December 12, 2018 at 13:50 #62162
In the late 1980’s there was one car that rocked the automotive world pretty hard. A customized 1948 Cadillac created at Hot Rods by Boyds that set new standards, and I think helped the growth of customizing. The cars design merged traditional custom styling, with Hot Rod and modern car Design Study styling in to one super slick style of Custom we had never seen before. It all came from the creative mind of designer Larry Erickson who designed the car for ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. Metal Craftsman Craig Naff did most of the body (and more) construction on the car. Craig recently shared his personal photo album of the build on his facebook…. A wonderful look in this trend setting Custom.
All words by Craig Naff…
This is a full scale line drawing of a stock 1948 Cadillac sedanet. Larry Erickson used this drawing to hide his concept for its reveal.
This is Larry and Billy Gibbons before the reveal
This is Larry’s full size concept of Cadzilla
This is the cast of characters who were involved in reviewing the concept and providing input.Left to right Jammie Musselman, Jack Chissenhall, Boyd Coddington, Billy Gibbons, Larry Erickson, and myself Craig Naff.
This is the 1948 Cadillac Sedanette that would become Cadzilla
A 70,000+ mile Arizona car, only driven to church by a little old lady!
Here is a Sharp dressed man checking out his new ride.
Phillip Dahn taking photos for Hot Rod mag. I was supposed to look like I knew what I was talking about.
Disassembly of original Caddy.
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 13:54 #62163
At this point in the build the plan was to use the original frame and install all new suspension.
Off with her head!
Now its time to correct all the factory defects . LOL
At this stage I was working toward having 1 side of the car roughed in for a review by Larry Erickson, and Billy Gibbons.
This was a simple buck developed from the full size drawing, and several sketches.
New hand fabed roof sides an windshield posts. I used the original roof center section.
Side view of new roof sections. The quarter window area has also been modified to be a hardtop.
Rear fender reinstalled.
The roof to rear body transition area has been shaped, as well as the modifications to the trailing edge of the fender.
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 13:59 #62164
Rear view of the roof transition.
Here the hood has been pie cut and tacked together and the channel has been formed for the original mascot.
Hood tacked up will soon be welded to the fenders.
New door skin with fade away bead line shaped and tacked in place the door skins were shaped in 2 sections. the new lower fender section is also in place.
This is 1 side of the car roughed in and ready for review. No inner structure has been fabed at this point.
Jack Chisenhall and Billy Gibbons like what they see, Now will someone help this man get his beard back in the car!
Good review, now things get serious.
Good comparison of height to full size in the back ground.
To facilitate having suicide doors I removed the hinge posts from the front of the door opening switched them side to side and reinstalled them to the rear of the door opening. I used thin wall rectangular tubing for the body sills
A new section has been fabbed and welded into the area forward of the wheel housing
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 14:04 #62165
The rear window opening has been flanged for a shelf for the glass to set on
The new latch post has been fabricated and welded into the body. The latch is in the post and the striker will be on the door.
The skin for the deck lid is shaped and being fit to the body
The second side of the car is now also complete and the taillight buckets are welded in
The front fenders behind the wheel opening have been split and a new lower portion made and welded into the body. This is where the tilt front end will separate and will be hidden by a chrome trim piece. This was before the second review.
This is the new chassis built by Larry Seirgeif at Boyds
The chassis uses C-4 Corvett front suspention a 9″ Ford rear suspention,and a 500 CID Cadillac engine.
This is the new rear wheel tub and the bracing for the upper half of the rear fender.
The inside of the front door post showing the latch and electric solenoid.
Rear hinge post reinforcement.
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 14:09 #62166
Rear wheel tub, outer trunk floor and fender welded to body and leaded.
Completed firewall,a nd latch posts.
These are the patterns I shaped to have the glass made from. They are shaped from 1/8″ aluminum.
The patterns were delivered to California glass bending and they formed several sets of 1/4″ laminated safety glass from them.
The body shell is complete and ready for Greg Morrel to coat it in primer.
The body is primed and the inner frame for the deck lid is complete. The trunk floor is also finished.
