1960 Cadillac Sedan De Ville Johnny Cash's CADILLAC?
Classic American|August 2021
Country crooner Johnny Cash famously sang about a Cadillac created by a worker at the Cadillac factory – One Piece at a Time – as he, errr… took bits of car home over a period of years to create a car… but was it a ’60 or a ’61 or a…?
Keith Harman

Pretty much ever since cars were invented, owners have sought to take vehicles as offered by the manufacturer and then changed them to suit their own personal tastes. As a car leaves the showroom, it may well be more than adequate for most owners in terms of looks and the way it drives; the new owner having left all the design and performance decisions to a design committee at the factory. But there’s always been that percentage of owners for whom the factory hasn’t gone quite far enough. The demands of this small group, however, were always catered for by a growing cottage industry of talented engineers, whose work has since gone on to create the huge aftermarket industry for customising, coachbuilding and hot rodding that we know today.

In America, the early custom guys had a keen eye for flow and design, creating much more streamlined and uncluttered interpretations of the then-current Detroit mainstream offerings. Unfortunately, in later years, taste often went out the window with change for the sake of change − you’ve all seen the results, either in magazines or at shows. Nevertheless, some guys these days can still take a car and, with a few changes, add extra charisma and appeal without going over the top – indeed, sometimes the changes can be so subtle that only the experts of the marque will notice.

Such is the case with Kevin House’s 1960 flat top in these pictures.

Those in the Cadillac world who already know Kev will recognise him better under his moniker ‘Cadillac Kev’, and the fact that he has owned 25-30 different Cadillacs to date will account for that. Kev told us that there’s only been about six months of his life since he was 19 when he didn’t own a Caddy, adding that he’s now owned at least one of every year made, except a 1961.

When this article was first conceived and shot, it was originally meant to showcase Kev’s skills at car restoration and customising via his business KZ Kustomz, based in East Anglia. Unfortunately, some time after our pictures were shot, Kev and his partner and fiancée, Lynda, were involved in a nasty crash when a car pulled out into the path of the late model Cadillac they were travelling in. Kev is not only glad he wasn’t driving a classic at the time, but told us that he thinks that without the airbags in the Caddy it might have been a much worse outcome. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Anyway, the net result of that is Kev has decided his days on the spanners are over professionally, and he has now gradually wound the company down.

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