Auto-Biography: 1987 Cadillac Sedan de Ville – “Paul, I Finally Took Your Advice”

Hello, Paul? It’s Papa. I have great news! I want you to know that I finally took your advice.

Uh; what advice is that, Papa?

About buying myself a nice car, Paul. You always said that a doctor should drive something nicer than the cars I always got, and now that your youngest brother is out of the house at last, and since four out of you five kids never went to college, I finally feel like I could treat myself to a really fine car.

Oh, you mean a Mercedes, like my 300E? You really seemed to like it when when you were out here in California last year.

No, Paul. I took the advice that you gave me back in 1962, when I bought the Fairlane instead.

Uh…oh…you mean…a…a…

Ja, Paul! Ein Cadillac! Better late than never!


But Papa, that was a quarter of a century ago! Things have changed a lot, especially with Cadillac. They were very different in 1962 than they are now.

Yes, Paul, they are indeed! They get much better mileage now.

Please don’t tell me you bought a Cimarron.

No, no, Paul. I really splurged this time. It’s a Sedan de Ville! But not just any Sedan de Ville; it’s a very special E&G Classic Edition.

E&G Classic Edition? I never heard of it. What does it have that makes it so special?

A whole number of exclusive items, Paul.

Can you be more specific?

Ja, a different grille. It looks like a Rolls-Royce now.

Paul, I didn’t want to spend as much money as you did on your Mercedes, but with all the things that came with this E&G Classic Edition, it now looks much more expensive than your car. I’m sorry Paul, but I am a neurologist and you never even finished high school. So it just didn’t feel right with you driving such an expensive car. And E&G is so similar to EEG, my specialty. When I saw it, I just had to have it.

Ok…so what else does it have?

Ja, a continental spare tire with a hard cover to protect the tire.

Are you sure the spare is actually inside it?

Ja, ja; of course, Paul.  What are you suggesting? That it’s fake or something? This is a Cadillac, after all. Don’t make me angry.

And it’s a real wire wheel too!

Really? So are all the wheels real wire wheels? I thought that was hard to do with front wheel drive, the way the wheels have to be with front wheel drive.

Well, now that you mention it, the other four wheels are different. So what do you mean, front wheel drive? Cadillacs all have rear wheel drive. DKWs and Auto Unions have front wheel drive.

Actually, no, Pops. And lots of cars have front wheel drive now. But never mind; tell me about the rest of the car.

Ja, it has a landaulet roof, just like the Mercedes 600 Tito used to ride in. But you know how I hate drafts, so I won’t be opening it.

Really? A landaulet roof?

Ja, Paul! Believe me, this E&G Classic edition was not cheap. It must have been a lot of work.

And the trunk has special security locks, so I don’t have to worry when I park it on the street near Hopkins. You know I hate to pay for the parking garage.

So how do you like driving it?

Ja Paul, it’s a dream! It’s so powerful and fast. It has a much bigger engine than your Mercedes, and of course it’s a big V8. I’m sorry Paul, but there was no way I was going to spend that much money on a six cylinder car. These Cadillac V8s will leave your Mercedes in the dust, I’m afraid. It’s a 4.1 liter V8, Paul. Not as big as they once were, but it’s a High Technology engine. Although curiously, it does not have overhead camshafts. But an aluminum block, with cast iron heads!

That’s right Pop; just like the Vega. And it has 130 hp.  My 300E has 177 hp.

But Paul, the torque! Nothing has torque like a V8! You just barely touch the accelerator, and it jumps forward. I caught myself doing 63 the other day on the Beltway. It’s so hard to keep to the speed limit.

So did you trade in the Zephyr?

No; the Cadillac dealer wouldn’t take. Especially because it had the four cylinder and stick shift. They said they’d never be able to sell it. So I donated it to a Catholic charity. It was a pretty good car, but not as good as the Dart.

Now that was a great car, Paul! My favorite ever. I still miss it. I wish the Cadillac would have come with a three-speed manual on the steering column. I asked about that, but they were quite firm; it’s just not available. Same goes for manual steering and brakes.

But I thought you liked the stick shift on your Opel Kadett?

Please don’t bring up that car again, Paul. It left some painful memories. The clutch was defective from the beginning.

Defective? So that’s your explanation as to why it always hopped like a frog when you took off?

Ja, ja. I tried to get the Opel dealer to fix it, but they insisted I was letting out the clutch too quickly. Absurd.

But I did finally come to appreciate the air conditioning in the Zephyr on my 45 minute commute in the Baltimore summers.

So you’re really happy with your new Cadillac?

Well, Paul, it’s a bit odd. The people here in Towson look at me a bit funny when I drive it, especially at church. I’m sure they’re just jealous. But once I get into Baltimore, in the inner city, the people down there really seem to like it. They all smile at me, and make strange hand gestures at me.

So is there anyhting you don’t like?

Yes, Paul. Just one thing: the air conditioning in the Cadillac is way too cold and strong. I just can’t use it. So I drive with the window part way open and take off my suit jacket. It’s a small price to pay for owning a Cadillac!


Postscript: OK, so I had a bit of fun at my dear father’s expense. The truth is that in 1987, he actually did ask and take my advice on buying a new car, for the first (and last) time ever. On my recommendation, he bought a new Taurus. And he was very happy with it. But when I saw this Cadillac with its license plate, I couldn’t resist an alternate take.



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