News & Press: General News

The most beautiful car ever built

Tuesday, February 27, 2018  

Well, up next is an article by Jack Hotz, our official LaSalle Appreciation Society (LAS) guy. I don’t know how Nancy, his wife, puts up with him.

—Dave Ritchie 

The most beautiful car ever built

I have never been a “gearhead.” If so, I would still be driving my 1938 Plymouth coupe, which I loved and enjoyed for too short a time—especially with the running boards.

But we have all had those first or second cars that we were too young, broke and inexperienced to know how to care for. It takes cash to keep a car on the road, even back in the day. As we get older, different opportunities present themselves that propel us in new directions. Although I made a $15 profit on the sale of my Plymouth, it would be three or four years before I could afford a car of my own.

Coming from a standard, middle-class family displaced from Pittsburgh in search of post-war employment, our whole support group was left behind. New Jersey was full of strangers and strange ways, not like the close-knit area our family inhabited for 75 years. After a few years, we worked it out, and I was able to attend college. The family started a business, and we made a couple of bucks.

Looking back, I now think it was more than a couple. Since I had to use the family car, it was always a negotiation on when it was available. Sometimes, I just grabbed the keys and off I went across town to see Nancy. My father decided that was enough and figured I needed a car, a nice car, one he could steal to impress the guys who worked for him. So, big mistake on his part, he asked what new cars cost, and I said about $4,000. He said, “Go look!”

Well, I looked at 1962 Chevys, a 1962 Olds Starfire convertible ($4,050), but what I really wanted was the best-looking car ever made. A car I had rarely seen in our neighborhood, but out in the suburbs, they came in a variety of colors. It was long…it was sleek…it was curvy. Oh, my! It was the best of the best!

Now, I had to convince Dad to spring for a used car, which he did. I went to the dealer and told him what color combination I absolutely had to have. It took two weeks to find the correct car with the correct options, but there it was; traded in a week prior for a new car, my baby, my idea of the perfect car.

On June 2, 1962, I went to the local Cadillac dealer with a bag of cash and high hopes of picking up my car. There it sat in all its splendor—an Olympic White 1960 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible with white top and black leather interior. The options were air conditioning (unheard of in a convertible), Autronic Eye, cruise control, WonderBar radio, six-way adjustable seat, and power everything except trunk and vent windows. Those options were standard on the Eldorado.

I still own the Caddy. Perhaps, you have seen Nancy and me at Grand Nationals over the years or just cruising around, enjoying the most beautiful car ever built.


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