Category Archives: Cadillac

Bittersweet Hershey Scene

Malaise Era Buick Reatta and a Brass Era Model T

A visit to the Antique Auto Club of America’s annual fall meet in Hershey PA presented this site’s gate keepers with a dilemma.  Our focus has long been to highlight cars as they are — uncurated, so to speak — in their natural environment.   That means that auctions and car shows are removed from our consideration set.

’60 Olds wears a full body condom

Just the same, we’ve decided it would be OK to offer a look at some of the sights experienced at  Hershey. On the day we were there rain fell in torrents and the setting was one of poignancy that compelled us to share the resulting photo essay.  Both gleaming show cars and beaters under plastic sheeting or left on their own to endure the elements offer, at the very least, a soupçon of feralosity (feralousness?)  There’s a real sadness in this circumstance: works of rolling art and heaps, alike, are vulnerable. Indeed, as are we all.   The sun will eventually shine again and melancholy will ultimately turn to joy.  That’s certainly our hope.  Have a look…

Rainy day sale and it even “runs and drives”

If have to go to the hospital, go Packard style or “ask the man who is prone in one”

Don’t call it “Hank”

If the shoe fits, drive it.

We’ve never seen a dry Kurtis before, let alone a wet one.

Bird sanctuary

So nice, they had to do it twice

Styled by Pininfarina in Turin, built in Kenosha by American Motors

Big ol’ wet kitty from Coventry

Back to the past

Best guess is Mustang or a big hunk of roast beef

Even wet it’s better than the band of the same name

One piece at a time..

Drenched Sport Fury is still freaky and fabulous

“Help! I’m stuck on the hood of an old Cadillac and drowning.”

Moist Cosmopolitan

Like a private railroad car but tracks are not required

Isetta got wetter

You call it rust, we call it patina

Packard didn’t make a pick up but somebody did

Speaking of pick up trucks, there’s not much to talk about here.

Yes, we can all get along

“Needs some work”

Race called on account of rain

“Heckflosse” in chains

Upright elder

Mix ‘n’ match

 

 

Feral finds abound on the streets of America’s Hippest Neighborhood®

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First of the day’s three ’64 Imperials.

We’ve been focusing on the Instagram and Facebook versions of Feral Cars of late but a recent find mandated that we go full blog post to do the subject matter justice.  This kind of abbondanza needs to be chronicled with more than just a photo and some hashtags!

 

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Eliot Ness, your car is waiting.

In search of comidas Mexicanas muy auténticos,  we recently had occasion to visit LA’s Highland Park area, a/k/a “America’s hippest neighborhood.” Apart from the record stores (vinyl only, please), hipster beard trimming emporiums, tattoo parlors and artisanal cocktail dispensaries (and the other kind of dispensaries), we were pleasantly surprised to encounter a cache of feral finds on the street and decidedly in the raw.  One block of Avenue 57, just belowFigueroa, was populated with scores of oldies but goodies, all of which carry current registrations and need to be moved, per regulation, at least once a week.  Our deduction is that all of these are fully capable of running under their own power.  The collection, consisting of American iron as well as a smattering of European and Japanese rolling stock seems to have no unifying theme — just a random aggregation of vehicles that have endured against all odds.  Inspiring!

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As we know all too well: “Cadillac means luxury.”

Our best guess is that this grouping belongs to a single visionary as these disparate (desperate?) vehicles do share something in common: massive patina.  It’s not rust in Southern California but, rather, “distressed” paint.

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“From a Buick 6”.. a ’48 to be specific

On display were a ’64 Cadillac, a ’65 Imperial Crown, a ’48 Buick, two VWs (a Bug and a Karmann-Ghia), a first generation Mazda RX-7, a ’57 Chevy tow truck, frozen in tableau, hoisting a ’47 Cadillac (original California black plates which appropriately read ‘SAD326’), a Smokey & The Bandit era Trans Am, a Fargo-worthy and very woeful Corvette and something very unexpected.  Yes, a ’36 Nash in better shape than any of the other cars seems to occupy a special spot at the top of the street. That machine, built in Kenosha at least 81 years ago, presented much better than quite a few half its age though a ’63 Valiant convertible was surprisingly fresh looking, too.

