Stan­dard of Ex­cel­lence

A ’47 Cadil­lac Cus­tom Built To Be The Best

Street Rodder - - Contents -

Buddy Jor­dan’s ’47 Cadil­lac Cus­tom

Even be­fore Cadil­lac was pur­chased by Gen­eral Mo­tors to be­come the com­pany’s top-shelf mar­que, the name sym­bol­ized su­pe­ri­or­ity. For al­most 100 years, the Cadil­lac brand has been used as a syn­onym for high sta­tus and qual­ity for just about any­thing that is con­sid­ered the best of its kind—such as “the Cadil­lac of vac­uum clean­ers.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, Cadil­lacs have been pop­u­lar raw ma­te­rial for some of the great­est cus­tom cars. Ev­ery iconic cus­tomizer, from Harry Wester­gard to Chip Foose, has taken their turn at build­ing them. One of our re­cent fa­vorites was the ’49 Sedanette built by Chris Carl­son Hot Rods (CCHR) in Mul­vane, Kansas, which is the 2017 STREET ROD­DER Street Rod of the year. As it turns out, that cus­tom was in­spired, at least par­tially, by a stun­ning ’47 Cadil­lac that was near­ing com­ple­tion at CCHR. This is the story of that ’47 Cadil­lac.

Buddy Jor­dan from Spring Branch, Texas, is the owner of this car. You may re­mem­ber that last year his ’33 Ford road­ster won the Ri­dler Award

(the Cadil­lac of car show awards). Buddy told us that he has al­ways loved the mile-long rooflines on Chevy Fleet­lines and Cadil­lac Sedanettes. He had

pur­chased a ’53 Cadil­lac from Frank DeRosa Sr. (another well-known cus­tomizer with an eye for Cadil­lacs) who per­suaded him to buy the par­tially com­pleted ’47. “Af­ter two or three months, I bought it. Frank had chopped the car and done some other work to it, but the project had kind of stalled out.”

Once the Sedanette had changed hands, it was shipped north to Mul­vane, where Carl­son and his builders con­tin­ued the trans­for­ma­tion. The 3-inch top chop per­formed by DeRosa en­hanced the long, low Deco look that ev­ery­one loves. The chop re­quired new glass, pro­vided by Bair’s Glass Com­pany in Win­field, Kansas. The rear win­dow was re­placed with flush-mounted

’49 Caddy glass. The mod­i­fied fen­der trim was left in­tact, but the rest of the body or­na­men­ta­tion, plus han­dles and locks, was shaved.

The rear fend­ers were molded into the body and flared at the bot­tom; the flare con­tin­ues into the re­shaped rock­ers. The stock grille was mildly re­shaped, and front and rear bumpers were pulled in and flush mounted. The head­lights were frenched; the frenched tail­lights are the dis­tinc­tive bul­lets from a 1959. Take a close look at the pan­caked hood. The CCHR fab­ri­ca­tors filled the seams to mold the hood into the fend­ers and re­cut the steel to cre­ate a smaller, sports car–style hood.

Even­tu­ally, when the Sedanette was ready for paint, Carl­son used Martin Se­nour paint to cus­tom mix the color Buddy wanted. The fin­ish can look black in cer­tain set­tings, but when the light hits it, the black cherry candy re­veals it­self. The ex­tra­or­di­nary paint is com­ple­mented by the flaw­less chrome done at Sherm’s Cus­tom Plat­ing.

Long, low lines are most ef­fec­tive when matched with a streetscrub­bing stance. CCHR used the Cadil­lac’s fac­tory ’rails as the start­ing point for the chas­sis, box­ing them for strength. RideTech air sus­pen­sion at all four points help drop the car to the pave­ment. To­tal Cost In­volved pro­vided the Mus­tang II–style in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion, in­clud­ing 2-inch dropped spin­dles. The rearend setup fea­tures a TCI four-link sus­pend­ing a Cur­rie 9-inch rear with 3.73:1 gears and a True­trac dif­fer­en­tial. Wil­wood discs, mas­ter cylin­der, and pedal as­sem­bly en­sure de­pend­able stop­ping power.

In the rolling stock depart­ment, it doesn’t get more au­then­tic than white­wall piecrust rub­ber on Cadil­lac wheels. Buddy’s ’47 rolls on 15x7 ’55 Cadil­lac El­do­rado wheels re­built at CCHR and chromed. The pe­riod tires are 7.50-15 BFGoodrich Sil­ver­town bias-plies from Coker Tire.

The Cadil­lac iden­tity con­tin­ues un­der the hood in the form of a

’76 500ci en­gine, but not the way you may re­mem­ber them. Not only has this ver­sion of the en­gine been ex­ten­sively plated and pol­ished, it’s ex­ten­sively mod­i­fied. Carl­son and the CCHR builders cre­ated a cus­tom cross-ram man­i­fold and side-draft stacks to feed the FAST elec­tron­i­cally in­jected en­gine, fired by an MSD ig­ni­tion. Cus­tom head­ers pull the gases to a cus­tom stain­less ex­haust sys­tem with Mag­naFlow muf­flers. The Be Cool ra­di­a­tor is paired with a SPAL fan. An Edel­brock wa­ter pump is driven by a March Per­for­mance pul­ley sys­tem. The 700-R4 was built by Chance Trans­mis­sions in Wichita.

For in­te­rior at­ten­tion, the car went to Hemet, Cal­i­for­nia, where Wanda’s Auto Up­hol­stery fin­ished the in­side. Jor­dan told us that Wanda Wells said to trust him. He did, and the re­sults are fan­tas­tic. Beau­ti­ful salmon and mer­lot two-tone leather cov­ers late-model GTO seats, as well as the cus­tom-built door pan­els. From the driver seat, Buddy can keep his eyes on the Dakota Dig­i­tal gauges and his hands on the CON2R steer­ing wheel mounted on an ididit tilt col­umn. Con­trols for the Vin­tage Air sys­tem and the au­dio sys­tem are at his fin­ger­tips, mounted in the fab­ri­cated con­sole just be­low the orig­i­nal speaker grille.

When the 67th an­nual Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show came to the Pomona Fair­plex, the ’47 Sedanette was ready. Buddy Jor­dan and Chris Carl­son left the event with the First Place Award for the Cadil­lac’s class. Mean­while, work was un­der­way on Buddy’s ’33 Ford road­ster that would earn the Ri­dler Award a year later. And as you are read­ing this, there is a ’41 Cadil­lac cus­tom com­ing to­gether at CCHR in Mul­vane—another col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Buddy and Carl­son. We pre­dict another award win­ner. How about you?

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence: https://bit.ly/2tqP03z

BY TIM BERN­SAU • PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY GRANT COX

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