Mark Mothersbaugh, whom we all know from Devo and those orange hats, currently has two pieces of automotive art in a Los Angeles exhibition that carries on one of the oldest car-art traditions, the double-ended car.

The exhibit is called, generically enough, the LA Art Show: Modern and Contemporary, and Motherspaugh's pieces are made from two current-gen Scion Xds, bisected widthwise at the middle, and the four halves joined in like pairs, forming one car with two fronts, and one car/trailer with two rears. The overall effect makes fun-looking vehicles, though I think I prefer the look of the double-rear "trailer" to the twin-engined, 360° burnout-capable front. The craftsmanship is excellent, with some very tricky glasswork as well as metalwork involved. I suspect Mothersbaugh had help.


Mothersbaugh's written statement suggests that his goal was achieving some sort of perfect symmetry, but I think, whether he realizes it or not, that he's really paying homage to one of the longest-standing forms of art car.

Making double-ended cars out of the halves of two other cars has been going on as long as there have been nasty rear-end wrecks and guys with welding torches, lots of free time, and a goofy idea of fun.


In a casual search, I've found an image of a double-ended Model T that seems to date from around 1928 (based on the Model A in the background), and I'd bet double-ended cars were around before that. If I had to make a guess, I'd peg the first one as being most likely a Model T (due to the sheer numbers of them) and perhaps as early as 1910, which gives I think enough time for rear-ended Model Ts to end up in decent quantities at scrapyards and repair shops.

These double-enders are common enough to have a name: push me-pull-yous, named after the curiously anus-less double-headed animal from the Dr.Doolittle series of books.


Usually, these double-ended cars are drivable, and almost always made of two front ends; Mothersbaugh's double-rear is a bit of a rarity. Some of the most common ones seem to be based on air-cooled VWs, likely because of their easy accessibility, body-on-frame construction, and short enough overhangs to allow a one-chassis/body only conversion– though, that said, people have made these things out of everything.

There was a nice dual-fronted 60s Beetle in my hometown of Greensboro, NC I remember from when I was a kid. If there was one there, the country must be lousy with these things.


Mothersbaugh's double-enders make for good automotive art viewing, and will soon be at MOCA in Los Angeles, though I would have like to have seen some mention made of the historical context of these sorts of art cars.

Perhaps MOCA will decide to give some more depth when they display the cars, and provide at least some images of the many art cars that influenced the Mothersbaugh pieces, made by folks all over not fortunate enough to have founded Devo.