August 28, 1944 – Hot rod builder Boyd Coddington is born

American hot rod designer and builder Boyd Coddington was born on this day in 1944. In his early 20s he moved to Southern California where he landed a job as a machinist at Disneyland at night. When he clocked out, he pursued his true passion: building hot rods. The unique rides he crafted caught the eyes of enthusiasts around the globe and his popularity soared. To meet demand for his automotive artwork, he opened his own shop, Hot Rods by Boyd, in Cypress, California in 1977.

Above: Boyd Coddington, right,his wife Jo signed autographs for Sailors stationed aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Top: Boyd Coddington’s CaZZilla. By Brian Corey.

In 1989 Boyd received an incredible opportunity. ZZ Tops’ Billy Gibbons commissioned Boyd to build a hot rod out of a 1948 Cadillac. The result was CadZZilla. Inspired by lead sleds, the car underwent one of the most incredible transformations in hot rod history. The car, which has appeared at the Petersen Museum, has been slated as one of the great expressions of automotive customization. The editors of Consumer Guide praised it as “the first really new type of custom since the heyday of the 1950s.” Check out this thread for some rare photos of the build.

Billy Gibbons with the 1948 Cadillac that would become CadZZilla. See the transformation here

Boyd’s shop was a breeding ground for future automotive all-star hot rodders, Chip Foose and Jesse James both began their professional customizing careers there. Over the years, his cars won the Grand National Roadster Show’s prestigious “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR)” award seven times.  


Boyd himself was admitted to the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, the SEMA Hall of Fame, the Route 66 Hall of Fame, the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame and the Hot Rod Hall of Fame. Boyd died on February 27, 2008, following complications related to diabetes and a recent surgery.

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