Cars

Here’s How Two Engineers Turned An Old Cadillac Into a Hot Tub on Wheels

Cadillacs and hot tubs are among the most recognizable symbols of luxury on the planet, but they represent it in wildly different ways. Cadillacs are primed for public spaces; they exude power, beauty, and sophistication for all to see. Hot tubs are a private luxury, designed to help us relax away from the eyes of the world. Few would ever think to combine such wildly different symbols of success.

For two engineers, however, fusing these luxuries was the best way to enhance both of them. Armed with their professional skills and an old, obsolete version of the vehicle, they set to worth designing a new car for maximal road relaxation. The result of their efforts gives the word “carpool” a new meaning.

Take a look at the steps they followed to see just what is possible for innovative car renovators:

30. Considering The Cadillac

For more than a century, the Cadillac has been the ultimate symbol of success and power for drivers all over the world. As a division of Chevrolet, Cadillac offers premium performance vehicles on all its cars, along with a beautiful, unforgettable design. Thus whether you seek to tear up the road or just have a nice vehicle to look at, a Cadillac is the way to go.

29. Time Takes A Toll

As beautiful as Cadillacs are, however, they’re not immune to the slow decay of time. These men acquired a 1969 model, and while you can still see the signs of beauty and sophistication on it, there’s no question that its best days have long since passed. If they were going to keep the vehicle, a renovation was clearly in order.

28. Standard Salvaging

Vehicle renovations are nothing new. Engineers, mechanics, and automotive enthusiasts frequently seek to spruce up their clunkers, whether by giving them new performance characteristics or by simply adding more stylish exterior features. These men, however, were not content merely to restore their car; they wanted to give it a bold new function.

27. Pool Plans

As professional engineers, these men worked hard, and thus valued their leisure time. They identified the hot tub as the ultimate source of leisure, and then had a so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea: why not add a tub to a car so they could relax while they drove?

26. Salvaging Space

Hot tubs take up considerably more space than a Cadillac offers in its seating area, so the first step was to clear out as much material from the seats as possible. They set to work stripping the back, removing all items that were not essential to the safety and performance of the car.

25. Shoring Up With Steel

In addition to adding space, they also needed to shore up the structural integrity of the vehicle. Water weight would put enormous pressure on the car, so they needed something to strengthen it. They settled on steel reinforcements as a strong but flexible foundation for their renovations.

24. Setting Up The Steel

The engineers set to work putting the steel frame in place for the car. If it wasn’t already obvious to them by this point, the steel made it clear that they wouldn’t be able to enter the car through its doors. But that was hardly a concern on a vehicle as low as the 1969 Cadillac.

23. Wood Wisdom

Steel reinforcements were only the first step in protecting the car’s structural integrity. They next needed a substance to put over the steel and spread the water’s weight around. Plywood would serve this purpose, providing a solid platform that could be easily customized to the size and shape of the vehicle.

22. Pasting The Plywood

Nailing the plywood in place would risk damaging the car’s exterior, so instead they used glue to hold it together. That may wound risky, but remember, these men were engineers— they knew how to arrange the weight of the wood so that it would hold together.

21. Minimizing The Mass

Even with these structural integrity steps, the engineers needed to keep the weight of the tub as low as possible to minimize future risks. They thus chose to make the tub’s body out of fiberglass, a strong, flexible material that would not weigh the car down too much.

20. Molding With MDF

To make the tub, the men needed a mold to shape the fiberglass against. They used medium density fiberboard, or MDF, to make the mold. This was one of the most time-consuming parts of the renovation process, as they had to sand and smooth out the mold for it to work properly.

19. Tailoring The Tub

Once the MDF mold was ready, they laid the fiberglass on top of it, tailoring the shape of the tub to match the mold exactly. Notice that they went with light blue material; this would best embody the ideal aesthetic of a hot tub.

18. Savvy Separation

Separating the fiberglass from the mold without damaging either was no small task, and probably wouldn’t be possible for those without technical training. These engineers, however, were experienced with this sort of challenge, and knew how to use compressed air to seamlessly separate the materials.

17. A Premium Pool

The compressed air method was successful, giving them a pool perfectly suited to the vehicle. Notice how smooth the interior of the tub is. If these men decide to stop working as engineers, they could make a career out of building small pools for local households.

16. Placing The Pool

With the tub fully formed, all that was left was the simple matter of placing it in the body of the vehicle. It slid easily into place, leaving the designers free to test how it feels to be behind the wheel of a hot tub vehicle.

15. Caring For The Cadillac

Although they were finished installing the hot tub itself, these men still had a badly beaten up vehicle to take care of. Simply putting a pool in the driver’s seat wouldn’t solve its many performance and appearance problems, so they set to work on a standard car renovation.

14. Bolstering The Body

This Cadillac had had its share of collisions in its nearly 50 years of life, which along with general wear and tear had compromised the bodywork. The engineers began restoring it to its original quality, sparing no expense to renovate the body.

13. An Aesthetic Paint Color

A new coat of paint was also in order. While its original brown color may have been great for a standard vehicle, it would contrast with the color of the tub and its continents. Instead, they chose a shade of aquatic blue to help complete the aesthetic.

12. Advanced Application

The engineers used the most advanced industrial equipment to apply the new paint job. This would help to mask the vehicle’s older roots, giving it the appearance of a vehicle that had just rolled off the assembly line.

11. Fixing The Frame

Besides improving the vehicle’s aesthetics, they also worked to fix, strengthen, and repair its frame, which had become damaged over time. A compromised frame would be a problem on any vehicle, but was particularly dangerous on a car that had to carry so much weight.

10. Engine Enhancements

This hot tub Cadillac would not just be for show; they wanted it to perform just as well as a premium vehicle! They thus carefully modified and enhanced the engine, in hopes of creating a car that could compete at Bonneville Salt Flats.

9. Completing The Car

Once they had fully repaired the body and optimized the internal equipment, they could put the two together. The engineers slowly dropped the body into place over the frame, copying the standard practice of automakers in Detroit.

8. Handling The Heat

Once the car’s main features were finished, the next step was to make the hot tub, well, hot. Unlike stationary tubs, there was no way to plug this into an outlet; all power and heat would have to come from the car’s engine.

7. Floor Heat Features

As engineers, these men had no trouble finding a way to heat the water. They simply installed heat exchangers in the wells for the passengers’ feat, which would transmit energy from the engine into the water. They had to install these exchanges carefully, making sure not to leave openings for water to drain out of the tub.

6. Souping Up The Suspension

The vehicle was mostly finished by this point, but there were a few final aesthetic features to add. One was to customize and install an air-ride suspension system, making the restored Cadillac just as stylish as its more newly-manufactured equivalents.

5. Chrome Concerns

If there is one color intimately associated with the Cadillac, it is chrome. These men were not about to leave out such an iconic feature, so they set to work polishing a variety of small chrome pieces that would accentuate the vehicle.

4. Leveraging The Logo

Though some might be inclined to give a renovated vehicle like this a new logo, these men were proud to be driving a Cadillac, however old. They thus polished and installed the traditional Cadillac shield.

3. Deft Dashboard Designs

Other pieces, however, they were happy to give their own flavor. They used fiberglass to create a smooth, stylish dashboard for their car.

2. Code Compliance

The final step was to install a roll cage that was consistent with the Southern California Timing Association’s safety regulations. This would allow them to race legally, though one wonders how the Association judges hot tubs.

1. Swimming Through The Streets

With all the features complete, they could take to the streets, showing off their bold new luxury vehicle. No doubt their neighbors asked them how they did it, if they could even believe what they were seeing!

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