restoring 1976 cadillac eldorado
the 1976 cadillac eldorado-based ‘american dream’ – built in burbank, california by car customized jay ohrberg – snagged the guinness world record’s longest car in the world in 1986, boasting a measure of 60 feet, 26 wheels, and a pair of v8 engines at the front and rear. after it lost its stardom, the car rusted on its own and lost people who would maintain it, until michael manning, the owner of the automotive teaching museum ‘autoseum’, saw its listing online. the corporation who was selling it did not want to sell it to manning, thinking that his offer was too low. so, he struck a partnership deal with them to bring it to new york and finally won them over.
but manning’s plans to restore the neglected car were derailed when politics and budget changes got in the way. he said that, in the end, he did not have enough funding to work on the restoration, leaving him to abandon the car behind his building in mineola for approximately eight years. he ended up listing the caddy again, almost giving up on his dreamed restoration. fortunately in 2019, michael dezer, owner of the dezerland park car museum and tourist attractions in orlando, bought the caddy from manning and tapped him to assist with the restoration along with auto repair experts paul novack and stephen wepprecht. Fast forward to the present, the newly restored American dream is longer and more luxurious than before.
images courtesy of guinness world records
what’s new in the american dream?
the new american dream – which saw an estimate fix cost of $250,000 – underwent a full-body restoration including the interior and engines, and now has a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a mini-golf course, a waterbed, a pool table, and a helipad. ‘there are pictures of this limousine in the past with the helicopter, but there is no actual footage of that helicopter landing on it and we’re going to do it today,‘ says manning in the video, followed by an actual helicopter landing on the pad behind the car.
the 100-feet car breaks the previous 1986 record by a fraction and is capable of being driven. ‘the main difficulty in driving this car is finding straight roads for it to turn. you need a really wide radius because of the length. we would have to map out a route and know where we’re going to turn, so it’s not for everyday driving,‘ says manning. instead of driving it on the road, the car will be on display at the dezerland park in orlando, florida.
the american dream measures 100 feet long
features and process
manning also shared the process that he and the whole team experienced during the restoration. ‘we started the restoration project about two and a half years ago. it was august and hot here in florida. we set a game plan, so we took three donor cars, cut them up, and replaced the whole cab of the car so we could drive it. the engine was replaced; all the tires were replaced; helipad was redone; and the pool was redone. the inside of the vehicle has seating for passengers: we have carpeting, we have leather, we have vinyl, we have led lighting. this can be configured for any type of party, any type of design that you would want, and it can hold up to 75 people any day to week.‘
the car restorer admitted it was not an easy job. ‘what I found surprising with the car is when we started fixing it, we started taking it apart, it was six eldorados that were put together but the middle section had to be fabricated from scratch and it kind of reminds you of the construction of a bridge . it is just an enormous undertaking to do this type of job,‘ says manning.
the previous state before the restoration
the view of the car from above
it is complete with a golf course and a jacuzzi
the interior of the newly restored american dream
the helipad of the american dream
Surname: world’s longest car
awards: guinness world records
restored by: michael manning, michael dezer, paul novack, stephen wepprecht
matthew burgos | design boom
Mar 11, 2022