1959 “Custom Restoration” Cadillac

Custom 1959 Cadillac

1959 Cadillac Eldorado cars, custom, biarritz fins, caddy, tailfins
Photos by Paul “Swanee” Swanson

I think I just coined a new term for cars: Custom Restoration.  Why? I guess we could just say “custom” because this 59’s been customized front to back. On the other hand, the builder’s shop, Xtreme Restorations out of Rhode Island, suggests his specialty is “restoration”.  So somewhere between full custom, resto-mod and restoration, I introduce to you: Custom Restoration. What better start than a 1959 Cadillac!?

1959 Cadillac Eldorado cars, custom, biarritz fins, caddy, tailfins wide whitewalls

Standing back, trying to take in the 225.0 in (5715 mm) length that is 1959 Cadillac, the first nod to “restoration” over pure customization has to go to the color choice.  Not a factory color, but also not the typical red or black; PPG supplied a Soft Yellow and Vanilla Shake to gracefully compliment the flowing lines of the Cad. I think it works perfectly and gives a taste of understated modesty to a car that makes a quite a statement! Back to a custom nod then, check out this interior!

1959 Cadillac Eldorado cars, custom, biarritz fins, caddy, tailfins interior

Bold yes, but as you can see it works! As outrageous as you might think it is, it’s a factory ORIGINAL color on Cadillacs in 1970. This NOS fabric color is: Chateau Mauve.  For the men reading this, that’s a nutty mouthful to say purple. Todd explained when they initially laid out the fabric they’d bought it looked like a bad, “cheerleader’s outfit.” Maybe, but they stuck with it. Hats off to the designer with the guts to choose these great colors.

Professional Designers out there, do you agree?

Under the hood, again leaning towards the restoration side, you’ll find 100% Cadillac.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado cars, custom, biarritz fins, caddy, tailfins

It’s the original 1959 390 cu. inch mill, but it’s been upgraded with tri-power from a 1957 Cadillac.  From the factory, the 390 tri-power’s found in upscale Eldorado models made a very respectable 345 horsepower. Of course Todd upgraded or “customized” and now everything’s new inside adding, “We do all our own motors.”

The trany’s also original Caddy. As Todd says, “Why not? It’s a 4 speed!” This turbo-hydromatic amazed me. If 4 speeds were available back in 59, why then were so many later transmissions 3 speeds? (and now you can get 8 forward gears from some makers…) More is better, in general, for fuel economy and the all important acceleration! Sounds like a great topic for a future blog story…

1959 Cadillac Eldorado cars, custom, biarritz fins, caddy, tailfins

Back and forth on custom and resto, these front and rear shots show pure custom on the exterior moldings. They may look original, but that’s over 300 feet of custom bent and chromed creativity. Todd made it sound like anyone could do it as he explained heating and bending around a pipe. Piece of cake! The beauty of the finished trim led to the 3-tone paint. You’ll see that same Chateau Mauve laid down in the trim separating the primary colors. 1959 Cadillac Eldorado cars, custom, biarritz fins, caddy, tailfins

Needing a lesson on 1959 Caddilacs to help with my next story about D’Agustino’s Elvis II 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz Convertible, I asked Todd for some details:

This car is not and Eldorado or a Biarritz. It’s as a plain old “ Coupe de Ville”. The added bucket seats, and side molding were inspired by Biarritz styling but are 100% custom. Originally the car had power windows and a power front bench, then we added power vent windows, locks (remote control), a 1150 watt stereo, navigation, push button start, push button transmission and Eldorado wheels with wide whites.

The owner, Lou Querisio our of Naples, FL must be pleased! Well, except for the fact that he’s probably never sat in the car! After overcoming what Todd called the biggest challenge for this car, building it in only 9 months – the Caddy’s been on the show scene.  After taking 2nd place, unfinished, at the 2009 Detroit Autorama, 1st place was awarded at the Grand National Roadster Show (where we saw it) and again later at the Sacramento Autorama. It also won, Outstanding Overall Custom at the Sacramento show and is now on display at the Peterson Museum; an amazing accomplishment for a new car! (click to see these pics full size)

1959 Cadillac Engine powertrain 390 caddy tripower tri-power1959 Cadillac rotisserie restoration custom, kustom restore

No doubt when Lou takes ownership, he’ll be driving it. PERFECT! Lou used to live in Rhode Island, so this is Lou’s 3rd Xtreme Restorations built car. The 1958 Impala shown below had over 12,000 miles on it in the first year. Lou drives’em all the time, “…to work and wherever truly enjoying his cars.” Lou, you’ve got great taste!

1959 Chevy Impala Mild custom 409 six pack1959 Chevy Impala six pack 409

So you decide: Is the Caddilac (not the Impala) a custom, a restoration or like I said, a “Custom Restoration”?


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