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Slant sixer

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Tow, tow, tow your boat..

Later that day, en route to El Hurache Azteca on York Blvd. for an infusion of gut-busting goodies, we came upon a fix-it shop (“Bernie’s Transmission”) where we found still more feral treasures though it’s not clear how roadworthy some of these are.  Yet another Imperial of the same vintage as the one we had seen on Avenue 57 was in repose as well as a ’64 Ford Galaxie that had seen better days.  We were taken with a seemingly perfect ’64 Pontiac and a gorgeous green ’56 Ford wagon.

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Impish

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There’s a Ford in your future but it’s probably not this one

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That Pon-ton is a clean machine, same goes for the Ford wagon

Remember those two ’65 Imperials?  We ended the day with another MoPar line topper of the same vintage in our sights.  It was being transported aboard a car carrier down the 101 Freeway and we implored Wendy Abrams, a certified Feral Cars Field Scout, who had been riding shotgun to shoot a snap of it.  What are the chances, right?

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Back in the high life again..

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Fireturd / “if it’s brown, flush it down”

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Veteran Vette

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Two tone rotary; yes that’s a ’55 Chevy (non-Nomad) wagon in the driveway

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Ghia got gashed

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Bug needs love

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As close to a Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta as it gets in Highland Park

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:  info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

Coupe de Ville: Caddy casual

To quote Barry White, "so much to love.."

To quote Barry White, “so much to love..”

The idea of the biggest possible car expressed via a two door coupé seems oxymoronic on the surface.  Why wouldn’t you want a behemoth like that equipped with doors in the back?  Come on, nobody would mistake a land yacht like this to be a sports car.

Yet, when Cadillac added “de Ville” to Coupé” back in 1949 while dropping the accent aigu,  the comparatively sporty two door rose to become one of Cadillac’s best sellers. The air of genteel informality it conveys is truly intoxicating.

Suddenly, it's 1960!

Suddenly, it’s 1960!

Our fixation on these rolling paradoxes was catalyzed by an encounter with a buttercup yellow 1960 Coupe deVille parked near the Rat Pack-y Purple Room in Palm Springs. In essence, it was a minimally toned-down version of the eye popping ’59 Cadillac that was the apex of juke box-inspired style.

Jimmy Hoffa approved

Jimmy Hoffa approved

Soon thereafter we encountered a dusty but, otherwise, quite perfect 1973 Coupe deVille (yes, also in Palm Springs) that has aged well over the past 4+ decades, the car has an aura of dignity that serves it well.  It’s restrained in the manner of a mob don who wears well tailored suits with a certain menacing assuredness, as only a car weighing 5,000 pounds (two and half tons?) powered by a 7.7 liter motor can. Sexy but scary!

This thing has got it all: wire wheels, skinny whitewalls, a “cow catcher” bumper, fender skirts, padded vinyl top.  An eloquent expression of graceful heft if ever there was.

Spacial profiling

Spacial profiling

A while back we cottoned up to this wonderful white ’61 Coupe de Ville.  While it’s true that fin height was down from its 1959 apogee, this was the year that Caddy’s sprouted dorsal fins under the rear fenders.  We’re talking NASA style in no uncertain terms and keep in mind that  The Jetsons didn’t premiere until a year after this was introduced.

Fintacular

Fintacular

Isn’t that roof line as Mid Century Modern as you could ever hope?  To borrow from the great Charles Phoenix, “I knoooow…”

Coupe de la Nouvelle Frontière

Coupe de la Nouvelle Frontière

Lastly we offer a work-in-progress, a ’64 Coupe de Ville that seems to be on the receiving end of some TLC.   We’d love to see how this one turns out after the right front fender is reprimered — not to mention the left front and left and right rear fenders, too.

