Many moons ago, while composing yet another photochops post, I hemmed and hawed about including the above photo. It would have fit perfectly, thought I, in with the six-wheelers and other general automotive off-the-wallness from some of our regular photochop contributors. However, as I look over the series, I see that I never posted it, likely because a) I wasn’t entirely sure whether it was actually photochopped, and b) I couldn’t track down who did the work.
No longer! I mean, the photo may have been chopped (insert “I can tell from the pixels” meme), but the car does, in fact, exist in real life.
According to Hadleigh Oudemans of HBomb Customs and Classics in Timaru on New Zealand’s South Island, the custom – dubbed El Cadillette – started out as a 1959 Cadillac four-door hardtop, either a four-window Sedan de Ville or a four-window Series 62, that landed on the shop’s doorstep in late 2017. Another shop had cut the Cadillac down from sedan to coupe utility, installed the Continental kit, and added the Corvette coves, but the car’s owner, a kiwi who’d moved to Australia, wanted Oudemans to finish it for him.
That meant adding the tag axle, finishing the interior, and fabricating and installing custom chrome. While the owner was at it, he also asked Oudemans to finish off the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air hood rockets and the rumbleseat in the deck, build a custom grille from two 1959 Corvette grilles, and install a clear roof. A 500-cu.in. Cadillac V-8 powers the car with a four-barrel now instead of the stacked fuel injection system.
“I have been running this operation for 13 years now and I have never seen anything like it,” he told New Zealand’s Stuff. In addition to sourcing late Fifties American car parts in New Zealand, “the rear wheels have been the biggest challenge.”
The owner has between $200,000 and $300,000 in the car already. According to Oudemans, once finished, the car may hit the show circuit in the United States.
Photochop or not, I admire the creativity. Looking forward to seeing it in this hemisphere.