I thought I’d switch gears and take a break from the ordinary and focus on the extraordinary. Let’s travel into the world of Wendell Koch. I remember the first time I traveled down his memory lane I had to stop and do a double-take – it looked so real it was surreal! It’s evident that his impetus is a labor of love. Welcome to Wendell’s World. It is a dream with an edge on reality. Who would ever have thought that pieces of paper could come to life in such a remarkable way – he refers to this unique hobby as “Papercraft!” No, the Mercury Grand Marquis above isn’t paper it’s one of Wendell’s favorite cars…this is his tribute. NotoriousLuxury salutes him for an outstanding contribution to the world of Auto Art –
Compare the real Lincoln at the bottom to Wendell’s work above
Papercraft “Vacation” Family Truckster Ford wagon
His totally unique craft caught my eye a couple of years ago. These are so fantastic I had to share them with my audience. This is a change from anything you’ve ever seen. Wendell Koch is a good guy who has been dealt a bad hand in the card game of life. He has been a musician and a musical instrument instructor.
A debilitating disease he contracted as a child had been dormant for years now forced him into an early retirement. It attacked his respiratory system and left him with mobility issues because of muscle atrophy. But that didn’t rain on his parade! To interact with Wendell…one would never know the cross he bears because of his enthusiasm and spirit which is due in no small part to his positive mental attitude. I admire his indomitable stamina. He LOVES cars…so does his loving wife!
Wendell is a lot like me with his love for cars. He too fell in love with cars at an early age. Throughout his early years he was surrounded by cars. (like I was) He said all of his toys were cars. Wendell’s parents supported his hobby avidly. He comes from a “car-loving” family. His dad and two brothers collected real antique cars. Wendell himself collected real cars from the 1930s thru the 1970s with great enthusiasm. Due to his illness he was forced to liquidate his beloved collection which forced him into a deep depression.
This is one of my favorites! Check out the 1956 Nomad wagon, and 1955 Pontiac Safari wagon in the rear left hand side. The right hand foreground is a 1956 Ford wagon and behind it is a 1956 Plymouth wagon. These are really neat the way they resemble the real life vehicles they represent. Wendell’s work involves vehicles that never made it to plastic or die-cast models, which I think is great. It gives collectors the cars we really want to see replicated in miniature. Wendell has the staunch approval of his wife who supports his talent 100%. He says she is also his biggest critic!
Cars of Yesteryear: The complexity of creating older cars
According to Wendell, it’s the older cars which presents the biggest challenge to re-create. The curves of the hoods, fat fenders, and tail fins do not work well replicated on paper brought into 3-D. The pre 1961 vehicles are the hardest he says.
Per Wendell: “I did design and make some 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s cars. They required a lot more time and work. An example of this is my Father’s 1935 Ford wrecker (above) that he had used in his auto repair business. This truck had many separate parts to cut out and keep adding to the truck. There was never a photo taken of my Dad’s wrecker, I had to do it by memory and with the aid of a Ford truck book to help with accuracy. His 1940 repair shop is shown in the background.” Wendell is talented wouldn’t you agree?
1935 Chevy Hay truck
1932 Ford Coupe and 1957 Plymouth from the “California Kid”
This illness didn’t stop Wendell! He fine-tuned this art which has become his therapy to take his mind off of his infirmities. It’s interesting how it all began. His father made his first paper vehicle for him in the late 1950s. He took a piece of paper, hand etched the vehicle design – cut it out and taped it together. This tweaked Wendell’s curiosity as it would any kid. His dad’s love for cars rubbed off on him. Wendell experimented through the years on and off. It was the mid-1990s when Wendell’s talent flourished. He designed and made two paper cars. One was a 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis fashioned after his own real car and the other was a 1977 Buick Electra fashioned after a friend’s car.
It took Wendell a few months to create the templates. He sketched every part of each car ensuring all details were accurate. The computer has since taken Wendell’s art to new heights in his Papercraft art. After experimentation, this man created the brilliant works displayed throughout this article. I tell you, I was incensed the moment I saw them on eBay where you may also purchase these unique works. I have purchased many, and from personal experience…I am amazed! They look just like the real cars. When you cut them out and tape them together they actually come to life. Display them with your 1/24 & 1/25 scale models and they really stand out! They add a realm of realism to your collection.
1957 Plymouth from the “California Kid” and “Christine” right
1955 Imperial limousine
“Other vehicles that are similar to this in complexity were the 1956 Rolls Royce from the movie starring Dudley Moore “Arthur,” and “The California Kid” with the 1934 Ford coupe along with the 1957 Plymouth police car. So are the blood-thirsty 1958 Plymouth Fury from Stephen King’s “Christine,” “The Addams Family’s” Packard, “Batman’s” Batmobile, and Col. Klink’s Mercedes from the TV sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes.” They all were fun to make but each one took quite a few months to complete. The Batmobile took the longest to make (4 months) and it required the most parts added on to it. The Gotham City police station is a printout and you will see the difference in quality as compared to background settings described later on in this article”
Batmobile & Gotham City Police Car
What a combination this is! On the left is Col. Klink’s Mercedes-Benz from “Hogan’s Heroes” next to it is “The Addams Family” Packard and “Itts” Messerschmitt! (Of course you remember Itt!) This is absolutely amazing how Wendell brought pieces of paper to life in such a magical way. You really have to look closely to see that they are paper!
