To celebrate the first of October, which signals the beginning of frightful Halloween festivities right around the corner, I have selected a spooktacular Pick of the Day, a 1959 Cadillac hearse. Continue reading
John Gately has been restoring Cadillacs since 1956 and in 1968 started the Gately Restoration Co. in Boston. Since then, according to the company’s website, “Gately Cadillac Restoration has traveled the country in our 10 wheeler many times to bring you some of the rarest Cadillac parts. Rust free Cadillac parts from California, to Arizona to Florida and back to Massachusetts.”
First, the seller of this 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible starts the advertisement on ClassisCars.com by thanking you for just looking at the ad. Then, after a long paragraph of describing the vehicle, comes the note that while the current curator is the third owner, he or she has knowledge of the car since it was brand new.
This year marked the 20th anniversary for the Greenwich Concours and event founder Bruce Wennerstrom was on hand all weekend to help usher in his baby’s next decade. The classic car hobby owes him a debt of gratitude for starting this event and keeping it going for these many years. It is the only concours of its stature in New England. Continue reading
Elvis Presley’s 1977 Cadillac Seville, the last car he purchased for personal use and the last of more than 200 Cadillacs he bought for himself, friends, family – even strangers – is going on display at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, England.
The King of Rock ’n’ Roll bought the car in October 1976 for personal use and picked out its burgundy-and-silver colors. He also had a CB radio installed so he could communicate with the guard house and the kitchen at his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee.
Presley was seen driving the car the day before his death in August 1977. Later, Presley’s father, Vernon, gave the car to Elvis’ girlfriend, Ginger Alden.
The car was sold at auction at Las Vegas in 1994 and was sold again last year at Graceland, where Steve Horn bought it for his wife, Suzannah. The Horns run Europe’s Tribute to Elvis, an annual Elvis impersonator contest held each year in Blackpool, England.
The Cadillac was offered at the Graceland auction by Greg Page, a founding member of The Wiggles, an Australian children’s music group and a well-known collector of Elvis memorabilia.
The Horns have loaned the car to the British museum because, Steve Horn said in a news release, “We wanted to give all of Elvis’ UK fans an opportunity to see his car and Beaulieu is the perfect location. We are delighted they could find a space for it.”
Among the first people to see the car when it arrived at the museum was Lady Fiona Montague, wife of museum founder Lord Montagu.
“I am a huge fan and had a costume made to wear at an Elvis-themed fund-raising evening we held in the museum last year,” she said, donning the outfit again to greet the car’s arrival.
My dad and mom purchased this car in 1962 here in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It is still in original condition — paint, interior and very low mileage.
The car has power steering, brakes, windows, seats, antenna with Wonder Bar AM radio, auto headlight dimmer and cruise control. The air conditioning still blows cold. My dad was very proud of his “Caddy” and always kept it in top condition.
I still remember taking vacation trips with my parents. It was a smooth ride. We even pulled a camper trailer with it.
When my dad passed several years ago, my mom said I should keep the car because I spent a lot of time taking care of it with my dad. We still take it out for car shows and cruises.
I still feel like my Dad is with us when we take the car out.
— Tom Ortega, Albuquerque NM
Carrozzeria Ghia is one of Italy’s leading auto designers and coachbuilders, with a rich history of beautiful concepts and production cars from the company’s founding in 1915 to the present day.
The second annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance welcomes two of Ghia’s most-famous creations from the 1950s – a custom-bodied 1953 Cadillac once owned by Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth and the exquisite 1954 Plymouth Explorer dream car – as part of a special Cars of Carrozzeria Ghia concours class honoring the 100th anniversary of the Turin design house.
The two evocative Ghia automobiles will be shown during the Arizona Concours on January 11, 2015, along with more than 85 rare and exceptional automobiles displayed on the landscaped inner lawns of the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix. Both Ghias are owned by the world-famous Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, which entered them in the Arizona Concours to help celebrate Ghia’s centennial.
The 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe by Ghia became one of the best-known cars of its day when it was presented as an extravagant gift to Rita Hayworth from the wealthiest man in the world, Prince Ali Khan, who was married to Hayworth at the time. The flamboyant coupe was one of two Cadillac concepts built by Ghia for the 1953 Paris Auto Salon, where Khan saw the car and arranged to purchase it for his wife.
Despite the lavish gift, Hayworth and Khan were divorced later that year. But the celebrity connection remained intact for the Ghia-bodied coupe, henceforth known as the Rita Hayworth Cadillac.
The 1954 Plymouth Explorer by Ghia came about because of the Italian company’s relationship with Chrysler Motors, which resulted in a number of important designs and production cars. Chrysler’s then-newly named head of design, the acclaimed Virgil Exner, had turned to Ghia to help the Detroit automaker shed its image for stodgy automobiles. The Plymouth Explorer was one in a series of exotic dream cars that would become part of the automaker’s design language.
On a modified 114-inch Plymouth chassis, Ghia built a sleek, hand-sculpted coupe and painted it a striking green metallic with white horizontal spear accents and exhaust tips that exited from the taillight pods. Interior details include white leather upholstery, fitted luggage and concealed radio controls.
