Magnolia Special, Bienville Studios, New Orleans / photo Amy Jett, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.
"A first in automobile design and construction, the Magnolia Special was from inception a dedicated compressed natural gas vehicle," says former Shreveporter JT Nesbitt III.
Nesbitt has been a French Quarter resident for years now, pulling inspiration for his dramatic motorcycle designs and astonishing car projects from the Crescent City. His site, Bienvillestudios.com, provides background and a feast of project photos.
The Magnolia Special is about to be tested in a spectacular way. Says Nesbitt, "On Oct 15, after completing the testing, The Magnolia Special will embark upon a coast to coast record-setting run, New York to Los Angeles. She has been built with this purpose in mind. Every engineering decision has been inspired by the desire to produce a long distance endurance race car that extols the virtues of a clean burning domestic fuel."
Nesbitt says he is shooting for a 50-hour coast-to-coast run. The car's range is some 600 miles. CNG costs are about $1.20 a gallon at the moment.
That Chesapeake Natural Gas declined to support the vehicle frustrates Nesbitt. He has won editorial support, however, from Wired.com, who ran an admiring feature on the Magnolia in the Sept 2 edition. This week he's being covered by Jalopnik.com in a story called "How to make a green car sexy."
In Shreveport we are struck by the similarities between Nesbitt's historic and swoopcious sense of design and those expressed by William Joyce in books like Dinosaur Bob.
Like Joyce, Nesbitt is a long-time artist, a capable painter and Bayou State guy of world-class imagination.