The story of Ben Zuniga and his ’81 Cadillac Coupe DeVille is a valuable lesson in sticking to your guns and not settling for something less than what you really want. “I was looking for a convertible Cadillac but couldn’t find one,” says Ben. “Everyone in the club [Majestics C.C., of course] at that time was getting ’63, ’64 and ’65 Chevy Impala convertibles. Nobody had a Cadillac.”
Ben is a lowriding veterano down San Diego, California, way and the current vice president of the Majestics’ San Diego chapter, so he wasn’t about to make do with anything that wasn’t his top (or topless, in this case) choice. “I bought a hardtop Coupe DeVille and I drove it for about a year until I bought my new house,” he explains. “That’s when I decided to make the car into a convertible. It took me a couple of months to modify.”
Modify it he did, and with the help of Mike D., “Bird,” Charlie and Hitting Hard, plus his wife, Lisa, their daughter Letty and his dad, big Ben’s bright orange DeVille was built to thrill. In fact, it’s a no-brainer that this topless cruiser is a real head-turner.
Convertible DeVilleOwner: Ben Zuniga
Vehicle: ’81 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
City/State: San Diego, California
Club: Majestics C.C.-San Diego
Engine/Drivetrain: The stock 368-c.i.d. fuel-injected V-8 was cleaned and tuned but Ben mostly left well enough alone.
Body/Paint: Ben prefers a hands-on approach to car building, and so did his own body mods, including chopping the top and adding a ’90s Caddy front clip. Mike D. of San Diego put down the PPG tangerine orange paint, while Victor Cordero of Chula Vista, California, gets props for his precision pinstriping prowess.
Interior: Flaco’s Custom Upholstery in Chula Vista didn’t “flake” on the tan interior with pillows.
Sound System: Ben again did it all by himself, going with an Alpine head unit, Soundstream tweeters and midrange speakers, and 10-inch Bazooka tube subwoofers.
Setup: “Neto” at Bottom’s Up Hydraulics in Spring Valley, California, hooked up two chrome pumps, three dumps, 8-inch (front) and 10-inch (rear) cylinders, four batteries and four switches.
Tires: Cooper Trendsetter
Wheels: 13-inch orange Dayton