Curbside Classic: 1988 Cadillac Sedan DeVille – The Snowbird Has Landed

(first posted 6/28/2018)    On my bike ride home the other day,  I took a loop through my neighborhood to enjoy the perfect weather, where I spotted this gem.

As a kid, and even as a teen, I had a thing for big luxury cars.  I attribute it to the, shall we say, compelled austerity of growing up in the working classes of the hinterlands of Michigan, teetering on the brink of poverty for much of my childhood.  And these Caddies, while not my favorite (the ’80s Town Cars held that honor), certainly held favor in my court.

This 1988 example still sports its dealer plate from St. Augustine, Florida.  Snowbirds!  Of course!  These are getting pretty thin in the salt-encrusted pothole-ridden hellscape we affectionately consider a road network here in Southeast Michigan.

But wait!  This one was also sporting a recent University of Florida parking pass.  So, it must have been a university student who picked it up down there and brought it here.  Or something.  At any rate, the lack of rust is well and truly accounted for.

Aside from this little something in the door, the thing’s pretty damned clean.

Especially inside!

That interior’s not quite “right,” but it sure takes me back!  My first “real” job through high school was working in the warehouse of an area beer and wine distributor preparing orders, loading trucks, and other miscellany.

One of the perks was getting to drive the bosses’ cars, and two of the three had 1993 Cadillac Sedan DeVilles.  Both were a dark metallic grey, with burgundy leather interiors.  The only differences were the pinstripe (Muriel’s was burgundy, Eddie’s was darker grey) and the fact that Muriel’s car was as clean as a properly upper-class older English woman could conceive of (she was how I learned that “bloody” was once a severe curse word in British English, and if we heard it come from her lips we all knew to run like there was no tomorrow!), while Eddie’s was as dirty as a working-class brute with a quick temper and a heart of gold could tolerate (the F-bomb was a frequently employed part of his vocabulary).

For a freshly minted driver running a 1986 LeBaron GTS, these Caddies felt damned good and powerful.  I’d pin the gas down and swear I could hear the leather creak as I was pushed back.  Of course, by ’93 the DeVilles had the 4.9, which was a fair bit more potent than the 4.5s were.  Compared to my old LeBaron, with its squeaky interior and splitting corduroy seats, these were downright posh.  The digital climate controller, the little digital display for the fuel to the left of the column, the cushy leather seats (my bosses both had the pillowtop leather)-fantastic stuff!

This would have been absolutely appalling to Muriel, to have her car in this state, but it’s pretty hard to argue with how good of shape that interior’s in!  I’m betting someone like Muriel had it for a long time.   Seriously, I would have been tasked with detailing hers if it ever got this dirty-I learned a lot about how to take care of a car doing that!

That also meant I got to pay good attention to what was inside.  Probably the biggest disappointment in these, to 16-year-old Xequar, was the standard GM Delco radio; the same radio that was in our basic Chevrolet panel delivery vans, except with a fancy serif font instead of the plain sans serif on the regular ones.  The ’87 Town Car I rode in regularly by that point with one of my best friends and his family had a JBL-branded stereo with some extra controls on it, so I was shocked the Cadillac had the same radio as every other GM, including stripper panel vans.

Oh well, I can still say I felt… Good… driving these back then.  And I bet this person, probably a young person, maybe originally from the working classes (my neighborhood is great, and a bit weird, in that it’s an upper-middle-class neighborhood, but many of us that live here clawed our way up from the working classes to be here), feels Good driving this fantastic Sedan DeVille.

And I hope them many happy and Good miles in this beaut!

Pictures taken June 25, 2018 in the suburbs of Detroit