Celebration Of Life – Mario Colalillo’s 1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville WILD CAD

- in Cars

The custom car community was in shock recently with the news of the sudden passing of prolific hot rodder and custom car builder, Mario Colalillo. ‘The Bro’ has touched so many people’s hearts and souls with his outgoing nature and beautiful vehicles, most notable, his 1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville, WILD CAD.

1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Wildcad by Mario Colalillo
The custom Cad’ saw him fulfil a life goal of building the car. Having undertaken such a monumental project, Mario was a changed man upon the completion of his ride.

The aim was to build the biggest, lowest, “baddest” kustom car with absolutely no limitations. And the result was the WILD CAD, wildest and most lavish creations of chrome and paint on wheels. This incredible Cadillac is nothing short of a feast for the eyes. And, a very expensive one. Apparently, the paint job alone cost a whopping $200,000!

1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville WILD CAD
Beneath the mile-long hood is a staple from General Motors’ portfolio: a 454 Ci big block V8. To it, a Turbo 400 automatic transmission runs the power to the rear wheels. On the inside, the Wild Cad features perches from a Ford Thunderbird and a centre-mounted instrument cluster from a 1959 Chevrolet.

1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Wildcad motor
Mario stayed true to the original plan of fabricating his own mono construction chassis: “It all started to evolve after TJ at Camden County Customs chopped a serious five inches out of it and grafted the body to the chassis”, Mario explained, “I drew up plans for a full metal, hand-sculptured interior with the idea of a ’59 fin incorporated into the console and being used as an interior light. Even the roof lining is metal, using another ’59 roof as the headliner.” The donor car – a 1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville – was found in the corner of an old friend’s workshop. “It sat on three wheels, had no front sheet metal, no motor, no interior, and the roof had been cut off and was leaning against a fence. It was perfect.”

With a build as serious as the WILDCAD, there were a handful of moments throughout it that Mario entertained the idea of pulling the plug on the project. However, he channelled the determination and commitment that blossomed as a 17-year-old – inspired by Hot Rod magazines from the US and Australia – and soldiered on. “My lovely wife Catriona was always an inspiration, showed 100% support throughout the hard times” Mario said.

Mario Colalillo 1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Wildcad
In fact, the entire family has supported Mario through the WILDCAD adventure and has always been there to cheer him on. His son Andy has always helped with his projects, including the WILDCAD, which proved Mario’s ultimate challenge. He said he was blessed to have the best bunch of bro mates who are always there for him and lucky to have “the greatest in-laws in the world”.

1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Wildcad rear

As the WILDCAD was moments away from being unveiled at MotorEx 2010 the crowd was 10 rows deep and buzzing with anticipation. “They were blown away with the bitchin’ stance, paint, interior and overall impact, but when I operated the remote-controlled doors, boot and bonnet, they were totally f*cked over!” Mario exclaimed.

1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Wildcad front
“The whole experience was rewarding for everyone,” said Mario. “This project has created friends for life.”

“I learnt that co-ordinating and planning the project are as instrumental as having a good network of friends and highly skilled tradesmen”, said Mario Colalillo, “Dedication and patience are a must, along with allowing for the fudge factor.”

1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Wildcad interior
This car had been a life-changing experience for Mario and many others involved in its build. “It’s more than just creating it and saying: ‘I’ve got a cool car.’ It’s about the journey of how you make that car, sharing all those moments with those special people, and that’s what this car expresses.”

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