Sky Automobiles (Germany) Someone sent me
these shots of a customized, souped-up 1975-76 Fleetwood Eldorado from Germany. If
you recognize it, I'd appreciate more details and also give you credit for the photos.
Traditional Coachworks (USA): I was contacted in December 2010 by
Michael Kribbs. His dad, James Kribbs, was a manager at Wilshire Cadillac on Wilshire Blvd
in Beverly Hills, California. He worked with a chap named Jack Patrick. Over a
meal, one Friday, they chatted together about the possibility of converting Cadillacs into
pickup trucks and station wagons. The following Monday James Kribbs went back to work and was shown
3 sketches that Jack Patrick had made during the weekend. James was impressed with
the drawings and decided to start the company immediately, while continuing to do business
with Wilshire Cadillac. He named the outfit Traditional Coachworks, it
was located in Chatsworth, CA. The very first conversion was a pink Cadillac pickup truck,
bought by stuntman extraordinaire, Evel Knievel. He liked it to the point of ordering
a second one, white this time, with extra chrome; that car was used in the movie about his
life. On this and the coming pages, you will see many more examples of coachwork
from this California company.
These 3 sketches: © 1976, Jack Patrick,
courtesy Michael Kribbs
Left: James Kribbs and Jack Patrick in the
mid-seventies, with their Cadillac pickup truck conversion
Center: this pink Cadillac pickup truck was acquired by stuntman, Evel Knievel
Right: Advertising flyer from Traditional Coachworks
This interesting ad for a CB unit
features a pick-up truck that I assume
was built on the Cadillac chassis by the Traditional Coachworks
American Specialty Corp - ASC (USA)
Shortly after the introduction by Cadillac of the all-new 1976 4-door Seville,
this company, better known for its sun-roof conversions, planned to build a limited
production 2-door version to be named Charisma. They were projecting completion
of five cars monthly beginning in September 1975, climbing to 25 per month by January.
Actual production figures unknown. I never actually saw one until the 2-owner car car
below was advertised for sale on e-Bay in August 2001 and again in February 2002. There
was enormous interest in the car, even though it was anticipated to sell at almost double
the original price of the Seville. Several months production were pre-sold, and
they were accepting orders well into Spring and Summer of 1976. The car was to be sold
through Cadillac dealers. But only 5 cars are said to have been built in all. Two or
three of them were sold through Cadillac agencies and the remaining two or three were
shipped to Saudi Arabia (...who would have guessed?). Not even the San Remo
convertible Seville matched the quality and elegance of the Charisma.
The car below was owned originally by Robert Vlasic of Vlasic Foods (pickles, etc.); it
has a custom "V" medallion on the quarter panels, indicating the car's
ownership. The second owner purchased it in 1979. The vendor has had it since 1979.
Here's another one, in equally fine condition
Baker, Dick and Tony (see Custom
Motor Company (Grover City, CA, USA) According to one of its own
advertising flyers, in 1986, this company built Cadillac pickups since 1954, combining the
luxury of a regular automobile in a pickup. The designer and engineer behind most Caribou
pickups is Lou Schorsch. A power operated tail gate was a first on the 1986 version. These
conversions were available through Cadillac dealers or directly from the Caribou Motor
Company, on Coupe de Ville models from 1974 to 1986. The company boasted in
1978: Every Caribou is a show car that stands out for years to come as one of
America's truly practical automobiles. The Caribou is the ultimate passenger car pick-up.
Cadillac standards are used throughout the construction of your Caribou, along with
numerous inspections, to maintain the highest quality possible. To order your
Caribou, you must use your [own] automobile. Select the finest car you can find.
