Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Standard of the World; Faded Glory

Grace of the Fallen—approximately 22 x 20 inches on two joined pine boards. Paint, paper, silver foil and polyurethane.

This series of photos dates back to the early 1980s, as have my other recently posted car images. They were shot with a Nikon camera, using film of course and I've scanned these particular images from my contact proof sheets. The photo above shows an early postwar Cadillac 75 limousine, in decidedly ragged condition. I was struck by the elegance still apparent, from the power window switches, the button-tufted upholstery, and the quality materials evident throughout and used it one of my first pieces on wood, top.

The front fender of the same 75 limousine . I love this Cadillac script and the stainless steel trim pieces.

The Cadillac crest and wings on the trunk of the '75 limousine. Such class and taste.

The aluminum step plate of the 75 limousine. Body by Fleetwood.

I've posted other detail photos of this Cadillac "cemetery" and this 1962 Cadillac Park Avenue in particular in earlier posts, here, and here. This was a short-trunk version of the regular Cadillac sedan, meant to fit in prewar garages, and was produced in '61, '62 and '63. This profile view shows what I consider, almost perfect proportions. The interior of this specimen sported separate front seat. I suppose they were called "buckets" but they were wider, and flatter than bucket seats in any other car, though they still have a space in between them. They weren't the divided bench seats of later models. I've always wondered what happened to this particular car, it was emminently restorable.

Three more "resting" Cadillacs, including two 1959s, left, and a '66 Fleetwood limousine, right. The factory painted-roof limousines are among the most elegant of sixties Cadillacs in my opinion. These were not "pimp daddy" limos, they weren't stretched Hummers, they didn't have a hot tub on the deck. These were limousines for old money families and captains of industry, not Snookie and the rest of the Jersey shore drunks.

Having a bit of fun one day in '83. I took this Cadillac script with me on an outing one day and posed it in various "out-of-context" photos, including this one on the grille of my '83 Toyota Celica GT-S notchback.


  1. In your first two photos, especially in the second one, it looks like a service sticker on the inside of the door frame. I remember those being stuck somewhere around the doors when you would go in for an oil change or what-ever.

    Also your traveling Cadillac script reminds me of my traveling knot-hole. lol

  2. This junkyard would be heaven on earth if it still existed today!
    I'd love to restore that beautiful 75 limousine. Of course, I'd take the 62 and the 66 too while I was at it.
    Our neighbor had a 62 convertible - white on white with a blue interior. One day the police came and towed it away. Apparently our neighbor's had bought the car used and the person they bought it from had "aquired" it illegally. I has sad to see it go. I still think about that car, it was so pretty. The 62's are still one of my favorites today. And I agree with you, the proportions are perfect. It is a design that has aged very well.

  3. Wonderful pictures! The 1940s 75 is so evocative of a time when most people rode in limousines at weddings (if one was in the wedding party) and funerals, if then! I love what you have to say about the state of the limousine world then and now. I'm sure you can guess which world I prefer! I always thought it odd that Cadillac kept the same greenhouse on the series 75 from 1959 through 1965, although everything below the beltline kept up with the current styling, except for the 1965, which kept the styling of the 1964. But as I researched more Cadillac history, I saw there was the precedent for that in that Cadillac had kept the same series 75 styling from 1941 through 1949. I've seen drawings of the 75 with the postwar styling that Cadillac employed in 1948 and 1949 but it was never produced. I guess in those years they didn't have to bear the expense of the restyle because of pent up demand and, possibly because their clientele that you identify correctly would not have cottened to the new styling. Of course, by 1950, when they did introduce a series 75 with contemporary styling, people were used to the fins and the prewar 75 was looking a bit dated. Well into the 90s, there was a 1949 series 75 that I used to see around the city, driven by a very old-timey looking chauffeur (he looked like Alfred from Batman) and with two ancient ladies in the back. I used to see it particularly around Lincoln Center on saturday afternoons when the Met was in season. It was always a thrill to see it.

    That Cadillac graveyard is wonderful. I've always loved the 1966 series 75 -- I remember coming out of the old Metropolitan Opera's 39th street lobby in February of 1966 (I think we had just see La Perichole) and seeing a brand new silver (!) series 75 at the curb and two what-would-now-be-called super model types in long fur coats getting into it. I was quite impressed!!

    Paul, NYC

  4. I wonder if it was Edie Sedgwick? She is one of my favorite '60s people and was chauffeured around Manhattan in a new Caddy limo around that time.