The Cadillac XLR is already a pretty strange car to buy, par Corvette and part Mercedes SL-Class rival. However, nobody is ever going to want an XLR made to look like the 1957, 1958, and 1959 Chevy models, right?
Well, as it turns out, several people wanted this, because it’s such a novelty item. A good Tri-Five Chevy is already worth a lot of money, even without extreme modifications. But it would be pretty cool to have one that drives like a modern Cadillac, made in 2008.
Several people have bid on this unique 7-8-9 XLR, so Lot 402 managed to sell for a whopping $110,000 at the recent Palm Beach auction by Barrett-Jackson. Is it worth that kind of money? You be the judge.
This bad boy has been around the show scene before, so you can find a little bit of info on it. The conversion was done from 2011 to 2012 by a company called N2A Motors out of Los Angeles, California. There are supposed to be more of these, each done with polymer custom molds. However, no two are alike because the paint is never duplicated, and this one has Candy Apple Red over a Champagne bottom.
So why is it called the 7-8-9?
Well, The front end is easy to identify. It’s supposed to look like the 1957 Chevrolet, the last year of the famous Tri-Five series. Of course, it doesn’t look exactly like that for several reasons.
Number one, the Cadillac XLR is a low sports car, so the nose only comes up to about knee height. Also, the grille is not an exact copy, and it’s missing the chrome at the top of the opening. Above all, a Bel Air might have its entire lower bumper section chromed out, where this is Champagne-colored.
One of the most annoying features of a Tri-Five is that the lines on the side of the hood never line up perfectly with the fenders. However, this XLR-based Chevy doesn’t have such problems because it’s all one big clamshell that hinges forward, like a Corvette.
And under there is the Northstream 4.6-liter V8 engine. Really makes you wonder why they didn’t just start with a nice Corvette, so you can have an LS instead.
I’m not saying this is a bad look, But the length of the hood and the rake of the windshield immediately interrupt the illusion of a 1950s car. The “8” in the name of the car is there because this is supposed to have 1958 Chevy doors. I don’t think this is a particularly important detail, especially with those thick 2008 door mirrors.
However, the biggest surprise is when you see this thing from the back. The XLR’s complex folding metal roof has been hidden inside the rear end of a 1959 Chevrolet. It’s just crazy to see the flamboyant fins of an Impala. That’s just spectacular to look at, but again, there’s something missing: a chrome bumper. What’s the point of making a copy of 1950s cars without the bling?