Looking Back At Boyd Coddington’s Alumacoupe

 

The Boyd Coddington Alumacoupe is an interesting mix of old styling, modern technology, American hot rod, Japanese power. Leave it to Coddington to push the boundaries on every front with this build.

Boyd Coddington was one of the first kustom builders to fully understand how building a car partially as a restoration, while still including modern parts and technology to enhance safety and performance. Seeking to maintain the timeless look and appearance of the original base vehicle, but replacing the guts with high performance parts of today became a hallmark of the late California builder.

Combine Coddington’s fabrication skills and eye for detail with Larry Erickson’s automotive design talents, and you have the Alumacoupe. We’ve seen it written as “Aluma Coupe” and even “Aluma-Coupe,” but Coddington seems to have preferred a completely different spelling altogether. He called it the “Alumacoupe.”

Larry Erickson: The Designer

Coddington’s name and reputation are well known. Other’s that have been associated with this unique, one-of-a-kind build are not as well known. For instance, designer Larry Erickson grew up in Northern California, near San Francisco. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, he hired on with GM in Detroit. Experiencing his first winter in Michigan, Erickson moved back to California.

Erickson picked up a lot of freelance work from different automotive, surfboard, and motorcycle custom designers. He also taught at his alma matter, where he provided guidance to one of his students, Chip Foose. Foose decided to work with Coddington rather than Ford after hearing what Erickson had to say.

The Alumacoupe now resides in the Petersen Automotive Museum, on display often.

Erickson eventually went back to GM in 1985, where he would move to the Cadillac studio. He was largely responsible for the design concept of the 1992 Seville/STS and the Eldorado of the same timeframe. Shortly after, rival Ford Motor Company hired the designer away, where he worked until 2008.

In addition to the Alumacoupe, Erickson was responsible for the design work of the Ford Mustang under his watch, and the legendary CadZZilla. One of his most recent designs was a Bonneville hot rod for himself, a 1929 roadster on a 1932 frame.

David Sydorick: The Collector

Sydorick, a very successful investment banker and former Drexel Burnham executive, is a well known car collector and on the board of directors at a couple of automotive museums, including the Petersen Automotive Museum.

At some point Sydorick bought the unique, scratch-built custom, and enjoyed it for a time before donating the iconic coupe to the Petersen Automotive Museum as a permanent part of the museum’s collection. The Alumacoupe was one of the many vehicles on display when the Petersen Museum reopened to the public after a complete renovation of the facility.

Pelle Forsber’s hand-formed grille fitted into the custom aluminum bodywork by Marcel DeLay.

 The Alumacoupe Specs:

  • Original owner/builder: Boyd Coddington
  • Designer: Larry Erickson
  • Body: Custom aluminum bodywork by Marcel DeLay
  • Grille: Hand-formed grille by Pelle Forsbert
  • Paint: Lime-gold pearl acrylic lacquer applied by Greg Morrell
  • Upholstery: Tan Connolly leather by Ron Mangus
  • Chassis: Custom built mid-engine tubular steel
  • Engine: 1991 Mitsubishi turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Engine Builder: Russ Collins of RC Engineering
  • Horsepower; 330 hp
  • Transaxle: 1990 Mitsubishi four-speed auto
  • Wheels: Boyd Coddington Tri-Fan 16-inch front and rear
  • Tires: Goodyear
  • Front Suspension: Independent cantilever with Carrera coilovers
  • Rear Suspension: Independent with inboard Carrera coilovers

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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