The extensive effort put into the custom bodywork performed on the Cad was also channeled into the chassis and engine. To get the car down on the ground Lucky 7 lowered the front coils and de-arched the rear spring. Monroe gas shocks were mounted to each corner, and the brakes for the vehicle (which tips the scales at just over 2 tons!) are power-assisted drums.
And though Cadillac had been producing V-8 engines since 1915, the 331 found in Robert's De Ville was of the first group of overhead-valve V-8s Cadillac began offering in their cars in 1949. Much of Robert's engine was left stock (but rebuilt and balanced by Joe's Engine Machine Shop in Concord, California), and it was assembled by Logan Stipe of Lucky 7 Customs and detailed with a fair amount of chrome accents.
With the bodywork out of the way, it was time to roll the behemoth into the paint booth where a custom-mixed Capone Pearl was created from PPG's Vibrance line of paints and then squirted over the massive car (the wheelbase on this beast is 129 inches while the overall length is more than 200 inches!). Marcos Garcia then followed up with a subtle scallop and pinstripe to finish off the exterior.
At 325 pounds and standing 6-foot 7 inches, Robert Gallery cannot be confused for "tiny." As such, a few modifications to the interior needed to be made to accommodate the 29-year-old. Plus, after chopping the car's top, the necessity to create a comfortable driving space became even more important. The six-way power bench seat had to be eliminated so that the new seat's framework could be lowered a full 5 inches. Using a specially reproduced fabric to mimic the original factory material, Bob Devine Designs, in Pittsburg, California, stitched up a beige two-tone-pleated pattern for the split bench front and rear seating. The headliner was done in suede, while the carpet is a chocolate-colored, German-style closed-loop.
Since the seating was lowered, the steering column was dropped a total of 3 inches and the dash was treated to stock gauges that have been reworked by Redline Gauge Works. The factory radio was then gutted, and the stock radio control knobs were used to adjust the levels of the Vintage Air A/C and heat system.
An electronically-controlled mini glovebox door was added to the center of the dash and a Kenwood flat-screen stereo was installed to control the concert-quality sound equipment provided by Arc Audio of Modesto, California. A custom metal skin was then fabbed for the upper section of the dash and painted in a two-tone, cream and bronze layout.
Once finished, the car was debuted at the Grand National Roadster Show, then appeared at the Sacramento Autorama and the San Francisco Rod, Custom & Motorcycle Show. It has picked up major awards everywhere it's been shown, including the '09 Most Elegant Custom award-the highest award given at the San Francisco show for a custom car. Robert's history tells us he isn't the type to collect cars and not drive them, and he reports his cruiser is not a car that sits in the garage, having already racked up a few miles on the odometer.
But no one needs to tell Robert Gallery he's come a long way in a short time, from a spec of a town located in Iowa's farmland to the big city in Northern California, and he knows it. But what ties him to his humble past is a love of cars-and it's probably something that will never leave him, no matter what life holds for him in his future.
The 331 Cadillac engine produces...
The 331 Cadillac engine produces 230 hp, and this one was balanced and rebuilt by Joe's Engine Machine Shop.
Assembled and dressed up with...
Assembled and dressed up with chrome accents by Lucky 7 Customs' Logan Stipe, the OHV V-8 uses a four-core radiator from Beko's Radiator (in Concord, California), custom, ceramic-coated headers, and dual-exhaust and glass pack mufflers by way of Antioch Muffler. Ernie Gomez of Oakley, California, polished the car's metal, and chroming was handled by Modesto Plating.