The bottom side of the deck lid.showing hinges and air struts to hold it open. You can also see the linear actuators that raise and lower the rear of the car.
Inside of completed deck lid.
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 14:16 #62167
Completed deck lid.
Cowl area with hood latch receiver.
Engine compartment with cowl bracing completed. Dzus tabs are for inner wheel housings.
Sorry got this photo out of sequence, these are the electric actuators to lift the rear of the car for loading . They use bell cranks to move the upper coilover shock mount.
This section of the fender has been removed to be replaced with a new section with the raised spear that flowes back into the door.
Completed fender spear, and frenched headlamp opening.
This shows the inner bracing inside the hood/ fender assembly.
Side view of the open front end.
Close up of the tilt mechanism for the front end. The bumper has become a structural element the hinges mount to it as does the fenders. The assembly is opened by an electric actuator, and the gas struts help smooth out the movement.
All closed up the piece of brass trim is in place to cover the seam between the upper and lower fender sections.
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 14:20 #62168
Front or car showing 55 Chevy bumper,modified 49 Caddy upper grill bar hand fabbed center bar,and the controversial Moon tank.
Close up of the hand formed brass center bar parking lamp opening.
The Dagmars (bumper guards) were original Caddy modified to fit .
Windshield wipers hidden below hood line.
Hand formed brass taillight bezels.
Chassis assembly 500CID Caddy engine built by Art Chrisman.
Rear of chassis Pete Morrel at tool box.
Body in sealer ready for color.
Egg Plant anyone?
Final assembly Pete Morrel again.
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 14:24 #62169
Duane Mayer Pete Morrel and Larry Sierjef.
Interior was a joint effort between Dan Drum and Bobby Griffey.
Hand made steering wheel and restored gauge panel.
Down on the ground! Boyd Coddington watching over the proceedings with Andy, and Carl.
Wow this is my all time favorite angle of this car. Larry Erickson in the Back ground.
Open House unveiling at Hot Rods by Boyd.
Enjoy the beauty of CustomizingDecember 12, 2018 at 17:38 #62173Mild MitchParticipant
Thanks to Craig Naff and thanks you Rik for posting this. It is really inspiring to see the “behind the scenes” creation and construction details of this car. I was fortunate to see Cadzilla several times shortly after its debut .
I actually had a near perfect ’48 Cadillac at the time Cadzilla was being built. I wanted to chop and customize my car of course. There were several other Cadillacs that had been built just prior to Cadzilla that were hard topped. They all just looked wrong to me. When this car hit the scene, it was mind bending! I sold my Cad, knowing then I could just never do it justice. I still love Cadzilla, and it did truly change and further the Custom Car world. The design, engineering and build quality caused others to step up their game.
True Inspiration and Art
MitchDecember 12, 2018 at 18:18 #62175MBParticipant
Incredible! Thank you for posting these.December 12, 2018 at 23:24 #62176Ian GibbonsParticipant
Thanks for posting Rik. I absolutely love built pics especially when it is cars of this level. A great car that IMO has stood the test of time.December 13, 2018 at 00:28 #62177ARTMANParticipant
Fabulous! incredible project! i love this car..and Gibbon..
GoOd TiMeS !December 17, 2018 at 05:19 #62214ShanahanParticipant
Nice. I like the ZZ Top firewall, never saw a picture of that before.May 22, 2019 at 20:54 #63974David WolkParticipant
I was there for the unveiling of Cadzilla. The 1st few photos in this story with the cardboard cutouts were taken at the unveiling in Louisville Ky. It was an invitation only event hosted by Hot Rod magazine at a large conference room at a hotel which took place during the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. I was lucky enough to be invited. It was the 1st time I’d been to something like that. The room was full of hot rod builders and hot rod industry folks. It was very cool to be there, but also very intimidating.
Cadzilla sat in the corner of the room covered with large white sheets until the unveiling.May 23, 2019 at 21:48 #63976KingKustomsParticipant
I’ve always liked this car and thought it captured a nice blend of traditional and contemporary styling, as mentioned. I never could figure out that silly tank in the grill. It’s awesome to see these build pictures!
Robert A. Radcliffe III
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