Try to avoid using a wrecked or damaged car. It's best to start with the best. Orders
were taken with a 50% deposit, the balance being due on delivery. The advertised costs in
1986 were as follows: conversion from a 1974-76 Cadillac Coupe deVille, $10,500,
from a 1977-79 Coupe deVille, $12,500, and from a 1980-86 Coupe de Ville,
Coach Design Group (Westlake
Village, California, USA) A Database user from Oklahoma City, OK, asked in
January 2005: Anyone have any info or literature on 1977-78 Eldorado
"Majorica" [Mallorca ?] edition with T-Tops and filled in Quarter windows? I am
told that approximately 40 were built by the Coach Design Group of California, makers of
the Seville San Remo. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Jim Jordan. Jim
wrote again to say that he had got a '76 "Majorca" and knew of a yellow
'77 model from Scottsdale, AZ [see "Dream Cars" for 1977]. He said these
conversions were unusual and very well done. The cars feature large, solid metal
T-Tops (not the small glass Hurst units) that are cut to the contours of the windshield
frame. The rear quarter windows are filled in solid, yet the cars do not have vinyl
roofs. They feature a chrome band over the top that runs out to the front of the
hood, similar to Biarritz trim, and are engraved "Majorca". Etymological
note: although pronounced MA-JOR-KA by Anglo-Saxons, the correct spelling of the
Mediterranean island located off the Spanish coast is in fact "Mallorca"
and is pronounced MA-YORK-AH [the closest pronunciation of the Spanish vowel,
"LL" corresponds approximately to the Anglo-Saxon "Y"]. It bugs me
when I hear American pseudo-linguists attempting to put on a foreign accent to pronounce
Anglicized words like Parmesan (the Italian cheese from Parma, which is correctly
pronounced PAR-MAY-ZAN); many try to impress by pronouncing it PAR-MEE-JAN, in an attempt
to mimic the correct Italian pronunciation, PAR-ME-GEE-ANO; note that the adjectival
forms, "parmigianO" and "parmigianA"
are perfectly correct when used to describe an Italian dish made or covered with grated
Parmesan... Ok, so now let's get back to our CADDY-JACKS. Late
CLC member Gene Moscicki wrote: ... Some
of the information I have about the car (mine), the side glass is 76 Pontiac Ventura, I
would think Chevy Nova is the same. The "A" pillar had to be laid back and
lowered 2" to meet the door glass. A new windshield must be modified to fit. it is
not standard Seville, Rear 1/4 windows are plexiglass [sic] custom fabricated. Top assembly looks oem, mid 70s g.m., modified
to fit, latches and sun visor brackets are mid 70 G.M., rear side markers are 75 Nova. The
whole car is remarkably rigid; you can lift front or rear off the ground without any body
flex and doors open and close fine. My Ultima has "floating headlights", no
Seville side markers, markers on the car look to be period Mopar bullseye markers to
comply with government regulations. Rear tail lights are 74, 75 Eldorado, single
lights on each side. I have seen pictures, I think in a magizine, of a car with stacked
tail lights on each side and a claim that Buick Riviera lights have also been used; I have
yet to see an air scoop in place of the side marker; I do not doubt that such scoops
exist. The cars I have seen have ALL been different in some way, body modifications,
interior design and materials. I seriously doubt that there are two alike. A very custom
design tailored to the buyers' resources. I am told that $55,000 was the cost of the car I
have when new. That is far above the $32,000 base price listed in the brochure from Ogner
Motors, aka Design Group Westlake Village Ca. The overall quality of the modifications is
outstanding! It looks like a Factory made car rather than a modified 4 door hardtop.
CLC member, William Link wrote: I
have had three coupes, one 1977 that was #6 /400 (if I remember correctly), another 1977
that is # 11/400 (which I still own), and a 1978 that was # 21/400 or so. All my
cars have been numbered. I think the PLAN was to build 400 cars...but that never
happened due to excessive pricing...later the cars were numbered xx/200 before they gave
up on numbers altogether. The coupe was abandoned in 1978 due to poor sales....very
few of those were built. San Remo also built the 'Majorca,' a custom Eldorado, in 1977 and
a 1979 Eldorado convertible before a suspect fire ended all production in 1979. I think
the numbers restarted with each model year. If anyone would like a coupe...let me know I
have one left.
[ no images ]
Cadillac Truck and Station
Wagon company (USA) a starter company begun by James Kribbs. He and Jack Patrick
started to talk about this business while they were in Berverly Hill, Ca. Then, in one
weekend, Jack Patrick made 3 separate drawings for customized Cadillac cars. The company
was launched that weekend. Evil Knievel bought the first truck. Sometime later be bought
another truck; it was the white Cadillac pickup truck used in the movie "Viva
Knievel" which Parade magazine called the worst movie ever made.
The photos of the two diffferent custom pick-up trucks, below, could be
from this manufacturer; the vehicle in the upper three pics is built on the 1976 Seville chassis, apparently built for
stuntman, Evel Knievel
This ID plate is attached to the LH side of the
custom pick-up or
"truck", based on the 1976 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.
Cadillac Motor Car Division of GM
(USA) Rare, but not as rare as the majority of cars in this section, here are some
views of one of the final 200 "last" Cadillac convertibles delivered by the
factory in 1976. The "last" factory convertible turned out to be untrue ...as
the factory built another (short) run in 1984-85.
