9 April 2013

Custom Caddy a magical one-off

Makeover: From sedan to classy two-door

 

My visit to the Vintage Car Club of Canada’s annual Easter Sunday gathering at the Oakridge shopping centre solved my weekly dilemma of what to write.
 
I knew that the chance of finding something new and never seen before at Oakridge was a strong probability, and sure enough as soon as I saw a crowd gathering around one car in particular, I knew my problems were solved.
 
I have seen a few Rolls-Royces turned into radical custom cars, but I can’t recall seeing such a beautiful Cadillac as the one Don Sherwin brought to display and debut.
 
The car began its life as a Canadian-built 1934 Cadillac four-door touring sedan. In 1939, the Victoria-delivered Cadillac was sold as a used car and driven to Yorkton, Sask.
 
But despite having accomplished the long journey, it unexpectedly developed a mechanical problem and expired.
 
As it was the beginning of the Second World War, the funds to repair it simply were not available, so the car was parked on a farm where it remained abandoned for the next 50-plus years, never turning a wheel.
 
The farmer’s nephew had shown an interest in owning the car, so the owner gave it to him and presented him with the ultimatum of moving it before he had it taken away to a scrap yard.
 
What was left of the Caddy — it was very grim and had been picked apart — returned to British Columbia where it was transformed into a stunning, one-of-a-kind, two-door custom. The body length was shortened by 31 cm (12 inches); the front doors had to be extended by 16 cm (six inches) to transform it into a two-door; and to give it the correct look the roof was chopped and lowered by eight cm (three inches).
 
The running gear is a modern Cadillac 500D engine sending power to a 10-bolt GM rear axle through a GM 400 automatic transmission. The wheels are 20-inch on the rear and 18-inch on the front; the steering is performed by a 1993 Ford Explorer power rack-and-pinion unit.
 
The list of modifications is endless so to sum up the only thing one could add is that it is stunning. So much so that a quick glance will not be enough time to absorb all of the intricate details and radical changes that have taken place.

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