custom cars

August 5, 2015

De Rosa Chopped 41 Caddy

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Written by: Rik Hoving
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Frank De Rosa has been building Custom Cars since the 1940’s and today, August, 2015, at age 88 Frank is still at it. Lets check out his latest creation. A wonderful 1941 Cadillac Series 61 which he chopped together with his son Frank Jr.


Frank De Rosa has been restyling cars in the Pittsburg, CA area since the mid-1940s. Together with his son Frank Jr they run a restoration and Custom Shop in Pittsburg, CA. The father-son team has over 100 years of building between them. Frank is mostly known for his very creative and outside the box thinking creations from the 1970’s and 1980’s. In the 1970s, they were part of the Northern California car builders that brought back customs. Although the De Rosa’s had never really left it!

At age 88, Frank is still doing what he loves best, creating custom cars, and the 1941 Cadillac in this article shows that he is still more than capable to do a super job on it. Perfectly balanced chop which of course could be done with the many years of experience of both Frank and Frank Jr. The 1941 Cadillac Series 61 in this article was done for a customer. But the car is for Sale as it is. Lets take a closer look at the De Rosa Chopped 41 Caddy.

Call Frank at 925-439-5115 or visit their Pittsburg shop at 1090 Harbor Street, for more info.
Frank De Rosa Custom Cars

CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-00Where is all begins. The body has been stripped from all the trim, glass, rubber and the interior completely removed. Frank is starting to take measurements to figure out where to make the cuts.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-01A lot of thinking goes into chopping one of these Fleetline bodies, and Frank makes sure all the cut marks are exactly where he wants them to be.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-02Marking the pie-cutsthat will be removed to make sure the top can be moved forwards and the B-Pillar be angled into its new position.



CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-03Pie-cuts are also marked on the inside of the C-Pillar.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-04And then… its time to make the first cuts. Together with Frank Jr (on the left) they are cutting the top at the marks Frank had previously made on the body.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-05With a section already removed from the C-Pillar Frank is making more measurements to make sure it will all line up after the top has been dropped.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-06The top is now dropped into its new position and the fine tuning of the pillars can start. Frank Jr is holding the door post, while Frank Sr is figuring out the best way to cut the B-Pillar for the most perfect flow.



CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-07Great photo of Frank cutting a piece of shaped metal for the chopped top.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-08All the main body work on the top has now been done, and its time to start on the details, like filling the trip holes and creating a new molded in drip rail.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-09All body work on the top has now been done, and the main body has been put in primer. Notice also that the rear door corners have been rounded.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-10A nice detail is the rounded top corner of the door. Frank chose to round the corner less than the window shape, making the B-Pillar a very interesting shape.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-11The trunk had to be pie-cut sectioned to make the new shape of the chopped top flow with the rest of the body.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-15First time out of the shop shows the wonderfully shaped body on the non dropped frame.



CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-14Great flow of the trunk towards the top.


CCC-de-rosa-chopped-41-cadillac-13Can you imagine how this car will look with a nice drop of the suspension and a wonderful dark organic paint job?



For more info on this 1941 Cadillac or any other work that the De Rosa Custom Shop does. Call Frank 925-439-5115 or visit the De Rosa Custom Shop in Pittsburg, Ca. at 1090 Harbor Street.




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About the Author

Rik Hoving
Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)


  1. Wow! What gorgeous profile and proportions. Masterful!!
    Larry Pointer


  2. I hope you are reading this Mal? When can we start?


  3. Don’t think I have seen one of those chopped before, looks really nice.


  4. I keep coming back to this one over and over. I really love the look. Simple and stunning. Skirts will help it just that bit more. I’d love to know chop measurements. I was looking at Mal’s uncut 47 and reckon 2 1/2 inch front and 4 inch at back. . . Ish. Would love to see more on trunk piecuts.
    We may have to do Brad’s sedan to coupe chop and then Mal might come to the party.


  5. Wow, that is a nice chop! So wonderful to see him still at it at 88!


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