Cohort Capsule: 1972 Cadillac Coupe DeVille – An International Traveler

1972 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

Dean Edwards has uploaded quite a few vintage photos to the CC Cohort, many of them featuring Cadillacs.  This one caught my eye, not just because of the subject car, but due to a geographic mystery.  The picture shows a 1972 Coupe DeVille sitting at a used car lot in Brantford, Ontario at some point in the 1980s.  However, the car itself displays a Pennsylvania temporary license plate.  Huh?

Cars can be exported from the US to Canada, though as one might suspect, it’s a rather lengthy process involving bureaucracy from both countries – an ordeal one would only undertake for a car that’s rather special.  Now possibly these rules were less onerous in the 1980s, but it seems odd to buy a somewhat battered-looking decade-old Coupe DeVille in the US and then immediately resell it at a used car dealer in Canada.  (These paper Pennsylvania tags were valid for only 30 days, so it’s likely the car was bought and resold quickly.)  Of course, maybe the dealer himself found a bargain Cadillac in the Keystone State and never bothered to remove the temporary registration.  Pennsylvania isn’t too far from Brantford – Pittsburgh is about the same distance away as Ottawa.  But even if it were within the same country, that seems like a long distance to go to pick up such a car.  A classic – yes.  A Cadillac that doubtless sold for well under $2,000?  I can’t imagine why.

1972 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

Here’s a view from another angle.  In my opinion, ’72 was the best-looking year for this generation of DeVille, as bumper regulations began eating away at the stylish rear in ’73.  It’s interesting to see this car for sale alongside a newer DeVille as well; I’d love to know what the asking prices were.  This shot brings up another aspect for investigation – the trunklid dealer sticker.

It’s hard to make out just what this says, but “KESS” was my first guess.  Turns out there was a Kess Auto Sales in Abbotstown, Pennsylvania around the time this picture was taken.  Not that this solves the mystery of how and why this car became an international traveler, but it sure is interesting.

For geographically-minded readers, the used car lot where this Cadillac was photographed can be viewed on a current Google Street View here… and it’s still a used car lot.  The name now is Auto Workz, though it’s doubtful that was the name forty years ago.

We’ll probably never know just what brought this Pennsylvania Cadillac to Canada. But it’s fun to indulge in a good mystery… and of course to enjoy these great vintage shots.