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Hot Rod History

Boyd Coddington

Boyd Coddington


Coddington grew up in rural Idaho but moved to Southern California in the late Sixties to begin his dream of building hot rods. He labored on one car at a time from home when he wasn't doing machine work during the graveyard shift at Disneyland. His 50,000-square-foot facility in La Habra, California employed about 70 workers and boasts in-house paint and body shops. "Billet Boyd," a nickname he earned from his extensive work with aluminum, quickly built a reputation for creating ultra-clean, stylistic yet subtle cars with names such as Smoothster, Alumacoupe and Chezoom.

Word got around about Coddington's talents. Chip Foose and Jesse James both worked in his hot rod shop for several years. His cars have won the Grand National Roadster Show's America's Most Beautiful Roadster trophy a record six times and he's built cars for such celebrities as Michael Anthony of Van Halen, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny and even built the hugely popular CadZZilla for ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Coddington also starred on TLC's "American Hot Rod" where he and his team turned junkyard heaps into smooth, integrated hot rods. Probably the most unusual honor for Coddington was when his '33 coupe was the only hot rod displayed in the "Sculpture on Wheels" exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in 1993.

Often clad in a Hawaiian shirt, Coddington was a serious man but, as his bio on his website states, "in the back of his unvoiced thoughts he's still got a teenager's passion for cars. He generally keeps the whirring content of his active mind to himself, but he has a softer side that he lets show in his works for charity."

For more on Boyd Coddington's life and his cars, please visit his website at

Renowned hot rod builder and HOT ROD Magazine's 1988 "Man of the Year" Boyd Coddington died early Wednesday February 27th 2009 at the age of 63.

Coddington's Vern Luce '33 coupe. His first customer car and the one that put Coddington on the map.
HOT ROD Editor Rob Kinnan got to drive the famous CadZZilla in 1990 from Boyd's shop in Cypress to Canfield, OH for the HOT ROD Supernats.
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