Baroque custom ’74 Cadillac bids high for ugliest car in America

The downside to envisioning and creating a custom car is that one person's art is another person's anarchy. I'm having trouble remembering a better example than this car, a 1974 Cadillac Coupe de Ville given a 21-foot fiberglass body whose influences would appear to be World War II bombers, cattle skulls and mescaline. As bad as it is, the story behind it seems too weird to be true.

Fished from the depths of eBay by Autoholics, the owner/seller of this Coupe de-Saster says it was snatched from the jaws of the crusher by a junkyard employee. Before that rescue, the late original creator was supposedly an aerospace engineer in southern California who was familiar with king of the fiberglass funny car George Barris.

Mechanically, the Caddy's internals come as well sorted as its external design, which is to say it's leaking oil and has no hood hinges and needs a paint job. The doors were sacrificed in the name of cut-down Triumph-style roadsters, and the trunk appears large enough to hold all 101 Dalmatians for Cruella de Vil.

Like the multimillion-dollar McLaren X-1 unveiled last month, this was clearly a car designed and built by a passionate owner who didn't know two bits about car design. Nothing about it looks accidental or done without care, from the chrome strips over the driver's mini vinyl tombstone to the way the rearview mirror rests on a little pinch of fiberglass that flows back into the body.

The seller says the Caddy "deserves a new home where it can be refurbished and driven with pride and to be quite honest I have no idea what it is worth." So far, bidding has hit $8,449, not bad for something once destined for the crusher. It's ugly as sin, but this Caddy has already made the long trip from treasure to trash and back again.