View Full Version : Boyd Coddington passed away

29-02-2008, 05:23 AM
Your king is dead, hot-rodders. Long live the king.
Boyd Coddington died today in Whittier, Calif., a few miles from his shop where the cable TV reality show ?American Hot Rod? was produced, and where he spent much of his adult life. Mr. Coddington lived a life as highly stressed as any of his high-octane creations. On one hand, his vision left a legacy of elevating hot rod design and the use of chrome to high art. On the other, his hard-driving business practices created problems for himself, his employees and even clients.
Though Coddington was a Hot Rod Hall of Fame inductee, he also suffered through bankruptcy and a fraud conviction. He had a keen eye for design, as well as talents who could compete at his lofty, prolific level. His ?discoveries? included the likes of Jesse James and Chip Foose, both of whom began their careers with Mr. Coddington before going on to fame, fortune and TV shows of their own in the customizing industry.

Mr. Foose, who became a fiery rival of Mr. Coddington?s the last decade, was not available for comment. But his wife, Lynne, told me that ?people didn?t understand the true nature of their relationship? and that ?Chip was on good terms with Boyd when he died.? In an interview with Mr. Foose last year, it was suggested that friction had developed over whether proper credit was given for certain Foose designs that came out of the Coddington shop in the 1990s; also, some property that Mr. Foose believed to be rightfully his became entangled in the financial collapse of one of Mr. Coddington?s companies in the late 1990s.

Mr. Coddington?s business interests were later reorganized, and he re-emerged as a force in custom car design. But in 2005, he was accused of fraud by the State of California for titling his custom-fabricated creations as ?antique cars? to avoid emissions controls and tax obligations. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in connection with the allegations, and was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and perform 160 hours of community service.
Mr. Coddington, born in Rupert, Idaho, spent his early years learning his craft in Idaho and Utah garages. He moved to California in 1966 and worked at Disneyland as a machinist by day and as a hot rod tuner by night. Among his famous creations was the Cadzilla street rod built for Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. But he is probably best known for his many variations of the classic 1932 Ford deuce coupe.
His creations have sold at auctions for well into six figures. But there were indications shortly before his death that perhaps he had been a bit too prolific. A pristine 1934 Ford roadster by Mr. Coddington failed to meet its reserve price at RM Auctions? Scottsdale event in January; it earned ?only? a $110,000 high bid ? shockingly low by Coddington-creation standards.

Mr. Coddington was a colorful outsize character who preferred loud shirts and loud talk. On his television show, he was often portrayed as a ruthless taskmaster. But as someone who has worked a bit in television, I can tell you it was an image that was carefully cultivated by producers who wanted the show and its star to have an edge. In private, he projected a mischievous sense of fun and excitement that was irresistibly infectious. His followers generally went willingly where he decided to lead.

Boyd Coddington relentlessly pushed the art of the hot rod forward like few men before or since. His fellow customizers and show competitors will have a hard time finding a source of inspiration with high-power wattage as brilliant.

29-02-2008, 06:54 AM
Another legend passes.

RIP :cry: