It was just over a year ago, in August of 2012. My brother and I were heading north on I-5 back toward Seattle when we encountered some heavy traffic.
It always seems to happen when we’re coming back from a long road trip. We’re tired, we want to get to our respective homes, and we’re trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And no matter which one of us is driving, he always picks the wrong lane.
We’d run out of things to say to each other, and I was staring out the window, wishing for a Moller Skycar or some similar Popular Mechanics dream vehicle, when I saw something that at first seemed like a mirage to this weary car-spotter: A pink 1958 Cadillac, complete with a Continental Kit! I grabbed my camera and recorded the moment.
After a while, our lane started moving again, and I was able to take a closer look and snap another photo. Since it didn’t occur to me that I could roll down the window to get a better shot, we also see the reflection of my shoe. While taking this photo, I noticed the Canadian license plate on the trailer.
Canada is of course a quaint and rustic place where (as all Americans know) the most popular car is the bare-bones plain-Jane Chevrolet Biscayne, which is still manufactured in Canada, and available only with a straight six and three-on-the-tree. The thrifty and laconic Canadians are proud indeed of their Biscaynes, which they fondly refer to as “Kanukistani Kadillacs.” The Canadian Biscayne, which is more or less a US-spec 1963 Chevrolet updated with seat belts and plaid flannel upholstery, comes in a variety of colors: Beige, Off-White, Light Tan and Old Dirty CRT Computer Monitor.
So it was peculiar indeed to see a real USA-type Caddy on a trailer with a British Columbian plate!
A close-up cropped from that same photograph shows why I wondered momentarily if this “Cadilla” was just some sort of cheap imitation knock-off. But then I saw the holes where the final “C” used to reside, and I knew it was a real Cadillac.
Traffic in our lane slowed down again, and the Caddy started to pull away. It sure was pretty! I wasn’t sure if it was a Coupe Deville or a Series 62 or some other model, and I wanted to take a longer look at it.
It just wasn’t meant to be, and the Canadian caddied the Caddy away toward the Frozen North. While taking this one last shot of that beautiful pink car, I noticed something that just didn’t make any sense.
Another close-up, this one cropped from the last photograph, illustrates my concern: It’s an old Washington State license plate. It was all starting to come together for me. This car wasn’t just coming back home from a car show; it was being kidnapped! They’re taking our Cadillacs. And it has to stop. It must stop! If they like Cadillacs so much, they can make their own, perhaps at the Oshawa, Ontario snowplow and tractor plant where Lada Rivas are also built under license.
As a life-long resident of Washington State, I know that a plate that begins with an “R” means that the car was originally from Benton County, in south central Washington. Once upon a time, this fine automobile cruised around the Tri-Cities of Pasco, Richland and Kennewick. Now, over a year after its abduction, it undoubtedly sits rusting in a ramshackle garage 11 and 1/2 months out of the year (on account of the ever-present snow) while its new owner watches reruns of The Red Green Show on a black-and-white TV and listens to Rush.
A sad fate indeed.