Calhoun Artists Give Unique Touch, ’69 Caddy

jacova22.jpgJacova Jenkins’ 1969 Cadillac El Dorado was unique when he first
purchased the vehicle a year ago from Ole Miss professor Dr. Jim
Gilbert. The transformation it has undergone since has turned it into a
“dream car.”


jacova24.jpgBy JOEL McNEECE
Jacova Jenkins’ 1969 Cadillac El Dorado was unique when he first purchased the vehicle a year ago from Ole Miss professor Dr. Jim Gilbert. The transformation it has undergone since has turned it into a “dream car.”
The 1969 El Dorado was the third year of the first generation front wheel drive El Dorados in which the engine sits in a conventional location instead of sideways like most other front-wheel drive vehicles. The “Flaming Caddy” has a lot more uniqueness today.
“I started with the idea of a mild restoration, which quickly escalated into a major project,” Jenkins said. “I never imagined the car would turn out this good.”
Jenkins lives in Abbeville and works at the North Mississippi Regional Center in Oxford with friend Cornelius Wortham of Calhoun City.
Jenkins knew he had a good foundation with the car because Dr. Gilbert had kept a log of every dollar ever spent on it. When Jenkins was ready to begin the transformation, he took the car to Derma native Shawn Hidalgo in Pontotoc.
“We talked for several months, and the car sat at my shop for five months while I tried to come up with something unique for it,” Hidalgo said. “I had nothing laid out. It just came out of my head and I hoped and prayed he would like it.”
Hidalgo came up with a design featuring varying flames and scenes on the hood and sides that give a sense of constant movement. The candy apple and silver car jacova22.jpgwas topped with a generous clear coat that brought the paint job to life.
“Jacova’s car was a great project and it opened up a lot of more opportunities,” Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo has developed a strong reputation as a custom painter. He was recently presented with the opportunity to go work for the “Unique Whips” television show on the Speed Channel, but elected to stay in Mississippi. He currently works at Precision Collision in Pontotoc.
Hidalgo turned to lifelong friend Dee Harrison of Big Creek to help with the interior of Jenkins’ car.
Dee came up with an original flame design for the interior which was implemented at Big Creek Upholstery and Trim.
“We had a couple of flame patterns, but Dee didn’t like the proportions so he drew his own for us to use in the car,” said Bobby Harrison, Dee’s father.
Dee and Bobby did the work, but also got contributions from Bobby’s mother Julia when it came time to stitch the dove gray leather flames to the red Scottsdale body cloth. The headliner and many trim pieces were done in a gray suede.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind car,” Bobby Harrison said.
“The detail of the interior and the paint job are incredible,” Jenkins said. “There’s not one thing I can point to. Every part of the car catches your eye.”

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