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Old 01-26-2009, 07:14 PM   #1
VonBurke
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Default The Best 1955 Cadillac build

Im doing this in honor of 40StudeDude and for people who havent seen his build


PROPER!


The Coop DeVille Caddy build…in several installments. This is Number One



Now that the KIRK!! Jones/Gambino Grime ‘60 Ford paint job is out of the way, I thot I’d place a post about my Caddy… not near as cool (at this point), but it will be...




A few of you have asked about my CoopDeVille build…and what’s taking me so long??? Well, OK, here’s the project, from the beginning, to lighting the engine, to taking it around the blok.



This build started in July, ’05, I bought someone else’s (unfinished) project. Yeah, I know, I’ve heard it all before -- “NEVER buy someone else’s half-baked project.”…but, I’ve built enuff cars to know what I was getting into, I looked it over well, struck a deal and laid out my cash.



So… instead of “tell,” I using that old writer’s admonishment: “SHOW, don’t tell.” Let’s go….







The Caddy is a 1955 Coupe DeVille, complete with a 500 incher (used-not overhauled, was told it “had good oil pressure.” “Uhmmmmm, OK, I hope you’re not shitting me, but I really have no way of knowing.” A Turbo 400 tranny was attached to the engine and both simply “placed” in the engine bay (not bolted down). As part of the deal, I got almost enuff parts to build two cars …the Caddy also has power windows and power seat.




Someone needed to save it…and since we’d “built” my brother a 1954 Caddy hardtop…and were familiar enuff with them, it fell to me…why not do another? Could be fun.



Now, to put this in a bit of perspective…. As of March 19th, 2008 -- two years, nine months after I brought it home, at 2:50 PM in the afternoon, the engine was finally fired off and runs well, sounds healthy (AND has great oil pressure…!!!) and the tranny works …not bad for an engine, tranny and carb that has been sitting in my garage for well over three years.







This then, is the ‘saga’ of how I built my Cadillac…and WHY it’s taken this long. This is simply my way and done in my back yard garage with only my bro, Dan, helping.




First thing is/was, I’d been working on my ’48 Caddy Sedanet…I’d had it blasted and was working on mounting a new non-stock gas tank when this ’55 fell into my lap…I took time out from doing that to go take a look at it. And I kinda figured my bro’s ’54 Caddy needed a “running mate,” …how hard could it be to put this ’55 back together…??? We were about to find out…



Well, like anything else…it takes longer than you think…no matter how much you hurry…and hurrying ends up making you do things twice…or even three times until you’re satisfied with what you’ve done…or it’s correct.



When we got the ‘55 home and unloaded from the trailer, we put the ’48 into ‘sleep mode’ for a while, rolled it into safe-keeping in the dry shed and put the ’55 in the big garage…then we pulled the body off the frame…







The ’55 Caddy is an original ColoRODo car…so, no rust…then we set about scoping out the ’78 Trans Am sub that was only mig welded, full of burn holes and crappy piled up shit welds that wouldn’t hold anything together at 70 mph…!!! It was mounted into the original frame at the firewall. We pulled the engine and tranny out and set it off to the side…first things first, ya know…we’ll deal with that later. Before we go farther, please don’t give me any crap about putting the body up on cinder blox…they hold up a two (or more) story building just fine and they stack them higher then I ever will, they’ll work for holding up a Caddy body. Besides, no one is putting any down force on the blocks and the body certainly isn’t moving around, and, BTW, that body didn’t “bend” in the middle either, because of no center support. And that was over two years ago…not one of those blocks cracked or broke.




A note here: when you don’t have every tool for every job, you make the best with what you’ve got…it worked.







Once the engine and tranny was out, I borrowed a trailer again, hauled the whole thing up to a sandblaster and let them go at the 50 year old crud…once back, I cleaned up the frame graft, ground off some of the crap, mig welded up some spots to add a bit more strength to it and then cut 1/8” plate in order to fish-plate the two frames together…and then TIG welded all of it together I might add…







I cleaned it all up nicely and then epoxy sealed it and sprayed it urethane gloss black.








While the frame was drying, I decided to do the body… the bottom of the old Caddy body was relatively clean (old undercoating already finally falling off after all these years), so, wire brushed that, sanded a bit, sealed it with epoxy and sprayed Lizardskin…(best insulation in the world…!!!)…once that was done, I painted it all gloss black and proceeded to get ready to set it back on the frame.











That's it for this installment...More in the next installment…

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