Cruising in this '60 Cadillac convertible is like riding a cloud; not those puffy white pillows but rather those monsters preceding a storm with loads of thunder and lightning. At 19 feet in length the sheer size captures a crowd, overshadowing other cars with its design, every inch the result of space race aerodynamics. Yet it's the sounds generated by its awesome power source that empowers the styling, creating an overall appeal that is undeniable.

When Mike Hughes brought this car home it was a thousand pieces that filled his 42-foot trailer, and while the challenge of uniting them with a range of new pieces was considerable, it's obvious he stayed on point. As expected, many of the original components were long gone, so Mike kept busy replacing some or fabricating others.

To build on the sleek lines, subtle changes were made in the sheetmetal, including the removal of the rear fender skirts, which led to reshaping the openings. The emblems are gone, but Mike milled new molding to replace some original accents, while the bumpers were smoothed over for a cleaner appearance adjoining the stock grille. Under the hood a custom firewall makes room for the powerplant, while the inner fenders, radiator core support, and other surfaces were massaged. T&T Customs prepped the sheetmetal before applying a slick coating of PPG Mercedes Silver paint. Whether topped with gray Haartz cloth or left open to the elements, the results are eye catching and crowd stopping.

Similar to the original, the interior displays an array of clever touches applied by Paul Atkins of Cullman, Alabama. A full-length aluminum console divides the beautiful red leather adjoining it. The bucket seats front and rear and the neighboring panels are accented with other brightwork. Though the factory dash has been retained and refurbished, it does sport a few changes, including oil pressure and water temperature gauges in place of the original items. Add to this a centrally located head unit controlling the remote CD changer and 1,200-watt audio system, nicely blended climate controls, and other details (like the heavily modified steering wheel), and the ride takes on even more appeal.

The loud pedal brings about great change starting with the white smoke pouring from the arched rear wheels openings, a strong shove from the 825 hp bringing it all about. This thunder comes by way of a purpose-built 502 Chevy packed with some of the finest performance hardware available, starting with a billet crank and rod set shoving forged aluminum pistons. Overhead are a pair of beautifully prepared Brodix aluminum cylinder heads designed to maximize airflow. Timed by a special ground stick from COMP Cams, the mixture is provided by a pair of Edelbrock 650-cfm four-barrels sparked by a hidden MSD ignition system. Once a 250 shot of nitrous oxide is added to the mix, the power unleashed is through a Turbo 400 transmission mated to a Gear Vendors overdrive. The only difficulty comes in hooking up the 295/40R22 Goodyears.

To keep every drive enjoyable, Mike fitted the chassis with airbags front and rear, allowing for clearance on the highway and an earthbound stance at a standstill. While the original chassis layout and suspension components are retained, every inch is detailed to match the visible surfaces. Braking is improved with C-4 Corvette calipers and drilled rotors all around, while the steering was refined to maintain control of reversed Coddington rims wrapped in 245/35R20s.

Bigger than life and better than ever, Mike's cool convertible makes for a great experience every time out, allowing everyone on board to enjoy the silver lining of cloud nineteen!