This is a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham that was given a 15 year rebuild at a cost of $2.3 million USD. The paint alone cost $300,000, and the $97,000 engine is capable of 1,025 bhp on racing fuel.
The project’s goal was to combine the Cadillac with the 1956 Chevrolet Nomad, it was then nicknamed the “CadMad,” taking the first and last three letters from “Cadillac” and “Nomad.”
Fast Facts: The “CadMad” – A Cadillac x Nomad Custom
- The CadMad is essentially two cars combined, a rare 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad. During the build process a new tube frame chassis was developed along with custom suspension and an all new drivetrain built by Tom Nelson Racing Engines.
- The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham is a bit of a rarity, just 100 were made and 99 delivered to customers (one was accidentally destroyed during shipping). The chassis were made in Cadillac’s Detroit factory then sent to Pininfarina of Turin, Italy to have their bodies fitted.
- The project to build the CadMad began when Steve Barton decided to take a shot at winning the Ridler Award, arguably the custom car world’s most prestigious prize. He decided to have a ’59 Eldorado Brougham and a ’56 Nomad combined into a single vehicle by Jordan Quintal II and his team.
- In total the project would take over 15 years, 4,000 hours, and $2.3 million USD. Tragically, Steve would pass away before the car was finished, so his brother Craig stepped in, had the build completed, and took it to the 2019 Detroit Autorama where it achieved Steve’s goal of winning the Ridler Award.
What Is The Ridler Award?
Winning a Ridler Award is, in some respects, the custom car world’s equivalent to winning an Academy Award. It’s named after Don Ridler, a key figure in the early American custom car world and a pivotal organizer of the early Detroit Autorama car shows held at the Coliseum on the Michigan State Fairgrounds.
Don Ridler passed away relatively young at the age of just 54 in 1963. His passing shocked the automotive world and plans were quickly put in place to create a new award to honor his memory. As Ridler had always been known for his creativity, the award was developed to honor the most creative car at the show, as decided by a jury of expert judges.
The Ridler Award was first given out at the 1964 Detroit Autorama and it’s been awarded each year the show has been held since. It’s now become one of the most, if not the single most, important accolade in the custom car world, very much like an Oscar.
Combining A ’59 Eldorado Brougham And A ’56 Nomad
When Steve Barton decided to take one of the 99 original examples of the Pininfarina-built 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and turn it into a custom car, there was some controversy. Far fewer than the original 99 have survived to the modern day, and even many diehard Cadillac fans have never seen one in person.
That said, Barton’s goal was to create an entirely unique custom car that would cross the line between automobile and art, even if it cost him millions of dollars and took well over a decade.
He approached Jordan Quintal II and his team at SuperRides by Jordan with the idea. They agreed to take it on and Barton provided the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and the 1956 Chevrolet Nomad. The plan was to shorten the Cadillac into a coupe, add the Nomad roof, and set the new body on a more modern tube frame chassis.
The Cadillac body was acid dipped, then chopped 18 inches in length, narrowed by 4.5 inches and a further 2 inches was removed from the lower body to reduce the car’s overall height. As many of the original Pininfarina-made Eldorado Brougham design cues were kept in place, including the front and rear end.
Once this was all complete the Nomad’s roof was grafted onto the body, the doors were custom built specifically for this car, and a tailgate was fabricated that acts as a full hatchback for convenience.
Now it was time for paint – the paintwork applied to this car is said to have cost $300,000 – significantly more than the full cost of most high-end cars. The body was finished in Fawntana Rose (an original 1961 Cadillac factory color) and the roof was finished in Titanium Silver.
In total there are 13 coats on the car including three Kustom Shop urethane base coats, four color coats, and six PPG clear coats. Additionally, the steel tube frame chassis was also finished in Fawntana Rose to match the body.
The chassis was designed and made specifically for this car, it’s made from 1 5/8-inch-diameter steel tubing and it sits on bespoke front and rear suspension on adjustable coilovers.
A custom engine was made for this car by Tom Nelson Racing Engines, it’s a 632 cubic inch V8 producing 1,025 bhp. It’s based around a Dart block and it’s fitted with billet crank caps, a forged 4340 crank, billet connecting rods, forged JE pistons, Clevite H-series bearings, NRE billet intake heads, twin injectors per cylinder, and Brodix Big Brodie heads. Then it was capped off with twin NRE turbos for good measure.
Inside the car you’ll find a complete custom interior with custom leathers, custom stitching, custom wood work, and custom electronics throughout. Recaro seats from a Cadillac CTS-V are used, the dashboard and other hard surfaces were then hand-painted to match.
The rear cargo floor is finished in striped tiger wood, figured maple, and African wenge, and this same woodwork is featured throughout the cabin.
It’s said to have cost $2.3 million USD to build the car including 4,000 hours and over 15 years. The paintwork cost $300,000 and the engine was close to $100,000, so it’s likely safe to say that just one of these will ever be built.
The CadMad: Now For Sale
After winning the Ridler Award at the 2019 Detroit Autorama this car was featured broadly across the United States in car magazines, on TV, and in countless online articles.
It’s now due to roll across the auction block with Mecum as a featured car at their Kissimmee Auction in early January. It won’t come cheap, though the $450,000 – $500,000 USD price guide is still just a 1/5th of what it cost to build.
If you’d like to read more about the CadMad or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Mecum
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.