$2M, Ridler-winning Cadillac hot rod could be yours
Winning the Ridler Award is a lifetime achievement—for builder and for hot rod, since the latter is only eligible once—and adds substantial value to any vehicle so honored. How substantial? We’ll find out next month, when CadMad, the 2019 Ridler winner, crosses the Mecum block in Indianapolis in a no-reserve auction.
Arguably the most prestigious award bequeathed by the hot-rod industry, the Ridler Award is named for the late Don Ridler, who was the first professional promoter hired by the Michigan Hot Rod Association in the 1950s, as the MHRA was trying to launch the annual Autorama car show. The event grew, largely due to Ridler’s efforts, and moved to the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit in 1961. In 1963, Autorama decided to honor Ridler with an award given in his name. 60 years later, it’s still awarded to the best of show at the massive Detroit Autorama.
Ridler Award winners often sell collector-to-collector, so this will be a peek into what a sterling one-off Cadillac station wagon can bring at public auction.
Ridler Award candidates can’t have been shown elsewhere prior to the Autorama, and they must move under their own power. That likely isn’t an issue with CadMad, which is powered by a $97,000, 632-cubic-inch big-block Chevrolet V-8 with twin turbochargers, a powertrain that supposedly pumps out 1025 horsepower. The car began life as a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, with a body styled originally by Pininfarina.
CadMad was 16 years in the making, a $2 million project ultimately finished after the owner’s death. The owner’s brother, Craig Barton, helped the car past the finish line, fulfilling his brother’s dream of competing for a Ridler award.
It was built by the team at Super Rides by Jordan in Escondido, California. Shortened by 18 inches compared to the Cadillac wagon upon which it is based, CadMad now wears a Chevrolet Nomad roof and no rear doors. The acid-dipped body, and everything underneath, was narrowed to help the Nomad top fit. It’s all stretched over a tube-frame chassis. Ron Marqus is the man responsible for the custom interior, upholstered in pink and burgundy with glossy wood accents.
Supposedly the two-tone exterior, essentially orchid and silver, cost $300,000 alone, Mecum says.
What will CadMad bring? The was car auctioned off once before, in 2020, and brought $302,500. We’ll find out if it has appreciated when the car goes on the block at Dana Mecum’s Spring Classic in Indianapolis on May 20. We suspect it has.