Built Memories – Todd Summer’s ’52 Cadillac Series 62
“I have been car crazy all of my life, but my sickness was turbocharged after attending my first Goodguys show in May of 2017,” says Todd Summer, a retired firefighter who owns and built this slick ’52 Cadillac. It just so happens that Todd went to that event shortly after acquiring the Series 62 convertible.
“I found the car in a garage where it had not been moved for 30 years,” Todd says. “I inquired for seven years before I was able to buy it. It was desperate for a restoration. I didn’t have a very large budget and I chose an expensive car to build. There are no reproduction parts available for these cars, so you either have to fix what you have or make it. We did a little of both.”
The “we” Todd refers to are Jimmy Gunn, Kris Dale, and Grant Pullium, who work in the small collision shop Todd owns. They all pitched in to help on the Cadillac project. The process got started by updating the original chassis with a Checkered Racing front suspension, Jamco rear springs, a Moser 12-bolt rearend, and Wilwood disc brakes all around. Wheels are 18×8-inch Coys with Cadillac center caps and Diamondback 245/45/18 whitewall radials.
Todd opted for updated power in the form of a 430hp GM LS3 backed by a 4L65 transmission, but he didn’t want things to look too modern with the hood open. “We couldn’t leave the original engine tins behind,” he says. “The car would have never had the same effect if we had not used the valve covers as coil covers and made the air cleaner function as an air intake for the modern engine.”
To better accommodate the engine and new front suspension, the firewall was moved back 3-inches. The rest of the body remains mostly stock, though it was massaged exceptionally straight before Todd sprayed the classy custom-mixed Valspar pewter finish.
The spacious interior got a little more updating with Dakota Digital gauges in the modified dash, a Flaming River tilt column topped with a custom steering wheel, and an American Autowire harness to connect all the electrical elements. The hand-built console incorporates the speaker grille that used to be on the dash, along with a Lokar shifter. The red leather upholstery was done in-house at Todd’s shop and covers reshaped stock seats.
After more than 2500 hours of effort, Todd has himself a clean, classy series 62 Cadillac that’s a deserving choice as a finalist for Fuel Curve Custom of the Year. “We just got the car together,” he says, “so we are just starting to build memories, but being selected for this award will be very hard to top.”
Photos by John Jackson