Sometimes we have to be aware of the story behind the story to fully appreciate what's in front of us. James Hetfield, from San Francisco, California, appreciates all types of customs and hot rods-but there's more. A gifted musician, co-founder of the metal band Metallica, and lover of cars, James has a story to tell, but so does his Auburn Speedster fiberglass recreation from the shop of Glenn Pray (and that's another story).

James and custom car builder supreme Rick Dore, of Carlsbad, California, have known each other for some time, and over the years they have built six cars together with the seventh on the way. While in the mood to build something different but very cool James found himself on eBay when he located a Glenn Pray fiberglass recreation of the original classic '36 Auburn 852 Speedster (boat tail), although at the time neither knew about the car's history. This original Pray classic was at a shop with the proverbial weeds growing up all around it. The body was in derelict condition but usable, the engine had seen its heyday, but the chassis could be salvaged.

Dore began to do what he does so well and that is "orchestrate" the resurrection of a classic car design, ensuring the addition of James' persona and today's modern influences to make it an award-winning yet driveable custom. The car most recently won the 2010 Goodguys Custom of the Year, King of the Customs in Sacramento, and was a tremendous hit at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed-with the guitar-hero subtitle of Cars, Stars, and Guitars.

Before we delve off into the whys and wherefores of this unique recreation, let's take a look at the backstory. Sometimes you have to understand what's behind the curtain to fully appreciate what's in front of it.

James Hetfield

As a hot rodder he enjoys working on his rides as well as his music. It's one thing to have played guitar or drums in a youth band and it's another world to be one of the founders (1981) of arguably one of rock's influential bands. Officially, Metallica is a heavy metal band, but their music has achieved a broad and lasting appeal. In support of this claim Metallica has earned nine Grammy Awards, produced nine studio albums, three live albums, five extended plays, 24 music videos, 45 singles, and is a featured band in Guitar Hero.

James is ranked No. 16 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists and ranked 24th by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of all Time. The group has had five consecutive albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the first band to do so. Whether a musician or a hot rodder, all of us appreciate it when our peers appreciate us. Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Theyhave sold over 100 million albums worldwide-that's one hell of a resumé and a brief glimpse into the man behind steering wheel.