Legendary Hall of Fame Member, BOYD CODDINGTON, passed away on February 27th, 2008. For over a quarter-of-a-century, Boyd was one of the most influencial Rod & Custom Builders in America. In a virtual sea of "wannabe's", Boyd's creations stood out from the pack and he broke new ground with almost every vehicle he and his shop engineered.
Boyd was born in the farming community of Rupert, Idaho on August 28th, 1944. From an early age, like myself and most of you reading this, Boyd loved cars. He got his first car (actually a '31 Chevy Truck) at the age of 13, loved working on it, and later became a macinist.
In 1966, he moved to California, worked as a machinist at Disneyland by day and built hot rods at night. In 1977 he opened his own shop "Hot Rods By Boyd". His first major customer was Vern Luce for whom he built a beautiful '33 Ford 3-Window Coupe that won the prestigious AMBR Award in 1982...and, from that point on Boyd's career skyrocketed.
A procession of Award Winning machines and International fame followed and included: "The Smoothster"; "The Alumacoupe"; "CheZoom"; "The Boydster's" I, II, III; "The Chubster"; "The Whatthehaye"; "The Smithsonian '34 Ford"; and, one of my personal favorites "The Lead Zephyr".
Most of the above information may be known to you, but let me tell you something you don't know:
Although I too have had a lifelong passion & love of cars, and Rods & Customs, for a few years - due to family, career, and business situations - I had to put some automotive things on "the back burner". But, in 1989, thanks to Boyd Coddington, Billy Gibbons, and, Larry Erickson, "CadZilla" brought me back with a vengeance !
Through the intervening years, Boyd continued to amaze me with his passion and creativity. He gained further recognition by the general public with his "American Hot Rod" Series on the Discovery Channel, which also made him a TV Star.
I followed his career closely and was duly impressed when one of the Industries true Pioneers - DARRYL STARBIRD- installed Boyd as one of the Charter Members of his National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame.
So with that thought in mind, when I began preparations for my on-line Radio Series "The Hall of Fame Legends", I asked Darryl if he thought that Boyd would be available for Interviewing and Documenting of his History and Darryl said he was sure that would be possible if Boyd and I were to be in the same area.
I was truly looking forward to meeting Boyd...not just for the Interview but to also thank him for "CadZilla" which helped bring me back to my roots. In fact, if you listen to the Custom Demo which I produced for this WebSite, you'll hear Boyd featured in it.
I was seriously hoping to get to California later this year to do some Legends Interviews, and Boyd Coddington was at the top of the list. Sadly, that won't happen now. I was devasted to learn of his death even though, at Darryl's Tulsa Show on the 15th of February this year, Steve Stanford had told me that Boyd was seriously ill. I guess I was, like many, many others, hoping that he would recouperate and get well.
Over the last 25 years, Boyd Coddington set the pace, raised the bar, and helped start the new trend of not just "high dollar" cars, BUT smoothly crafted, well built, artisically-designed machines that could be driven, shown & owned with pride...and would be equally at home on the "show field", on the highway, in your garage, or, maybe even in a Museum.
My personal thoughts and prayers go out to Boyd's wife, Jo, and his family, friends, and employees. You have my deepest sympathy, and your loss is shared WorldWide with those who loved Boyd and his superb works of "Rolling Sculpture", "Art On Wheels", and, just plain beautiful automobiles.
Thank you, Boyd. You will be missed.
Jonnie King, March, 2008
(Above left: "CadZilla; Above right: "The Lead Zephyr" Note: a copy of this pic hangs in my garage.)
To Contact Boyd's Family, please go to their WebSite: www.boydcoddington.com