Building a successful custom car takes vision – the ability to picture a radically different finished shape from the one you’re starting with. Some customs, like Kevin Anderson’s ’47 Cadillac convertible, take much more vision than others.
Believe it or not, this radical Carson-topped custom actually started out as a four-door sedan! It was a 47,000-mile, museum-kept, one-owner car when Kevin got it and in less than a year became the chopped, candy-colored beauty you see here.
Kevin teamed up with Mike Boerema at the Gas Axe Garage to make the transformation, using illustrations from Brian Baker as a roadmap. “What we tried to do was to pursue how Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell might have built this custom, late in 1947,” Kevin said. “The Gas Axe Garage really hit the mark!”
The list of modifications is almost too long to repeat, but highlights include a 5-inch chopped Carson-style top, longer coupe doors (requiring the door pillar to be moved back 7-inches), shaved trim and handles, lowered rear fender skirts, relocated fuel filler, a custom rear pan, and custom taillights inserted into the rear bumper guards. When the extensive metal work was complete, Gary and Dylan Brown of Brown’s Metal Mods did the final prep and coated the body in a custom House of Kolor hue dubbed Crystal Candy, highlighted with plating by Jon Wright’s Custom Chrome.
The interior is equally opulent, with a combination of cream-colored leather and vintage Cadillac cloth stitched in a clean, classy pattern by Joe Bukrey at Buckskinz. A GM tilt column was topped with a smaller-diameter stock steering wheel, while lead crystal Cadillac badges – cast using the original trunk badge as a pattern – were added to the doors to provide an air of sophistication. Hidden Kicker Audio gear provides 1500 watts of rich, modern-quality stereo sound.
Starting with such a low-mileage original, minimal mechanical work was necessary. A ’57 Chevy power steering pump was added to the 346c.i. Cadillac Flathead V8, while the original transmission and rearend were left alone. Extensive suspension work was done to install air springs and a rear four-link setup. The 12-inch reduction in ride height, combined with the top chop, resulted in a cruiser that’s overall height is a staggering 17 inches lower than the sedan they started with. It glides down the road on vintage-style Goodyear “Super Cushion” wide whitewalls surrounding plated Sombrero hubcaps.
The Crystal Cadillac drew huge crowds when it debuted at the 2018 Detroit Autorama before coming to the Goodguys All American Get-Together in Pleasanton to earn a Top Five spot in the 2018 Street Rod Headquarters Custom of the Year competition. Transforming a formal, upright four-door sedan into this stunning, streamlined, sophisticated custom undoubtedly took plenty of skill, determination and tenacity. Congratulations to the team involved for having the vision to see it through to completion.