By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Jan 04, 2011 at 9:04 AM

With gas prices on the rise and new policies and ideas on the table, it's time to look at how we get around. We all need to get someplace and we use many different modes of transportation to do so. As we kick off 2011 at, we're taking an in-depth look at how we get around with a special "Transportation Week," featuring all kinds of stories about how Milwaukee gets where it's going. So, buckle up, hop on and all aboard.

Imagine driving through the quiet Racine suburb of Wind Point when an impossibly curvy black and yellow convertible, stylized with a stinger and a thrift-store leather jacket interior, pulls up next to you.

"What the f*ck is that" is the usual first reaction that artist Bill Reid hears when people see his "Bee Bomb" driving by.

Reid, a Wind Point artist and sculptor, began building arts cars about 10 years ago. If you've never seen one, an art car can take many forms -- traditionally, they are existing cars that an embellished with paint, buttons and other attachments. In Reid's case, his art cars are one-off sheet metal sculptures, street-legal vehicles that in no way resemble their former selves.

So far, Reid has completed three motorized cars and three pedal-driven cars. The Bee Bomb is, however, his masterpiece.

"Pedal cars have less mechanical things to deal with," says Reid, who doesn't describe himself as a "car guy."

"I screwed up a lot on the first one, like punching through the fuel line, but it worked," says Reid.

To make his art cars street legal, Reid must pass a state inspection in Waukesha. At first, he didn't use the right windshield glass and bumpers. "But after a few times it passed, and the Bee Bomb is a legit car on the road."

Even though you wouldn't know it by looking at it, the Bee Bomb began as an '88 Ford Escort. Reid tore the whole body apart, but kept the engine and the chassis.

Reid says he hasn't tried to sell his art cars and doesn't even know if there's much of a market for the rolling sculptures.

But for him, it's not about the money. "In America, you do pretty much anything you want," says Reid. "Cars have pretty much taken over the world, but if you have the idea where you can make your own, not something made by a big corporation, that's the thing."

Before starting a project, he says he has a pretty clear idea of how the body will look, but he learns a lot when he starts taking the car apart. Each car takes Reid a few months to build, and he only works on the cars when the weather is nice.

As a sculptor who works with wire skeletons covered with sheet metal, the art car is a logical evolution of his art.

"The Bee Bomb has taken hints from a '50s European sports car," says Reid. "It's kind of like a thrift store Jaguar."

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.