Killer Kustom

Another killer kustom up for a kloser look. This time “The Golden Empress” from Ryan’s Rod & Kustom. Now you might remember a little while back we did a Builders Showroom “Pick of the Week” on the build of this stunner. So imagine my delight when I came across this aurulent knockout at KKOA Leadsled Spectacular and I got to get real up klose and personal with the her majesty. While researching this ride I have come up some pretty fantastic deets about this royal ride and the stellar shop she came out of, Ryan’s Rod & Kustom with one Mr. Chris Ryan at the helm. I was informed that at the onset of this build her creation took on double duty. First and foremost this cream of the caddy crop was built for Mr. Ryan’s wife Lori, you see there was a smidge of sellers remorse after the sale of her ’48 Caddy Convertible, replacement needed post haste. Secondarily as the “Empress” started taking shape, Ryan took a shine to the idea of debuting her majesty at the Detroit AutoRama, where she ultimately earned three awards including The People’s Choice and Street Rodder Top 100. But before that great end Mr. Ryan had to find a ride to work with. He found one that was a pristine example of rust and neglect. As in no floor pans, no rocker panels, and weather-beaten rot across the entire body. Rust, rust and more rust. Hit up the Builders Showroom “Pick of the Week” to take a peek at her starting point. That condition of decomposition meant Ryan and his crew had to fabricate many, many new pieces for the body, in addition to custom headlight bodies, fenders and bumpers. To get her royal self down the road Mr. Ryan chose a ’59 Caddy 6.4L V8 power plant married to a GM 4L70E tranny. Those 390 cubic inches crank out 345 hp with a healthy dose of torque. Befitting Royalty the “Empress” sports an ultra-rare Jot Horne 4×2 intake and Stromberg 97 carburetors. According to her creator, there were only a handful of those intakes made in 1952 making it the perfect one of kind crown for this “Empress”. Both the outside and inside of this ride are done to perfection. Not sure if you remember those leftover leopard print pieces in that rusted out interior? With brilliant insight and very capable hands, the Empress now sports new front seats from a ’64 thunderbird, custom built rear seats coated in alabaster awesomeness, as well as repositioned instrument cluster, center console totally tops! Last but not least a custom blend of PPG’s best that Mr. Ryan applied himself gives the Empress her liquid gold finish.

According to Ryan, “.. the Caddy mill with the rare Horne intake and the chrome Strombergs are just kool as hell. We were trying for a nostalgic look and I think we pulled it off.” Friends, he pulled it off and then some and what a gas to be able to see this ride in person. Now take a gander for yourself at her majesty the “Golden Empress”, the Queen of Kustom Kool!

Now take and even KLOSER look …….