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TECH: The Things We Won't See

A first ‘n’ last look at a pan-protectin’ skid plate

By Rotten Rodney



Well, it happened again. A typical stroll through Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s fabrication department brought forth the realization that I’d just missed another coool (yes, three Os-worth) project’s beginnings.


It’s not unusual for HR&CS builds to go on to gain fame and notoriety. Whether they’re built to be driven, or shown, or both, the finished works-of-art are often featured in print where professional photography brings out the best of their outward details.


Sometimes, however, inward details become obscured. This begins during final assembly, when bodies go on, when interior trim goes in, and much of the inner workmanship disappears from view. Therefore, proud builders must accept the fact that much of their work will go unnoticed. That’s what this one’s all about.


HR&CS customer, Rand Nield’s ’48 Cadillac convertible is nearing completion. Here in the paint department while Troy prepares the moldings for final installation, Painter Andy applies some finishing touches of his own. Their efforts will remain obvious. In fact, the exterior brightwork and paint are the first things we see.


A day or two later, Rand’s Caddy is back in the fabrication shop, up on a lift, where Jeremy is whippin’ out a sturdy, but subliminal skid plate to protect the car’s vulnerable hangy-down parts—oil pan, exhaust, transmission, etc. This ol’ Caddy is “bagged” and it tends to “lay frame” so a skid plate seems like a very good call.


Here Jeremy is gettin’ set to attach a bolt head protector. On the left end of the table is his bitchin’ bolt-on, tubular crossmember, which serves as the center mount for the two-piece 3/16-inch, steel skid plate.


Once the final bend is made, Jeremy kick-starts the ol’ Miller Syncrowave 200 and commences to tiggin’.


Now keep in mind the ol’ Caddy’s tendency to lay frame. The skid plate’s purpose is to take a beating—and it will. So, as a matter of cost-effectiveness, the car’s owner, Rand has opted not to involve Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s award-winning paint department—this time.


As we’ve come to expect, the overall view of Rand’s finished ’48 Cadillac convertible is absolutely eye-catching. But still, the things we won’t see should be seen at least once.