In 1999, we -- nagasiva yronwode and catherine yronwode -- began to glue lucky and religious artifacts to the inside and outside of our cream-coloured 1986 Nissan Sentra station wagon, which we registered with the license plate California MOJO CAR.
In August 2000 the Nissan threw a rod in Selma, California, and got a motor transplant, but in November that motor blew a head gasket in Milpitas, California, and so, with the help of three friendly Milpitas children, we spent a day prying off the statuary and saving it for use on a new car.
In December 2000 we acquired a 1994 teal-blue Ford Escort Station Wagon, transferred to it the license plate California MOJO CAR, and began the job of decorating it with all of the previously used figurines and charms, plus about 100 more that we had collected in the intervening months.
In this 1999 picture you can see the theme just beginning to develop
as the Nissan Sentra roof is topped with
Godzilla (God Zilla -- get it?), a pair of crowns, a row
of six little Buddhas, and a pyx and chalice, while the
hood is garlanded with a black Santa Claus as Jehovah and Darth Maul as the Devil, plus a ring of
9 Pikachus around Snow White (the Maiden Goddess), two Nativity
Mary figures (the Mother Goddess), 13 Old Witches from Snow White around an iron
cauldron (the Crone Goddess), 2 Guardian Angels, a Mexican Buddha Pregnant
with Psychedelic Legumes and a Christian Cross, and Disney's version of Hades.
In order to keep the roof-racks functional, Godzilla was secured with an Allen-wrench
quick-dismount, designed by our friend Don Roach and all other roof-top statues were very short.
As this 2001 picture of the Ford Escort shows, we have progressed greatly in our
willingness to abandon functionality for aesthetics. Godzilla is still top and center,
but he no longer dismounts -- and he is surrounded by other tall items -- a Menorah, a
Black Pocahontas-like Guardian Angel, the Virgin of Los Lagos,
the Statue of Liberty, a head-nodding El Diablo, Merlin with his raven, two large
Santas -- and a host of smaller figures, including the Devil and his Grandmother,
Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, large crowns, pyx and
chalice, altar boy and altar girl, Buddy Christ,
Visnu, Chango Macho, Santissima Muerte, Pikachu,
and about a dozen Buddhas. The hood has also become much more populated --
although if you look closely you will see that the 13 Old Witches, Snow White and
the 9 Pikachus, Hades, the Nativity-Marys, Santa Jehovah and Satan Darth Maul
are all in the same relative positions
they held on the old car. We chose the Ford Escort in part because its geometry was
similar enough to the Nissan Sentra's that we could readily "map" our layouts from
one car to the other.
The Ford Escort is a nicer car to glue things to than the Nissan ever was, in our opinion. The metal-flake teal colour is far more intriguing than cream-yellow when it comes to creating flashing colour combinations, and the overall smoother, rounder lines of the vehicle present a more organic, pleasing shape to the viewer. The only drawback to the Ford is that although the exterior paint is a fine gluing surface, the steering wheel and other hard-plastic areas of the interior seem to be coated with a soil-resistant finish that does not bond well to glue. However, this is compensated for by the excellent headliner surface, which is softly fuzzy, yet tough enough to support glass-framed pictures of Hindu deities and large, vinyl-covered Mexican lucky horseshoe assemblages!
To the left is the dash of the late Nissan Sentra, covered with magenta velvet and home to an array of plastic, bronze, and wooden figurines and lucky bracelet charms, including The Evil Queen from Snow White, The Infant of Prague, Saint Francis, Saint Barbara, a wrathful Dakini, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sehkmet, Saint Jude, Hotei-Buddha, a nun of the Poor Clairs, Santa Claus, Reverend Bear, a Siva linga, the Beckoning Cat, a row of Thai penis amulets, a money bag charm, a crown of success charm, a steady work charm, cat's eye shells, Ganesha, Bhairava, Kali, vintage pin-back buttons from Vacation Bible School, a Bolivian munachi stone, and the Torches of Liberty.
Below is the dash of the Ford Escort, again covered with magenta velvet and displaying all of the same figures as before -- and many more!
Here are links to some archived pictures of the old Nissan Sentra Mojo Car, circa 1999-2000:
MOJO CAR FAQ:
1. What kind of glue do you use?
Automotive Goop, which you can buy at most good hardware stores. Marine Goop works equally well. Household Goop is not as secure as Automotive or Marine Goop for all-weather installations and should only be used on the interior of a car.
2. Are they on there permanently?
3. Doesn't that ruin the paint?
Actually, no. When we pryed 300 items off of our first, defnct Nissan MOJO CAR, using putty knives and hammers, the paint was intact beneath the Goop. It could have been cleaned, with great effort, had we wished to do such a thing.
4. Don't they come off when you drive on the freeway?
5. Don't the cops ever stop you?
6. Do you believe in all the things you've glued to your car?
7. I understand the lucky, magical, and religious symbolism with the dice, four-leaf clovers, various Catholic saints, the Buddhas, Crucifixes, Santissima Muerte, the Devil and Hindu deities like Siva and Kali -- but why is Pikachu the Pokemon on your car in so many places, and what about Snow White and all those movie monsters and comic book super-heroes?
Pikachu is the Holy Infant Animal. Snow White is a type of the Maiden form of the Triple Goddess, the other two types being The Blessed Virgin Mary with Child (as the Mother Goddess) and the Wicked Witch from "Snow White" in her apple-proffering form (as the Crone Goddess). The monsters are magical beings, and the superheroes on this car are either gods, such as Marvel's Thor, or magicians, such as Marvel's Dr. Strange and DC's Zatanna.
8. Where did you get all these things?
We refer to attractive religious and lucky goods which might fit somewhere on the car as "car fodder." We collect car fodder on our travels around town and throughout the country. The sides of the car are covered with painted resin religious refrigerator magnets, which we buy for about a dollar each at the Sebastopol Flea market. Glow in the dark stars, insects, amphibians, and reptiles come from Toys R Us and seasonal Halloween shops. The comic book and cinema figures who are deities (like Thor and Hades) or have magical powers (like Dr. Strange and Zatanna) come from the Flea Market and from comic book conventions like the yearly San Diego Comicon. Santas, Easter bunnies, Halloween bears, Thanksgiving turkeys, and other seasonal holiday figures are purchased in crafts stores, supermarkets, and discount stores such as Michael's, Beverly's, Ben Franklin, Jo-Ann's Fabrics, Raley's, and K-Mart. We also scout the local Goodwill and Salvation Army for car fodder. Most of the small brass statuettes and plaques, such as the Hindu and Buddhist deities, Thai penis amulets, and Hindu ceramic medals, are items we sell in our store, the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
9. Do people ever steal them?
Yes, occasionally. Boys and drunken men are the people most likely to break items off and carry them away. If we are very committed to certain figures and they are mass-market items, we sometimes buy replacements through the collectibles section of ebay.com.
10. Do people ever give you things to put on the car?
Yes, they do. The people most likely to donate figurines are women, children, and drunken men. We gladly accept all donations of car fodder.
11. How long did it take you to do this?
We started gluing things to the Escort in November 2000 and we have no idea when -- if ever -- we will be finished because it is strictly a part-time project. We carry two or three boxes of car fodder in the back of the car at all times, along with Goop, putty knives, duct tape, and other tools. When we have a few free hours -- perhaps one weekend per month -- we pull out the accumulated car fodder and spend a few hours gluing.
12. How do you wash the car?
We go to one of those do-it-yourself car-washes where we can use a high-pressure hose and a Foamy-Brush (TM). To detail the statuettes, we use little wedge-shaped foam painter's brushes and pump bottles to apply soapy water, then brush them with toothbrushes. Then we rinse the car with clear water.
13. Did you know that there are other cars like yours?
Yes, we do. Decorative but functional vehicles like this are called "art cars." Harrod Blank made a film and wrote a book about art cars called "Wild Wheels," which we recommend highly. There is an annual Art Car Parade in Houston, Texas, and an annual Art Car Fest in the San Francisco Bay Area, in which we participate. Our particular type of art car is called an "assemblage" car because it has things glued or assembled all over it, and we are especially interested in meeting other people who create assemblage cars. Our veterinarian -- Dr. Peter Hendrikson of Animal Kingdom Veterinary Hospital in Sebastopol, California -- also has a teal-coloured car (a Honda) with a large Godzilla on top, believe it or not, and his art car was the direct inspiration for our project. We see art cars everywhere. The only question we have for you is, "Why aren't YOU gluing things to YOUR car???"
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