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HOME > American Hot Rod

'American Hot Rod' star and custom-car legend Boyd Coddington dies

By Christopher Rocchio, 02/28/2008 

Boyd Coddington, a car-customizing legend and star of TLC's American Hot Rod reality series, died yesterday at the age of 63.

Coddington passed away at Whitter, CA's Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital at 6:20AM Wednesday morning, The Associated Press reported.  Spokeswoman Amanda Curry declined to disclose the cause of death.

The bespectacled and bearded Coddington -- who frequently donned Hawaiian shirts -- was at the center of American Hot Rod, which premiered in January 2004 and followed his crew as they built custom cars and hot rods at his La Habra, CA-based shop. 

"Discovery mourns the passing of automotive industry legend and American Hot Rod host Boyd Coddington," the network said in a statement.  "[He] will be missed by family, friends and fans around the world."

Coddington is largely recognized for creating the West Coast hot rod craze that still exists.  Both former Monster Garage star Jesse James and Chip Foose, the current star of TLC's Overhaulin' reality series, previously worked for Coddington.

In his younger years, Coddington worked as a machinist and customized cars on nights and weekends.

"It was one of those things when a hobby turned into business," Dick Messer, Petersen Automotive Museum's executive director, told The AP.

In addition, Messer said Coddington was "one of the first guys to get into the custom wheel business" and described him as "modern era George Barris," a reference to one of the world's first custom designers of automobiles.

"[Coddington] did things to hot rods and customs that weren't being done by anyone else," Messer told The AP.  "But the main thing is he designed cars that were drivable."

Coddington is a two-time Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award winner and a member of the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame and Route 66 Wall of Fame.

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