Five years ago, I encountered this 1972 Coupe DeVille on one a walk near downtown Eugene. It inspired a story, which became the first Curbside Classic, in March of 2009 at TTAC. Little did I know that it would spawn a very successful series and a dedicated web site two years later. So I decided to revisit the old Caddy, to see how much it’s changed. The answer: A whole lot less than I have.
I’ve learned more in the past five years about older cars than I could ever have imagined. Good thing too, since I started out on the wrong foot, identifying this Caddy as a 1971, when it’s actually a ’72; an inauspicious beginning!
This ’72 DeVille sits in front of 385 Lawrence St., along with its faithful companions, a 1976 (or so) Toyota Corolla, which inspired its own CC one year later, and an old bread truck. All three have been there for years; maybe decades for all I know. The only thing that’s changed is the car in front; now it’s a Fiat 500.
Back in 2009, it was a matching silver Honda Element. Presumably the Element and Fiat are the daily drivers; the Cadillac certainly isn’t. So how exactly did it come to be that this particular tired old Caddy inspired Curbside Classics? Here’s a little bit of the back story, as I certainly didn’t exactly set out to become an automotive historian. For that matter, I’m not sure I really consider myself one yet.
It all started on a dark and stormy night in December of 2006. In a desperate effort to stem the decline in brain cells, I wrote and sent my first submission to TTAC, about the future of Chrysler’s minivans, no less. It was published, and I was encouraged to write more. My second post, “Peek Oil” (not my choice of title), taking on the volatile subject of questioning oil change intervals, went viral, compiling over 100k hits as well as a radio interview on KABC. Suddenly I was a “blogger/automotive expert”; the web is a scary place. And I discovered bobistheoilguy.com, and learned (and forgot) more about motor oil than I ever knew was possible. It’s one of those bottomless (oil)pits.
I made then-TTAC Executive Editor Robert Farago very happy with that piece, and quickly re-learned what I already knew from my tv days: controversy sells. I’ve indulged in a wee bit of that over the years (GM Deadly Sins?), but I wasn’t really interested in generating that for its own sake.
In fact, for my third submission, I took a very different tack: a gauzy memoir of my early childhood obsession (and encounters) with cars in Innsbruck, Austria, in the fifties. It was not intended to be a series, but I was encouraged to keep writing more chapters of the Auto-Biography, which became a Saturday morning staple at TTAC, like the COAL series now here at CC.
Next up, I was encouraged to try my hand at a new car review. Once can’t exactly get press cars in Eugene, although TTAC wasn’t getting press cars anywhere back then, especially Subarus, due to Faragos’ infamous “flying vagina” comment in his review of the 2005 Tribeca. That got him fired from writing reviews for newspapers, and forced him to focus his energies on TTAC, which was a rather different place back then. More like a salon; less like a bar.
So I went to my friendly Subaru dealer and was very honest: I wanted to take a 2007 Forester XT for an extended drive so that I could write a review. And they obliged, quite readily. I didn’t realize just how fast these were: 0-60 in 5.3 seconds; 1/4 mile in 13.8 seconds; the fastest car I’d ever driven to date. They were faster than the WRX because of lower final gearing. Writing the review was a bit of a challenge, especially in 800 words (as all posts at TTAC back then had to be): it’s really more like impressions than a proper review (Forester XT review ere).
I only did a couple more reviews, as begging cars from dealers wasn’t all that much fun. But my Scion gen2 review also went viral, as it was just about the first review of it to hit the internet, and called it out for what it was.
TTAC’s founder Robert Farago is quite the character, and I didn’t learn until sometime later that he had been a professional hypnotist in England for ten years prior to moving back to the US, reviewing cars and starting TTAC, which got its break-through due to his GM Deathwatch series, which is how I first found the site. His having been a hypnotist explained a lot. And one thing became clear very quickly: his automotive historical knowledge was about as deep as TTAC’s commitment to the “the truth”. So by default, I became the automotive historian, for better or for worse.
My first stab at the subject, “In Defense of the Corvair“, is a bit sketchy, for trying to take on way too large of a subject in 800 words. And I gave GM way too much of a pass in its irresponsible deletion of the front anti-sway bar and rear anti-camber compensating spring. But since a ’63 Corvair was my first car, and it did have the optional sport suspension with the sway bar and rear camber limiters, I was a bit prejudiced, and it showed. Maybe that’s why I felt the need to write this DS piece five years later, questioning GM’s decisions and execution in building the 1960 Corvair.
