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Forty years ago, a young man by the name of Boyd Coddington moved from a rural town in Idaho to Southern California in pursuit of his hot rodding dreams. He worked in the garage behind his house and founded Hot Rods by Boyd in 1977. Some of the cars to emerge from that garage include the Vern Luce Coupe and the Jamie Musselman roadster. These cars launched Boyd’s career while defining the “Boyd Look.” that would change the world of hot rodding. Boyd Coddington claimed an unmatched 6 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophies and built iconic cars such as Billy Gibbon’s Cadzilla, Chezoom, Boydster 1,2, and 3 and countless more. Boyd Coddington lived the American dream, coming from a small town to make a lasting impression on hot rodding and becoming an international television star. Boyd’s legend lives on with his son Chris Coddington continuing to offer a wide range of hot rod wheels and accessories.
Boyd Coddington is a man of firsts. First to manufacture and market billet aluminum wheels, restyle an entire generation of hotrods, create a hot rod displayed as a feature at the New York International Auto Show, win the coveted AMBR (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster) six (6) times, take an automotive aftermarket company public on NASDAQ and the only builder to have a hot rod featured on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. These accomplishments and his many others are his legacy.
As a youth, Coddington grew up in rural Idaho where innovation and implementation were more necessity than luxury. At a young age he was drawn toward cars; it was a time when the hot rod was part of the post-war American boom. Always one to set his standards high, he moved to California in the late 1960’s with dreams in his eyes and machine tools in his hands. With dreams and his natural ability for craftsmanship, Coddington quickly advanced from a machine shop job to a machinist position at Disneyland.

Coddington speaks fondly of his night job with Disneyland; it provided him with stability and more important the days to work on hot rods. It was the humble beginnings in the backyard shop of his Cypress home that the legacy and style of the “Boyd Look” were born. Coddington often recounts the time he made the decision to quit Disneyland and move ahead with hot rods as a full-time endeavor. The man will tell you that it was his quality standard and his lack of sleep; in that working nights and creating hot rods by day can only continue for so long. His decision to leave the stability of a Disneyland paycheck for the dream and career of designing and building hot rods will forever be automotive lore.

Before Boyd Coddington burst on the scene with his now historic and innovative “Vern Luce Coupe”, hot rods were old bodies dropped on late model chassis or simply jalopies. The “Boyd Look” was different and innovative, so much that even today over thirty-years later it is copied and used as an industry baseline. Boyd Coddington’s look is smooth, sleek and fluid, he will tell you that he removed the “hiccups”. These cars were also well thought out and engineered, no more amalgamation of parts from various commuter cars, Boyd fabricated his own parts from billet aluminum.

A Boyd Coddington hot rod is an original masterpiece with many parts that may have been created for that particular vehicle. The cars created by Coddington are so special they have been honored with inclusion in museums and in industry retrospectives. Collectors world wide cherish his hot rods for their unique individuality. Even a term can be traced to the man who helped establish the aftermarket industry, “Billet”. Coddington and his long-time friend and machining wizard Lil’ John Buttera began to make the parts they could not buy or that they wanted to define their creations. It may have started with machining a simple mirror from a piece of aluminum commonly referred to as a billet made from aluminum.

Mirrors were merely the beginning and soon the two were experimenting with almost any part imaginable. The turning point may have been when Boyd Coddington realized that he could not find wheels that he liked for the masterpieces he and his team were building, he and lil’ John made what may have been the first one off billet wheels. As time quickly went by Boyd realized billet aluminum wheels were the something that every hot rodder would desire. It didn’t take very long for the billet craze to sweep across America and soon Boyd Coddington was a household name. The CNC machines began turning out wheels and the hot rod shop kept building award-winning hot rods.

In a time when disposable items are the norm, Boyd Coddington has kept true to his original dreams. He has a designers eye, although he has no ability to sketch or draw. His talent is in having ideas and the ability to translate them to his team of fabricators. He has built hot rods, a legacy and even one of the first Hot Rod TV shows viewed by millions world wide.

However, the man who has designed and constructed cars for celebrities, musicians, sports stars, and captains of industry would quickly tell you of his greatest accomplishment. It is not taking his company public, the many awards he has won, his fame but rather what he has given back. Coddington most notable for his on-screen gruff image is actually a giving guy. Boyd and his wife Jo enjoyed many fund rasing activities holding events to not only raise funds but awareness for the cities they worked and resided in, hiring special needs adults making them not only an integral part of “Coddington Companies” on the day to day business activities they also assisted with the fund rasing activities, presenting the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by the events to various charties.

Boyd Coddington was a hot rod builder who has reached for his dreams and is always the first to help others reach for theirs.
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Gary’s roadster I believe was built by Dan Fink
Phill.Boyd built it.There's very few photos of it.Reason I liked it,was because of the Cammer.
Gary Newton’s ’27 Ford Model T- Roadster. (Best in class 1987 Oakland Roadster show and Sweepstakes winner 1988 Fresno Autorama)