Custom rides are a tricky process.


One car guy’s dream ride can be another car guy’s worst nightmare.


Cosmetic surgery is risky business, whether it is applied to a car or the late Michael Jackson.


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Every now and then we encounter a custom ride that is an out-of-the-park home run with the public and we have to include Craig Philips’ 1949 Cadillac in this category.


The Caddy is a stellar example of what happens when car guys get the custom concept exactly right on an old ride.
Craig purchased the Caddy from its Charlotte, North Carolina owner and brought it back to its new home thousands of miles away in western Canada.


We encountered the car last summer and our most difficult task was the photo shoot because the Caddy drew an enormous amount of attention.


Craig was aware of the car before he purchased it because the Caddy has graced the pages of numerous car magazines.


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Craig is our kind of owner because he loves to drive his cars and his Caddy will see a lot of time on the road under his watch. His Caddy is an excellent example of retro custom from an era when car guys mixed and matched in an effort to get the perfect recipe for style.


One look at this Caddy and you know the builder had the perfect recipe for this custom build. The Caddy even has a Cadillac 425 cubic inch engine from a 1978 donor car. It also sports a 1955 Cadillac bumper.


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The headlight lids are pure 1955 Chevy, along with inverted front signal lights also from a ’55 Chevy. The front steering is Mustang II and the seats were donated by a 1966 Thunderbird. The leather interior and seat covers were donated by a very reluctant crocodile.


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The refinements extend to the steering wheel which is a cut-down version of the original steering wheel in all of its ivory glory.


The roof has been chopped 4 ½ inches while the hood has been pancaked 2 ½ inches to give the car a sleeker look.


Even the window pillars have been modified and now have a tilt to give the Caddy another subtly sporty touch.


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Craig feels his Caddy has “mastered the art of subtlety” in his words, and few people would disagree with his assessment. This car is old school cool and does not go over the top in the custom department.


We mentioned that Craig is the kind of guy who loves to drive his retro rides and he will travel in both comfort and style behind the wheel of his ’49 Caddy.


Craig enjoys A/C, air ride and a killer custom sound system while he cruises down the road.The Caddy travels well at highway speeds with plenty of pedal left at Craig’s disposal. In his words, “it cruises nice”.


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There are good customs and there are great customs in the car hobby.


There are few among us who would dispute the fact this beautiful 1949 Cadillac custom is a great custom.


Jim Sutherland

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