In addition to my weekly Auto-Bio posts, I took on other subjects. I was interested in finding “the truth”, even if there is of course no ultimate arbiter of that. But a bit of common sense, skepticism, and some real-world experience were a useful guide in taking on such subjects as Audi’s UA (Unintended Acceleration) fiasco in the 1980s. To see a car company so destroyed by utter nonsense and malicious tampering that it almost exited the US market was mind-boggling. My take on that (“In Defense of the Audi 5000″) was of course years later, but it did inject a very fundamental bit of obvious truth that was remarkably poorly understood, even by all-too many “car guys”: that brakes are always much more powerful than engines. Some folks still don’t seem to get that.
In the fall of 2008, TTAC had a budget cut-back, so I quit writing, and got caught up on other projects. But my son Ed, who was then the Managing Editor, called me in February of 2009, begging me to write something; anything. And so it was one day on our regular urban hikes that we saw this grizzled old veteran of a Caddy right near the railroad tracks. It triggered a memory, of riding in one on the hitchhiking trip when I left home in February of 1971. (CC here).
Now this wasn’t the very first time that I shot an old car on the streets of Eugene, or had it published on the web. I had been following Murilee Martin’s Down on the Street series at Jalopnik, on of the first of the genre. And since he had mentioned a lack of Saabs in Alameda, I went and shot this one sitting in front of a nearby cafe where I’d seen it the day before, with a For Sale sign ($800). I sent it to MM, and he posted it (link here). This was in March of 2008. (I did a CC on the same car later).
I also sent him pics of this incredibly pristine Sapporo, which he also ran. And which I also later wrote up as a CC. Now some folks have said that I ripped off MM’s DOTS, when I started CCs at TTAC in 2009. Well, it may have inspired my CCs, but there was always a very big difference. DOTS were never more than shots and a paragraph or two of text; what we’d call an Outtake here. Click on the two links just above to get an idea of how different the approaches were. Umm; one of us was putting a whole lot more into the concept than the other. And it’s not exactly like MM was the first person to post shots of old parked cars.
But his series rightfully did inspire me to document the incredibly rich resource of old cars in Eugene, even if it was in a substantially different style.
My first CC on the Caddy was autobiographical in nature, as well as political, as it was written in the depths of the financial crisis in March 2008. I also didn’t know if this was a one-shot deal, depending on the reaction. Well, it was an encouraging start, and I started posting one CC per week.
In September of 2009, TTAC Founder Robert Farago left, and son Ed took his post. Since Ed’s experience was rather thin, especially outside of his interest in politics, he hired me (based on my strong suggestion) as his Managing Editor. I started posting CCs three times per week, as well as lots of other content, obviously. At one point, I was writing one CC as well as two-three other blog posts, five days per week. And pretty much in charge of the weekend content. I learned to be quick, efficient, and just crank them out.
The real seeds of a CC web site started when one day I had the idea to create a Portal for all the CCs I was writing, since I knew these articles had “legs”, unlike most short-form blog posts. Sure enough; after a while, the Portal was getting some 250k views per month, and bringing lots of new visitors to it from Google searches.
To make a long and complicated story short, I quit TTAC in January of 2011. Things just weren’t working out well, as might be imagined given the dynamics. But I couldn’t leave CCs; so I snagged the curbsideclassic.com domain name, and started work on this new site, which went live just three weeks later.
Ok, enough of the personal history; how about the actual car? Isn’t that what we’re really here for? So we went back recently to take new shots, and document what five year’s worth of weathering does, even in our benign climate. I was particularly interested in the progress that the vinyl top was making, since it has such an advanced case of vinyloma. Oh; the train is coming by; how convenient.
Like so many hundreds of other cars and vehicles, I’ve long been meaning to do a Trackside Classic on our “Cascades” Talgo Trains that run between Eugene and Portland (and on to
Seattle Vancouver, B.C.) , Amtrak’s NW Corridor.
Talgo trains were invented (and are built) in Spain, and are very lightweight, sharing a single axle between each of the short cars.
And they have a patented system that tilts the car a bit in curves, offsetting some of the apparent effects of centrifugal force. Not that the run to Portland has hardly any curves, or runs fast enough to notice. The $10 Bolt bus is faster and much cheaper, but it is a nice ride if one is not in a hurry.