A number of other Ghia-designed automobiles will also appear in their own special class at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, which once again serves as the startup and focal point for the famed Classic Car Week in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. The premier automotive event benefits Make-A-Wish® Arizona, the founding chapter of the national organization that grants wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions.
For more information about the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, including ticket sales, see www.ArizonaConcours.com.
Cadillac is desperately trying to get its mojo back. The plan announced this week to move the GM luxury division’s headquarters from Detroit to New York City for inspiration is part of the effort to lift Cadillac in the firmament of world luxury brands.
But instead of changing locations, Cadillac’s design and marketing people probably would do better by looking into the marque’s illustrious past, back when Cadillac had the guts and audacity to create something like our Pick of the Week.
The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible, advertised on ClassicCars.com by a Canadian collector-car dealer, is a masterpiece from this baroque era of automobile styling. It’s a mighty craft with a pair of gracefully towering tailfins sprouting from its luscious flanks, which are thick with chrome.
The bright-red convertible is a wonderful piece of excess that epitomized the automaker’s hyperbolic slogan of the time: “Magnificent Beyond All Expectations!” In those days depicted in the TV show Mad Men about life on New York’s Madison Avenue, this would be the premium ride for someone wanting to show the world how very successful he is.
Eldorados were limited-edition cars for Cadillac, and this top-of-the-line Biarritz convertible version would have sold at a lofty asking price of more than $7,000.
Today’s lofty asking price reflects the rarity and apparent excellence of this Caddy, with the seller setting the value at $198,000. So the Eldorado Biarritz continues its role as a trophy of top-drawer success.
In the lengthy description, the seller claims that the Eldorado has been masterfully restored to “show-quality in every regard and properly executed down to the smallest details.” It’s a multiple award winner at prestigious shows and “is among the finest examples available,” according to the seller. It’s also loaded up with luxury features and powered by the high-performance 325-horsepower, 365 cid V8 fitted with two four-barrel carburetors.
“Cadillacs of this era remain as works of art, as their sculpted bodies and intricate styling remain desirable to collectors around the world,” the seller states. “This Cadillac Eldorado will forever have a place in the history books of the automotive world, and this timeless beauty is just as collectible today as it was a half century ago.”
Indeed. Hopefully the new leadership at today’s Cadillac will succeed at reaching that pinnacle with its next generation of luxury cars.
And that move to New York might be a fine idea, but it seems weird when New Yorkers are more likely to be hurrying to the subway or catching a cab than worrying about how the next luxury automobile might look.
In June of 1973, I went to a local car show that was held at the Sloan Museum located in Flint Michigan. I really had a good time seeing all the different cars and trucks that were there and decided that I wanted an old car to fix up and take to the next year’s show.
I was 13 at the time and had saved up some cash from mowing yards, snow-blowing sidewalks — and my parents owned a motel so I would pick up food at the local dinner and deliver it to the guests; I got a $10 tip from the TV star “Down Town” Charlie Brown.
So I started searching Flint for my project. I found a lot of old Buicks and Chevys but they just did not do that much for me.
After looking for about two weeks, I was going over to a friend’s house and, just before I made the turn down his street, there it was the most beautiful site I ever laid eyes on — a 1949 Cadillac 61 Sedanette.
I had no idea what it was from a distance, but when I good and close I saw the Cadillac badge.
The car was behind a Shell and tire store with a FOR SALE sign.
My lucky day! The guy that owned it worked at a pizza place down the road so I rode my bike down there and he said he would sell it for $500. I gave him $20 and said I would have to get my Dad so he could drive it home.
So I got my Caddy, got some Black Magic and did some filling on the front fenders, pulled the chrome and decided that I was over my head so in ’74 I had the car painted.
I missed taking the car the ’74 Sloan Summer Fair (which is still going strong) but in ’75 I won second place.
In 1977, and now with a driver’s license, I bought a Chevrolet Camaro so the old Caddie got put in a barn on our farm and did not see the light of day until the spring of 1992.
Some moisture had got to the motor so I had it rebuilt, and a buddy of mine totally disassembled the body and, after a year and a half painting the car, it looked like new.
The interior is all original. It’s a very nice car. The odo reads 25,000 miles.
I continued taking the car to Sloan and in 2002 and a rep from the Meadowbrook Concours asked if I would be interested in showing the car if the organization voted to accept it. Well, the car got invited and received a best in class blue ribbon and a Lions cut-glass award.
Since then the car gets out once or twice a year.
After 41 years of ownership, I still remember the first time I laid eyes on it.
— Tim Storer, Lennon MI
Eva Peron’s 1951 Cadillac limousine will be among the cars offered at Silverstone Auction’s Salon Prive’ sale, scheduled for September 4 in England.
“It’s rare that a car with connections to some of the most important figures in history is offered on the market and so it’s a privilege to offer it for sale,” said Nick Wale, founder and managing director of the auction company.