To find one of these on the Streets of St. Petersburg Florida is not exactly surprising; there were a lot of older folks driving Cadillacs in the 1970’s. And the ’80s. And the ’90s. And the ’00s. And there’s still some of them piloting Cadillacs around. But finding a ’77 in this condition on the street, and a d’Elegance no less, is a bit more so. And its precious Medici Cloth interior is in just as good of condition as the outside.
I have seen this car around my neighborhood from time to time but never had a chance to get a good photo until recently. It is a very nice example of a 1977 Cadillac Coupe DeVille with the d’Elegance Package. Meaning a very well-padded interior
Here they are, seats upholstered in genuine Medici cloth. Hand made for the Medicis in Florence, Italy in the 15th century, it was preserved in sealed catacombs until Cadillac heard about it in the early ’70s and bought it all (a full shipload) to use in their cars. That is, until it ran out. And it did, eventually. Good luck getting Medici cloth in a new Cadillac. I hear some folks are buying (or stealing) these cars just for the cloth alone, and having their new Cadillac upholstered with it.
It’s easy to see why. Much nicer than that semi-fake leather everyone is forced to use, now that Medici cloth is no longer available.
Subtropical Florida is not kind to vintage Automobiles. The mostly warm sunny weather finds most cars left outside in the driveway or parked on the street. Contrary to popular belief, Florida is not all beaches and palm trees. Most of Florida away from the coasts has a lot of trees, oak trees (Scrub Oak, Silver Oak and Live Oak), Melaleuca trees (A close cousin of the Eucalyptus tree), pine Trees, mulberry trees, Banyan Trees and whatever trees a non native transplant to Florida wanted to plant in his yard to remind them of home.
The thing about trees is that they shed a lot of leaves. Florida oaks have smaller single leaves as compared to the three-prong leaf of the northern oak trees. These little leaves fall all over the car and then get into the doors the vents and all the seams of the car and then combine with all the dirt, dust and pollen (there is a lot of pollen in Florida) and clog the drains. And the leaves take a long time to rot. They seem to petrif.
Then the rain comes and sits in all the places that it should not and the cars begin to rust. You know when you hear it said that a car is a California car, that generally means the car is rust free and still has good original paint and interior. A Florida car is the opposite: rusty, paint faded and rotten interior.
Why? Because it is so hot here in the summer time people leave the car windows open so the inside is not like a 800 degree pizza oven when they get in it to go some where. But they forget to close them when the rain comes. We get a lot of rain in Florida. We get more rain in a day than California gets in most years. Not a small drizzle or mist but a deluge dumping 1/2 or 1 inch of rain into the interior. These showers last minutes but the damage is done.
Then the widows get closed and the car sits in the sun steam-roasting the interior. The other thing that happens during the deluges is that so much rain comes down so fast it does not have time drain away. Streets flood and people drive through getting water up to the side of the door. Not enough to stall out but enough to get water in to parts of the car that isn’t waterproof. But I digress. I just want to explain why it is rare to see an 40 year old car with the original paint, chrome and interior in such good shape on the streets of Florida.