It’s a bi-directional train set, but only one end is powered. This is the “dummy” end, an older locomotive without its prime mover, and used as the control car for the return trip. Isn’t ADD wonderful? Back to the Caddy…
A close-up of its roof shows it to be in a wonderfully advanced state of become a new Eco-sysyem of sorts. Lichens feeding on decaying vinyl?
But the “Coupe deVille” emblem is still intact.
Meanwhile, the moss is growing out of the trunk; lifting it up, from the looks of it. Our healing rains do have certain drawbacks.
This window was still intact five years ago. Someone obviously broke in, although I can’t imagine why.
That means we can only see the rear seat. It’s seen better days.
Here’s the front seat from the shoot from five years ago. Just as I remember it from the story I told about riding in one through the mountains of Western Pennsylvania, with a high school kid at the wheels who could barely keep it in its lane.
But I did get a pretty clean shot from the driver’s side. How did that happen? I always tell our Contributors not to do that, because of the inevitable glare.
This Caddy obviously started its long live somewhere else, because Oregon does not cause this kind of rust. or where these Caddys that bad in terms of rust resistance? And only on the one side; odd.
These sure make a fab three-some. This owner has had this collection of his at the curb here for ages; beats paying for a storage lot.
My apologies; I’ve really wandered all over the map here tonight. But let’s make a date to return to this Cadillac five years from now and check in on it again. I’m betting it’ll still be here.
That shot of the moss growing out of the trunk is straight out of a science fiction movie. FWIW, you’re the most knowledgable person across the spectrum of automotive I’ve ever come across. I’m glad Perry’s doing his thing because it means we’ll still have you around five years from now.
A very nice review of things, many of which I recall firsthand (but from afar). It is hard to imagine that the Cadillac has not weathered any worse than it has. Other than the creeping disintegration of the vinyl roof, the driver’s side appears virtually identical, right down to all of the little blemishes that were there 5 years ago. Funny, you did not post comparative pictures of yourself. 🙂
I am not breaking any news when I say that I am no fan of these cars. If someone were to start a Eugene-based franchise of the Stonehenge-style Cadillacs-in-the-ground attraction, I nominate this one for inclusion. If this is not in the cards, then I hope it is there as long as CC is here. If there is to be a single “Official Curbside Classic”, this Cadillac would have to be it.
As always, thanks for all of your great work, both visible and behind the scenes. A salute is in order.
Because I look exactly the same! 🙂
If the owner passes away I guess it will be there forever. And after Armageddon.. (in a millennium will there still be traces..
I remember when you jumped ship in 2011, it was at the same time that I was banninated from TTAC due to my response to someone else’s ignorant and willfully stupid post. I only went back to read MM’s finish to his Impala series and then shook the TTAC dust from my feet and never looked back. It’s become part of my morning routine to drink my breakfast coffee and read CC. Kudos to you for keeping the political bias and flame wars off of here.
I’m betting that the Caddy was parked on the side of an incline that caused leaking water to flow downhill to the side where the rust is. The right wheelwell of my Galaxie was always filled with water while the left was bone dry and my home was on the side of a hill. Now I understand why it was called a wheelWELL. I’m wondering how long it will be before there is a rust hole in the top of the Caddy that will let rainwater into the interior?
It could also be due to the fact that due to road crown and puddles that usually form along the curb, the right side of the car got exposed to more saltwater splash/spray than the driver’s side. I remember this from my time spent in Indiana.
It doesn’t seem right that someone would just leave a nice car to rot away to nothing. Is a Cadillac DeVille big? Yes, it is, too big to park most places. But if you’re going to park it somewhere, it seems better to park it inside somewhere, where it won’t be subjected to the elements.
Paul, nice tribute to the early beginnings of CC and it’s awesome to see that the moss-covered Coupe DeVille lives on. I can’t wait to see the updates in 2019. I’ve done similar “then and now” pics, like taking each of my vehicles to the same spot in my grandma’s backyard for a photo-op on her lawn. Keep up the great work.
Sounds like a perfect CC submission to me. *cough*
Paul, time flies so fast…
CC’s become part of my daily routine even if I’m just in and out and don’t take time to comment. I still frequent TTAC as well and as a former Subaru owner will especially not forget Robert’s “flying vagina” description of the first Tribeca. What I really don’t get is who at Subaru decided to enter the US crossover market with a front-end design saluting the jets that bombed Pearl Harbor.
