May 15, 2015

Digital Restyling 1947 Cadillac Coupe

1947 Cadillac Coupe



For the 1946-’47 year Cadillac did not offer an Coupe model in their line. For this Digital Restyling article I wanted to see how a coupe model would look like, and how well it could have been used as a full Custom Car.

Several years ago I was working on a Digital Restyling project for a client, and when the project was nearly finished the client mentioned he had an 1947 Cadillac Series 60 Special Fleetwood four door. And asked me if I had any ideas on how to customized it. Well I had, in fact I have always really liked the 1946-47 Cadillac’s a lot. I absolutely love the pontoon fenders and the shape of the whole body, no matter which body style. So I had already a lot of ideas in my mind for a full custom version of one of these 46-47 Cadillac’s. Although I had never really thought to much about using the four door as a base, but I did like the shape of the top on those. Sadly the client decided to let go of his Cadillac before the Digital Restyling project had started, so back then I never did the visuals I had in my head.

Some time ago I came across a nice photo, near dead on side view showing a 1947 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood a little from behind, and thought it would be perfect for the designs I had carried with me for all these years.

CCC-1947-cadillac-four-door-sedanThis was the photo I found online that I though had potential. I like the way the car looked in the photo, showing it slightly from the real, which would help showing the roof shape I had in mind a little better. I also like the slightly lower than eye height view, which would also help with the Digital Restyling process. The one thing I did not care for was the background… so that was the first thing I removed.


The concept of a 1947 Cadillac coupe is not really new. I have seen one photo of one done in the late 1940’s early 1950’s that was published in the Rodder’s Journal Scrapbook. And Finish Designer and Illustrator Janne Kutja did a version of an Matranga styled coupe, which was published in a Rod & Custom Magazine a couple of years ago.


My ideas are a bit different from what I had seen. I wanted it to look like a factory built car, as something that really could have rolled out of the Cadillac Factory in 1947. And from there I would start with the customizing. When I started the project I decided to not do the factory stock version. with the stock height top, but go straight for a factory custom with a chopped top. Something that perhaps could have been built by Don Lee for a famous movie star in 1947. Don Lee built several early 1940’s Cadillac and LaSalle based Customs for Movie Stars. These were base on coupe models, and some had the rear quarter windows filled in.

Of course I was also very much inspired to do this project since I had been doing some Digital work on my friend Palle johansen’s 1947 Cadillac Convertible with Padded top. And figured that my version(s) of the 1947 Coupe would be a perfect car to be parked next to Palle’s Custom.

The Phantom 5-Window Coupe

CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-00Version 00 – First version is conservative, as if it was built by a shop like Don Lee in California for a famous Movie Start who wanted something different.


I first started with lowering the body a little in the front and a bit more in the back. Then I transformed the car into a two door by filling in the door lines and moving the front door line further to the rear. I figured out where I wanted to have the rear base of the new coupe style roof on the body, moved everything forward and extended and reshaped the trunk to fit the new lines. I really like the shape of the windows on the four door Fleetwood, and wanted to use those, at least in the first more conservative version. I chopped the top until I had a nice profile. I’m not sure how much the top is chopped, but my guess is between two and thee inches. These Cadillacs do not need to be chopped too much to look good.

CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-01Version 5-W-01 – The second version was cleaned up a little. Its basically the same as the first image, but I shaved the trunk, removed the stock taillights and created bumper guard taillights.


CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-01bVersion 5-W-01b – I wanted to see one more variation on this version, stretched front fenders. Not fade aways all the way to the rear fender, I was going to do those later as well, but rather extended pontoon door pieces with a less rounded bottom section.


CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-02Version 5-W-02 – Next up was a slightly different side window and B-pillar shape. I loved the large radius on the stock version, but the dip in the drip-rails take a little bit of “speed” away from the overall look. So I created a more traditional drip rail, and reshaped the window corners and top section of the B-Pillar.


CCC-1947-Cadillac-5-w-coupe-03Version 5-W-03 – Another version based on the same design is 03 where I added full fade-way fenders. This created a completely different look. I think that the 1940-47 Cadillac’s look really great with full fade-away fenders, and they really enhance the lines on this coupe version. One thing I did not try on this style was one with the drip rails shaved. Perhaps I will add it later.


CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-04Version 5-W-04 – A variation on the 5-window them shows the usage of the doors I had designed for the three window coupe, with the long curved B-Pillar. The rear quarter window follow the shape of the door lines. I think this version looks the best with the drip rails in place, since it ties all the lines together.


CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-05Version 5-W-05 – Same as above, but now with the drip rail above rear quarter window removed and only used around the door opening.


CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-06Version 5-W-06 – This is version of the 5-window Coupe with the b-pillars angled forward. I Did not want the side windows to become to short at the top after reshaping the B-Pillars, so I ended up widening the doors to the three window width. This created the side window profile and proportions I was looking for. This version has drip rails and stock taillights.


CCC-1947-cadillac-5-w-coupe-07Version 5-W-07 – Same 5-window coupe version as above, only difference is that this version has the drip rails shaved, full fade-away fenders and the stock taillights shaved.




The Phantom 3-Window Coupe

CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04Version 04 – Inspired by the Don Lee creations and a 1939 Cadillac I had designed for Quentin Hall, I also wanted to try a three window coupe version based on this 1947 Cadillac as well. I extended the door a bit more, and reshaped the rear of the door windows using the rear portion of the rear doors  from the four door. I had to reshape the rear a bit here and there to make it all work together, but once done I really liked the feeling of this one.


CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04bVersion 04b – This version is basically the same as the number 04 above, but now the whole body has been shaved. Door handles and antenna removed. But I did keep the lady on the hood. I think that hood ornament looks so great on these cars. I also changed the back-groud photo… just for fun.


CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04c-newVersion 04c – One more variation on the three window theme is this one with the stock fenders which gives the car a completely different look. The use of 1953 Cadillac hubcaps also make a huge difference. Hard to say which body style version I prefer.


CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-04dVersion 04d – Another version of the three window coupe shows a shorter top and longer trunk, giving the car a more sporty look.


The Phantom Hard-Top Coupe

CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-05Version 05 – The final version I wanted to see was a Hard-Topped version. The first one I did has a new side window opening. It is based on the 5-window coupe side windows, but was reshaped to look better for this version. It is not a real Hard-Top since the doors still have a frame around it, but the looks are all Hard-Top.


CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-05bVersion 05b – Same as Number 05 above, but now with full fade away fenders.


CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-06Version 06 – The next variation was another “fake” Hard-Topped version with Matranga/Hirohata Merc styled side window. For this I reshaped the roof a bit more. I chopped it a little further and made it flow more in the back. Compared to the Hirohata Merc this Cadillac has much taller side windows. I did not want to create a too “cartoonish” car out of it for this project. The full fade-away fenders look really well on this side window style also. Another version with the 1953 hubcaps.


CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-06bVersion 06b – Same as above, but now with the stock fenders.


CCC-1947-cadillac-ht-coupe-06cVersion 06c – So far all the versions I had created used the stock, but shortened Cadillac belt line trim which wraps around under the rear window. I really like that look, especially on these Cadillacs, since they give it a certain style element. But I did want to see how it would look with the top molded into the rear of the body and the lines from the trunk nicely flowing into the roof. I did want to keep the belt line trim, so I shortened it and let it stop slightly further on the belt line than where the rear window ends. 


CCC-1947-cadillac-3-w-coupe-06dVersion 06d – Last version I created is similar as above, but then with the stock fender, and I used the 1953 Cadillac hubcaps again on this version.


I hope you have enjoyed looking at these Digital Restyled versions of the 1947 Cadillac Phantom Coupe as much I as had creating them. Now hopefully somebody gets inspired enough to turn their 1946-47 Cadillac Four door Fleetwood into one of these versions shown on the Custom Car Chronicle. If you do… please let us know. I would love to see one of these come to live in metal.

Rik Hoving



Are you day dreaming about your own perfect dream custom?

  • Do you wonder what your precious car would (or could!) look like, even before you start cutting on it?
  • Would you like to see different paint variations and styled on your custom car before you even start to mask the car, or order that expensive new paint? 
  • Or would you like to see the difference of a 2, 3 or 4 inch chop and see the impact it will have on the rest of the car?
  • Maybe you want to see any other modification done to your custom car, without having to actually perform that modification and find out a different modification would have worked better with the rest of your car?

Do you suddenly see all the possibilities? Perhaps now is a good time to contact Rik Hoving and ask him about the possibilities of his digital Restyling options. Request are free of any obligations.






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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. Trying. . . to . . . Speak . . . .speachless. . . .


  2. Hi Rik !
    Yes yes and YEEEEEES that is soooo sweet , what beautiful lines , why did Cadillac discontinue the lovely 1941 coupe in 1942 . Its almost a complete phantom lineup of missing Cadillac bodies but 1941 had a slanted Bpillar and that be neat to see on the coupe , also a short 3window like the Crysler and Lincoln had in their lineup would not be too far fetched , the fadeaways are just killing me , what a design fantasy , very sweet flowing lines !!!!
    Thanks for showing us !


  3. awesome rik, i love it, my favored ..o6 c.. mean looking kustom designs you did on this cad, looking goood,


  4. Absolutly stunning Rik.As Memo I like version 6c but I´m thinking of #3 with slanted b-pillars as that was a signum for GM coupes over those years.Hope I´ll be 300 years old so I can build all these cars.


  5. This is good stuff. I really love these design concepts, pure luxury and class. And I guess the extended wheelbase on the 60s just adds on to that impression. If I had to pick one personal favorite it would be either 5w07 or 5b. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Lovely Rik.5w no 7 is wonderful and defenitly my choice.


  7. I think Wb 40 is my favourite.!


  8. Thanks all for the comments and suggestions. I have added a few extra versions based on the comments and emails I received. Fun stuff…


  9. I’m about to wear out my mouse! So many subtle changes, each unique and appealing to the eye. Rik, you are a magician! Thanks for sharing your thought processes with us as you progressed.
    Larry Pointer


  10. Hey, Rik
    Neat exercise, and very well done as always. It’s fun to look at the many variations and choose our favorites. Mine came down to 5W02, 5W09, and HT05, with the hardtop as the final winner. But you could probably have guessed that, since you know a lot about my taste and preferences.
    Tony Miller


  11. Hi Rik !
    I know this is a deap drill into the missing 1947 Cadillac coupe but a carson on the Version 04d would be neat , long trunk , long door , fadaway !!!
    Otherwise one of my favorits is one 5window version 5-W-07 ,
    and the 3window version 04d


  12. These are great as usual!
    Here is link to Rod & Custom (RIP) Dream Car of the Month article:


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