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A Brilliant Red 1959 Cadillac Eldorado So Hot It Burns

Published May 22, 2016

Automotive restoration projects, like any other type of project often changes as time goes on. Such is the case 1959 Cadillac Eldorado you see here. The end result is nothing short of spectacular.

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Bob Hanline had long been an admirer of the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado. In an era when bigger was better and the size of the tail fins on your car was proportional to your success, the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado is the car you drove that announced to the World that you had made it.

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Bob had worked hard his entire life and was now at a point where he could enjoy the fruits of his labor. The fruit he most desired at this point in his life was a fully restored classic Cadillac Eldorado.

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He had searched far and wide for what he thought was the perfect car. He spent the same amount of time and effort searching for the perfect builder for his dream car. After extensive research, he selected Smitty’s Custom Automotive in Tiffin Ohio.

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Smitty’s was a specialty car manufacturer with experience customizing a wide range of vehicles from street rods to classic trucks to cruisers and muscle cars. When Bob first approached Smitty’s, his plan was to restore his baby to a brand-new, stock exterior and since he planned to drive his car regularly, he wanted current performance.

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The first step of the project consisted of a thorough inspection by the team at Smitty’s. On the surface, Bob’s vehicle looked really good. The body was straight and the vehicle looked strong. As the team started taking the vehicle apart, they discovered that the vehicle was in such poor shape, a donor was going to be required to build Bob’s vehicle.

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After spending considerable amount of time at Smitty’s, Bob changed the scope of his project from stock looking vehicle to a custom hot rod. The first thing to be addressed was the suspension. Smitty’s seam welded the rails to increase the sturdiness of the frame.

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After seeing the different projects around the shop, Bob wanted his ride as close to the ground as possible. This was done with a front and rear ShockWave suspension. The front end was beefed up with a 1-inch antiroll bar with stopping power courtesy of Master Power front disc brakes. On the rear axle, a 3.73:1 rearend with limited slip distributed power to the rear wheels.

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While at the shop one day, a bright red hot rod in the far corner of the shop caught he his eye. The finish was one that really stood out.   He decided then and there that his Eldorado should have the same affect. The final color was a shade darker than the hot rod and was topped off which a pearl white paint job for the roof.

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Wheels are very important role in the customization of a hot rod. The 1959 Cadillac is not different. Since bigger wheels really are better for larger vehicles, Bob opted for Billet Specialties 18×8 wheels wrapped in 225/60R18 BF Goodrich g-Force tires.

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Since the 1959 Eldorado is intended to be a driver, modern performance and reliability is important. For that reason, a GM LS2 6.0-liter crate motor putting out 425 horsepower was installed. Wanting more performance, Bob added a March Performance pulley system with custom Flowmaster mufflers. Power is converted to motion with a 4L80E automatic transmission and the ‘topping on the cake’ so to speak is a handcrafted custom engine cover.

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The interior of the Caddy is just as wild as the exterior. Bob opted for a custom dash, interior panels and seats in high quality leather the same shade of red as the exterior. For the best possible passenger experience, a Vintage Air system is added as well as a top-of-the-line stereo system. Controls to the air suspension system have been hidden within the center armrest.

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Unlike many projects similar to this one, Bob’s custom Eldorado is being driven a great deal. Thousands of miles have been reportedly added to the odometer for road trips, cruises and commutes to work exactly as it was designed to do.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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