What’s the best thing to do with a rusty old Cadillac? Well, if you’re anything like these guys you won’t be heading to a junkyard anytime soon. You won’t believe what they did to this tired old car. It took heaps of work and a wild imagination but the end result is truly epic.
It’s 1997 and friends Phil Weicker and Duncan Forster, both engineering students at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, develop a prototype of what will eventually become the world’s craziest Cadillac. Fast forward to 2008 and the pair acquire an actual 1969 Cadillac DeVille. It was time to get the toolkit out.
Before long the team’s ambitious dream started to take shape. To get the ball rolling the Cadillac had its interior ripped out – Phil and Duncan were going to need a lot of space if this plan was going to succeed.
After almost 40 years this beat-up Cadillac had seen better days. When the two buddies bought the car it barely worked, but they loved it all the same. They were about to breathe new life into this old girl.
With everything removed, even the Cadillac’s dashboard, the guys created a mock-up – using MDF and plywood – of what would eventually replace the car’s interior. You won’t believe what the pair had in store for it.
Once Phil and Duncan had achieved the perfect shape – and after a lot of sanding – the wooded mold was covered in multiple fiberglass layers and generous portions of resin. Their idea was starting to come together.
The bright-blue fiberglass creation was installed in the Cadillac. That’s right – in case you hadn’t already guessed the friends were turning the classic car into a hot tub. A fully functioning drivable hot tub.
Stage one was complete but the project was far from over. It would take seven years, in fact, before the vehicle was ready to hit the road. And so it was on to the next task – getting the plumbing in order.
Carpool DeVille, the name of this hybrid hot tub, was on its way to becoming a reality. But you can’t just fill a car with water and expect it to run, even with the plumbing sorted. The car’s instruments had to be waterproofed, so Phil and Duncan installed a custom-built, marine-grade instrument panel to keep the vehicle’s essentials dry.
The hot tub was installed, the plumbing was in place and the vehicle’s instruments were safeguarded. Next up? The Cadillac’s worn-out bodywork. After four decades the car’s exterior was definitely in need of a spruce up.
This beast would be made beautiful again. The ultra-cool metallic blue of a classic Chevrolet Camaro was the team’s inspiration, but it would take a lot of work to get the Carpool DeVille the same color.
By the time the bodywork was done, the undercoat was applied and the Cadillac’s unique interior was masked off, Phil and Duncan were ready to get out the spray cans. But could a few coats of paint really breathe new life into this worn-out vehicle?
A few coats later and the Carpool DeVille was looking great – which is just as well, because it needed to. If everything went to plan the finished car would be seen by a lot of people. It could even become a record breaker; back in 2001 Phil and Duncan agreed to take on a challenge, and it was crazy.
The pair were showing their Carpool prototype at an auto show when they were approached by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA). If they brought their creation to the Bonneville Salt Flats later that year, the SCTA would help them achieve the land speed record for the world’s fastest hot tub. The prototype never made it, but Carpool DeVille could.
It was important that Phil and Duncan followed the SCTA’s meticulous safety guidelines if they were ever to achieve the record. It was particularly important to strengthen the Carpool DeVille’s suspension system and frame, both of which had to support the weight of a lot of water.
With the chassis back on its upgraded frame, the paint job done and the hot tub in place, things started coming together. But the friends’ job wouldn’t be finished until the vehicle was race ready.
Attempting a world record – which in this case involved speeding across a salt flat – obviously has its dangers. For Phil and Duncan, who would be driving in a hot tub, it would be even more hazardous – which is why they needed a custom-built roll cage for added protection.
After this was fitted some finishing touches were applied. You can only imagine the blood, sweat and tears that went into the project. But this Cadillac was still missing its crowning glory – its distinctive emblems that the guys decided to painstakingly restore to their former glory.
After years of hard work Phil and Duncan finally finished their Carpool DeVille – and what a result. The chrome glistened, the engine roared and the drivers were wet – the car was ready to race. But the project needed funding; racing is an expensive business. So the friends turned to Kickstarter.
Their campaign received overwhelming support. The team’s $10,000 target was smashed. In the end they raised $11,251 with the help of 203 donators. They had what they needed to get themselves to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah for 2014’s much-anticipated Speed Week.
Flooding unfortunately meant the event had to be cancelled, but Phil and Duncan travelled to the salt flats anyway to attempt the record. Amazingly their magnificent Carpool DeVille achieved 50 mph – a speed that Guinness World Records is still verifying. In the meantime a new category has been created: the fastest motorized hot tub. Which is a fitting tribute to the team’s remarkable effort.