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Magnolia Special



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Looking Back to Move Forward:
One Man Redesigns Going Green

Quite like his recently built roadster, J.T. Nesbitt is a man from another era.

He compares his most recent project, the Magnolia Special, to pre-World War II America, when consumers first obtained a rolling chassis (the bare bones of a car, restricted to the engine, wheels, suspension and steering system) and then commissioned a coachbuilder to construct and fit a body to the skeleton of the automobile. In this tradition of purchasing a vehicle, every finished product was customized and unique to the desires of the purchaser.
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The Magnolia Special is thus a representation of the past beyond its 1930s roadster design. The vehicle, however, takes the process of customization one step further, with Nesbitt having hand-built every piece of the car, from the body and its many accessory pieces right down to the very engine. But the one characteristic that makes the car distinctly modern is the fact that it was designed to run on compressed natural gas, a cleaner and less expensive alternative to gasoline.
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As a custom coachbuilder, Nesbitt represents a lost tradition of American automakers, yet his most recent design focuses on the future while borrowing inspiration from the past. And for this automaker, the future of environmentally friendly cars far from forsakes style.

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Banks Farley

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