Hey, this is Classic Car News, so of course we’re not talking about women who might run a house of prostitution
Perhaps the most beautiful car on display was the Madam X Cadillac that Chip Foose did for Wes and Vivian Rydell | Larry Edsall photos
Hey, this is Classic Car News, so of course we’re not talking about women who might run a house of prostitution. But to my eyes and ears, the two most fascinating cars at the recent and 50th annual trade show of the Specialty Equipment Market Association were Madam X and Madam V.
Both cars are customized classic Cadillacs and both are owned by Wes and Vivian Rydell. In 1976, Wes Rydell took over his father’s Chevrolet dealership in North Dakota and now has franchises in 14 states, a dozen of them west of the Mississippi River.
Madam V looks like a 1949 Cadillac fastback, but beneath that sheetmetal it’s all modern Cadillac CTS-V. It’s also the first classic car done by the Ringbrothers.
He asked custom car designer Chip Foose to take a 1939 Cadillac 60 Special four-door coupe and turn it into Madam X, a contemporary tribute to the “car that never was,” made famous by the 1935 concept sketch by Art Ross, who had just joined the GM styling department.
Marcel rebodied the car as a coupe powered by a Gen V LT-1 engine from a Chevrolet Corvette with an 8-speed automatic transmission from a Cadillac Escalade and the differential from a Camaro Z01.
To my eyes, the car was the most beautiful creature at the SEMA Show, and the bespoke billet aluminum wheels designed to resemble classic Cadillac hubcaps are works of art. Breathtaking!
But breathtaking also could apply to Madam V, the initial presumably in tribute to Vivian Rydell. Wes Rydell’s request of the Ringbrothers was to produce the offspring of a 1948 Cadillac fastback coupe and a 2016 Cadillac ATS-V, so that all of the ATS-V’s latest technology would function while being hidden within the classic Cadillac sheet metal.
This would be the first classic car project for the Rings, who previously have worked only on post-1965 muscle cars, for which they’ve become stars within the custom car world.
“It was a really unique challenge and represented a totally different way of working for us,” said Jim Ring, who with his brother, Mike, typically fabricate many new parts for their projects.
But this time, they not only had to keep everything from the ATS-V, but find a way to make it all fit and function in the Cadillac.
Oh, and here’s more of what we saw at SEMA:
The candy-colored 1976 Ford LTD
1969 Chevrolet Camaro G-Code by the Ringbrothers
Trio of classic Chevys on a transporter
Ray Evernham restored the ’58 Chevrolet Impala used in the movie ‘American Grafitti’
Modern sheetmetal awaits your hot rod dreams
Toyota’s stand featured museum classics next to modern production cars and extreme builds
Taillamp: Chrysler did build a 1955 Imperial convertible, but Mike Rutter of Rutter Rodz did, adding a new 6.4-liter Hemi under the hood
1952 Mercedes-Benz 170S
Sometimes its hard to see the cars for all the people; some 140,000 attended the trade show this year
The Flux Capacator is another Burning Man project by Las Vegas artist Henry Chang
A Pontiac classic
There’s a modern Roush supercharged Ford V8 beneath the hood of this patinaed 1949 Ford F1
Wonder how Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter can drive his 1939 Ford Woodie Wagon all over the country? There’s a modern 400-hp Chevy V8 under the hood
Acura’s new NSX racer with new MDX support vehicle
Arrow shows you where you are, but you still need to fight through that crowd to see the cars
Ray Harroun put a rear-view mirror on his Marmon Wasp racer, didn’t need to carry a riding mechanic to warn him of traffic approaching from the rear and won the first Indy 500
Each year the PPG stand is a show of its own. This year it took the form of a USO-style dance hall
1971 Dodge Demon 340 rides on modern suspension
Not a classic car but a new twist on Jim Hall’s famed Chaparral series
Actor Sung Kang put together Steve Strope, three high school students and they built this Project Underdog 1972 Ford Maverick
OMIX-ADA’s display always includes restored vintage Jeeps. This year it displayed a 1966 Wagoneer pulling a 1964 Fireball Friendship camping trailer
Fender and wheel detail: Madame X Cadillac
It’s so well polished that it might appear to be plastic, but this turbine-powered vehicle is made from a single British Columbians spruce tree and was driven to 47.64 mph, a Guinness record for a log vehicle, presumably beating Fred Flintstone’s long-standing record
Mopar’s new crate engine kit installed in a ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda
Suspension system producer H&R paid homage to BMW’s racing heritage
SEMA commissioned artist Ed Tillrock to create a huge, backlit mural that greeted visitors at the show’s main and Central Hall entry way
Rick Dore’s Shangri-La with hand-formed bodywork by Marcel
Wes and Vivian Rydell had several of their cars on display at SEMA, including this classic Oldsmobile
Vesco Racing not only brought one of its land speed record-setting cars, but an entire display in support of saving the Bonneville Salt Flats
Artist Henry Chang showed The Valyrian Steel at SEMA in 2015. This year it was back with some additional metalwork
1969 Dodge D200 body rides on 2015 Dodge 3500 chassis