I read that you’re not into controversy – which is good – but I’d still like to see a few “deadly sins” from all the automakers from time to time. I understand why the series picked on GM the most, as I’ve always gotten the feeling that they, of all automakers, KNEW BETTER…a quality I wouldn’t always confer on all competitors past and present.
That said, you were quick to “break format” and heap praise on the new Impala after driving one.
Keep up the great work here at CC. great to see all the diversity of opinion and viewpoint…which brings a fresh perspective to my 50-something point-of-view.
Well, I could do a Cobalt DS very easily. 🙂 It’s written itself, actually.
I do have some more planned Deadly Sins. I’ve just been too busy with my other work to get to them. Soon!
Paul, you are most welcome to do a Cobalt DS, it’s the car that finally broke me of my GM habit. I will never ever step on a Chevrolet lot again. Ford’s the only one left 🙁
Jets didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor, they were only a gleam in the eyes of Frank Whittle and Hans Ohain at the time. The propeller driven carrier aircraft used were the Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” fighter, the Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive bomber, and the Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” torpedo bomber which was also used as a level bomber during the attack.
Re: Amtrak Talgo train…The “Cascades” also serve all the way north to Vancouver, BC. My wife and I took the train down to Portland from Vancouver a few years ago…nice comfortable train and quite cheap even in business class coach. Train is kind of weird looking thing but it does the job…tops out at 79 mph, top speed allowed on this route for the time being. The newest locomotives are even stranger looking with the Pinocchio Nose on them!
Of course it goes to Vancouver; my bad. I’ve corrected it. They use different locomotives on the various Talgo train sets. I’ll get around to a proper TC one of these days.
There is a project in the works to push top speeds up to 110 MPH on certain segments. It is in the “phase one” stage now, which is focused on improving the slowest sections first, in an attempt to raise the average speed as much as practical before shooting for 110.
I know too much about this stuff. Oi.
Great article and did you notice if the Caddy has current tags on its license plates? Any chance the Bread Truck will get a CC? In Rustbelt States salty snow, slush, and puddles pool and collect on the road sides so usually the passenger side of vehicles have worst rust than the driver’s side. My family has or had numerous vehicles with more rust on the passenger side than the driver side.
I look forward to reading the linked articles especially about the Chrysler Minivans. Shame about the bus being cheaper and faster than the train, guess that is the free market for you.
Yes, it has current tags. And I suspect it gets moved every couple of years or so.
That Chrysler minivan article is totally obsolete; it’s not a history; it was about whether their new 2008 generation would be able to keep their traditional market share, which had been eroding for some time.
Has it really been 5 years? I don’t feel any older, but I do have more grey hairs..
I re-read the minivan article which was interesting for me. I bought a 2007 Caravan in 2010 because I wasn’t sure if I trusted those new-fangled Squaravans.
What’s the PN verdict in hindsight? I’d say they did OK.
I would say the “Squarevans” did more than OK, especially with the Pentastar and post bankruptcy quality improvements.
Paul’s article from 2006 states that DCX minivan market share was below 39%; the current FCA vans have a share of 51% in the US (and even higher – 62% – in Canada)*
It’s also interesting to compare and contrast the tone of the comments on Paul’s 2006 TTAC article, with the comments on Thomas Kreutzer’s recent TTAC minivan article.**
If the comments on the TTAC posts are any indication, it seems that not only has the market share of the current vans increased, their reputation has increased even more.
I decided to check out the numbers you linked to. Not a pretty picture, despite Chrysler’s vans improved market share. At the time I wrote that article in 2006, Chrysler’s annual minivan sales were down to some 650k; now they’re on pace for some 245k in 2014; that’s a mere 37% of what it was in 2006. Ouch.
And the minivan market has contracted overall, from some million to 500k.
And there’s still the question of what percent of Chrysler’s vans are fleet sales; probably quite high.
All in all, not a very pretty picture at all, despite the slight improvement in share. It’s uglier than I would have guessed in 2006.
“All in all, not a very pretty picture at all, despite the slight improvement in share. It’s uglier than I would have guessed in 2006.”
That’s a fair comment, and supports the point you made in 2006 that these vans would no longer be a “cash cow” for Chrysler.
Although I don’t have a link to support it, my sense is that the transaction prices for these have come down in real terms over the years, and the model mix now probably includes a fair number of $20k “Value Package” vans – which would make these vans even less profitable.
