This is not your every day 1949 Cadillac Series 62, for a whole list of reasons. Most notably would be the 975hp supercharged V8 sitting under the perfectly crafted hood. However, this Caddy is so much more than that. The car was built by Harold Chapman and his crew at Customs and Hot Rods of Andice (CHRA), and for a very special customer, Harold’s wife Tracy.
Being married to a hardcore Moto Enthusiast like Harold, Tracy has been around the car scene for most of her adult life. She has watched her husband complete many different project cars along the way and seen even more “planned” projects. She’s even accompanied him on events like the Goodguys Road Tour, where a bunch of like-minded hot rod enthusiasts get together as a group for long road trips all over the country. However on one trip specifically, she and Harold did the entire thing in his 1933 Roadster, and let’s just say it wasn’t the most comfortable car on the road. She said half the time they were sweating and half the time they were freezing, and the entire time they were getting beat up by the rough handling hot rod.
It was that very trip that sealed the deal for Tracy. She came to the conclusion that if she was going to be involved with these road tours and the hot rod lifestyle, she wanted to have her own car. Tracy went to her car building guru of a husband and told him that if they were going to do the road tour again, they were going to do it in comfort. However, she’s also been in love with fast cars since having a 1970 Mach 1 Mustang as her first car. So this new project car had to be both comfortable and fast. Tracy is quick to point out that this isn’t the “normal” project car that often gets built for wives, which actually means the husband built it to what he wanted and just claims it’s the wife’s car. Oh no, Tracy apparently played a major part in the decision-making of almost every aspect of the car.
After some extensive research as to what would be the perfect car to use as a starting point, she was immediately drawn to the vintage Cadillacs due to their long sweeping lines and killer curves. She eventually determined that it was the 1949 Cadillac Series 62 that would be the foundation for her new project. She apparently was very adamant about a few key things with the build. It had to be white, with a blue top, and have wire wheels on white walls. All of which were apparently non-negotiable. Some of the other aspects of the build she was willing to leave in the very capable hands of her husband and his crew.
Being that this wasn’t their first rodeo, they knew that being smart about the condition of the donor car can make all the difference in the world when it comes the amount of work, time, and money that goes into finishing a project like this. So they spent a good amount of time to find the perfect candidate. Finally, they found one where the body was in great condition but had a worn out rag top and the interior was destroyed. It was perfect, mainly because they had plans on redoing all that anyways. The overall goal of the project was to have it look original, but with modern amenities, and most importantly the fit and finish with coach-built quality.
To give the car that mean, low-slung stance the crew at CHRA had to convince Tracy to let them slam the car, and she finally allowed them to do it, as long as it didn’t take away from the smooth riding Caddy experience she was shooting for. After slamming the car they ended up having to extend the wheelbase in order for the front wheels to sit right inside the wheel wells. And speaking of wheels, being that Tracy wanted wire wheels, would you expect anything other than Daytons? Or course not! So they went with 18-inch chrome Dayton wheels on a full white wall tire as per Tracy’s request.
As good as the original body lines were on the Caddy, they really couldn’t leave it completely stock. After all, they do run a custom hot rod shop. However, they wanted to keep things subtle so that you could tell that some work was done, but only the most knowledgeable Caddy historian would be able to point out exactly what pieces had been worked on. They made small changes like slimming down the bumpers and brought them closer to the car so they didn’t stick out as far, but mainly just tightened up the existing lines to make them pop even more. Tracy only had one specific request when it came to this part of the car. She didn’t like how the exhaust pipes hung down in the back. To fix this, the came up with the brilliant solution to build an aluminum belly pad and routed the tailpipes through the bumper.
In order to make the car as comfortable, yet capable as possible, they had to completely upgrade the suspension system. They decided to go with a four-link system in the rear with upgraded A-arms in the front and added sway bars to keep it flat in the corners. To top it all off they added an air shock and spring system from RideTech that will allow Tracy to adjust the ride height to fit the needs of the car at that time. With all that power creeping under the hood (more on that shortly) a significant upgrade of the old braking system was required. They opted to go with a Wilwood system that utilized six piston calipers on 14-inch cross drilled rotors to make sure that no matter how fast she was going, the car would stop when she wanted it to.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been thinking this whole time about the 975hp supercharged engine I teased about earlier. Needless to say, this thing is a beast. Harold and Tracy picked up a 454 cubic inch LSX V8 that was built and tuned by Don Hardy Race Cars and that in itself was more power than the car would ever need, even though it does weigh almost 5,000lbs. But we’re talking about a true Moto Enthusiasts here, so naturally, they went ahead and slapped on a Magnussen 2300 blower and stainless steel headers. To complete the total performance package they added dual 3 inch Borla mufflers to make it sound like a full-blown muscle car, pun intended.
The build sheet on this Cadillac seems endless, and to go through and try to point out each unique detail would require more of a research paper. But I did want to point out a few things on the interior and overall build quality of this prime example, and why restomods are quite literally the best of both worlds. As I mentioned before, one of the goals of the Caddy was to maintain the somewhat stock look, with a coach-like quality. By “coach-like,” they mean with a very high standard in regards to materials used and the craftsmanship to back it up. For example, they custom-built a motorized door for the center of the dashboard that flips down to reveal modern amenities like seat heater switches, A/C controls, stereo, and even a backup camera. All the trim rings, window switches, A/C bezels and many other small pieces were custom machined in-house.
You can really sum up the level of detail Harold and his obviously very talented crew at CHRA used this build with one small detail, the dip stick. When they looked at the dip stick being used for the upgraded transmission, they decided it didn’t look “period correct,” so of course, they decided to just custom machine one so that it matched the rest of the car. It’s little details like this that add up to a lot in the end, and what separates truly great builds from the rest.
As you’ve already noticed, this car is absolutely gorgeous from every angle. Even if it was “only” the original 1946 Series 62 underneath, it would still be a damn cool car thanks to that timeless old school style. But the fact that it has a fire-breathing beast under the hood producing 975hp and 913lb-ft of torque and has the chassis, suspension, and brakes to back it up makes it even more appealing. Needless to say, Tracy hit a home run with this build and she will without a doubt be enjoying the Goodguys Road Tour in a way like never before.
I spoke with CHRA shop foreman, Michael Kaiser, who is responsible for most of the custom fabrication work on this beautiful Caddy. And apparently, until recently, the shop mainly focused on specialty builds, but according to Kaiser they have now opened the shop to the general public. They have plans of building another Caddy just like it, only all black with a more aggressive look. Where Tracy’s car is just as elegant and classy as it is gorgeous, the black Caddy Kaiser has planned would be its evil twin. And the best part is, they are planning on putting it up for sale, so it could be sitting in your driveway rather than just driving around in your dreams. All you need to do is contact Michael at Customs and Hot Rods of Andice and tell him we sent you.