My 54 Cadillac Build Pics - ModernCamaro.com - 5th Generation Camaro Enthusiasts
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post #1 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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My 54 Cadillac Build Pics

Well I had a few people ask me to post up pictures of my 54 Cadillac that Dad and I started about 2 weeks ago. First I'll start by saying this one is kind of going kinda a*s backwards. This car reads 17,297 miles on the odometer, it's a 331, p/s, p/b, p/w, power seat, wonderbar radio, vacumn antenna, autronic eye, and most of all rear a/c car, so we are starting with, by far, the nicest car we've ever started with. I've had more people tell me I'm crazy than I've ever heard...especially the true Cadillac guys. So here's our initial plan, we're going with more of a retro rod on this one. The outside wil appeare to be an almost 100% stock 54 cadillac, with a few minor things removed, vees, emblems, hood bord,and prob door handles, but the rest remains. We installed a 1980 Firebird subframe already, and have the 2004 GTO LS1 mocked in, motor mounts arrive tomrrow, so it'll have an updates supension, drivetrain, steering column, and the rest will be 54 Cadillac, so we're mating 3 generations of parts...Ok enough talking, Heres what we have so far, remember, the first pictures are what we started with....

Yes a little pose, me, my dad, and my son

Rodney Updegrave
2011 Chrysler 300C, 1954 Cadillac Coupe De Ville,1949 Pontiac Woodie Wagon,1972 VW Beetle Roadster, 2004 Baja 25 Outlaw
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Last edited by rodster56; 02-15-2011 at 04:58 PM.
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post #2 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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I ran out of space...



And that's as of today, this weekend, motor mounts, tranny mount, and keep working at the radiator support. Typically in the rods, we try and use the outer edges of the original rad supports, so it makes lining the fenders up much nicer, on the caddy, we are lamost using all of it, which should make life easier when mounting the 200 lbs on chrome on the front..lol..enjoy...ask any questions if you have any....I love to talk about this stuff..as you can tell...

Rodney Updegrave
2011 Chrysler 300C, 1954 Cadillac Coupe De Ville,1949 Pontiac Woodie Wagon,1972 VW Beetle Roadster, 2004 Baja 25 Outlaw
www.fquick.com/rodster56


Last edited by rodster56; 02-15-2011 at 04:59 PM.
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post #3 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 04:59 PM
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That's really a cool car, The ride the fins nice work

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post #4 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 06:21 PM
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Explain the use of the firebird front clip/frame. Have you though of replacing the front suspension with something from Detroit Speed and Engineering?

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post #5 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 54inches View Post
Explain the use of the firebird front clip/frame. Have you though of replacing the front suspension with something from Detroit Speed and Engineering?
We've used GM subframes now in 5 different cars that we've built, honestly its a much cheaper way of doing than the typical mustang II set up that alot of guys seem to use, I just looked at there website and it looks like they build some pretty hot front clips, we can usually pick up an entire subframe for $150, and put in new bushings,brakes calipers, rotors, steering box, and end up under $700-800. Dont get me wrong, the aftermarket stuff out there is really nice, we're budget guys and like to do things ourself. The only downfall to the 70-81 front steer subframes, is they are a little wider, so you need to backspace the wheels more, and the steeringbox/sway arm sometimes gets in your way of the radiators, but that is all workable. On my 39 chevy I ended up putting on a set of Fatman shortened control arms that gained me an inch, that worked out nicely in that instance. Now that we're this far on the Cadillac, I realize that a rear steer early model Camaro/Firebird subframe, may have worked better, but we'll work with this one.On my Dad's 37 Chevy coupe, we used a 69 Firebird rear steer subframe which worked better for that application.

This is a picture of my 39 Chevy frame, this was a 79 Camaro subframe

And here is our 49 Pontiac, this is a 77 Trans am subframe

Rodney Updegrave
2011 Chrysler 300C, 1954 Cadillac Coupe De Ville,1949 Pontiac Woodie Wagon,1972 VW Beetle Roadster, 2004 Baja 25 Outlaw
www.fquick.com/rodster56

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post #6 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 07:33 PM
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I was wondering how you keep the sub-frame's straight when connecting to the frame. I know that you're not "eyeballing" it with the cars that you're completing so how are you doing that?

I know how we shim/straighten engine placement in a boat but now sure how to take the front end of one car and place it on another...and it be true!


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post #7 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I was wondering how you keep the sub-frame's straight when connecting to the frame. I know that you're not "eyeballing" it with the cars that you're completing so how are you doing that?

I know how we shim/straighten engine placement in a boat but now sure how to take the front end of one car and place it on another...and it be true!
Well the first and most important thing is your wheel base, you need your tires to end up centered in your fender or you are truly SOL. So the real rod shops use a tram guage...we use 2 ferring strips and some threaded dowel rod...lol. Then you need to know your heigth, so we always take several key measurements on the existing frame, this measurement isnt as imporatant bc that can be adjusted. Then we have to determine the best location to cut the existing frame, its usually nice to find a straight area, preferabbly in front of the firewall only bc its easier to box it back in once your welding....then you hack away. Once we have it set in, we typically will do cross measurements from about 10 different points on the car, this sometimes is a little tricky, but usually things like the tranny crossmember bolts, body mounts, things like that work best, then we find matching points in the subframe on side to side, and do cross measurements..these,by far, are the most critical, bc if they are off, the whole frame will be crooked. We also use a plumb bob sometimes to help in measuring. Every car is different, we've already welded the sub in below the original frame, to the side, on top, and even inside, all depends where it falls the best.....Honestly its not that bad once you do one, we had the Caddy frame mounted in 1 day, and about 2 more to weld/box the metal around it.....

Rodney Updegrave
2011 Chrysler 300C, 1954 Cadillac Coupe De Ville,1949 Pontiac Woodie Wagon,1972 VW Beetle Roadster, 2004 Baja 25 Outlaw
www.fquick.com/rodster56

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post #8 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 07:56 PM
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wow great pics great car its awesome to see family together working with the cars

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post #9 of 45 Old 02-15-2011, 08:09 PM
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I always wondered how these kind of cars come together, some nice work there !!

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post #10 of 45 Old 02-16-2011, 06:07 AM
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may that was a nice looking cadillac from the start. i would have just painted it flat black and drove it. was there anythign wrong with the motor or did you just want modern? cant wait to see it when your done. i wish i had the ability to do something liek that. you got me wanting to look for a caddy again!

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