This past October of 2012 we decided that since it was getting colder and things were pretty much at a stand still with outside automotive related events,to team up with our good friend Ryan Cochran of the Jalopy Journal and his online Traditional Hot Rod Forum the HAMB and do a worldwide first time ever Shelby’s Hot Rod Roundup HAMB 2012 pick for our Shelby’s Way…Suicide Awareness Program.With many entries from all over the Hoodlum world a panel of 8 Hot Rod Traditionalist narrowed the entry list to 4 Bitchin’ Hot Rods on December the 15th,from there they were posted back up on a HAMB thread for their forum member peers to vote on one ride.We announced the winner on Jan 1st 2013…Roger Jetter and his 1955 Caddy Kustom.I am very fortunate because Roger is a writer of some really neat hot rod stories from the past and a current Goodguy’s Gazette Columnist,so I hope you enjoy Rogers own article here on his Caddy & his own personal Bio…Thanks Roger and Congrats on the Pick.
Roger Jetter’s 1955 Cadillac Coupe DeVille was born out of necessity…his brother already had a ’54 Caddy, his best pal had a ’56 Caddy and Roger was missing out on the fun. The build started July 4th, 2005, when he trailered home the remains of a failed project. Five and one half years later the car rolled out of the garage under its own power – a massive ’70 Cadillac 500 cubic inch engine and a T-400 tranny.
Before that, Roger removed the large body from the frame and a ’78 Pontiac Trans Am subframe, with disc brakes and power steering was grafted to the stock Caddy frame. After the frame was painted black, the underside, and topside of the floor was covered with Lizardskin insulation and the body and engine/tranny set back on the frame.
The fun part of the build then started – modifying the body while not straying far from the gorgeous Cadillac lines – “improve on them” was Roger’s requirement. He succeeded. The car has been nosed and decked and a peak added to the center of the hood and trunk. Up top, two scoops were added to the roof to lend that ‘50’s look. The door handles were removed and the stock chromed scoop on the sides was redesigned and opened – three chromed spears highlight the mod.
Around front, an aluminum grille was laser cut to match the contour of the bumper and polished. The huge Dagmars were modified by narrowing them 2 ½” and tipping them toward the headlights. The rear bumper was modified with a combination of ’48 Cadillac, ’55 Cadillac and ’59 Cadillac, pieced together perfectly and both were sent to the chromers.
The interior had to speak ‘Cadillac class’, so Pearl White Naugahyde was chosen to cover the stock power seat and Amethyst Swirled fabric was added as inserts. Grape carpet complements the Lollipop Lavendar and 1955 Ford Regency Purple two-toned paint covering the body-subtle works very well. The fender skirts were hand-built using round rod and are 74” in length. Diamondback whitewalls and that ’50 icon-Lakes Pipes add the final touch.
Roger Jetter’s Bio
A car guy ever since high school, Roger Jetter has built some very nice cars over the years, in his spare time. Not one to want to work on cars as his career, he embarked on a graphic art career right out of high school and worked for several large advertising agencies in the Denver, Colorado, area before opening his own boutique shop. He eventually got into magazine publishing and worked for Primedia both as an advertising manager and an editor. While an editor at Primedia, he liked writing and decided to learn to write fiction and went back to school at age 55. He’s now published five books and is working on a sixth and seventh.
His first two books (Bangin’ Gears & Bustin’ Heads” and “Fast Cars, 4-speeds and Fist-fights”) were memoirs of sorts – of how he got into trouble and out of trouble with his three-year old ’57 Chevy. Over the years he’s met some interesting people in the car hobby and he’s had them tell their “youthful” stories in his third book (“Recollections, Regrets & Random Acts”). The next two books (“Accidents & Incidents” and “Faded Thunder”) are in the same vein as the first two.
That first high school ’57 Chevy started him on the road to building and owning many vehicles –one of which is a 1960’s kustom survivor knows as “Hint of Mint” and was shown at the Albuquerque, NM, show in 1994. At one time in his life, Roger owned over thirty ‘57’s, all at the same time. He is currently working on ’60 Chevy two door station wagon and still has a ’48 Cadillac Sedanet waiting in the shed to be built- it’ll be a kustom.
Roger is also a columnist for GoodGuy’s Gazette magazine, celebrating his ninth year in May, 2013, with the organization. He enjoys summertime rod running (in his Cadillac) all across the United States, usually logging around 10,000 miles.
Roger Jetter, Author
Bangin’ Gears & Bustin’ HeadsFast Cars, 4-speeds & Fist-fights
Recollections, Regrets & Random ActsAccidents & IncidentsAvailable now: Faded Thunder GoodGuy’s Gazette Columnistwww.RAJetter.com