Through the Lens of…Coby Gewertz
Coby Gewertz was born and raised on the mean streets of Cupertino, California, but fled south to attend Cal State University, Fullerton in 1990. After graduating with a BFA in graphic design, he headed straight to Hollywood for a life of fame and fortune designing movie posters and ad campaigns for the biggest studios tinsel town had to offer. During this time, Coby proved to be an award winning art director and creative director at each stop on his employment tour. An admitted workaholic, he continues solving design problems while working in the greater LA area as a top freelancer.
A custom car and hot rod fanatic since his toddler years (his father Bob was heavily involved in drag racing for decades), Coby can often be found buried deep in the hot rod sub-culture. In his “spare time”, he created the Church brand, containing his self-published, limited edition automotive photo books, his iconic line of auto related tee shirts, and silk screen prints. You will find him cruising the PCH in his custom 1963 Ford Econoline lowrider van, known ’round the world as “Van-Go.”
If you ask us, Van-Go is one of the most significant customs of the new millennium and it’s been driven over 30,000 miles so far. An equally radical ’34 Ford coupe as well as a ’51 Merc custom are currently under construction.
When his schedule permits, Coby travels the globe with his trusty iPhone and big imagination, capturing mostly abstract photos of the rod and custom underworld. When you consider a good portion of these images were taken with a cell phone, its really a testament to his ridiculous talent. And its an older phone at that!
According to legend, Coby continues to finalize the schematic for his personal time machine, wishing to head back drag racing’s heyday of the 60’s and 70’s. If anyone has flux capacitor, please contact him directly at [email protected]
Now for the pictures below. We asked Coby to give us 20 of his favorite images some of which have been published, some not. Coby was kind enough to describe each image in his own words. Enjoy! – Editor
Coby: “Peter Vincent, one of my photographic heroes, was shooting a bunch of cars early one morning on the salt. I figured he probably knew what he was doing, so I jumped in and snapped this pic while he was moving his ladder.”
“This crazy caddy showed up at a lowrider show in Mapona, Japan. The subtle hues of the paint help the cad crest pop in the sunlight. I only speak a couple of Japanese swear words, but we all speak AWESOME!”
“I don’t think this is one even falls into the top ten shots from my travels to the salt, but it is literally the FIRST pic I took the FIRST time I went to Bonneville. As with the majority of my photography, the cars were NOT positioned, as this is how I stumbled across them. Needless to say, I was hooked on Bonneville after this.”
“Roger O’Dell drove his Coddington built Zephyr to a Los Boulevardos gathering out in the boonies. I just LOVE that emblem, had my camera with me, and couldn’t resist.”
“Bob Owen’s of Owen’s Salvage in Wellington, Texas is one of my favorite people on earth. He gives me free reign to run around and shoot stuff out in his salvage yard whenever I’m in town.”
“I hitched a ride out to the docks near Yokohama, Japan in this killer ‘47 Chevy called “Sleeper”. We could learn a thing or two about Japanese hospitality and their customs/lowriders as well!”
“Art’s Body is a shop in Nagoya, Japan is one of the few that builds traditional hot rods, rather than customs. This engine turned dash is probably from way back and was a perfect feature in an already stellar ‘32 Ford roadster.”
“I had a hard time shooting a killer 54 Chevy wagon at a truck stop in Japan, because I kept seeing another dumped Chevy in its reflection. So I took a pic of the reflection (notice everything is backwards).”
“The Old Crow belly tanker out on the Bonneville Salt Flats at sun up. It’s fairly difficult to take a bad photo there. The place is magical.”
“One rainy year at the Lonestar Round Up they moved the cars under a covered structure. While most of the cars were obscured by shadow, this Olds got a kiss of light and I decided to take the pic.”
“The 40 Mercury Oz Welch built for Brian Everett had to be shot for a magazine deadline over this particular weekend. Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating, and it was raining hard. Luckily, the following morning I discovered she left a giant gift of a puddle at the top end of Famoso Raceway north of Bakersfield. Thanks Ma!”
“Most people don’t have nice things to say about Bakersfield, but it has been pretty good to me over the years. Here’s a shot of Mike Smith’s blown model A out in a parking lot way back when.”
“This old thing? The custom that no one saw coming. Van Go came out of nowhere and kicked people in the teeth when it debuted at the GNRS in 2011 and won some design excellence award by a cat named Chip Foose. There are currently at least a dozen more slammed drivable Econoline’s in the works, but they’ll never be the first.”
Left – “I try my best to not have any people in my pictures, but this one was an exception to the rule. In my mind, it truly captures the spirit of hot rodding. Snapped in Australia at the River City Reliability Run. Right – “Roy Brizio drove this ‘32 Ford 5-window from Northern California to Baltimore for the 1st Rodder’s Journal Revival. The blue was deep and completely mesmerizing!”