That said, I still think the current vans have to be considered a success as they have taken a bigger slice of a smaller pie. Even if FCA had introduced a “perfect” van, I doubt they could have done much better than they have with these.
My perception may also be coloured by the fact that minivans as a group seem to be more popular in Canada, while it sounds like they are on their way to niche vehicle status in the US. Here in Canada, the Grand Caravan is the #4 selling vehicle overall, behind the F-Series, RAM, and Civic.*
I’m probably not 100% objective either. While I haven’t owned a Mopar in many years – and I’ve never owned one built in the past 25 years – I find myself cheering for them these days. Probably partly because I like a good turn around story and cheering for the underdog, and partly out of nostalgia for old school A and B bodies with bombproof /6 and V8 powertrains.
If I were in the market for a minivan, I would personally probably look at a Mazda5 first since it’s sensibly sized and available with a manual transmission – but I certainly wouldn’t find fault with anyone who chose a Mopar van. I’m not sure I would have felt the same back in 2006…
Interesting reading, it seems like the minivan segment is on a trajectory like the large sedan segment in many markets (including the USA?) where the overall segment is stale and becoming unfashionable – how else do you explain the loss of sales when there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the product and on the surface they are better than they have ever been?
Or perhaps there has been a ‘drift’ in the product, bigger/heavier/more expensive that has passed a critical point where they no longer meet people’s needs as much as vehicles from several other segments.
Nice potted history of CC too – deserves a prominent link on your ‘about’ or ‘welcome’ page.
As to the car itself, just wait until there is some rust-through of the roof and look out! Even without that the deterioration of the interior versus 5 years ago is a big issue in it being rescued.
One difference between the 1971 and 1972 GM cars, including Cadillacs is that the 71’s had vents in the rear, usually the trunk lid but the Cadillac’s were behind the rear window. My 71 Riviera had them in the trunk lid. The vents moved from plain sight to either the B-pillar (on two doors) or C-pillar.
Enjoyed your stream of consciousness, Paul. This is a priceless site — and, really, a welcome respite from the never-ending political flames of so many other places on the web.
Revisiting the ’72 Coupe de Ville gave you the perfect vehicle for catching us up on how you started CC, very interesting read Paul (and yes I did read it!).
I’ve never visited Portland but have spent time in Seattle. For some reason I expect the two cities would be similar in their pros, cons and vibes. As for Eugene I would expect it to be a more concentrated version of Portland. Probably as off the mark as thinking Santa Barbara and Long Beach are the same just because both are sunny and coastal.
Would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the PNW and Oregon in particular. You would have a good perspective having lived in So. Cal. and being a car guy. That moss growing out of the Cadillac trunk is something new to my eyes.
Although both cities are in the PNW, they are quite different from each other. Seattle is a coastal town, Portland an inland river town. At one time Portland was the most dangerous city in the USA and gave birth to the term “Shanghai”.
It’s difficult to encapsulate cities in a few words. Portland is smaller and much more compact than Seattle, and the traffic isn’t as bad. Portland is eminently livable, the most “European” city in the US, with its street cars, superb light rail network, and very bike friendly. There’s good reasons why so many younger folks have been flocking to Portland the last 20 some years. Of course, there’s a reason the tv show “Portlandia” exists; for better or for worse. Portland is uber-hip, and can take itself mighty seriously.
I don’t know Seattle very well, but it feels like a much bigger metro area, and spread out. But the older neighborhoods of Seattle have lots of charm; my brother and SIL are moving there from PA for their retirement.
Eugene is not really a concentrated Portland; more like a slice of it. For one thing, politically Eugene is not as liberal as its image; the city council is consistently split 50/50. The northern/western parts of Eugene are pretty traditional; well, in an Oregon way.
I’m way overdue to write about my exodus from CA to Eugene, moving all our stuff in the F100 and a trailer (it took several trips), and why we picked it. It’s a great place to raise a family, and we really don’t miss the crowds and traffic of CA. We go back there and enjoy the sun in the winter, but we’re always glad to get back to Eugene. it’s relaxed, comfortable, friendly, walkable/bikeable, and there’s plenty to do. And it’s close to both the coast and the mountains, so it’s great for the outdoors. And no crowds to fight getting there.
