Chicago is a great city in which to spot classic cars in that much of its iconic architecture has been featured in many now-vintage movies and television shows. The opening montage of “The Bob Newhart Show” is especially relevant to me in that it features scenes from my everyday life today, from Bob and Emily Hartley’s fictional condo building being set literally two blocks from mine, to a familiar elevated CTA train platform, to the downtown area – all set forty years in the past. In fact, it was reruns of the “Bob Newhart Show” that I used to watch on “Nick At Nite” that inspired me to change my major in college from Journalism (to “Undecided”) to Psychology. It’s a very photogenic city, with a lot of streets and a lot of history.
That said, it’s not that hard for me to transport myself mentally back to the 70’s in present day when something like this ’73 Eldorado rolls by an architectural touchstone like the Kluczynski Federal Building, while my earbuds are rocking some classic, vintage funk tunes. Instantly, I’m in a 70’s TV sitcom or action series of my own. “Dr. Dennis, you have an urgent phone call on line one.” “Thank you, Charmaine. I’ll take it in my office.” (…On my rotary phone with a row of lit buttons on the bottom.)
Let’s not body-shame this Eldorado, though many of us (self included) do prefer the lean, lithe, elegant 1967 – ’70 models. Buyers, however, apparently liked the ’73 better when new than any of those aforementioned years, purchasing over 42,000 coupes (and an additional 9,000 convertibles), against the previous generation’s best-year figure of 24,500 hardtops for ’68. I’d also like to point out that this ’73 wasn’t cheap off the lot of your local, friendly Cadillac dealer, with prices starting at about $7,400 (just under $40,000 / adjusted). When Monty Hall would reveal the “Big Deal” of the day featuring one of these in an early-70’s episode of “Let’s Make A Deal”, it actually was a big deal – as big a deal as these cars are physically large.
Much like the Eldorado had changed with the times of the early seventies, from its more restrained and straightforward style of the previous generation, so did the music of jazz musician, virtuoso drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich – with his music having morphed from his straight-ahead big-band jazz of the previous decades to compositions that were bigger, more syncopated, and funkier by the time this ’73 Eldorado rolled off the lot. (In case you’re interested, the cover of the record from which the track below was culled, called “The Roar Of ’74”, features Rich behind the wheel of what appears to be a race-prepped ’74 Dodge Challenger.) Allow me to do my funky walk while we get to the bridge.
Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Monday, February 20, 2012.
Related reading from:
- Paul Niedermeyer: Curbside Classic: 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible – The End Of An Exceptional Era; and
- Ed Stembridge: Curbside Capsule: 1970 Cadillac Eldorado Hardtop Coupe – Peak Displacement.