COAL: 1983 Cadillac Coupe deVille – I Won A Caddy!


Up to this point, you’ve enjoyed several long C.O.A.L. posts from me.  This here is going to be my shortest C.O.A.L. entry, because this was the car that I owned for the least amount of time (about 5 weeks).  This car came to me by way of being in the right place, at the right time.  It’s because of this that I can say that “I won a Caddy!”

To catch you up, I had traded my 1993 Mercury Topaz (COAL) for the Party Wagon 1977 Dodge Aspen station wagon (COAL) to head off to college.  It’s now Spring Break of my freshman year at New Mexico State University.  No big trip for me, I was just going to return to Albuquerque for spring break and spend the week relaxing at my parents house.  As I’m getting into Albuquerque, I tuned my radio to my favorite local station.  During commercial breaks, they advertised that on Saturday they would be doing a live remote from a local dealership and would giving away a car.  I honestly didn’t think much of it, until the next day.  It was a family affair at my brother’s high school baseball game.  Mom and I were in the stands, my dad was coaching and my brother was out on the field.  They had a double header with a couple hour break in between.

Mom and I had some time to kill during the break.  I remembered the radio commercial and we headed over to the dealership the radio station was broadcasting from.  It was only a few miles away from the baseball field.  The premise was the winners (there would be two) would be able to purchase a car for $5.  I filled out my entry form and then wandered around the lot.  I wondered which of the cars I would be able to select from, if I were chosen.  I made a mental note of which car I would select, if I had free reign of the lot.  My memory seems to remember a teal Z24 as the car I had chosen.


The car I wanted.  Not the car I got.

Time for the drawing.  The DJ selected a toddler from the audience to pick from the box.  His hands were sticky with candy, and he pulled out a clump of entry forms.  The DJ snatched one from his hands, and read my name over the PA system!  I walked up and was congratulated, as the hulking beast of a car came around from behind the building.  I filled out all the paperwork, handed over a $5 bill, and was now the owner of a 1983 Cadillac Coupe deVille.


[The big steaming pile, 1977 ‘Party Wagon’ in the background.]

This thing was a big….steaming…. pile…… of crap.  The ignition switch was reluctant to turn, and when it came to life the engine rattled and sputtered.  It was the 4100 V8 engine, and it barely got out of it’s own way.  The only way to get it moving was to floor the engine and hope that everything jerked together at just the right moment to provide forward motion.  Eventually, it would.  I managed to get the thing to my parents house and park it.

The car pretty much remained parked at my parents house until the title came in the mail.  I drove it once or twice before I went back to school.  The only thing I really remember about it was the trip computer at the bottom of the dash.  The yellow LCD display contrasted sharply with the old school wood and strip speedo that it had in it.  It would tell you instant MPG.  Most of the time it was single digits, jumping to 99 when you would coast or come to a stop.  Once, I got it to read 0 mpg for about 5 seconds during an uphill acceleration “blast”.  That’s my one fun memory from the car.

As soon as the title came in, I promptly drove it to a “We Pay Cash For Your Car” lot.  The guy offered me $300, and I snatched it up immediately.  I turned $5 into $300, and can say that “I won a Caddy.”