Each of the last 200 cars carried a brass plaque like
Center City Cadillac
(Philadelphia, USA) Custom Calais coupe.
This illustration is from a dealer flyer of the time;
a survivor is shown below
Center City Cadillac took a base Calais with
cloth seats, put some extra padding on the roof
and had side scripts made up for what they called it: the St. Moritz
[Cadillac Motor Car Division, GM, showed their own St. Moritz custom
Eldorado in 1955!]
Custom Coach, Lima, OH (USA) Father
and son team, Dick and Tony Baker sent me in 2007 a CD-ROM of photos of many of the
conversions he and his late father, Dick Baker, did on the Cadillac chassis. Many of the
pics are digital copies of Polaroids, hence the mediocre image quality.
[ Photos: © 1976 and courtesy Tony Baker ]
Fisher Body [Cadillac]
(USA) - unless disproved by that company - Custom Eldorado convertible with added
rumble seat. This one is owned by Tom Astor, a well-known "Country" singer in
Germany. Enthusiast, Ingo Marx, who kindly supplied the photos wrote: The
rumble seat car is a 1976 special conversion for 8 passengers. These conversions were
carried out by Fisher Body in a limited edition of about 10 cars. They were so rare that
even many Cadillac workers didn´t know about them. We [Müller & Hensel]
sold the only one in Europe several years ago. This car was not a Bicentennial model, but
it was provided with a similar style. It is still in service.
Well, Ingo, this is news to me. I sure would be interested to hear
from anyone at Cadillac who can confirm that these conversions were done
by the Fisher Body Co.
[ Photos: Internet, courtesy Ingo Marx,
German Funeral Car Archives ]
Similar creation ... but without the
Fleetwood (USA) Production
for the Talisman option package was as follows: 1974: 1898 units, 1975: 1238
units, 1976: 1200 units. Pricing for 1975 was $1,788 above the base price of $10,414, and
$1,813 above the $10,935 base price in 1976. A car thus outfitted was
offered for sale in NJ in September 1996 [SS, 9/1196, p.19-20]
Factory Promotional photo (left); interior of
surviving car (right)
Fleetwood (USA) Special "bicentennial" Eldorado
convertible; although many more than 10 were built, still it is an interesting collectors'
item, being a regular production 1976 Fleetwood Eldorado with custom interior trim, as
Formal Coach Corporation (USA) Aside from
this conversion on Eldorado chassis, illustrated below, FCC, a relatively unknown
coach-builder, also did a pick-up conversion on the Cadillac chassis
Milan Convertible Co. [or Milan
Coach Builders ?] (Simi Valley, CA, or 5830 Los Virgenes, Calabasas, CA, USA)
Offered conversion kits costing $1495 allowing conversion of Seville to 2-door Milan
Roadster Convertible (1976 through 1979); kit included instruction manual and all
parts needed. The Milan Roadster
was a handcrafted luxury convertible featuring most Cadillac Options. The Roadster
incorporated a custom-designed hood and stainless steel grille [Milan Roadsters with a
standard Seville hood and grille were also produced later in the production cycle], as
well as a specially designed convertible top covered in the finest European cloth [a vinyl
top was standard and the cloth top optional became, later in the production
cycle] The wheel base of 96" and overall body length of 15' 6" made the
Milan Roadster extremely responsive and maneuverable both in the city and on the
highway. The car was designed as a two-seater and overall length was comparable to
the Mercedes-Benz 450SL. The overall height was 58" and weight is approximately
4,000 lbs. It was available in standard Cadillac color combinations plus two-tone
and pinstriping to a buyer's specification. The retail price was $39,500 (Cadillac dealers
could get one for $29,995).
Moloney (USA) Stretched model on the
Cadillac Seville chassis. The photo, below, was found on the Internet.
The owner of this Moloney
conversion, who lives in Lancaster PA, informed me (April 2004) that this is
a 1976 model. Only that year had the clear (white) lenses on the turn-signal/parking
lights below the headlights
According to a Wall Street Journal article about Earle Moloney, published circa 1977, one
Middle-Eastern sheik ran up a tab of 1.4 million dollars with his company for 18 stretched
Cadillacs and a dozen customized Eldorados, plus a few MBs.
Tomaso of America, Inc. (USA) the Seville Tomaso
Traditional Coachworks (USA) Custom
Cadillac pick-ups. One of these was sold at a Kruse auction in Fort Worth, TX [lot #354],
in April 2000. It was bid up to $2,700. The ad said that only 240 were ever
This one is getting ready to be restored
[ Photos: © and courtesy of Steve Crum, owner ]
This one is already restored
Illustrations from manufacturer's brochure
These two rows: more survivors
Traditional Coachworks (USA) Custom
Cadillac estate wagons
A reported 50 units were built but I cannot guarantee
the reliability of that figure
[ Photos (above two rows): from contemporary product
Three rows immediately above: a trio of rare
A similar wagon to those illustrated in the preceding
was on display at the CLC Grand National, Detroit, 2002 (bottom row)
[ Last three photos: © 2002, J. Scott Harris ]
This Castilian wagon was offered for sale on
eBay in January, 2004
Nice one; not sure of the custom builder
The hood crest on this car is from an
older Cadillac model (1974?)
[Unknown, USA] Castilian
special-bodied station wagon. Very similar to preceding car. Photo SSA89,
[Unknown, USA] Another custom wagon
on Cadillac chassis. This one was for sale on the Internet, "as is", in April,
[ Photos: Internet, 4/2002 ]
This one (in much better
shape) was offered for
sale in the CLC Self Starter classifieds in March, 2003
This one could be a close relative of the previous
wagon; note the custom grille cap and the absence of
the "B" pillar, suggesting the conversion was made from a 1976 Sedan
de Ville or Calais 4-door sedan
customized Eldorado convertible, found for
sale on the Internet in March 2001, with this description: This
beautiful, one of a kind collectors piece features a louvered hood and fenders, ground
effects 360 degrees around the car's lower portion. Remote controlled (electric) doors,
dual French style antennas, custom grille, with dual exhaust extensions, complete with
ORIGINAL El Dorado wheels. This piece of machinery offers a custom luxurious button
tufted, white with navy blue piping, interior not to mention the perfect dash
console. The trunk space is fully upholstered, matching the interior seats,
including a spare tire cover. Adding to the back of the car is a spoiler, which most
certainly does everything but spoil the car's unique style, is fashioned to add a sporty
To each his own!
Painted Firethorn (or was it Mandarin Orange?), with white leather trim throughout,
this rumble seat convertible was advertised for sale in an older issue of Collectible
Automobile. It was said to be "one of five built with electric rumble
seat". It had a reported 16K miles and was priced at $20K.
[ Photos: Collectible Automobile, Cars
for Sale ]
[Unknown, USA] Cadillac Eldorado
El Deora; this, again, was no "custom" job like those of the
independent coach builders of the twenties and thirties. It was simply a stock Cadillac
Eldorado with various pieces of additional trim like the fancy radiator grill, padded
saddle top, opera windows and faux continental kit. Enthusiast Tim Stephens of Belgium wrote, in May
2003: There is (in Sydney, I think now) a
triple-white El Deora on a 1975 Eldorado chassis ...a hideous monstrosity
imported by the Deen family (you've heard of them, no doubt) in the late 1970s. It
has the RR grille, bug-eye headlamp treatment, faux-continental bump in the trunk, vile
red "fur" for the headlining which looks like shag carpet upside-down, and is
right-hand-drive and registered. I last saw it at the 25th Anniversary of the CLSCA,
in Sydney, in 1995 driven by a hippie! I did not waste film on it! Well said,
[Unknown, USA] special-bodied
station wagon on Eldorado chassis [see photo]
[Unknown, USA] special-bodied
station wagon [photo] - one of these crossed the auction block at Auburn, Indiana,
September 1997. It was said to be a conversion of a Cadillac 60 Special.
[Unknown, USA] convertible coupe on
shortened Cadillac Seville chassis. This photo, below, was found on the
[Unknown, USA] customized Seville
El Camino type pick-up truck
[Unknown, USA] customized 8-wheel 1975-76 Eldorado
T-top. Possibly in Brisbane, Australia. Was for sale with this description: The
world's first 4-axle, twin steer Cadillac Eldorado Birritz [sic].
Great promotional vehicle. Brisbane motor auction late February [what
year?], Ph (07) 3268 2800, Information line 0416 334 737.
Late Extra (Feb. 2013): Kim
Miller of Newcastle, Australia, said the car was currently for sale in
Melbourne and provided this (temporaryl)
link. Thanks, Kim.
[Unknown, USA] This westernized 1975
was the (favorite) car of Nudie, the man who dressed the Hollywood stars
At right: the car is often featured in
promotional stunts, as here for a taco restaurant; note the Elvis
Presley gold lamé suit !
