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Steve Magnante’s Bad Seed Caddy Powered Chevette Lives!

Steve Magnante’s Bad Seed Caddy Powered Chevette Lives!

(Photos by Scott Liggett) – The public loved it, the magazine company lawyers hated it, Steve Magnante built it, and gearheads still are obsessed with it to this day. The infamous “Bad Seed” Chevette, powered by a 500ci Cadillac engine was on hand at the Hot Rod Magazine Homecoming show in Pomona last weekend and Scott Liggett shot a bunch of photos depicting the car in its current condition…which is complete and still completely effing insane. It stands as one of the most raggedly cool, and most loved projects in the 65-year history of Hot Rod Magazine. It it 100% BangShift approved  for roughly a thousand reasons, one of which is the fact that you have to change the plugs while sitting inside the car and that the transmission is the closest thing to an armrest the driver has. Dangerous? Roughly more than smoking at a dynamite factory.

Amazingly it has been 12 years since this car appeared on the cover of the April 2000 issue with the rear tires completely engulfed in smoke and Magnante dressed as a mad scientist (complete with taped glasses) in the driver’s seat. We were among the millions who instantly fell in love with the car, the  idea behind it, and the absolutely stunning appearance of the 500ci Caddy engine sitting half…ok three quarters of the way into the cabin of the car. It had a roll bar in it, a strut tower brace, a Ford 9″ rear end, drive shaft loop, and a seat belt. Yes, it is rougher than 50 miles of Detroit road, but boy did it capture the public’s imagination. The car really signaled somewhat of a change in the collective thought process of hot rodders who had started to embrace the “don’t let perfect get in the way of done” attitude that still persists to this day. Cars that are ratty but driven have lots more respect in the hobby than they did in 2000. The Bad Seed was probably the ultimate example of that. Would we recommend building this car exactly as it sits and racing it? Probably not. A serious wreck would put about 1,000lbs of engine and transmission literally on top of you, but this car did what it was supposed to do. It showed how a little car with a big motor, even a stock one, could be made to go into full tilt race car territory for virtually no money. I’m pretty sure the story said that Magneto had about $2,000 invested into the beast.

We don’t have to say any more about it because you all know the deal. While we never confirmed the story, we were told at the time that magazine company brass told Magnante and the rest of the editors to make that thing go away and never come back again. Thankfully no one has screwed with the car and it is exactly as it appeared those may years ago. So, so good.



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20 thoughts on “Steve Magnante’s Bad Seed Caddy Powered Chevette Lives!

  1. Yello

    Dirty Harry made me want a .44 magnum, and Steve Magnante made me want a Chevette – with a V8!

  2. Beavis & Butt Head

    Hey Beavis..Lets Put the motor out of your Moms Caddy in your sisters car! Yea Yea lets do it that will be cool Butt Head….I will get the torch Yea Yea FIRE FIRE

  3. Remy-Z

    Bad Seed II: a Coyote and 6-spd in a ’79 Fiesta that’s had the roof hacked off to make it a 5/8ths scale Ranchero…

  4. lyn smith

    Hey Steve,why did you put a gas pedal in it?You could have pulled the carb open with your hand!!!!LOL

  5. Scott Liggett

    I kept hearing you guys talking about this car for the last few years, so I just couldn’t snap a couple pics of the car.

    Any of you notice Magnante’s new use for a hose clamp?

  6. Tman

    And HRM wonders why their market share has dropped? As crude as this thing was it created BUZZ!

  7. Shawn

    Love it! not trying to be that guy but thought it had a 8inch and used leaf springs cut in half as trailing arms.

  8. Al Von

    This car is in my top 5 favourite HRM cars, along with Slant Sickness. I got to meet Steve on the ’02 Power Tour and got his autograph on the “Bad Seed” cover. What a great guy!

  9. The Outsider

    Would building a firewall and floor really have been that hard?

    Cheap is good. Dead is bad. Cheap should not potentially result in dead.

    Magneto is great, but this one’s not one of his master works.

  10. Scott Liggett

    It wasn’t about being safe, legal, street driven. It was never meant to any of that. It was to show you can go fast for cheap if you have a bit of imagination, a bit of wrenching talent, and the want.

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