Monday, April 24, 2017
Posted by: Peter Gariepy
After all the questions and requests, I promise this is the only article about the various Cadillacs that I have owned or were part of my life. I promise.
I may have said in an earlier article that my father was a funeral director in Munhall, Pa., located about 10 miles up the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh. That’s where it all began: those Cadillacs and that one LaSalle.
The business’ professional cars were a 1954 Fleetwood, in black; a 1958 Sedan de Ville, also black; and a 1961 Fleetwood in a gunmetal gray, with a Dove Gray interior. I had taken my driver’s test in that 1961 Fleetwood, and I had also driven my date, Judy Price, to my high school prom in that car; very impressive.
The LaSalle, the “Black Mariah,” was a 1939 Superior limousine-style coach, a professional car that has glass windows front to back, no blank-painted metal panels with landau bars at the rear.
My job was to keep the fleet clean for services all year long. It was tricky trying to wash those vehicles when the outside temperature was below freezing. The secret: I used hot water and worked fast, very fast. Now I live in Tempe, Ariz., 10 miles outside of Phoenix, where freezing-temperature days are extremely rare!
The first Cadillac I bought was a 1953 Series 62 Coupe, white, with a red interior, which I affectionately called the “Mayflower.” Historically speaking, it makes sense on various levels, and it looked like a puffy marshmallow. I also purchased a 1953 Series 62 Convertible; it was painted white, but the factory color was yellow, which, during restoration, was repainted the correct yellow color. This convertible had a black leather interior, black Haartz top and wire wheels. I didn’t install the continental kit, but should have. Still, what else could you need?
As an aside, not a Cadillac, but in 1965, I drove a 1965 Corvair Corsa convertible, yellow with a black interior and black top, after my high school days in Munhall. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ colors are black and yellow!
Oh, what excess, a 1958 Eldorado Seville, white body, black vinyl top, black-and-white leather interior, a tri-power car, with sabre wheels and chrome everywhere. That was a load, for sure.
Then, in Green Valley, Ariz., I found a 1961 Fleetwood, aka “Beluga.” White in color, the interior was Dusty Rose, needed a full restoration. This car originally belonged to Isbell Fitz from Lebanon, Tenn. The car had been entered in the 1992 Grand National in Phoenix, winner as Senior car No. 133. Cover photo, January 1992 issue of the self-starter. I gave this skeg-finned car to my mom as a Mother’s Day present. Along came the second 1961 Cadillac, a Coupe de Ville; color, yep, white also with a Dusty Rose interior, matched the Fleetwood, also needed work. Well, don’t they all? The Cadillac I just missed was a 1961 Eldorado in white, with a red leather interior. It would have been the perfect hat trick, trifecta.
Another yellow car was a 1973 Eldorado, white Cabriolet padded top, 500 CID, like driving your living room sofa, handled like a piece of plywood. Just helping a guy in need, sold!
The next white car was a 1985 Seville, bustleback, blue cloth top and blue leather interior. Ah, a change, but wait. The third Seville was a 1999 STS, dark navy, navy interior. I’m told it was a brass hat car. It does more than I’ll ever know, or probably will ever need. Amazing, just amazing.
What’s with all these white and yellow cars? It was a conspiracy.
Today, I’m sitting here looking at my most recent purchase, a 1993 Allanté in Pearl Flax (yellow), one of 88 produced. Could this be the final Cadillac for me?
I have a 1993 Allanté in Pearl Flax for sale, best offer.
Please help stop the madness.
See you in America.