Curbside Classic – 1961 Cadillac Four Window Sedan deVille

For two years I have been driving down a street where there was a covered car. I never managed to see the car out in the open but knew it was long, way too long for the single car garage it was parked in front of. However, I could get a glimpse of the lower third of this front tire which might clue in a discerning Cadillac fan. The center was not visible. Lately the car was uncovered and then a For Sale sign appeared in front of the house. Oh oh…

This is the car in all its glory as per the license plate and what a story behind the car as I rang the bell to talk with the woman owner. I had known, through another neighbor, that a man and wife down the block had three Cadillacs. Two had been sold and one kept, this one, and the woman was always dealing with those who wanted to buy her car. The answer is always no and here is why.

Now I wasn’t sure she would open the door as the house was just sold and a sign outside said open house canceled. She might have thought I was a house buyer. The first person to the door was not the owner by a 15 year old white/gray Australian with brilliant blue eyes. My son was taken aback some by the dog’s bark. The woman came next and I asked about her car and if she could tell me it’s story precisely for us. Turns out the dog was quite friendly, as was she, and she opened the screen door for my son to pet the dog. We talked in the meantime.

The woman and her husband are the second owners of this car. The woman is currently in her mid-70s and her second husband passed away a little while back. Now the woman rode in this car when it was brand new. Huh! Her father was a Cadillac salesman and sold the car in 1961. Oh? The car was sold to their family doctor which is how the young woman got to ride in the car. Note the spotlights below.

The spotlights were installed by the dealer so the doctor, who made house calls, could use them to read street signs and house numbers. Ah, the older more simpler days long gone.

For most of her life she worked in payroll for health organizations. Her second husband had a car restoration shop up in Port Chicago. They were very active in the Cadillac Club and had a couple of others besides this one. A 1938 Sixty-Special and a 1972 Eldorado convertible for her daily driver.

This particular Cadillac was bought 15 years ago by them. It has been all over the country and now has around 124,000 miles on the original engine. The interior has been redone though. Guess by who? Her.

Turns out she did her first upholstery project when she was a teenager. I am amazed but it gets better. She did the upholstery work in her husband restoration shop. Gets better still. She also did the body work on the cars including painting but no welding. She no longer can do body work due to arthritis in her hands which I noticed. However, she told me she needs to replace the backs of the front seats once the car moves. She is a strong believer in original condition cars.

The owner and the car will be moving up to eastern Washington where her daughter lives. A nice dry climate with plenty of space to drive without having to worry about the nuts driving around here who might threaten older cars on the road. We talked about care of the car. She has original points and had thought about electronic ignition but didn’t know how. Her husband was the electrician. I would have helped but the car is leaving soon.

She intends to drive this more often once she gets to Washington State. Her son-in-law is interested in the car as is her teenage grandson who has no knowledge of cars. Hopefully her and the car have many more years of driving enjoyment before the day comes to pass it along.