Boyd Coddington, legendary builder of some of the world’s most beautiful hot rods, has died at the age of 63. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed. However, Coddington had been hospitalized last month following a fall.
Coddington raised the building of hot rods to an unparalleled level of beauty. Among his signature works are Chezoom (a gloriously modified ’57 Chevy) and Cadzilla, a sleekly modified ’49 Cadillac.
Coddington won the award for “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” at the Oakland Roadster Show - the ultimate trophy in the world of hot rodding – a record six times.
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Coddington employed Chip Foose as his chief designer for a number of years and also began a business venture specializing in custom wheels. Coddington, however, encountered financial problems in the wheel business and was later forced into business reorganization after a recession in the Asian market left the business overextended. Coddington also was targeted due to his celebrity by California authorities seeking to crack down on the common practice in that state of licensing hot rods as antique vehicles to reduce the excessive registration fees charged hot rods.
His creations, however, are what represented the real Boyd Coddington – as remarkable for their flawless craftsmanship as for their perfectly proportioned beauty.
Coddington’s most recent venture was his television program, “American Hot Rod,” aired on the TLC cable channel. The show, something of a clone of a clone of the successful cable show originated by Foose, “OverHaulin,” reflected a rivalry that existed in the last several years between Foose and Coddington.
But, Coddington was the first. He extended the boundaries of hot rodding to include art. He set the bar.