Crazy 1959 Cadillac Kustom Makes 1,000 HP and Looks Freakin’ Sweet

It’s an award-winning shooting brake Caddy that cost $2.3 million to build. What’s not to like?

byLewin Day|
Builds photo
Mecum Auctions

When it comes to old-fashioned American excess, it's hard to do better than a swanky kustom Caddy. If you like substituting Ks for Cs and lashings of chrome, this build might be for you.

This 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham posted up at Mecum Auctions is a little left-field in the custom car world. Known as CadMad, it rocks a station wagon body, but what's even crazier is that it's only got two doors. That makes it a shooting brake, something lovers of the oddball and obscure absolutely froth over.

According to the auction listing, the build took 15 years, 4,000 work hours, and$2.3 million was spent in the process. With a budget befitting a municipal works project, you'd expect nothing less than the best.

From what we can see, however, the CadMad delivers. It's got a rich Fawntana Rose paint job adorning its hand-crafted body and the roof is painted in contrasting Titanium Grey for a nice two-tone look. The overall paint job cost on the order of $300,000. The bodywork, originally designed by Pininfarina, was cut down by 18 inches in length, narrowed by 4 inches, and had 2 inches sectioned out of the lower body.

Under the hood there's a twin-turbocharged Warrior Series V8 from Nelson Racing Engines. Good for 1,025 horsepower, the engine alone cost $97,000 and is tuned to run on racing fuel. If you're building a custom with big power, it's hard to look past NRE. NRE power plants are known for making big power figures while remaining driveable on the street. We've seen their work before, like a ridiculous GMC Sierra sleeper boasting 2,500 hp, or their twin-turbo V12 Lamborghini project. It bears noting though that there's probably some breaking-in to do in this case, as the car only has 6 miles on the clock.

Inside, there's a beautiful wooden cargo floor made from tiger wood, maple, and African wenge. The interior is trimmed in rose leather, with retrimmed bucket seats sourced from a Cadillac CTS-V. The finer details are all accounted for, like the beautiful machined shifter and Classic Instruments gauges.

Beyond the body, powertrain, and interior, it's also a build of significant prestige. CadMad won the 2019 Autorama Ridler Award, one of the most coveted awards in the hot rod and custom scene. The car was commissioned by Stephen Barton specifically to win that crown, which can only be granted to never-before-seen builds. Barton sadly died before that came to pass, with Craig Barton instead lofting the trophy in tribute to his late sibling.

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As seen on YouTube, CadMad stunned when it hit the auction floor. It was displayed with hood and doors popped open to reveal the jewelry of the engine bay and interior. It sold for a mighty $390,000, smack in between pre-auction estimates of $350,000 to $450,000. Given the money spent on the build, you could consider that an absolute bargain.

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