Hot Rod designer Boyd Coddington died yesterday. He was 63. Internet rumors concerning his death said his colon burst, his liver was leaking or his kidneys failed.
After a fall in his home a couple of months ago, Boyd sustained several surgeries. Boyd made his bones designing cars. He made his fame as the star of his own TV show — “American Hot Rod” on The Learning Channel.
Boyd’s custom designs set the standard for grace and beauty in building cars.
What I do not understand is why Boyd wanted to be a television star. He did not come across well over the air. Boyd was perpetually cruel to ex-wife and son on camera. He had disdain and hatred for his paid staff. He employed a manager who lived to crush new hires and to destroy any sense of kindness and goodwill the rest of the shop tried to create in the midst of the leavening.
You watched Boyd’s show for all the wrong reasons: Who would get fired? Which intern would be mocked and shamed? How many babyish outbursts would Boyd perpetuate on his underlings as they slaved to meet unrealistic build deadlines on $500,000.00USD custom cars?
Fame — and the lure of evergreen longevity — is a dangerous temptation for good people and an addiction for the wanton, and now, in the crevasse of Boyd Coddington’s death, we are left longing for his inspiration while wondering what Boyd was thinking when he codified his want to have the worst of him air on television for the remainder of eternity. Sometimes the fame isn’t worth the punishing mark it leaves behind.