My first thought when I spotted this gorgeous, red Cadillac being piloted by this lady was to wonder under what circumstances this scene was made possible. Several scenarios came to mind. This was in the middle of summer, on the Friday right before the July 4th holiday weekend. Dropping this car’s top in the city would make complete sense to me, even with the background din of traffic, car horns, panhandlers, construction, and passing L trains. It originally listed for just over $1,000 (a whopping $7,300 / adjusted) less than the ’66 Fleetwood Eldorado soft top’s $6,600 starting MSRP.
Perhaps the driver was the wife of an executive who had proclaimed that morning at the breakfast table, “Dear, instead of me taking the Metra commuter rail into the city today, how about driving me in to work? We can take the Cadillac!” “I think that’s a wonderful idea. I’ll get my scarf.” How delightful! After dropping her husband off at the Franklin Street entrance of the Sears Tower, she headed into the Gold Coast district to valet park and shop. The Cadillac’s 340-hp 429-V8 was plenty thirsty, but it still moved smartly and decisively among the buses and taxis around the Loop’s many one-way streets. Driving one of just over 18,200 ’67 DeVille convertibles gave her a feeling of exclusivity that few of their possessions had ever come close to matching.
Or, perhaps she’s an independently wealthy socialite simply out for a leisurely drive while on the way to meet some of her girlfriends for high tea at the Drake Hotel on Michigan Avenue. I’ve been to Drake high tea once, with my mother, on one of her visits to the Windy City. It is super-fancy and a long way from my urban upbringing, complete with a harpist and tiny sandwiches. It’s not for everybody, but I kept an open mind and liked what I got out of it. This photo was taken midday, and parking in the Loop is expensive, so I’d have reason to believe that the driver probably wasn’t a working stiff like Yours Truly, but I say that not like that’s a bad thing.
It was I who made my unspecial 3.2, “B” grade-point-average in college…not this driver. That’s right. I owe my lack of a classic Cadillac to the mediocre-but-passable marks that I earned, and I therefore accept responsibility. It’s my fault. And it’s possible (likely, even) that both of my scenarios above are one-hundred eighty degrees from the actual circumstances that day. It’s been said of me that I have quite an imagination. Of the featured photograph (the same shot, cropped two different ways), though, one does have to admit – this Cadillac and its driver seemed a very stylish pair.
Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Friday, July 2, 2010.