Good Lord, I Loved That Car!

Good Lord, I Loved That Car!
My 1972 Cadillac Coupe De Ville

I know, I know.  Everybody wants a classic car, but not those old 70s-era Cadillacs.  They are boats, land yachts, aircraft carriers on the highway, etc.  Well, I loved mine.  I always thought I wanted a big old Cadillac, a huge monster with a ton of power, a monster-sized big-block motor, it sucked-down gasoline like it was cheap, etc.  I actually wanted a 1976 Fleetwood Brougham, which was the largest production car of the era, if you don't count the factory "series 75" limousines.  I saw this old '72 sitting on a riser in a used car lot, shiny and big.  It didn't have the fender extentions like the 76's and had a smaller version of the 8.2 liters, 500 cubic-inch motor.  (Mine was 472 cubic inches at 7.7 liters).  It was red with a white top and interior, and I thought it was beautiful.

I asked about it and got the owner of the lot to sell it to me for $2000.  I took her home.  It took several weeks of fixing this or that because the previous owner had let it go a bit.  However, that is usually the fun of having a classic car.  (and the worst part, the expense)  I know I put at least $7000 into the car, (no I did not name it).  My wife hated the car, it was big and clunky, and not her cup of tea.  I found that I could not chisel the smile off my face while I was driving it. It WAS my cup of tea.

I loved taking it wherever I could, it was a toy, a show-off piece of you will, but it started a lot of fun conversations and I enjoyed it a lot.  I used to take my kids to the Scottsdale car show on Friday nights, and they loved to ride in "Dad's Old Caddy".  My wife didn't approve of me taking the kids in the beast, because it didn't have the modern safety equipment, crumple zones, airbags, and the like.  I argued that it had 9 feet of metal in front of me and 10 feet of metal behind me, not to mention steel girders in each door!  (I was proven wrong by recent studies).  I always felt like a King driving a "Real" Cadillac, not one of the newer, sportier models that I always thought was a travesty for the brand.  A Cadillac should be a big, heavy, LUXURIOUS cruiser, built for 100 mph on the highway, and it should feel like you are sitting on your couch in your living room, all air-conditioned, and soft.  

Well, after owning it for a few years the economy took a bad downturn, (2005-2008), and we didn't have the money for a paint job, which it needed badly, a new vinyl roof, (also needed badly), and other items.  So, I put it up for auction at a classic car auction and sold it.  I hated to do it, but I didn't have the money for repairs, and even then at $4.00 per gallon of premium fuel, (plus additive), it was getting really expensive just to fill up.  The Caddy had a 32-gallon gas tank! It also used it!  I really only got about 8 mpg, if I was really staying off the gas, I could get around 11 mpg, on the highway.  

So, the auction I sold it with paid me $400 total, I was owed $1500 (yeah, I took a beating) however I figured I got my enjoyment out of it.  The auction went out of business, (the owner had 5 or 6 auctions nationwide and was paying the sellers with the next auction he would have, and keeping the rest.  He was a crook, of the first manor, akin to a horse thief.  He ended up going to jail for a long time.  I put in for restitution and got a total of about $4.76.  I got screwed royally.

One thing I found out, was that in the '60s and '70s, G.M. made cars with horrible quality, mine had shims in the grill to keep it straight, ignition points that had to be burnished regularly, and a rotor, instead of electronic ignition, huge carburetor instead of fuel injection, I had to rebuild the carb, but I just bought a new one.  ($600) on eBay. The list goes on, but really looking back, it WAS a 40 some odd -year-old car then. So what did I expect?

I miss that Cadillac every day, and I wish I had another or could find it and nurse it back to health again, it was a great experience.  It got me into understanding more about the industry, and the values of those classics.