Tom Kennedy

He was a fin man. That was Tom Kennedy's specialty when it came to his pioneering work in the art-car movement: dolphins, sharks, whales--Kennedy did all of them.

After he succumbed to an unforgiving riptide while bodysurfing near San Francisco's Ocean Beach on April 12 at 48, his close friend Harrod Blank remarked that Kennedy's works were, "ironically, inspired by the sea." So it was true to form that Kennedy dubbed his first creation--originally a Nissan Sentra--Ripper the Friendly Shark. He equipped the working car with a toothy jaw and a tail that swished.

Despite having worked for more than 10...

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