Sam’s rusty Cadillac gets a movie-star makeover

LOOKING GOOD Sam Hard with his 1977 Cadillac Coupe de Ville transformed into a character from the film Cars. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122101-833)
LOOKING GOOD Sam Hard with his 1977 Cadillac Coupe de Ville transformed into a character from the film Cars. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122101-833)
Alex Wardle, from Lee-on-the-Solent, collapsed at home and tragically died in March 2016, aged 23. 

From left: Alex's father, Stephen Wardle, sister Gemma Wardle, Alex Wardle and his mother, Denise Wardle.

Gosport family to keep Alex’s legacy alive by taking part in Great South Run

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SAM Hard certainly turns a few heads when he takes this car out for a spin.

For the mechanic has converted an old Cadillac into a character from hit film Cars.

CHARACTER The King from the film, Cars

CHARACTER The King from the film, Cars

The 24-year-old has spent the past month renovating the 1977 Cadillac Coupe de Ville which he found rusting away in a Havant garden.

He approached the owner who was happy to let him take it away for just £100.

He got to work and has now turned the vehicle into character Strip ‘The King’ Weathers, the retiring champion in the 2006 Pixar movie.

The design is so good it was picked as the winner of the People’s Choice award at Beaulieu American car show, where Sam was presented with his trophy by Lord Montagu.

Sam said: ‘The car had been sat there in that garden for donkey’s years, so I just knocked on the door and asked how much they wanted for it. The lady was happy to get rid of it.

‘It took us about three hours to get it running so we could remove it as it hadn’t moved for years.’

Using his business at Fort Fareham Industrial Estate in Fareham, Elite Vehicle Maintenance, Sam transformed the decaying heap into the prize winner.

Local businesses also helped with the project, with Andy Saunders building a wooden bonnet to replace the rotten original and Abshot Signs helping with stickers to match King’s.

He said: ‘I love the film Cars – I’ve seen it about 60 times.

‘My girlfriend’s nephews love it and we watch it together.

‘It’s one of those films that was designed by real car fans, so you see new things in it all the time.

‘I’ve always been a fan of American cars, so that’s where the idea came from. On top of the price of the car, I’ve spent about £500 on doing it up.

‘It’s not finished yet, the inside still needs work.

‘It needs a new starter motor, but this is my hobby and I love it.

‘My dad’s a mechanic as well – I think that’s where I got the bug from.’

The Cadillac, which is used as campervan, has got its road tax and MOT, and Sam recently took it to Weymouth on a camping trip with girlfriend Nikki Mackley.

He said: ‘I’ve got three-year-old kids running up all excited and shouting: “It’s King from Cars!”.

‘People go crazy for it – you can see people’s mouths open as you drive past.

‘It’s a good bit of fun.’

The car also came in the top 10 out of 300 cars at the Can Am Car Club’s Lazy Sunday event in Poole.