Hacked-Up Cadillacs: 1978 Fleetwood Ute vs 2003 Escalade Convertible | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Good morning, Autopians! It’s Friday – we made it through another one, and we’re rounding out our truncated week of single-marque showdowns with a pair of Cadillacs that are definitely no longer how the folks at GM envisioned them. But first, let’s take one last look at infinity, or rather Infintis:

The G20 takes a comfortable win. I think this is the right call; it’s in better shape, and as someone who regularly fights with – I mean, maintains – a Nissan VQ engine in a longitudinal orientation, I don’t want any part of a transverse one. If the engine is turned sideways, four in a row is the way to go.

Yesterday, I asked you all to help me find an interesting Cadillac to go up against one that had already been posted on the Discord server. And oh boy, did you come through. There were a few good ones to choose from, but one clear choice stood out above the rest. These two show what can happen when Detroit luxury meets good old American know-how, a Sawzall, and a welder. I would be surprised if there weren’t some beer involved as well. So without further ado, I give you… the Cadihacks. Let’s check them out.

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Engine/drivetrain: 425 cubuc inch overhead valve V8, three-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Elyria, OH

Odometer reading: unknown (listed as 123,456)

Runs/drives? Yes, but has been sitting, so needs some work

Believe it or not, this is not the first time I’ve seen a Cadillac sedan turned into a ute. Apparently, chopping the back seat, rear roof section, and trunk lid off a Caddy to turn in into something like a luxury El Camino was once a bit of a thing. What I haven’t seen, however, is this sort of vinyl roof treatment:

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Yes, that’s right – the vinyl top now continues down the sail panels and all the way along the edges of the bed. Unfortunately, the bed conversion looks a little half-assed: the bed floor is plywood, and not very deep, and the sheetmetal work to blend in the rear doors has a lot of sloppy Bondo work. It looks like it was all done a long time ago, and hasn’t aged terribly well. Also, I don’t think there is any tailgate, just a chunk of the original trunk lid welded back on. The missing bumper fill panels, were they present, might improve things a bit, but a complete re-do by someone who knows bodywork is probably the best bet.

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The interior is incomplete, and there’s no word whether the missing door panels or carpet are included. The good news is that the seat upholstery looks good, properly inviting and squishy like Caddy seats should be.

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The seller says this car runs and drives, but it has been sitting for a long while, so the fuel system and brakes and cooling system should be gone through. The engine is Cadillac’s 425 cubic inch V8, connected to the requisite Hydramatic. Before all the V8-6-4, HT4100, and Northstar nonsense, there was this cast-iron monster, and it was good.

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Engine/drivetrain: 5.3 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Muskegon, MI

Odometer reading: 189,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep

Times have changed, and the Fleetwood of yore has become the Escalade, a dolled-up version of GM’s large SUV. These things have been hugely popular for more than two decades now, and as a result it’s not hard to find used Escalades. And that means if you really want to, you can do something silly to one. Like cut the roof off, for instance.

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What surprises me about this is that the builder actually put some thought into it. We’ve all seen cars with the roof cut off; I had a friend in high school who decapitated a Datsun 210 and welded the doors shut for stiffness. Anyone can do that with a trip to Harbor Freight and a credit card. This seller has opted to retain the functionality of all four doors by adding braces between the stumps of the B and C pillars. They’re not tall enough to be rollbars, but they would make fine grab handles. It looks like the seller intended to relocate the shoulder belt anchors to these bars, but never did.

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They’ve even taken the wide curved center high-mounted stop light off the roof and added it to the top edge of the new tailgate. Safety first, I suppose. There is also what appears to be a truck running board across the back. Not sure what that’s about, but it gives it the appearance of a swim platform at the back of a boat. In fact, this whole car gives off a sort of boat-like vibe, though it might just be the pearl white paint.

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The seller says it runs and drives just fine, and has had some recent front end and brake work. There’s a significant dent on one quarter panel, significant enough to make me wonder if this car was rolled, and the resulting roof damage is what started all this madness in the first place.

Obviously, you’re not going to be interested in buying either of these unless you already had a similar idea, and want to purchase an already-started project. And neither one of these is ready for its big debut yet. But it does show what you can create by just altering a little sheetmetal. Not that you would, but if you were to take one of these projects on and see it through, which one would it be?

(Image credits: Facebook Marketplace sellers)


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