Oh thanks for that. Seattle is definitely hip and they take themselves very seriously. That was a good descriptor. Sounds like same is true for Portland. People do not seem overly friendly in Seattle though that may just be an impression and related to taking one’s self too seriously.
I will check out Portlandia. I find TV shows do a pretty good job at capturing what a town is like. The ones about LA have been pretty right on especially Curb Your Enthusiasm. Looking forward to the story of your move and why you picked Eugene.
I travel for work to both Seattle and Portland fairly frequently, and for whatever reason seem to enjoy Portland more than Seattle. I think it’s just a little more manageable in terms of size and ability to get around (whether I use public transit or not; I always have a car when I’m in either city). Our local office is also in the Hollywood district in Portland, which is a reasonably walkable neighborhood with some good eating places (my California colleagues and I look forward to Portland trips for the food). Our office in Seattle is in an office park in Renton, out close to the airport, and less appealing–maybe that’s the source of my impressions. I know people who live in each and love where they live.
You can see the cars on Google Street View!
A fun trip down memory lane! I walk/bike/drive by these three cars quite often; I really want that Corolla.
I’d be very afraid of opening that trunk lid……….”
So this is how it all started, with this car! Good ole Detrot Iron! Like this car, I hope Paul, Perry and all of these wonderful contributors and posters stick around for a while. I only check in for a handful of sites, this was one of my first and I’m so glad I did. A salute to all of you!
Based on the nose, I think the Corolla Liftback is either a ’77 or ’78. The Liftback body wasn’t introduced in Japan until early 1976, so the earliest it would have been in the U.S. would have been MY1977. The final two years or so of this generation (I think 1979–80 in the States) had a different grille treatment.
From the photos, the Corolla has a few fixable dents, but is otherwise in surprisingly good shape.
Saw a couple of cars lately 10 years on from first sighting both Toyota Coronas one ex mine obviously still in use and a lichen covered 80s model still parked in exactly the same place as last seen, my ol blue 93 is worse for wear since I sold it but still a going concern its even sprouted alloy rims. Great number plate for the cribbage player 8667 though not as good as 4655 which I currently have.
Interesting back story on a successful venture into CC. A unique (to me, anyway) business model, sort of an interactive magazine. Congratulations on five years!
That Caddy is remarkable in a number of ways. Somebody is “caring” for it – plastic on the window and very likely airing up the tires occasionally. But, why? It is a bit of a basket case and buying a very nice ’72 for reasonable money isn’t difficult to do.
While there is rust here, moss seems to grow more readily than rust in Eugene. The big beak Montego featured a while back appeared almost rust free, but had moss. I wouldn’t have thought that possible, but here it is again.
Thanks for the back story – and good luck with the next five years!
You know, I’ve been browsing this site since the very beginning and I can’t think of a site that embodies everything that I love about cars as much as this site does.
I’ll continue to browse as long as you continue to write!
Then we’ll see each other around for a long time, hopefully!
The dots have now been connected! As I didn’t discover CC until 11-11, I did not know the entire back story.
Despite the condition and lack of used of the Caddy, it is good to see still hanging in there. Back in ’98, I witnessed the destruction of a nearly pristine ’72 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in a demolition derby. Oodles were made, but it’s nice to see one still around despite its apparent lack of a caring owner.
Having been here since the beginning, it’s great that both you and the site are still alive and well Paul! CC is my only daily website visit, and for every minute I spend here I feel like I get 5 minutes back in knowledge and enjoyment. Then-and-now pics are always awesome, whether cars, buildings, people, whatever. It’s always fun studying the changes – anyone else notice that the wheelnuts on the Caddie’s wheels have rotated a bit, indicating it’s moved (or rolled!) sometime over the five years.
Can’t see this and not want the total story on who it belongs to, how it has come to sit in the exact same spot for so many years…
It’s the trunk moss. And the lichens living on the remnants of the vinyl roof. That’s what really makes me want to know.
If I ever see the owner, I will definitely ask. I’m curious too.
Thanks Paul, not just for the great articles, but for creating a community in CC that is positive, and welcomes diverse viewpoints – enthusiasts of everything from Baroque Broughams to Minimalist Microcars all seem to get along here!
Definite thanks–this is a community that I’ve only recently discovered, but it’s quite a good one and reading the new articles (or catching up on old ones) has become a part of my daily routine. Also nice to see “the car that started it all” here, then and now.
