|1933 Ford Roadster “Boydster III”
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|Custom plate on the left frame rail
|Goodguys, National Street Rod Association (NSRA)
|Any 1932–33 contemporary-style hot-rod roadster
This car, Lot F217, sold for $70,200, including buyer’s premium, at Mecum’s Dallas, TX, sale on September 3–6, 2014.
Known as “Cinnamon Twist,” this Boydster III has a fiberglass body, an LS6 Corvette V8 with a 4L60 automatic, along with instruments, independent suspension, steering wheel and billet wheels by Boyd, stainless-steel show brake rotors, and a full leather interior by Kasper Auto Trim. It was assembled at Excel Auto Body in Janesville, WI, and by American Hot Rod in Los Angeles, CA.
In his heyday, Boyd Coddington (1944–2008) was one of the biggest names in contemporary hot-rodding. Dour and taciturn, the burly former Disneyland machinist-turned-hot-rod-guru was an imaginative builder who surrounded himself with extremely talented people, all of whom have gone on to hot-rod fame. Think Chip Foose, Craig Naff, Dick Brogden, Jesse James, Li’l John Buttera, Thom Taylor, Larry Erickson, Tom Vogele, Bob Bauder and Brad Fanshaw as well as Marcel DeLay and his sons, Mark and Luc, to name a few. Hot Rods by Boyd featured an all-star cast turning out remarkable cars.
The big guy in the aloha shirt
Coddington’s hot rod career began in 1968. Moving to California from Idaho, he initially worked out of his own home garage at night while he worked days at Disneyland. Hot Rods by Boyd in Cypress, CA, was founded in 1978. His cars quickly established new trends. Boyd’s sleek, minimalist 1933 Ford coupe for Vern Luce won the Al Slonaker award at the Oakland Roadster Show in 1981, and he built an equally smooth 1933 Ford roadster for Jamie Musselman. Both garnered rave reviews. These seminal rides defined the clean, crisp, ultra-modern “Boyd Look” that won six America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophies.
Simply put, Boyd shell-shocked hot rodding — a genre that clung to its old traditions. His cars were immediately hailed as something very different, ultra-modern and highly desirable. He respected classic Ford and Chevrolet design language, but he and his designers reinterpreted it in an elegant, contemporary way, creatively re-engineered with hand-fabricated components and sophisticated chassis updates such as handmade, fully independent suspension. Along with his close friend Li’l John Buttera, Coddington was responsible for the machined-billet look that propelled old-school hot-rodding, arguably kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Boyd was named to every conceivable hot rod hall of fame, and deservedly so.
Out of this world
Milestone Coddington creations included the still-radical CadZZilla fastback coupe, designed by Larry Erickson for Billy Gibbons; CheZoom, a marvelous take by Thom Taylor on the iconic ’57 Chevy hard top, built for “Mr. Gasket’s” Joe Hrudka; the Aluma Coupe for Mitsubishi Motors, with a rear-mounted transverse DOHC 4-cylinder engine; Sportstar, a Lexus-powered modern take on a roadster, built for Buz DiVosta; and a sparkling series of award-winning Boydster I, II, and III roadsters.
As Boyd’s fame grew, he developed a unique line of custom forged-billet aluminum wheels and accessories, starred in a reality TV show on The Discovery Channel called “American Hot Rod,” expanded his shop and his brand exponentially, took the company public, boomed and busted.
Boyd’s unmistakable appearance — he was usually clad in a white baseball cap, a garish Hawaiian shirt, with a thick beard and sunglasses — and his extraordinary record of success established him as a respected member of the hot rod community. There was only one Boyd Coddington. Love him or hate him, you had to admire his talent and the impact he had. Honored by every rodding periodical, Boyd’s hot rod revolution made the cover of Smithsonian magazine.
Eventually, Boyd’s one-off rods and customs, built for a star-studded list of wealthy clients, ran afoul of California’s “Ship of Theseus” laws. He’d registered many of his creations as antiques to avoid emissions restrictions and taxes, but they were essentially brand-new vehicles, constructed with few or no OEM parts, and riding on new scratch-built chassis. Boyd had become a de facto manufacturer, which resulted in a misdemeanor charge in California in 2005. He pleaded guilty, paid the fine, and life went on.
Sadly, Boyd Coddington died in 2008 of complications from diabetes — sepsis and a perforated colon. Soon after, Buttera died as well. Street rodding still feels their loss. Boyd’s son Chris and third wife, Jo, operate Hot Rods by Boyd today, but times have changed, there are more talented competitors, and they are not the factor they were when the irrepressible Boyd held sway.
Back to the future
It’s safe to say that if a Boyd creation such as CadZZilla or CheZoom came on the market, it would sell for six figures. (We’ll probably see that when Barrett-Jackson sells CheZoom with Ron Pratte’s collection this January). Even the original GNRS-winning Boydster I should command top dollar. But Boyd’s other cars haven’t had the same impact. And Boydster clones, often built by lesser shops, usually sell for far less than the value of their components and the work it took to assemble them. That’s the case here.
Asked why Boyd’s cars don’t bring a premium today, respected South San Francisco hot rod builder Roy Brizio says, “It surprises me. Boyd changed everything. He reinvented street rodding. I build pretty normal, straightforward cars that never go out of style. Boyd’s cars were clean, elegant, futuristic and beautiful. They were so smooth they looked like they could have been made of fiberglass. In the future, they’ll be more valuable. They’re just not considered icons yet. People don’t relate to them now the way they do to cars like the Doane Spencer and Tom McMullen roadsters. But it will happen in time.”
Mark Vaughn, AutoWeek’s West Coast Editor, wrote a number of articles about Boyd. Asked about Boyd car values today, he echoed Brizio. “It’s too early,” Vaughn said. “But give it some time.”
If you want to be ahead of the curve as a hot rod collector, consider a Boydster (or for that matter, one of Jerry Kugel’s Muroc roadsters). They’re bound to appreciate. In the meantime, I’d call this a very decent buy, with some upside potential.
(Introductory description courtesy of Mecum Auctions.