[Unknown, USA] This
photograph is reproduced courtesy of Jim Eccleston of the Cadillac Mailing List
(CML); like the Nudie car, this Eldorado too sports a pair of longhorns and
two large trumpet horns.
pick-up truck (now you see it, now you don't?)
[ Photos, above two rows: Internet, 2/2001 ]
This Mirage pick-up was on display during the CLC
Grand National, Detroit, 2002
[Photos, above three rows: © 2002, J. Scott Harris ]
This one was offered for sale on eBay, in March 2004
[Unknown, USA] Here's
another similar looking pick-up truck on the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado chassis. This one was
for sale on e-Bay in April, 2003.
[ Photos: Internet, 2003 ]
Another pick-up wagon: maker unknown
[Unknown, USA] Slightly
customized [shortened] Cadillac Seville
[Unknown, USA] In addition to
being highly customized, I would rank these three jobs as "pimpmobiles".
They appear to be all from the same customizer. Does anybody recognize them. They
were featured in an issue of Playboy in the mid-seventies.
"1977-59" custom coupe. The pictures say it all.
[ Photos: Internet 9/2001 ]
[Unknown, USA] Custom Eldorado
convertible, offered for sale on the Internet in April, 2002. The VIN identified it
as a 1975 model and it was advertised as a Special Biarritz Custom Edition. In outward appearance it looks like an Eldorado model from 1977-78
(Cadillac did not make a convertible in those two years) but the hood lettering is from a
1978, tail-lights from 1977-78, steering wheel from 1985 and interior apparently from the Custom
Biarritz coupe of 1977-78. I would call it the Cadillac Hodge-Podge.
Whatizzit ??? Vendor claims it was custom made for
Frank Sinatra, the interior alone is reported to have
cost $10,000! Yeah, right, like ol' Blue Eyes would order an expensive custom job
on a used car ?!?! In any case,
I saw this car for sale a few months earlier and THAT vendor's story was quite
different. Caveat emptor!
[Unknown, USA] Not sure
whether to list this converted limousine under "Dream Cars" or "Cadillac
[Unknown, USA] Same again.
"Car" or "rolling sculpture".
Custom "Elegante" coupe with continental kit.
Quite a few pennies went into decorating this 1976 Fleetwood limousine.
Another similar treatment was accorded a 1949 Cadillac. You can
check it out here.
Wisco (USA) Customized
Eldorado El Clásico [frequently spelled erroneously as El Classico]; the
photos appear to depict a trimmed-up De Ville model and not an Eldorado.
Trivia: In the mid- to
late-seventies it was not uncommon for some major Cadillac dealers like Potamkin
in New York or Center City Cadillac
in Philadelphia, to dress up basic Cadillac models like the
bottom-line Calais (adding some special trim items like a Cabriolet
padded roof, a grille cap, script ID badges) and to sell them as custom jobs with such
fancy, French-sounding names like Régent, d'Etoile, d'Marchand,
etc. Those unfortunate de and d' prepositions are largely overworked in
the pseudo-French practised by many coach-builders in the USA.
"Modern Classic" roadster. Information about this custom job was
provided kindly by Cadillac enthusiast, Bill Hooey of Califonia. He
wrote (in Oct. 2011): I recently purchased a 1976 Cadillac "Diamante". Here is what I’ve
been told about this type of car. A company near Sherman Oaks,
California, was buying Cadillac frames with a complete suspension,
steering system and a drive train. Then they were attaching a custom
made body that looked something like a late 1930’s luxury roadster such
as a Bugati or Duesenberg. These cars sold for $70,000 and only thirteen
were made. I recently acquired one of these cars. It was stored in the
backyard of a warehouse for several years (see color pictures below). I
did some research online and I was able to find a picture of what these
cars looked like when they were new (see B&W pic below). I was told they
were very fast cars because they had a 425 Caddy engine. The owner of
the car was going to sell it to a movie company and they were going to
crash it on camera and totally destroy it. I bought it instead and saved
it from being demolished. I work in the film business too here in
Hollywood. This car does need a lot of work to come back to life again
but at least the entire body is there. It does a have a motor and trans
but I have no idea what condition they are in. Can you tell me anything
about this type of car? I plan to put it up on line for sale in a few
days and I would like to have some accurate information about its origin.
Does anyone have an idea what it might be worth? [sorry,
Bill, it's the first time I've heard about it; perhaps some enthusiast
from California could tell us more].
There are three picture
below. The two color prints show the car in gray primer; it is the car
that in my driveway. The B&W pic was copied from a company brochure when
these cars were for sale, back in 1976.
[ pics still to come ]