The iconic French Connection, inspired by the Delahaye and Bugatti cars of the 1930’s; was Boyd Coddington’s swan song. It was not only a departure from the traditional hot rods and customs Boyd was known for creating; he also never saw the completed car before he passed away.
Chris Coddington, son of Boyd Coddington and owner of wheel company Hot Rods by Boyd remembers the beginning of the French Connection car that was several years in the making. Coming off great success of the Whatthehaye French inspired hot rod Delahaye; Boyd looked to build an elegant, beautiful work of art based on the full fendered 1939 Delahaye Type 165 coach built cars.
Designer Erick Brockmeyer was brought on board to provide the direction and put Boyd’s vision to paper for the creation. The lines were cleaned up, the front end slanted back and the fender skirts fully molded in so that the wheels, normally an iconic part of every Boyd build, were not visible. Flowing headlights and taillights were made to ensure the minimal eye interruptions as possible.
A full size scale drawing was created so that Marcel’s could hand craft the body. In the meantime, a HEMI-headed Italian V12 boat motor was picked off of eBay and chosen as the exotic power plant to be used. As the French Connection was being finished for owner Rocky Walker; Boyd lay in a hospital, seeing only cell phone picture updates as his crew worked at the shop in La Habra, California to finish the car. Photographer Dennis Fugnetti captured all of the later builds that came out of Boyd’s shop for magazines and promotional needs. He recalls selecting the perfect angles and dramatic lighting to showcase the curves and lines of the French Connection. The artistic photos would stand out as much as the car itself; truly capturing the essence of the design and show the car as the artistic creation it was.
Unfortunately, Boyd soon passed away before driving or even seeing the finished car that never saw the true showcase and exposure it deserved as not only being the final build of Boyd’s but the innovation and craftsmanship that went into the French Connection.
The French Connection by Boyd Coddington hits the Barrett-Jackson auction block in Scottsdale, Arizona. See more information here French Connection Barrett-Jackson
See our video on the story of the Vern Luce Coupe that set the Boyd style on the hot rod map. Birth of Smooth: The Vern Luce Coupe
Photos Courtesy of Fugnetti Images
Rendering and Drawings Courtesy of Brockmeyer Design
Likeness and Signature Courtesy of Boyd Coddington Estate
Thanks to Chris Coddington of Hot Rods By Boyd