Full frontal, Cadillac style

Full frontal, Cadillac style

Cadillac has recently signaled interest in revisiting the two door luxury market.  There was a CTS coupe that looked like no other car: an oragami-inspired folded planes exercise that is, perhaps, too futuristic for some.  That car wasn’t really much of a sales success so was discontinued but Cadillac does offer a two door version of its smallish ATS series that is not as radically styled as its immediate predecessor.  We find this a bit reminiscent of the ’59 – ’60 return from the brink of outrageousness

Points well taken

Points well taken

These cars and their reputation for excellence starts at the source: the Cadillac assembly line about which Albert King sings and plays so wonderfully in this performance filmed in Sweden in 1980.

We’re not prone to long distance psychoanalysis but we’ve concluded that you’d have to be completely out of your mind if you ignore this breathtaking low mileage (under 10,000) ’73 Coupe de Ville  offered for a negligible $18,350 in nearby Millbank SD.  What, we’re moved to ask, are you waiting for??  A new season of Fargo, perhaps?

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If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

Magic location for motion pictured cars

Movin' Malibu

Chevelle: so swell

Our aim is always to capture and dissect, in a manner of speaking, vehicles seen in the wild but we never shoot or accept photos taken at car shows, auctions or used/classic car lots.  As a result, we do tend to ferret out featured feral finds when they’re parked. It’s one thing to nail ’em when they’re at a standstill as opposed to documenting them in motion.

There she goes

Movin’ Malibu

We’ve found that two corners right near Feral Car’s international HQ in Los Angeles have yielded a disproportionate number of very interesting, very notable cars in full flight.  We’re talking about the intersection of Rosewood Avenue and Rossmore Boulevard and, just three blocks to the east, the intersection of Rosewood and Larchmont Boulevard.

Do we have to spell it out? Cadillac means l-u-x-u-r-y.

Do we have to spell it out? Cadillac means l-u-x-u-r-y.

These are the crossroads where we’ve seen lots of vintage VWs, Valiants and the like as well as some more esoteric conveyances.  We’ve gone back into our image bank and sorted out a few shots of cars in motion captured at these locations that really underscore just what a phenomenal breeding ground this area happens to be.

Fender skirts standard, of course

Fender skirts standard, of course

We were most impressed with the bone stock ’71 Chevelle Malibu encountered at Rossmore and Rosewood just the other day.  You just don’t see these as untampered with as this one.  Our guess is that this unrestored California car wears its original 45-year old factory Antique White paint job.  Kudos to the owner who resisted pressure to change out the original wheel covers.

Actin' chill: big ol' Coupe DeVille

When it absolutely, positively has to get there in style.

Over at Larchmont and Rosewood we found a similarly unmessed-with Cadillac DeVillle, also a ’71.  We find the juxtaposition of the sky blue padded top over the Brittany blue body calming and reassuring on this,  a pristine enthralling example of traditional American luxury in motion.

Junk or punk in the trunk?

Junk or punk in the trunk?

At the same intersection we came upon a ’76 Cadillac Coupe DeVille that seemed raked, the front end higher than the back, perhaps due to a heavy load in the trunk.  We’ll refrain from theorizing on just what might have been weighing this magnificent Caddy down except to suggest that Good Fellas is available on Netflix.

Pretty Poncho

Pretty Poncho

Now it’s back to Rossmore and Rosewood for a gander at a super clean ’66 Pontiac LeMans.  It has the same bearing as the higher performance GTO but this one is equipped with a 326 cubic inch V8 rather than the 389 found under the hood of “The Goat.”  Yes, those wheels  and everything else appear to be totally stock and that’s the way we like it. You really can’t improve on perfection, so why try?

Near perfect "Pon-ton"

Near perfect “Pon-ton”

At the other end of the spectrum is this ’79 Buick Skyhawk that is completely intact but appears to be suffering from an advance case of benign neglect.  That brushed chrome band running up the b-pillars and over the roof may be perceived as a “lipstick on a pig” concept but we find it charming in a gauche sort of way.  The spoiler is a nice, touch, too.