A real custom Ford coupe
“Back to the future”
The Ford Anglia from Harry Potter
Wendell adds: “I have since stopped making any foreign vehicles and cars that require a complex build. The demand for one piece paper cut-out 1970’s American vehicles is all I can handle. All years of other American cars now are on permanent hold for the time being. The requests for 1970s American cars which come in every week, is astounding. These are easier for me to create using my established templates and I can get one finished in about a month.”
Wendell LOVES the real Mercury Grand Marquis
Background details: From town to auto dealerships
Per Wendell: “I started using a town background found on the internet to showcase the cars. The type of background was nice but got boring because I was using it for all my pics. I had to come up with something else. I then switched to dealerships with actual period correct advertisements. I created the car dealerships to help promote the look of the cars that are displayed for sale. The dealership backgrounds are for sale as well. They are the same size as my vehicles and will also compliment 1/24 & 1/25 scale model kits and promos.
1975 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser with town background
1975 Pontiac Grandville convertible with top up
1975-1978 Ford Country Squire station wagon
1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88 4-door hardtop sedan
I am using real cars to contrast Wendell’s talent
Papercraft 1975-1978 Mercury Colony Park wagon
1975 Pontiac Grandville convertible with top up
Now this is really, really, interesting here. Look at the detail Wendell has added to these! They are the Papercraft 1972 Dodge Polara Highway Patrol cars! The cars at the back look like they are real don’t they? I had to look when I uploaded the photo to make sure they are paper! You GO Wendell!
Papercraft 1975 Chevrolet Caprice 4-door sedan
Now here are the auto dealership backgrounds. This is a Chrysler showroom with the Papercraft Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue. If it weren’t for the cut-out at the bottom, it would be hard to tell if these are photos of a real Chrysler!
Well if it isn’t “Uncle Buck” outside a Lincoln Mercury dealer!
Papercraft 1977 Mercury Cougar Villager wagon
Papercraft 1977 Lincoln Mark V Bill Blass Edition
Papercraft 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car sedan
Wendell’s World includes a 1979 Continental limousine
Ah, the real 1976 T-Bird…the Papercraft versions would be better than this! These cars were dubbed Ford’s luxury lemons for a reason. Maybe Wendell will give us a 1976 Thunderbird? (The paper version will most likely outlast the original)
Here’s a GM showroom with the 1976 Olds 98 Regency 4-door
1976 Oldsmobile 98 Regency coupe – don’t they look real?
Wendell’s rendition of the Imperial is spot-on!
Now for the trucks…this is the Papercraft 1971-1972 Fargo (Dodge) Tradesman Maxivan…are these real or what?
Papercraft 1991 Chevrolet Suburban with 2-tone colors
Papercraft 1974 International Harvester Travelall Woody Wagon
Wendell’s dealership backgrounds are very authentic
Papercraft 1980 GMC Indy Hauler short bed
Burt Reynolds from the movie “White Lightning”
“The T.V. and movie vehicle background scenery pictures were found on the internet. They are not print outs, I use my computer screen which makes a really clear picture. Sometimes a picture does not print out well and looks much better on the screen. I tried to recreate The California Kid downhill chase from the movie along with actual scenes from the movies. Rambo First Blood and the Burt Reynolds movie White Lightning. My computer screen also supplied the Hawaiian background to the original Hawaii Five-O T.V. show 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham and the house background from the movie Christmas Vacation.”
Steve McGarrett & his 1968 Mercury Parklane from the TV Series Hawaii 5-O. Look at the detail Wendell captured in the Mercury!
The original 1970 Mercury Marquis Brougham
Rambo First Blood
“The California Kid” downhill chase…
“Christmas Vacation” RV with Cousin Eddie!
Wendell even captured the rust on Uncle Buck’s Mercury!
Who couldn’t love the whimsical movie “Cars!”
Check out Smoky & The Bandit
Buford T. Justice Pontiac Lemans with Smokey & The Bandit
As you may clearly see, these paper vehicles take many man hours to complete. They all reflect Wendell Koch’s labor of love. It’s the astonishing detail that grabbed my attention. Look at how each contains intricate detail – and all made from paper!
The Dukes of Hazzard! “EEEEEHA!”
Wendell even captured Cooter’s Towing service
Now it wouldn’t be complete without “The Rockford Files!”
And lest we forget “The Junkman!”
1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille
1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine
Talent is contributed to the world of art in many forms. It’s this diverse creativity that offers everyone something to tickle their fancy. Wendell Koch has a unique gift. Who would ever have thought a piece of paper could be brought to life in such a way? His unique talent requires a vivid imagination. Wendell puts a lot of himself into his works of art.
He says that it takes his mind off his health issues. I admire how this man thinks. He’s not sitting around feeling sorry for himself…no, it’s just the opposite. His passion for the automobile is evident. Wendell’s very own anime is a delightful change from the ordinary. NotoriousLuxury is dedicated to take the automotive enthusiast beyond the ordinary straight to the extraordinary. You gotta hand it to Wendell – this is unique! NotoriousLuxury salutes Wendell Koch and his exclusive Papercar Art.
Here’s a Mercury Grand Marquis for you Wendell! It isn’t “paper” but it is a little something just for you! After all…you’ve given so much of yourself to the world of art – so enjoy! God Bless you Wendell Koch, the entire world loves ya!
Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury © 2017
Thank you Wendell Koch for your gift!
1979 Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series
The Mercury was nicknamed “The poor man’s Lincoln”