Necessary Evil: Kym and Todd Wylie’s 1956 Cadillac Coupe
By Anna Marco
Pics courtesy of Todd Wylie
There are only a handful of 1956 Cadillac’s in New Zealand and Todd & Kym Wylie own a beauty.
In New Zealand, the only other Cadillac’s of the Fifties era are restored back to stock and they are hard to find. Imagine the staggering freight costs associated with importing and shipping old American steel and ancillary parts into that country. If you are going to be a rodder or cruiser outside of the United States, then you’re a diehard. Considering that we are going to be losing some of our vintage cars to other regions in the world, we hope they are going to good homes and they are.
Todd & Kym Wylie’s are fanatics for American cars. Especially, Todd. He grew up on 10-second quarter mile street driven Mitsubishis and once built a half Ford Mustang/half Holden as a stunt for a local radio station (Google Folden). Today, he is editor of NZV8 Magazine, a performance car magazine published by Parkside Media. Prior to holding that position he also worked for two of their other titles, No Limits and New Zealand Performance Car magazines. He is extremely committed to the automotive lifestyle and was looking for a personal car based on a high quality build with plenty of custom touches.
In August 2008, Todd and his wife Kym knew of a 1956 Cadillac sitting in a shed, about an hour away from their home. Originally it was never intended for sale, but the owner had lost his job and after much hounding from Todd, he agreed to sell it. Todd recalls, “We looked at ’59s, but wanted something different and we only knew of a handful of ’56 Cadillac’s in the country. Before we got this one, we’d only seen a couple. It had good bones being a dry Arizona car, and it was shed stored here long term. The previous owner had bought lots of bits to build it, but they were never taken out of the boxes. Des Sheldon imported the car to New Zealand in 1994. It was ever driven or completed and we liked the styling. The ‘50s cars have so many cool details. We both really wanted a sled, like a Mercury and still do but Cadillac’s look custom from the factory, so they are well suited to the Mild Kustom treatment that we gave it.”
The Wylie’s had the Caddy on the road for a few years with all new running gear (as per specs) but the body was patina and the interior was Mexican blankets however, NZ climate is wet and the car was starting to rust so it had to be painted to protect it. The entire vehicle was media blasted back to bare steel, and the customizing process started in the garage which was only just longer than the car, so it made things interesting! With help from a team of friends and sponsors (some who moved into the garage to finish the car and worked on it around the clock), the retro styled custom was finished in six months. A special thanks to Adam Croy, Andrew Town, Bevan Wong, Brett Delahunty, Bryce Gordon, Gavin Dawson, Harry Dart, Kevin Shaw, Kris Bostock, Mark Curran, Matt Fryer, Nyle Buckley, Ryan Sheldon, Terry Bowden, Troy Yeoman, and Mike Mahoney for all their assistance. The ‘56 debuted at the National Hot Rod Show, and it came Third in Class (1949 and newer coupe). It also won an award for Best Flake and at the Jenner's Hall of Fame event it took Top Judged Street Machine. It’s not a show car though, it’s a driver. It goes to work, takes a 200- pound dog in the back seat, and gets used almost every week. No point in it sitting in the shed gathering dust. It was built to be driven. Future plans include a 392 Hemi powered rat rod and a ’68 Cuda but the Wylie's had a baby. Kennedy comes first but she did receive a custom, matching pedal car as a gift.
There’s not a heap of kustoms in New Zealand, and when you have one of nicest Cadillac’s in the entire country as a daily driver, one that been customized from top to bottom its only fitting that its name would be Necessary Evil. Todd says, “Fun happens every time we drive it. For inspiration, we’re always looking on the internet and in magazines like yours.” We think that’s a mighty fine compliment indeed.
Make: Cadillac Coupe
Other Body Modifications: Debadged, media blasted (NZ Soda Blasting). Homebuilt
Paint Color: Custom ‘Boogie Blue’ (Resene Automotive and Light Industrial)
Paint Type: DuPont, with Roth metal flake on roof
Painter: Andrew Town
Custom Graphics: Pin striping by Chaz Allen
Engine: 400ci Small Block Chev, custom cam, Edelbrock heads (C&M Performance)
Intake & Carb: Holley carb, Edelbrock intake
Exhaust: Blockhuggers, custom 2.5-inch system (Pitstop Greenlane)
Rear End: 9-inch diff
Suspension Front: custom springs, Koni Classic Shocks
Suspension Rear: reset leaves, Koni Classic Shocks
Brakes, Front: Wilwood disc/caliper (Terry's Chassis Shoppe)
Brakes, Rear: Ford disc/caliper
Wheels/Size: 15x8-inch Chev truck steelies, spider caps, trim rings
Tires/Size: 255/75R15 wide whites
Seats: Stock, re-trimmed
Upholstery: Custom tuck’n’roll (City Trim)
Dashboard: Custom, painted, flaked and pinstriped
Steering Column: stock
Steering Wheel: Moon
Interior Extras: Sony audio system (Rapid Radio)
Windows: replacement glass/stock (Custom AutoGlass)
Club Affiliation: Pukekohe Hot Rod Club, Cadillac Club Of New Zealand
Special Thanks: DuPont Refinish, Advanced Electroplating, Boss Panelbeaters, Bodymods, Digital Logistics, Pioneer Autoparts, Kelford Cams, Advanced Four Wheel Equipment, Stocks, Anzor, ProCoat, Pixelsauraus