Personally I can’t see a ’72 CdV without thinking of my freshman year of college, 1998-99. A month or two into the semester I happened to look out the window of my dorm room when I saw, several floors down, an early 70’s Coupe DeVille pull into a parking space. When I saw that the driver of the car was an attractive girl, I resolved that I had to meet her! Not exactly the usual transportation for a female student. I did meet her a bit later, and while we became friends rather than anything more, I do have some good memories of cruising around town in that Caddy. It was a 1972, a little rough–black (not the original color) with a worn white vinyl top and a tan leather interior, but still, what a car. Unfortunately, my friend being a “girl with an interesting hand-me-down car” rather than a “car girl”, the Caddy was sold a couple years later and replaced with a more reliable and economical but far less interesting Infiniti G20. Hopefully it’s still on the road, though, and has had the attention it deserves, though it wasn’t nearly as rough as your subject vehicle here!
I would consider you an automotive historian, Paul. Probably not in the tradional published author sense (unless you have books I don’t know about). In the internet age, though, you have done as much, or more, to advance and promote auto history than any regular book or magazine writers. This is a great site. My only worry, from a historical point of view, is if the site ever goes away we’ll lose access to all the accumulated knowledge in the CC archives.
“I made then-TTAC Executive Editor Robert Farago very happy with that piece, and quickly re-learned what I already knew from my tv days: controversy sells.”
My first encounter with Farago was his TTAC review of the 2006 Lexus GS 300.
I guess calling the 3rd gen GS ‘noisy, underpowered, stiff-riding and boring’ qualifies as controversial. Also ridiculous. And dead wrong. I own one and it is none of those things. (Ok, it’s a little boring but I’ve never had a passenger fail to comment ‘wow, this is a REALLY nice car. So quiet’.) I suppose total reliability is boring. I really miss those unscheduled trips to the dealer. I think I’ll get a BMW 5 series next time, so I can experience the joy of having my $55K sport-luxury sedan hauled to the dealer on a flatbed 4 times per year.
He also said this of the Mark Levinson 14 speaker sound system – “Mid-range tones are more grating than an blind waiter shaving a block of parmesan over your spaghetti.” Seriously? (He does have a point with the lack of a usb input. Even in 2006 this was pretty old-school. And the tape deck is only useful for when your CD player breaks. Which mine did)
Farago irritates. He shamelessly jumped on the Lexus bashing bandwagon simply because it didn’t have a blue and white propeller on the hood. The 3rd gen Lexus GS (2006-2011) received nothing but sneers from the so-called ‘enthusiast’ press. It deserves better. It was the best styled mid-sized luxury sedan from the mid 2000s. Hands down. Clean, simple, well-proportioned and distinctive. I think it will stand the test of time.
Are you lost ? The 2006 GS 300 is now just an old Toyota and nobody cares, except you. Unlike the ’72 Cadillac ,which while hardly Detroits finest hour can still generate discussion , lust and animosity
Another fun article, glad to see you are still with us, and despite it not seeing care or much use, glad to see this Caddy still hanging in there. Though I like the styling of these, and I am a certified full size Detroit iron fan, even I must admit, these cars were just too huge. Just like the current Smart car is ridiculously too small, these were ridiculously too big. This body design scaled down a bit and mounted on the smaller 77 chassis would have been perfect.
Paul, don’t be too hard on yourself for missing the year on this car initially….look closely at the grille and you will see this car is actually wearing a 71 unit. 72 models had horizontal grille bars, 71s had more prominent vertical bars. The headlight and parking light setup, as well as the front bumper are without a doubt indicating it is a 72.
I actually have fond memories of the ’72 Coupe DeVille. My stepdad had one and we used to go hunting in central washington in it. Nothing funnier than seeing a ’72 Coupe DeVille bouncing through the hills and creeks of central WA flying past SUV’s stuck along the way. That Caddy plowed through the dirt roads and bush like it was meant to be.
He eventually traded it in for a Chevy Pickup… Next time we went hunting things didn’t go as well as all the prior years. He got stuck like the SUV’s did.
Since you reposted the “First CC Ever” for its 10 year (and 1 day) anniversary, I got rerouted here by clicking your revisit 5 years later to the same Caddy, parked exactly where it was in 2009.
Sadly, it looks like the Caddy is gone now, although I see the Fiat AND the Element at the same time in this shot from Google Maps (that you linked)…
The bread truck and the Corolla are still there, or so it would seem….