Not entirely sure we'd rather have it but will certainly consider

Not entirely sure we’d rather have it but will certainly consider

Banded baby Buick

Banded baby Buick

These fecund intersections yield more than just GM-built transients.  Take, for example this stunning ’61 Rambler Classic.  While it’s true that Rambler ran third to Chevy’s #1 and Ford’s #2 on the sales charts back then, there are very few survivors built during the time of the (George) Romney administration of American Motors.   It’s paradoxical that upright Rambler sedans like this often doubled as eastern European cars in limited budget spy shows like Mission Impossible, Get Smart and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  while Romney and AMC were on the front lines defending American capitalism from godless (and unprofitable) socialism.

Ramblin' man

Ramblin’ man

Remnant from the first (and last) Romney administration

Remnant from the first (and last) Romney administration

Lastly, we offer our pièce de résistance. We, too, thought we might be hallucinating but we shot this fantastic Citroën SM around 9 AM and hadn’t had any mushrooms for dinner the night before. 

L'avenir est arrivé dans le passé

L’avenir est arrivé dans le passé

The car was the product of Citroën’s acquisition of perpetually floundering Maserati in the early ’70s.  The hydropneumatic suspension was all French, derived from the system that kept the groundbreaking Citroën DS (literally) afloat since 1955. Power was provided by a Maserati V6 that was mounted backwards (!)  aft of the front axle; the transmission out in front of the motor.  The design is breathtaking, the interior exquisite and but the Franco-Italo alliance advanced Citroën’s march into insolvency and ultimate acquisition by rival Peugeot.

Allons enfants avec grâce à puissance italienne

Allons enfants avec grâce à puissance italienne

If you find yourself in Southern California you really should make it a point to amble down Rosewood Avenue between Larchmont and Rossmore Boulevards.  We’d love to know if you encounter any of these inspiring full motion relics.

We found this well-priced (under $80K) ’72 CitroënSM for sale in nearby St. Louis and urge you to consider its purchase.  We predict you’ll double your money if you sell it ten years hence, if you don’t factor in the cost of maintenance — some contend that “SM” stands for exactly what you’re thinking it does. Ouch!

Less, exotic, perhaps is this TV commercial for the ’71 Chevelle.  Dinah Shore-approved!

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

 

The Standard of the World (sometimes)

Caddy affords older fellas a chance to do some Harry Stylin'

Swell Caddy affords post-teen dudes a chance to do some Harry Stylin’

Apart from a car show or museum display it’s not often that one encounters a pristine 1960 Cadillac Series 62 convertible, as we did the other day.   Loaded with four madcap guys (one of whom was actually wearing a mad cap), it was about to depart when we nailed down these shots.  To their credit, the driver and passengers offered to get out of their topless land whale for our impromptu photo session but we thought the cause was better served with all four fun and sun seekers aboard.  In this instance size not only matters but is most noteworthy:  the car weighs over 5,000 lbs and measures 225 inches from bumper to bumper. Yes, it’s two and a half tons of fun and almost nineteen feet of over-the-top mid century American excess and we love it.

Partying like it 1960

Partying like it 1960

The  fins on ’60 Cadillac were less pronounced and sleeker than those on its legendary ’59 rolling jukebox predecessor.  The Eisenhower years were drawing to a close and fins were out of place during the time of the New Frontier and a new sense of sleekness became the order of the day. We covered another ’60 Cadillac, a six-window sedan, in an earlier post.  Sure, it could use a little “work” — can’t we all? —  but it still has gobs of presence!

Six windows and counting

Six windows and counting

Peter Andrews, Feral Cars Field Scout extraordinaire, found this ’76 Eldorado convertible that dates from the model year Cadillac claimed it was building “the last convertible.”  It made up for its lack of fins with an elongated hood that was more akin to the prow of a Navy destroyer.  We’re still not sure we can get our heads around a Caddy convertible without fender skirts but, as Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac,  the French explorer who founded Detroit in 1701, might have said, “chacun à son goût.”

