Go Dan Gogh: Dan Hansen’s 1952 Cadillac Series 62 Restomod

Tran Hanh
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June 11, 2024

Master painter Dan Hansen has made quite a name for himself in the automotive world over the last few years. Also known as Dan Gogh, he honed his craft over the years, working on high-end show cars, and then opening up a collision repair shop in Covina, California in 2019.  We caught up with Dan and he told us about his 1952 Cadillac., christened “The Golden Life.”

“My first ride was a 1962 Cadillac four-door hard top, and I learned how to do bodywork on the car. I’ve always loved Cadillacs and years ago I drew a concept for my dream car, a 1952 Cadillac. I’ve been chasing my vision ever since and now it’s realized.”

Dan’s 1952 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe debuted at the 2023 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California last February. It wowed the crowds and your humble author, so we put on our investigative reporter hat and brought you back the full story of the build.

Dan bought the car in 2007 and it was essentially a basket case. Originally a light blue car from the Chicago area, it was a neglected project. A sad and forlorn roller, the floorpan was full of Midwest tinworm and needed everything. The upside was the previous owner upgraded the factory frame and the car was a blank slate. Dan didn’t have to worry about originality or provenance. He could resurrect the old Caddy to his taste, i.e., a restomod cruiser that would match the sketch he made all those years ago.

First Things First

Not only is Dan a great painter, but he performed all the metal fabrication as well. He started by getting the car structurally sound and banishing the rust. He fabricated a fresh floorpan and flipped the frame’s X cross-member upside down to gain clearance for a low ride height. Most fifties Cadillacs can benefit from a chopped top and Dan gave the old sled a 2 1/2 inch haircut and extended the roof line seven inches. He created a back window glass from handmade bucks to fit the new slinky roofline.

Then, as the story usually goes, life threw down some hurdles. Dan had a kid, went through a divorce, and opened up DG Collision, a full-service body shop specializing in new and classic cars. As you can see, Dan’s a busy guy. As a result of all that commotion, the Cadillac project sat dormant for a bit.

Motivational Changes

Like many of us, when COVID was unleashed on the world in 2020, Dan realized that time was precious. That propelled him to get working on the car again. He started by dropping a 5.3 Vorech V8 out of an old Tahoe between the front wheels, backed up by a reliable 4L60 four-speed automatic transmission.

This isn’t a firebreathing mill, just a bulletproof GM drivetrain with around 300 horsepower. Dan swapped in a Chevy SSR radiator and electric fan for modern cooling capability. All this results in more than enough to power this green machine effortlessly around town.

Suspending The Big Caddy

With the factory frame shored up, the Caddy was ready to accept new suspension hardware. Up front,  Z’d lower control arms, ContiTech bags, and 21-point adjustable QA1 shocks were added to the boxed frame. In the rear, an Art Morrison four-link system with cantilevered rear arms that house the airbags, resulting in a seven-link rear end. The shocks are from a full-size truck.

The ride height is adjusted by a five-gallon air tank, an Oasis pump, and RideTech switches. Rolling stock consists of OEM-style 15x6s steel rims and 1956 Cadillac hubcaps all the way around. The rubber meets the road with a set of Coker Classic 165/15 wide whitewall tires.

Best of Both Worlds

Along with the chopped top and fortified structure, Dan swapped in a 1953 front clip complete with a toothy chrome grille and Dagmar bumpers. The frame had to be massaged to accept the facelift, but Dan executed the swap so seamlessly, that it went undetected by your humble author, a dyed-in-the-wool Cadillac guy.

Next up, was getting rid of those pesky wind wings and installing one-piece, front-side glass. From there, the car got a mild shave, deleting door handles, front fender script, and rocker panel chrome trim.

When all the repairs were completed and the body was smoothed to perfection, Dan laid down gallons of House of Kolor’s  “Organic Candy Green” paint under a white roof, borrowed from a late-model VW colorway. As any Cadillac aficionado knows, the chrome and jewelry are critical to the car’s final look. Ultimate Quality Bumper and Wheel plated the bumpers and trim, and new crest emblems from McVey Cadillac were swapped in.

Classic Cabin With Modern Flair

The interior is all custom. Dan explains, “The cabin is hand-stitched by Roger Perez of 818 Upholstery out of Los Angeles. I wanted a classic look with all the new amenities. I went with Classic Instruments and made the steering wheel myself adding a 1964 Cadillac horn button.”

Baseball glove color material covers everything from the custom door panels to the brocade and leather seats and the fully finished trunk. The front swivel seats are from a seventies Monte Carlo and a Thunderbird donated its back seat. Vintage Air and an Ididit steering column keep the green sled cool and on track. This interior is all business with a skosh of vintage flair and is a perfect vantage point to pilot this big old sled.

Point This Caddy To The Vanishing Point

Hansen is currently enjoying showcasing the Cadillac at shows and events, and it’s already earned awards at the 2024 GNRS and the Pink Hotel Party. He says the car is complete for now, but as we all know, car guys always get new notions in their heads. Dan’s next project is a 1976 Monte Carlo and we’ll keep you posted regarding the status of that project. For now, Dan Hansen has reached the promised land and is living “The Golden Life.”

Review : 4.6/32
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