Rod & Custom Feature Car
Fred Digiovanni
Marlboro, New Jersey
1949 Cadillac Sedanette

The original chassis' ride quality and height were improved with a Mustang II-style IFS from Fatman Fabrications, along with an airbag suspension from air Ride Technologies. Flaming River provided the steering components, including the rack-andpinion cradle kit, universal joints and shafts, and the tilt steering column. Rob Ida Concepts installed a Wilwood brakes system, with single caliper discs and 11-inch rotors in the front. The brake lines were upgraded to stainless steel, and the fuel tank is a stainless steel unit from Rock Valley.

Builder Rob and owner Fred talked about powering the retro-influenced Cadillac with a similarly flavored engine; in the end, they concluded that what they really wanted was the 400hp V-8 that powers Cadillac's muscular CTS-V sedan. The choice is cool in its own way, and even though Cadillac borrowed the engine from the Corvette, it's a Cadillac in a Cadillac-so it matches the marque if not the period. The custombuilt air intake was painted to match the roof and hood. The rest of the drivetrain is Chevy stuff. The Rod 4L60e electronic automatic is designed to mate with the engine. The rearend is a 10-bolt from a '90s-era Chevy Caprice. The custom stainless exhaust was built at Rod Ida Concepts, and RIC dressed up the engine compartment with a smoothed firewall and custom fabricated inner fender panels, plus a shell for the Custom auto Radiator radiator.

Wheels & Tires
The wheel and tire combination pretty much picked itself. The p235/75R15 radials with 3-inch whitewalls from Coker are matched up with 15-inch '56 Cadillac wire wheels.

Body & Paint
Rob told us the only body mod made to the Cadillac was filling in the antenna hole, and he's not exaggerating much. The raw material for the project was a restoration project requiring only minor repairs. Rather than removing the chrome trim, in traditional custom style, Rob and Fred felt the brightwork added so much to the design of the car and was in such good shape that it had to stay; Rob also told us '49 Cadillac trim was designed to reflect at eye level-instead of the pavement or the sky-which influenced their decision. all the original chrome was straightened, polished, rechromed, and refitted to the Sedanette. Custom styling is acknowledged in the '50s-era spotlight mirror (originally a dealer-installed option), the visor, and the Stainless Specialties rectangular exhaust tips in the rear. The two-tone paint scheme, designed to visually extend the body lines, is a custom combination of Birch Beer and Champagne, split by a stripe of engine-turned gold leaf.

The dash cluster looks factory, but the gauges were sent to united Speedometer for electronic internals. The mechanical speedometer was set up to run off the electronic transmission through the use of a pulse motor that drives the speedo cable. The original power window controls were retained, but converted from hydraulics to electronics (similarly, the windshield wipers were converted from a vacuum-operated system to electronics). The dashboard speaker grille functions as vents for the Hot Rod air climate-control system. The original radio was retained for appearance purposes, but a Custom autosound Secretaudio head unit and remote six-disc Cd changer, with an arc audio amp and ultra Tech speakers and subwoofers, provides the music. Rp Custom Interiors covered the original front and rear seats in ultraleather and ultrasuede, and laid the german square weave carpet. More roof-colored paint was used on the dash and door panels (complemented by hand-painted woodgrain), and on the LeCarra Mark 10 steering wheel.