Big, bigger, biggest

“Last” but not least

American front

American front

We go from the sublime and larger-than-life to the commonplace and hum drum.  It’s a (sort of) Cadillac.. a Catera, one of Cadillac’s numerous attempts at marketing a small car with a Cadillac crest (actually Antoine de la Mothe’s coat-of-arm) affixed.  It was actually a re-badged Opel Omega made not in Detroit but rather in Rüsselsheim. These were sold for a few years, starting in the mid ’90s,  to compete with Mercedes Benz and BMW.  Hey, they were made in Germany but that’s where the comparison, sadly, ends.

It doesn't look or smell like a Cadillac so it it really?

If it doesn’t look or smell like a Cadillac so is it really a Cadillac?

This does give us an excuse to link to the TV commercial in which supermodel Cindy Crawford, decked out like a dominatrix,  launched “the Caddy that zigs” campaign though no actual explanation was ever provided about what that was supposed to mean.  The spot debuted on the Super Bowl and was shortly withdrawn thereafter “because of concerns that the ad might offend women.”  Was it that wolf whistle on the soundtrack?  The boots?  The black leather mini dress?

Says here it's a Cadillac but it is?

Says here it is…

We found this pink Mary Kay Cadillac of fairly recent vintage that should, by all rights, offend men and anybody else with a semblance of taste. It’s a patriotic-themed horror show and we only wish that Mary Kay (the company — not the actual Mary Kay who died, bouffant ‘do still in place, in 2001) would switch to some foreign brand.  We’re thinking  a pink Hyundai Equus — their spelling, not ours — should be used as the incentive to give distributors who sell over a $100,000 worth of their face paint per year.  We have our national dignity to maintain!

Think pink (and red, white and blue)

Think pink (and red, white and blue)

Seriously, we think highly of Cadillac, the slogan for which was “The Standard of the World.” This downsized ’83 Eldorado Biarritz doesn’t really seem to true to that credo, thanks to dulled paint and a vinyl roof that is “bleeding” rust.

Eldo with "issues"

Substandard of the World

Eldo-rot-o

Eldo-rot-o

We don’t like to “pile on” but couldn’t resist providing this portrait of abject decay: an ’84 Eldorado convertible with some needs.  See?  They lied when they said the ’76 was going to be the last Caddy ragtop but, based on this tawdry example, maybe they should have really called it quits in that bicentennial year.

Trash-o Eldo

Trash-o Eldo

Illin' grill

Emergency automotive orthodontics, STAT!

Let’s bring our Cadillac celebration to a conclusion on an upbeat note.  It’s an Allanté, a two seater roadster that Cadillac introduced in 1986 to compete with the Mercedes Benz SL.

Italo-American

Italo-American

The design was by  Carozzeria Pininfarina and they actually manufactured the bodies  in Turin and shipped them back to Detroit, 56 at a time, on specially fitted Alitalia and Lufthansa Boeing 747s. Back in the USA these fetching Italian bodies were mated with chassis and power trains.  The Allanté Air Bridge lasted a few years after which production, sexy Italian-designed body and domestic mechanical soul, went totally domestic.

No dropa the car!

Ciao bella!

This one is a ’93, the last year of production and the only one in which the car was equipped with Cadillac’s vaunted North Star System, a marketing handle for a 4.6 liter dual overhead cam V8, rated at 295 hp.  In typical GM fashion, they got it “right” just as they decided to walk away from the ideal. A total of 21,430 units were built over the course of eight model years.

Information overload

Badges of honor or information overload?

Check out this utopian Allanté Air Bridge video.  See?  We can all get along!

Lastly, if ever a car could be thought of as aspirational it’s a Cadillac convertible such as the spiffy ’60 model that started this post.  You can avail yourself of that same Cadillac lifestyle for a measly $49,900 — that’s less than $50,000! — by buying this nice white one on offer in nearby Frankfort, IL.  It’s your duty to uphold The Standard of the World.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.