The annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas is typically not a place you’ll find wanting for high-end custom machinery, and the 2021 event held last month was no exception. Among the many highlights of this year’s show was an array of vehicles plucked from the Chip Foose Collection, including this – the 1939 Cadillac Sixty Special Madam X.
To explain why this thing is so special, we must first go back to the early days of General Motors and a man named Harley Earl. Back in 1927, General Motors appointed Earl as the head of the newly created Art and Colour Section, a division specifically devoted to vehicle design. At the time, automobile design was focused on utilitarian features, rather than aesthetics, but as the success of Earl’s Art and Colour Section grew, the rest of the industry eventually caught on to the importance of vehicle styling.
The first vehicle that Earl created under GM’s Art and Colour Section was based on a 1927 LaSalle chassis, with a body for Lawrence Fisher. However, the design was created by lowering the chassis by four inches and adding a two-piece windshield. The pillars were also quite thin, which prompted the use of a stronger steel construction, rather than the traditional wood frame. The resulting vehicle was dubbed Madam X, taking after a popular show of the time, and the name was reused for further one-off projects thereafter.
As for the vehicle featured in these photos, it was created by American automobile designer Chip Foose as a nod to those original Madam X vehicles. The design is a reimagining of a 1935 concept by Art Ross, which was first created as a study for the 1938 Cadillac Sixty Special.
Starting with a 1939 Cadillac Sixty Special four-door, the body was modified into a two-door layout with a removable top, while the body lowered and shortened.
The overall look is stylish and clean, incorporating classic coach-building aesthetics with a subtle modern touch. That includes the interior as well, which is dripping in rich leather upholstery and wood trim.
Check it out in full with these exclusive photos from the 2021 SEMA Show, and make sure to subscribe to GM Authority for more General Motors-related SEMA news, Cadillac news, and around-the-clock GM news coverage.