By Frazer Randalls

INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED builder of bespoke customer cars, Paul Bacon, has completed his most ambitious project yet – a steampunk hot rod built from scratch

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Videographer / director: Bob Callway

Producer: Frazer Randalls​, Ruby Coote

Editor: Tom Buckman


The Automatron is a horse-drawn carriage inspired hot rod, boasting a 3.5L supercharged V8 engine with an estimated top speed of up to 110mph.

Beginning with a 1924 Singer Sport base, parts were added from a variety of unlikely sources; including a switch gear from a Lancaster Bomber and the front wheels of an Austin 7.

Taking over four years to complete, the build has won the maverick inventor critical acclaim, with Paul highly commended for the hot rod’s distinctive design.

Paul Bacon told Barcroft Cars: “Automatron is the best thing I’ve ever built; and I’ll probably never build anything quite this detailed ever again.

“I wanted something between a Cinderella’s carriage and a Competition Altered.”

Upon completing another of his iconic custom-builds, the Cosmotron in 2015, welder and inventor Paul from Leicestershire, UK immediately began work on his biggest project to date, the Automatron.

He said: “This car has been the most expensive car I’ve ever built, and also the most labour intensive up to now, nearly every part is custom on this car.

“I didn’t want to build anything like what had been built before. I wanted to go back to the days of the horse-drawn carriage.”

The eccentric designer cites top-fuelled dragster cars as a big source of his inspiration, heavily influencing the vehicles idiosyncratic aesthetic.

You’ll be shocked to learn the creative source for many of the parts.

Nothing is off limits with the majority of parts either being chopped up, welded together or bolted on to create the uniquely modified vehicle.

He explained: “A lot of it is they’re one off parts, the navigation binnacle is from a ship.

“Six silver goblets have been chopped off and bolted [for the exhaust tips],” added Paul.

“The fuel tank was originally a gas bottle.”

The creator confesses the biggest difficulty driving is visibility, with vision being largely impaired by carburettors and the 3.5L supercharged engine.

Driving the one-off creation around Hugglescote, UK, the designer admits his creation turns heads from both serious petrolheads and curious bystanders alike.

He said: “The worst thing about this car is the attention. You can’t stop anywhere or you’re just going to be surrounded by people.”

But, despite the enjoyment he gets from driving the Automatron, Paul admits his enjoyment comes mostly from building cars; and he is already planning to sell the custom-built Automatron to finance his next madcap project.

He said: “when you’ve been so close to a project and built it, I don’t think you can ever fully appreciate it. But someone else can buy it and I’m sure they’ll love it.”