CANNING - Building custom cars is Chad Hiltz’s passion and he’s quickly building a name for himself in the business.
The Canning resident, owner of Green Goblin Customs, recently won three awards at his first American show, World of Wheels in Boston, and four more at the recent Castrol Radical Speed Sport show in Moncton.
“I’m just trying to get out there and get recognized for the work that I can do,” Hiltz said, pointing out that it’s the creativity involved that he likes most.
“You get to use your brain and make what you want to make.”
Hiltz said his most recent creation, the Green Goblin, has brought him the most attention to date. He showcased the car at the Boston show recently and took home the Master Builder award and first-place for Radical Custom. American magazines Ol’ Skool Rodz and Car Kulture DeLuxe chose the Goblin as pick of the show. He has put about six months of work into the car.
The Green Goblin started out as a 1962 Chrysler Newport that was given to him by a friend. It had been stripped for parts that were used to restore another car.
Hiltz had a 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass two-door and he decided to cut the roof off of the Oldsmobile and put it on the Chrysler. He then put a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado motor in the back.
Hiltz said he thought his showing in Boston was good. It was his first American show and because the Green Goblin was so different from anything else, so he didn’t know quite what to expect.
At the Moncton show, the Green Goblin collected a few more awards, winning first place for Radical Custom; Outstanding Paint and Best Car in the Maritimes. Hiltz also placed in the Hub City Top Six, meaning his car was judged among the best custom builds in Canada.
Another of Hiltz’s customs, the 1939 Cruella DeVil, won the award for Best Custom Paint and Best Exotic Custom at the Moncton show.
Hiltz started building custom cars about five years ago, after meeting legendary California automotive customizer Gene Winfield. Hiltz learned about chopping roofs off cars and customizing them from Winfield.
Hiltz does restoration work as well, but his passion is radical automotive customization. He has done six full customizations so far and has chopped the roofs off many cars.
Hiltz said custom cars like this would be expected to come out of the custom mecca of southern California, but not necessarily Canning. Nova Scotians are more likely to be familiar with custom car builders in the United States, he added, and might not even be aware that there are award-winning cars being built in backyards closer to home.
Hiltz is currently working to restore a 1956 Canadian model Crown Victoria for a client. The car is one of only 207 of its kind ever built. Hiltz said the car is “very rare and very desirable.” When he’s finished, he says it will be “better than new.”