: Acesspeedshop@yahoo.com