Drive! Staff November 10, 2022 All Feature Vehicles
Rick Abate shouldn’t have time to build cars. He’s way too busy being the curator for the Meguiar’s Hangar building in the center of the Cruisin’ for a Cure show taking place the weekend of the 26th this month.
It’s one of the highlights of the event and it takes a lot of work getting the best rides like the Ridler Award winner and others from around the country. But Rick and Tempie Abate have had four of their cars go to SEMA, three being featured last year on “Car Crazy with Berry Meguiar.” All of their cars are sponsored by Meguiar’s and they have been honored to have their work be VIP cars.
They have been in the automotive industry for years and fell in love with the art of the automobile at a young age. “It became our passion,” Rick says, “when we built our company some 16 years ago. After, I retired and the passion for the unique styling of cars really started to develop.”
Their goal, shared by all who love to customize, was to take a stock looking car and make it that much better. A simple objective that’s not always easy to execute. But clearly they achieved a brilliant result with this 1967 Cadillac DeVille Convertible, which they’ve dubbed “Bella”.
It is a beauty indeed with its sleek long lines, luscious paint and swank interior. AutoBahn In Costa Mesa, California was responsible for the smooth skin. They used PPG Crystal Red Tri Coat, Crystal Red Base Coat, Pearl Red Tri Coat, PPG Clear Clear. And you notice right away that the car is appropriately completely shaved. Door handles were removed and replaced with Kin-Digit flush mounts.
Body modifications were done by Joe at 401K Hot Rod Shop. The overall look is enhanced by wheels and tires combo. Those are 20×8.5s with 4.5” back space, one-off 5 on 5 bolt pattern American VF 497, wrapped in 235/45/20 Dunlaps. Inside, you find CCP big brake kits added with 13” rotors up front and a new master cylinder was added with proportioning valve. All brake and lines are new of course. The car has a Air Ride suspension, custom built by “Ponch the Bagman” in Anaheim, CA, to give Bella the proper stance.
Under the hood is a 429 CI stock Cadillac motor. The Abates added a complete dual exhaust, with Flow-Master 44 2 ½ stainless exhaust, thanks to Plaza Muffler in Orange, CA. A new 140 amp Power-Master Alternator was added with Dual 850 Batteries.
The interior was totally removed and replaced with a ’65 Cadillac style interior with smooth floors. The inside wouldn’t be complete unless you had a custom sound system. Rick himself added a 7500-watt nine-speaker set-up by Alpine. The upholstery finishes things off nicely especially with a leather wrapped ’68 GMC truck steering wheel. Also worth noting is that the front bumpers were pinched ¾ of a inch on both sides and a one off custom grill was installed. All the mechanical work was performed by Rick and Trevor Dick.
That is the reason why Cruisin’ for a Cure takes place every fourth Saturday of September. The show is about cars—but also the community working together to fight prostate cancer. Ultimately CFAC has the most important task of all: it exists so that it can continue to save lives. Under the leadership of Debbie Baker, it has tested well over 10,000 men and have saved well over 4000 of them from prostate cancer through its free prostate cancer screening that they do each year. So while you’re at the show enjoying the incredible hand-picked rides at the Meguiar’s Hangar that Rick Abate has put together, along with 3400 other vehicles, you can feel even better about how you’re spending the time, knowing you are contributing to a very noble cause. Save the date: September 26th at the OC Fair & Event Center.
The “Hangar” at Cruisin’ for a Cure is all about the very best of the best. I handpick 50 cars from 20 to 25 shows each year, a lot from out of state. These cars are truly the best of the best, from Ridler cars, to the Great Eight, to America’s Most Beautiful—we seek out the very best. As a rule cars can only be in the hangar one year, no repeat cars are allowed. —Rick Abate
The 67, aka “Bella,” was a car we had bought last year and we were up in the air as to whether or not we would even build it. So here’s what happened, at the end of the show in 2014 we were approached by a paint manufacturer to build a car for SEMA 2015. The build was on. Unfortunately the paint company’s product was new and we couldn’t get it sprayed. After the word got out (and having had done a lot of business with OPGI) they asked if they could be part of it. It was amazing the amount of support we received from everyone. The same thing happened with American Racing. Our builds are always divided, my wife handles the color and interior and I handle the mechanical, sound, well, everything else. We specialize in building ‘65 and ‘67 Cadillacs that are very unique and custom.
Owners: Rick & Tempie Abate
Body Fabrication and Welding: 401K Hot Rod Shop, Anaheim, CA
Interior: Orange Auto Upholstery, Orange, CA
Paint: Autobahn, Costa Mesa, CA