Homegrown: Fantastic “Fintasia 2” is much more than a Magnum

Courtesy Steve Heller

Welcome to Homegrown—a new limited series about homebuilt cars and the ingenuity of their visionary creators. Know a car and builder that might fit the bill? Send us an email at tips@hagerty.com with the subject line HOMEGROWN. Read about more Homegrown creations here. —Ed.

Long-time Hagerty member Steve Heller, 77, has spent half a century selling what he calls “live edge furniture and space age artifacts” from his Fabulous Furniture shop in Boiceville, New York. In spare moments, he mustered the energy to create four wild customs, including his so-called Fintasia 2 presented here.

“In the early 2000s, I needed a long-distance cruiser to travel between my store and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore where some of my sculpture became part of their collection. Since my customized ’59 Cadillac, called Fintasia, was definitely not the right vehicle for such missions, I purchased a Mercury Grand Marquis to serve my hauling needs,” recalls Heller.

Fintasia custom cadillac pink flame job front three quarter
The original “Fintasia” Courtesy Steve Heller

“My partner in crime, Mark Karpf, and I reshaped every inch of the exterior in my shop’s driveway, including the addition of ’50s-era DeSoto tailfins. What we christened the Marquis de Soto won the New York Times Collectible Car of the Year award and subsequently best of class at Pasadena and Sacramento, California shows.

“After that custom was sold to a California buyer, I purchased a near new Dodge Magnum in 2011, drove it home, and promptly ripped into it. We called that custom Cro-Magnum. Even though it dropped jaws everywhere I went with it, that custom was a bit too subtle for my tastes, so I bought another Magnum—a 2006 R/T wagon to efficiently transport my creations—and promptly went to town on that.

“For what was soon labeled Fintasia 2, we created the biggest ’59 Cadillac tailfins we could imagine. All the modifications were made of either original 1950s sheet metal or fabricated from scratch. No Bondo was allowed.

“This custom sports a total of eight Cadillac bullet taillamps! The scallops in the paint contain 23k gold metalflake. Construction took two years and cost around $75,000.

“Fintasia 2 also won its class at the Grand National [Roadster] Show in Pomona. While visiting the west coast, I swung by Jay Leno’s garage in Burbank. Unfortunately, the place was locked tight. But just as I was leaving, I heard someone yell ‘Hey! Hey! Where ya going?  It was Jay; he spent some time inspecting my creation and sharing generous compliments.

“We recently repainted Cro-Magnum with the intention to sell it. Those proceeds will hopefully finance my next customizing adventure!”

Anyone interested in seeing Fintasia 2, visiting Heller’s studio, or purchasing his Cro-Magnum Dodge can reach him at Fabulous Furniture, 3930 Route 28 in Boiceville, New York or email him at fabfurn1@gmail.com.


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    Why? Why not?
    It is not something I find attractive.
    Though give it a black paint job and imagine Adam West behind the wheel.
    This however looks to be put together well, I give the builders a thumbs up for the assembly.
    Not my cup of tea.

    Not my taste, but neither are lowriders, and I can look those over all day. I love to bear witness to true craftsmanship in almost anything, and this is the same. Keep doing what you do sir!

    One question though, would it kill you to put some cool wheels on it too? Too much time and effort went into this to leave the mundane stock alloys on it!

    Hey folks,custom cars were around long before “collecter cars”. Ya have to admirer someone who sticks to his dreams and the hundreds of hours he spent to make them come true.

    Every “real” car guy has his or hers taste, high, low, flames, candy colors, Eruo cars an the list goes on, all should be respected. I am a most stock, Resto Mods, close to original collector. BUT I admire his drive to build what he likes and put the time in it. He should be applauded. Any body here making rude comments are “A holes”. I see this at the car shows all the time. Mr good taste and know it all’s go to the shows with out a car!!! I go after good resale in my cars, not much luck in a full custom. Look at Randy Grubs creations “Blastoline Bros”. His stuff is wild. So there is a guy for everything & everybody

    Man, those are GREAT!
    Steve’s like an older weird-kid-brother.
    Do either Steve, or Mark Karpf have any history on Long Island?

    Stevie is the BEST and totally one of a kind. His spouse, Martha deserves lots of credit for her appreciation of his creative lunacy. He is one of the kindest people on the planet.

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