Featured Build: 1949 Cadillac by Chip Foose


Today we’ve got quite the automotive specimen to show you. Feast your eyes on this beautiful 1949 Cadillac convertible currently being restored and upgraded by legendary designer Chip Foose and his team at Foose Design in Huntington Beach, CA. The owners of the cool black and chrome Caddy are looking transform their already stately ride into a true luxury cruiser with capable performance and modern reliability.

The idea is that onlookers won’t notice much that is different about the Cadillac at first glance. Beyond a lowered stance and some stylish Foose Design wheels, the vehicle will appear much as it did when it drove off the assembly line over 70 years ago. For our part, MagnaFlow has designed a custom exhaust solution for the vehicle with a level of sound and performance to exceed the expectations of the Caddy’s owners.



Turning a car from 1949 into a reliable cruiser that can handle cross-country road trips is no mean feat. For a vehicle that predates the construction of the Interstate Highway System, quite a mechanical overhaul was required in order to get the Cadillac to a point where it can safely traverse the nation without worry. To begin with, Foose and the team started with the car’s bones: its chassis. For this convertible, they went with a brand-new chassis from Roadster Shop. It arrived powder-coated and ready to mount the new engine and transmission. The body fit securely to the new chassis, requiring only minimal modification.

1949 Cadillac at Foose Design


Roadster Shop also supplied new suspension components, while Baer provided a set of new brakes. And the engine? Well, it’s a classic in its own right. The team at Foose Design went with a stock GM LS3, capable of around 430 horsepower. While that may sound like a lot of power (which it is), and might have LS-heads excited for some sort of hot rod Caddy, the reality is that that power is sorely needed just to shuffle the noble beast’s 4,200-odd-lbs. bulk around effectively in order to get from point A to point B. To bring all that power to bear, Foose Design also installed a 4L80 4-speed transmission.

Chip Foose team working on 1949 Cadillac

Sorting out the charismatic Cadillac’s mechanical underpinnings wasn’t enough to turn it into the luxury cruiser that its builders desire it to be. That’s where the vehicle’s other upgrades came in. Foose and his team wanted to avoid touching up the exterior and paint as much as possible. Instead, further improvements to the car can mostly be found in the vehicle’s interior. These upgrades include a new A/C system from Vintage Air, an upgraded power bench seat, tilting steering column, upgraded classic gauges, updated power windows, and a new convertible top. Together, these updates enable the seasoned Cadillac to emanate the vibe of a luxurious vehicle with classic looks that’s also built to modern standards.

1949 Cadillac at Foose Design



In order to create an exhaust system capable of doing right by the Cadillac’s luxurious legacy, Foose turned to our team at MagnaFlow. Together, we’ve created a custom stainless-steel system that features twice the number of mufflers (four instead of two) that we would normally use for an LS3 motor. Why? Well, unlike your typical LS3 build, the aim of using that motor for this car is to provide ample power while remaining virtually silent under idle. We also worked hard to eliminate the droning noise that can otherwise occur with LS3 V8s around the 1600-1800rpm mark.

1949 Cadillac on a lift at Foose Design

To accomplish this, extra mufflers and an X-Pipe were required, our goal with the finished exhaust system is for the engine to be silent at idle, while still providing that deep signature MagnaFlow sound whenever the owners decide to step on the gas.



Way back when, Cadillac was considered “The Standard of the World.” When this build is complete, Foose and the team expect this veteran of the asphalt to embody that legendary declaration. The owners of this prestigious land-yacht are sure to love their reworked ride. In Foose’s own words, he wants the car to be “something that they can get in and drive to New York if they wanted to, because everything will be reliable.”

1949 Cadillac at Foose Design


To that end, the team at MagnaFlow has made sure that our exhaust solution does this Cadillac justice. Together with the other mechanical improvements made by the team at Foose Design, we are so proud to be a part of this lovingly reworked classic. We wish the eager owners many thousands of miles of adventure and relaxed cruising in their better-than-new 1949 Cadillac convertible.

Upgrade your vehicle’s exhaust system by using our Shop By Vehicle tool or browse all available MagnaFlow performance exhaust systems.

Have questions about our products? Give us a call at 1-800-990-0905 and we’d be happy to help.



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