Blackbridge founder Scott Gilbert has never just been a “car guy.” With all due respect to car guys everywhere, Gilbert’s brush was always dipped in the swirled technicolor bucket that is culture. As a former Goldman Sachs exec for over a decade, Gilbert's business was located in FiDi, but his real passion was located in greasy garages. He studied cars and their history to no end before turning his passion into a business. He feels that automobiles tell a story of an era, a people, and an ideology.
In the same way that art became the lie that told the truth, automobiles became the steel and rubber that embodied the dreams of futurists. Auctions in the most affluent pockets of the planet frequently accept bids on both Da Vinci’s framed, and Ferrari’s driven work. Spoiler alert, the Ferrari went for 48 Million. So closely related are art and automobile that the cults that surround both often spill their martinis on each other at Artcurial & Christys.
Check out just four of the coolest “You don’t see these everyday" gems currently in the garage at the Blackbridge compound.
1952 Chevy 3100 Farm Truck
Blackbridge's show piece is dripping badassery. This 3100, a bygone-era pickup truck that was primarily used on farms and traversed the dirt roads in the post-war heyday, was totally reimagined by the hyper-creative minds in the garage. A 525 horsepower engine made by Corvette Racing was swapped in to allow this truck to do far more far faster. The gorgeous interior, complete with Merlot custom made leather seats and pristine restoration, is just the icing on the cake. This is not just a truck; it's an homage to Americana that flies off the line like a rust-dipped bullet.
1974 2002 Turbo BMW
In 1972, BMW's director of product planning and the designer of the M10 engine each had a two-litre engine installed in a 1600-2 for their respective personal use. When they realized they had both made the same modification to their own cars, they prepared a joint proposal to BMW's board to manufacture a two-litre version of the 1600-2. Thus, the 2002 was born. However, the 2002 Turbo was introduced just before the 1973 oil crisis, hence only 1,672 were ever built. This rare gem was made to rip across the Autobahn. Its folklore was further continued for its use in criminal activity, as it was the car of choice for bank robbers and gangsters due to its super speed and control.
1951 Simca Aronde
Introducing the very rare Simca Aronde. Made by Henri Pigozzi in Nance, France almost exclusively during the years of WW2, the Simca fell by the wayside after the mid 50's in Europe. It was later rebadged by Fiat in Turino, but the brand was never revived. Blackbridge worked on the cosmetics, even custom fabricating 70 year old parts that are no longer produced - holding true to its heritage.
1966 Austin Mini Moke
The Austin Mini Moke (British slang for “donkey”) began production in 1964. It was designed as a four wheel drive jeep-like utility vehicle for the British army. Although it was rejected by the military because of its low ground clearance, a two-wheel drive version became popular around the world as a fun beach buggy utility vehicle ideal for hot climates.
The Moke has enjoyed a cult-like status in niche pockets where bank accounts have multiple sets of zeros, vintage Polo Purple Label is the uniform, and White Claw is the law. Just check out the popular Moke America Instagram account. It's a lifestyle mood board, complete with salmon colored shorts and attractive women in bikinis doing "Duneuts" off roading in the Cape Cod sand.
It has no doors or hard top but can carry four people in its tub-like body. It is based on the successful Mini drivetrain and suspension. It achieved a growing following in recent history due to its appearance in high fashion lookbooks and luxury lifestyle placement at events on beaches, making it synonymous with upper crust leisure.