Rick Dore is no stranger to Cadillacs, or customs for that matter. His latest is somewhat of a departure from his previous projects-it's undoubtedly a custom through and through, but if you look closely, you'll notice it has a bit of concept-car styling influence ... GM never produced a two-place roadster above and beyond the Corvette. This ain't no Corvette by any means.
Rick's 1950 Cadillac roadster started out as a NorCal native Series 61 two-door hardtop. Within a year of the initial acquisition, he would not only have completed its Motorama-esque transformation, but also put the finishing touches on another full-custom project he'd undertaken for a friend and seemingly regular customer, James Hetfield-the Rootbeer Brown Auburn that coincided with the Caddy's debut at the end of 2009.
The modifications that were required in order to turn the Caddy into a roadster were a collaboration between Rick Dore Kustoms and Bay Area custom builder John Aiello, the latter of whom is responsible for the unique, adjustable (the painted front section is removable), Carson-style top-something the shop for which these lift-off roofs originally got their names for would likely have not been able to successfully create back in the day. Prior to the car being sent back to California, however, Rick's shop (then in Phoenix) removed the roof and began the roadster conversion by capping the doors (and blending them into the smoothed cowl), which also resulted with the forming of the "sweetheart" dip in the rear quarters. Jake Hill created the windshield frame that encapsulates glass made by Timo Tanskanen, and following Aiello's contributions, Mickey Galloway built the tonneau cover, which has been adorned with a trio of stainless spears flowing back behind each of the bucket seats. When all was said and done (done meaning cut-down rear fenders, stretched and flush-mounted skirts, handmade taillights, hood side scooped, and headlights frenched, among other things), Danny Ornillis prepped the Caddy for what was about to become a once-in-a-lifetime paintjob.
As Rick put it, the Cadillac received a "double-gunned" candy coating. Two legendary custom painters, Art Himsl and Darryl Hollenbeck, teamed up to spray the car-at the same time, which Rick believes has never occurred with these particular gunners, nor will it ever happen again. The result was not what one might have imagined if told without being able to see the finished product-no crazy fades or panels, rather, the most eye-searing Candy Blue to likely have ever been atomized from either painters' guns. Along with brightwork, courtesy of Sherm's Custom Plating (minimized stock grille, smoothed front bumper with molded '55 Dagmars, smoothed rear bumper with integrated exhaust ports, and custom hood/side trim), Coker wide white-adorned Specialty Wheel Cad wires, and cream-colored top, the roadster emits an elegant demeanor ... just right, not too gaudy or flashy.
Inside the Caddy, Bob Divine used a combination of cream Italian leather with stingray inserts to cover the custom-made interior paneling and bucket seats and Mercedes wool carpet below. Beneath the upholstery, though, Steven Yui at Definitive Audio (Phoenix) fabricated the bases for the door panels, as well as the center console while installing a full Kicker/Stealth Audio sound system. The dash has been completely smoothed, with the exception of the stock gauge cluster, and the original steering wheel (redone by Quality Restorations) was retained along with the stock column.
Since our chronology on the Caddy's build has been anything but timely, it's probably fitting that we wrap things up with one of the first things Rick had done: the chassis. Alex Gambino (Gambino Kustoms in San Jose, CA) handled all the frame mods using his shop's own proprietary goods as well as those from RideTech, ultimately giving the '50 its adjustable stance and cruising "attitude".