Written by independent automotive journalist David Neyens
While many Cadillac fans believe it’s virtually impossible to improve upon the basic proportions, elegance and fine details of Cadillac’s refined 1960 Coupe de Ville, this stunning restoration and custom build (Lot #760 at the 2021 Las Vegas Auction) proves the feat is indeed possible. At its heart, the factory 390ci engine was replaced by an all-aluminum LS6, installed by 3D in Tulare and enhanced by twin turbochargers and a conservative tune yielding just under 500 usable rear-wheel horsepower, while capable of far higher output. A heavy-duty GM 4L80E electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission was supplied by Monster and drives a rebuilt factory rear axle.
The engine bay is fully fitted with bead-rolled panels, and both the firewall and wiper cowl are smoothed for a clean look, enhanced by a serpentine-belt drive from Billet Specialties. Supporting features include power steering and hydraulically boosted CCP power 4-wheel disc brakes. Riding on a fully wrapped and powder-coated factory X-frame chassis, this sleek Coupe de Ville’s stance is achieved with an AccuAir dual Endo-CVT air suspension system and “chopping block” 4-link rear setup.
The Coupe de Ville’s stunning bodywork was performed by the pros at the Lewis Millenich Body Shop, a go-to location in Hanford, California. Clearly the product of hundreds of hours’ worth of uncompromising effort, the Cadillac is finished in a Super Jet Black base by Axalta Coatings, sealed underneath six coats of clear.
Creature comforts are many, with the spacious Coupe de Ville interior fully trimmed in Saddle Tan leather upholstery, including the front bucket seats and custom center console. Comfortable cruising is assured with a Vintage Air system, power-adjustable front seats and power window lifts, and a hidden stereo system delivers the tunes with Bluetooth capability and great bass response from a pair of 10-inch subwoofers. Other choice details include Dakota Digital gauges, all-new Ron Francis wiring and all-new window felts, plus rubber body seals and gaskets and new chassis bushings and body mounts. A LoJack vehicle recovery system enhances security and delivers peace of mind.
Consistent with the rest of the vehicle, the Cadillac’s trunk compartment is fully boxed in matching Saddle Tan leather-covered panels. Only the air tanks – equipped with integral compressors and valves – are visible. A hidden Full Throttle battery powers the electrical system and is equipped with a built-in charger for easy maintenance. Crowning touches include all-new glass, tinted before installation for a totally clean, seam-free look, plus all-original trim, finished with show-quality plated and buffed chrome. Rolling stock includes 22-inch Raceline Manhattan custom wheels all around, mounting low-profile Toyo 255/30 ZR 22 tires delivering excellent grip.
In addition to being featured as an indoor display car at the world-famous Las Vegas SEMA Show in November 2018, this Coupe de Ville took Gold at Pismo Beach in 2019. While capable of delivering a fabulous cruising experience, this 1960 Cadillac Coupe de Ville custom has been sparingly driven, mostly for testing and local enjoyment, since it was completed, helping preserve its show-quality condition. Nonetheless, we are advised the car “…drives like a Cadillac with a rocket engine and with its size, really plants the power. Reliable and without issue, it fires right up ‒ and while it’s mainly a show car, you can get in and cruise to dinner with it.”
Combining the best of both classic and modern worlds, this Coupe de Ville is exactly our kind of car!