In addition to the primary business of supplying and manufacturing restoration and high-performance parts for classic GM cars, Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) also builds up its own restored cars for use as display vehicles at trade shows, car shows and other special events. The schedule for building display vehicles coincides directly with the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show held each November in Las Vegas, Nevada, as OPGI displays a newly restored display car at every show.
In fact, several of OPGI’s restored cars have won the “GM/SEMA AWARD” for “Best Restored Vehicle” at the SEMA Show in years past (the award has since been discontinued). The latest vehicle in the long line of perfectly restored OPGI display cars is an interesting Cadillac coupe that debuted at the recent 2014 SEMA Show. What is perhaps most interesting about this particular car is that it is something that many Caddy enthusiasts probably did not know existed, a 1963 Cadillac Eldorado hardtop.
Caddy fans know that the Eldorado’s were only “officially” available as convertibles in 1963, however OPGI has the paperwork on this one that shows it was special ordered as a hardtop with all of the Eldorado options by the original buyer. As General Motors (GM) production numbers show there were only a dozen or so 1963 Cadillac Eldorado hardtops produced, it’s a good bet that most of those have been scrapped or otherwise destroyed over the years, making OPGI’s car a pretty rare find.
After OPGI acquired the car in January of 2014 it was sent to JH Restorations in Riverside, California along with a bunch of new parts from OPGI including the mirrors, door handles, console lens, weather stripping and emblems. JH completed a full frame-off restoration job in just ten months. During that time Ron Mangus Interiors stitched up a light sandalwood colored leather interior, fresh glass from JR Glass was added, and NOS bias ply tires from Lucas Classic Tires were mounted on the original wheels. JH also rebuilt the 390 C.I. powerplant and put a fresh Hydramatic behind it. All of the bright metal was plated and polished by Sihilling Metal Polish. Doug Starbuck at Starside Design performed all of the body work and sprayed the Caddy in Frost Gold paint.
As expected, the restoration work turned out perfect and the car was very well received at OPGI’s display during the 2014 SEMA Show. Following the show, the unique Eldorado hardtop was returned to OPGI headquarters in Seal Beach, California where it resides today.