You may have never heard of Nudie Cohn before, but you’ve likely seen his handy work.
Nudie Cohn was in born Nuta Kotlyarenko in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1902, and he is best remembered as the man behind some of the most famous and outlandish outfits ever worn– Elvis, Teddy Pendergrass, Roy Rogers and Glen Campbell (the guy who sang ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’) all donned a rhinestone-covered “Nudie” costume at one time or another.
However, Nudie’s passion for excess and shiny trinkets didn’t end with the outfits he designed. He also transformed vehicles into blinged-out rolling sculptures in an effort to market his successful clothier businesses.
There were 18 Nudiemobiles in all. Most were Pontiacs but a few other vehicles, like a Hudson, also joined the collection. Once the vehicles caught on, GM’s Pontiac division actually provided Nudie with free cars to customize, according to CNN Money, who spoke with Nudie’s granddaughter Jamie Nudie.
Like his outlandish suits and costumes, Nudies vehicles were slapped with highly reflective objects like chrome horseshoes, chrome revolvers –really anything that could catch the eye.
His 1975 Cadillac Eldorado, one of two surviving vehicles, even features a cattle horn that’s held to the front end by chrome supports. With cowhide seats, a silver-dollar-encrusted interior, and plenty of other unique touches, it’s the kind of attention-grabbing ride unseen since the Elvis days. (Actually, Elvis even had one himself, though that particular example probably isn’t a Nudie).
It’s big and unwieldy and it screams of excess– a little like The King in his later years – but like a Nudie suit it’s bound to command attention.