If you could build your dream car what would it be? Do you often day dream about what this special vehicle would look like or sound like purring in your garage? Well, if you’re anything like Adam Cleary from Sydney Australia, then you have pictured every little detail ever since you were old enough to turn a wrench. Building steam from a young age working on cars with his Dad, this interest in building his dream car only intensified for Adam when he met Chad Canerday from Chad’s Auto Glass. Both being car guys to the core, Adam and Chad hit it off right away when they met about five years ago. Adam ended up purchasing Chad’s 1961 Cadillac and had it shipped out to Australia to handle the daily cruising duties and satisfy Adam’s custom itch that had been brewing for quite some time.
At the time, Adam hadn’t previously thought he would be able to “afford” to build his ultimate dream car from the ground up, because unfortunately Australia’s laws for “custom” vehicles are very stringent and custom work can cost anywhere from 2x to as much as 10x the price as what we would pay here in the states. Everything from suspension, wheels, air ride components, to paint – custom modifications also need to undergo a very strict “engineering” inspection which can be an expensive ordeal. However, on the bright side this also serves to keep the custom industry and the roads safe, hoping to catch and disallow any “shoddy” work from ever reaching the highway.
Photos: John O’Neill | Words: Mike Alexander
The more Chad and Adam’s friendship grew, Adam eventually came to realize that he could indeed afford to build his childhood dream car, EXACTLY the way he wanted it – he would just have to have it built in California under the watchful eye of Chad and his crew to manage the build. Not only would this cut down on expenses for parts and custom mods, but they had also assembled a “dream team” in order to build this 1957 Buick Special in a matter of eight months flat in order to debut at the SEMA Show. This would ultimately check two dreams of Adam’s off that bucket list, killing two birds with one stone. So the plan was set, and the timeline was laid out.
The donor car was found and purchased for $5k as a complete roller but clearly a basket-case of a project. The sight of this car in the beginning would make even serious builders doubt their ability to complete the build on time, but the team at hand didn’t falter. Beginning with all of the custom suspension and chassis work, Vince at The Choppin’ Block got to work with his crew. Building a completely custom suspension both front and rear, they were able to achieve the goal of laying flat on a set of massive 24-inch rollers from Raceline. Normally laying out a classic on such giant wheels might be a “turn-off” to some, but this stance is wicked! Not to mention, Adam has become known for ‘pushing people’s buttons’ when it comes to his custom tastes so mixing genres and styles a bit here was the ultimate goal from the get go.
With the suspension and chassis duties in such capable hands, the rest of the crew began to prep for their stages and get ready for the whirlwind that can be the ever dreaded ‘SEMA build.’ Lewis Milinich from Milinich’s Body Works shaved the door handles and emblems and began to prep the rest of the body for the ultra glass PPG black that would be laid. A team like this might not make such an extensive build look as easy as the seven day ground-up builds that automotive TV shows like to force-feed us these days, but in a matter of a few months (with A TON of all-nighters and very long days) they came together to create one of the baddest cars built to date.
Like all builds, Adam also had a few things that got added to the ‘must have’ list as the build went on, and of course his build partners added a few of their own. One of the stages that went a bit further than originally anticipated was the full-custom interior and stereo. The 1956 Chevy Bel air dash was just the beginning. As soon as Krist Kustoms and Looney Tunez Car Audio teamed up to get going on the interior things definitely began to take shape. A full custom center console, headliner, kick panels, rear tray, and rear bucket seats were all built from scratch, and the red leather and custom Porsche carpet that begin to cover these creations certainly was more than Adam had imagined. With everything coming together, the crew had even impressed themselves with the top-notch work done is such a short period of time.
But like many of these builds, there is an army of people that give up their nights, weekends, family time, and more to help bring someone’s dream to life. Adam isn’t the kid of guy to let that go unnoticed, when we interviewed him the appreciation for all of the hard work that went into this build was his number one focus. That is EXACTLY the attitude we dig here at Slam’d Mag and giving credit where credit is due goes a long way. This ’57 Buick is obviously something very special, and realizing his childhood dream, but doing so with “good mates along the way” is truly what it’s all about! Stay tuned as we’re sure we’ll be seeing more of Chad, Adam, Pony, Vince, Lewis, and the entire dream team that came together to turn out such an amazing build. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us at this year’s SEMA show. For more details on the build, reference the Slam’d Specs below.
Special Thanks From Owner:
There are a lot of people to thank that had a hand in helping with this build. First and foremost, Chad Canerday from Chad’s Auto Glass for helping to make a dream come true. Also special thanks to Pony, Vince and Joe from The Choppin’ Block, Lee and Lewis from Milinich’s Body Works, Shawn and Jenna at Krist Kustoms, Dave and Robert at Looney Tunez and all of the companies that helped including VIAIR, Design Engineering, Boom Mat, Steele Rubber Products, Air Lift Company, Slam Specialties, Ron Francis, ABS Power Brakes, Raceline Wheels, and Kinetik Audio. Thank you all for helping make a childhood dream come true!
Glide Engineering front seats and custom-built rear buckets
1956 Chevy Bel air dash
Dakota Digital custom VHX gauges
Custom interior by Krist Kustoms
Red leather, Porsche carpet, custom sheet metal center console
One-off custom headliner
LED lighting and AVS switches
Shaved handles and emblems
Completely smoothed and chromed bumpers and trim
Glass PPG Black painted by Lewis Milinich Body Shop