1936 Cadillac “Shangri-La” Combines European Styling With American V8 Power

There are restomods, and there are coach-built masterpieces. The Shangri-La is one of the latter, designed by the guy responsible for a lot of the customs owned by Metallica’s James Hetfield. Rick Dore is his name, and you may have seen him at work on the Discovery Channel show Lords of the Car Hoards.

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers as lot number 32, this one-of-a-kind work of automotive art is meant to evoke the Art Deco styling of the Classic Car Era when coachbuilding was pretty popular. The Shangri-La started life as a 1936 Cadillac, made a lot more special by the hand-formed aluminum body panels, removable brushed metal roof, and the PPG Indian Inkwell Blue paint job.

The original chassis had to go, of course. In its place came an Art Morrison frame with coil springs at all four corners, hydraulic disc brakes, and a 116-inch axle spread as opposed to the 124 inches of Dore’s earlier creations. The Art Deco-inspired flowing fenders complement the swept-back profile and elongated hood, mixing Euro sophistication with an all-American identity.

“In 2018, Shangri-La was the winner of the prestigious Charlie Hutton Paint Award for its outstanding finish” according to the auction house. Like the exterior, the cabin is every bit as custom as you’d imagine. Finished in black leather and featuring fabric inserts, the interior is a minimalist affair in its own right thanks to the custom-crafted gauges housed within a single nacelle.

Described as “the absolute best in a bespoke motorcar,” this one-of-none machine has a rather surprising powertrain in the guise of a small-block V8 with 5.7 liters of displacement. 380 horsepower, a custom throttle body mounted to the side of the engine, and the air cleaner from a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr are only a few of the underhood highlights. As for how that suck-squeeze-bang-blow is sent to the rear axle, that’s the job of a 700R4.

Putting an estimate on this coachbuilt beauty would be foolhardy, but nevertheless, you can be certain of one thing. To the point, this is a six-digit car that has the makings of a blue-chip collectible if properly maintained. 

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