The Hand-Built, One-Off Cadillac that Won the Ridler Award08/01/2019
In the world of rare automobiles, owning a 1-of-only-100 vehicle is not that uncommon. However, take one of those surviving examples, cut it up, remove some of its styling cues while borrowing others and, for good measure, add some of your own, then you get what The Joker said in the movie, The Dark Knight, “Introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos.”
Well, Jordan Quintal II knows something about introducing some level of chaos into the hot rodding world, and he has been at it for more than 50 years. He was part of the team that won the Detroit Autorama’s Don Ridler Memorial Award back in 2001 with the cherry red M-80 ’49 Chevy Business Coupe and, after striking out on his own that year with SuperRides by Jordan in Escondido, California, he and his son (named Jordan Quintal III) have continued to build some fantastic rides with more than a handful being featured in top street rodding publications.
Comparing any of those rides (or actually any other car, period) to his latest venture would be extremely difficult to do, though. It’s so far beyond what anyone has done in the past it really puts this new vehicle into its own category. Jordan was commissioned to build this project by Steve Barton, whose incredible 30-plus car collection was located at his home in Las Vegas. It included well-known vehicles (like the custom bullet-nose Studebaker nicknamed FrankenStude) but also many lesser-known makes and models, though they were all well loved by Steve. Barton also had a thing for Cadillacs. He owned seven of them, from a rare concept car to a late model wagon, but he also loved really big engines and more power.
One vehicle Steve owned was a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, which is one of only 100 made in that configuration that year. The production number is often quoted as being 99 vehicles, but 100 were actually handbuilt by Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina, famous for their exquisite work from the ’30s thru the ’60s with Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Cisitalia, and more. One of the Cadillac bodies was destroyed in shipment, so 99 vehicles is the number most people know, and is the speculated reason why 101 Broughams were built in 1960: to make up up for the lost one in ’59.
For its time, these $13,000 Cadillacs (or nearly $120,000 in today’s money) were among the most expensive passenger cars to purchase, and they came with one of the largest windshields ever used on a car. While the standard Cadillacs from 1959 had the largest tailfins ever produced, these Italian-designed Cads were much more reserved in their design and came with understated tailfins.
SuperRides started the project by building a 1-5/8-inch chromoly round tube chassis with a 120.5-inch wheelbase (a stock Fleetwood chassis carried a 130-inch wheelbase, for reference). The independent front suspension follows a traditional design but was built by SuperRides using elliptical aircraft-style tubing in the A-arms made by Phil Hayes. Out back, is a 3.73:1 C5 Corvette transaxle built by Temecula Transmission. In a clever bit of eengineering, a custom engine accessory drive is bolted to the front of the transaxle. It alternator, power steering pump, and the Vintage Air AC pump—all of which is suspended under the rear portion of the chassis’ cage.
QA1 shocks and Baer six-piston 15-inch disc brakes can be found on all four corners along with one-off 18-inch EVOD wheels that replicate the intricately finned factory15-inch Cadillac wheel. The wheels are wrapped in Vogue whitewall rubber that also includes a body-colored accent stripe. With the decision to not use rear fenderskirts, SuperRides figured out a way to unbolt the wheels and move them outboard ½-inch then drop them out the bottom.
The beast of an engine is a Warrior Series 632-inch big block Chevy built by theNelson Racing Engines (NRE) in Chatsworth, California. They started with a Dart block, billet crank caps, and a 4.6-inch piston bore. A 4.75-inch stroke Callies forged 4340 crank connects to Callies 4340 billet connecting rods and forged JE pistons equipped with Hellfire rings and Clevite H-series bearings.
Up top Brodix, Big Brodie heads are fed by an NRE billet Alien intake with dual injectors per each cylinder with Octane on Demand, an internal throttle body, and built-in fuel regulator. Twin 88mm NRE Mirror Image turbos are mounted forward of the engine, and a 60-tooth crank trigger ignition system (with four coils) sends the spark via Taylor wires.
The exhaust on this car is just as unique as everything else, as NRE fab’d the 2.125-inch stainless steel headers while Jordan III created the massive 3-inch exhaust system that leads into Borla mufflers. All in all, the engine produces 1,000 horsepower at only 7.5 PSI of boost.
Of the initial 100 car bodies built in Italy in 1959, this one is number 85, and much of it was going to be modified during the build. To begin with, ’59 Broughams were four-doors, and SuperRides converted it to a two-door by removing the rear doors, stretching the front doors 6 inches, and shortening the overall car’s length by 18 inches. In order to use the Pontiac Safari roof, which itself was pancaked 2 inches by SuperRides, nearly every other factory dimension and body panel was altered.
The body was also sectioned two inches between the rockers and side trim, and the entire width of the body was narrowed by 4 ½ inches, which necessitated creating every piece of metal between the car’s outer skins, including the floor, dash, and tailgate. SuperRides did use Jeff Davis from Precision MetalCraft to weld up the custom gas tanks, which features one tank inside another. It’s an 18-gallon tank for premium fuel and a four-gallon auxiliary tank that feeds 112-octane gasoline to a second set of injectors used during high-performance driving. With the new tailgate section added, SuperRides needed to have custom wrap-around quarterwindows made, which was done at AM Hot Rod Glass in Fontana, California, and the trim around the door openings, windows, and down the side of the car was made from brass then chrome plated.
The dash is steel but features an immaculate painted woodgrain finish by Lyle Fisk. Ron Heiden, a well-known restorer of woodie vehicles, created the rear interior deck from a selection of exotic natural woods. Classic Instruments made the one-off gauge cluster for the car, and a Kenwood Excelon stereo with Focal speakers was wired using a Painless Wiring electrical system installed by SuperRides.
EVOD, the company that made the road wheels, also made the billet aluminum steering wheel that replicates the look of the factory wheel. Cadillac CTS-V bucket seats were covered in a mauve-colored leather by Ron Mangus and is several shades darker than the pearlized Fawntana Rose color mixed up that SuperRides used to paint the entire vehicle.
This car took 16 years to build, and Steve was understanding in the fact there was so much innovative design work that had to be figured out, that he green-lit two other cars to be built by SuperRides while he waited for this one to be finished! Originally the plan was to have a twin-mill (two inline V8s) engine layout, so a six-inch-longer hood and engine compartment was built and mocked up, but it became unfeasible in the time left to finish the vehicle.
As 2017 drew to a close, a big push was on to have the car ready for the Detroit Autorama the following year, but Steve Barton passed away in January 2018 at 76 years old. No one was sure what was going to happen to the nearly-finished car, that is until Steve’s brother, Craig, stepped in and told Jordan that his family had decided to have the car finished for the 2019 Autorama in Steve’s name.
The decision paid off, as the car took the highest honor at the Detroit show—the Don Ridler Memorial Award—for its innovative design and creativity, and the perpetual trophy will have Steve Barton’s name engraved on it for all time.
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