Coddington's Boydster IIBehind the wheel of a hot rod legend
Boyd Coddington is known for creating an astounding range of celebrity hot rods, such as Led Zephyr, Che'Zoom, and CadZZilla owned by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Yet, how many people ever get to experience these cars, other than taking snapshots at a car show or museum? The price of building these heavily customized cars is stratospheric. For instance, the original Boydster, which won the prestigious Oakland Roadster Show in 1996, sold to Bob Petersen for a whopping $260,000 (and now is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles). Well, you don't have to crash the museum gates to drive a legendary Boyd Coddington hot rod, because he now offers a reasonable facsimile of this showstopper as either a turnkey car or a component package.
Boyd prefers to call his latest do-it-yourself project "component vehicles" rather than kit cars, because it has a more formal, upscale ring to it (a term Carroll Shelby prefers as well for his freshly minted Cobra packages sold without engine and transmission). Call them what you will, the Boydster II is one awesome ride, with all the features you'd expect of a Boyd Coddington hot rod, but at a much more affordable price. Unlike the original, one-of-kind Boydster, the Boydster II body/frame package starts at an affordable $15,000, and turnkeys range from $85,000 to $125,000. (That's not exactly pocket change, but everything's relative.)
Clearly derived from the '32 Ford, the Boydster II has '34-style suicide doors and a wraparound windshield, and is available with either a fiberglass or steel body. It has the same heavily tapered chassis design as the Boydster, with mainrails supplied by SAC and reinforced by tubular crossmembers. Fronts are dual A-arms with 3-D machined spindles. At the other end, the Corvette-based IRS has custom uprights and control arms, along with outboard-mounted Wilwood calipers, tucked inside billet wheels from (who else-)-Boyd Coddington.
Interestingly, the fiberglass bodies are molded in Australia, which seems like a long way to go for a production technology that's readily available stateside. Boyd insists, however, that the quality is far better from this particular source, citing the excellent door fit and steel reinforcements. Boyd offers other street rod component vehicles, including the Boydster III '33 Roadster, '32 Woodie, and his signature wheels.
Boyd also has his own version of a Cobra replica, the C/i Roadster. He joined forces with Don Borders and Greg Lanier of Image Auto Works, a well-known Southern California builder of a number of replicas. This isn't Boyd's first stab at replisnakes. Back in 1988 he produced an aluminum-body Cobra with a slightly street rodded flavor. How do Cobras fit in with classic rods? "You've got to face it, that's as much an American hot rod as anything," Boyd points out.
This new replica retains the classic Cobra looks, but with "the Boyd Coddington touch," as he puts it. The IRS suspension has a machined rear suspension with billet aluminum for that high-dollar street rod statement-no reconditioned production parts here. The frame uses 4-inch round-tube main rails and the front suspension consists of dual A-arm fronts with coilovers. A rolling chassis package with all the trimmings starts at about $40,000, and turnkeys with custom paint and a high-performance big-block V-8 go for $90,000 and up. No, these reproductions don't come cheap, but they're screaming deals compared to the price of the originals.
Boyd Coddington's Garage, 811 E. Lambert Road, La Habra, CA 90631, 888/254-3400, www.boydcoddington.com
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