Cadillac Cruise Reports (and Plans)
This is the space where I plan to document my Cadillac driving
The rest of the site is about working on them, and why the heck
you want to do that? To DRIVE. So I will try to document
Upcoming adventures: To Live and Drive in LA,
the Mid Life Madness.
Santa Cruz and San
June 26, 2004.
I had planned to cruise to LA this week in my 1975 Eldorado Convertible, but
"shotgun" cancelled at the last minute due to a family illness. I
bummed, but didn't feel up to making the 350+ mile trek to LA by
So I was feeling a little sorry for myself when I found this out on
so I set off to make the most of my weekend.
On Friday, I invited myself out to dinner with fellow 1975 Eldorado
owner Tom Bombaci and his family. We hauled the entourage out for
food in the landyacht. After we got back, we played some of his way
video games in his basement, and did a night cruise out to the Santa
fairgrounds where folks were setting up for a pinball and video game
A nice cool top down night and some gratuitous driving. That
the itch some.
But then I got a surprise. An old gearhead friend from high
calls.He lives on the East Coast, and I in San Jose, CA. We see
other about once a year or so when he travels out to the west coast for
He had yet to meet my Cadillac, and my family is out of town. So
agree to meet on Saturday (today).
9AM: Phone rings. Plan to meet at the Mariott Courtyard in
and see where we end up.
10:30AM: Arrive at Marriot. Ben, who had a big fat Olds in
School, marvels at the way oversized beast rolling up to
He grins. He declines my offer to let him drive, preferring to
in all the sights instead. A quick tour of the features
the working 8 track deck!) and off we go. Top down, and a nearly
Northern California day.
First stop: Santa Cruz
and Boardwalk. Hauling over the mountain on twisty CA route
is a treat in the new suspension, and the cool mountain breezes offset
throbbing hot sun. We roll up into Santa Cruz around 11:30
We park and walk the length of the boardwalk, ride the Giant Dipper,
and score some fountain soda to rehydrate. We stay long enough to
to the Jersey shore of our youth, and then back in the Cadillac for the
Ultimately, Ben needs to end up in San Francisco at Moscone Center for
conference. It is a good 75 miles away. The sane way to do
is to head back up 17 and catch 280 or 101 up to the city. But
is not what this day is for. No sir, no 6-lane superhighways for
We drive across Santa Cruz through the University part of town and pick
CA 1 north: The Pacific Coast Highway. Normally, you can
cold and fog, or blistering, relentless heat. But today, the gods
approved the ride and we have bright sunshine and a cool breeze.
no serious traffic. We tool up Highway 1 at a leisurely 50 mph, taking
all the sights. The oceans, the lighthouses, the cliffs, the
and the mountains. Up to Half Moon Bay where we stop at Cameron's
Pub for a lunch of burgers and artery clogging deep fried
Folks in the parking lot smile as we pull out of dock, and continue up
road, through Half Moon Bay, Montara, Pacifica, Daly City, and smack
the clog on Hospital Curve heading into The City.
We creep through the San Francisco traffic, and jump off on Van Ness,
we loop around City Hall,
Davies Symphony Hall, and the old buildings around the city
We spin around to catch the Bay Bridge off to Treasure island where we
at the clear skies and the San Francisco skyline. A few misguided
later, we are on to the Embarcadero and driving across the waterfront.
Looking for the infamous Lombard Street, but a few wrong turns swing us
Union Square and back into the financial district. With a few
fortuitous turns we get up Hyde and turn on to Lombard, Wheeeee!!!
the 20 foot blue monster down the tight twisties of Lombard
It fits!!! There are a few hills along the way to and from
where the Eldo's gargantuan hood hides the crest of the hill, and a few
moments as I lift out of my seat to try to see over hill crests.
lo, we survive to tell the tale.
After finding a few narrow streets with scant inches to spare on either
of the behemoth, we ultimately work our way to Telegraph Hill and drop
Coit tower, to take in the city sights. We pass through Chinatown
the way to Moscone where I finally drop off my friend at about
He thanks me for the ride and though he is not a fan of convertibles,
enjoyed the 150 mile cruise around the Bay area in an American
He has also been to San Francisco a number of times, and commented that
through the city was a totally different experience in such a big car
I load up my MP3 player with tunes and set off rocketing down highway
where I sail home at 75 mph, smooth as glass. I just got home,
boy am I amped up. I'm also WAY sunburned. Mental
Sunscreen and a hat, dumbass. That SPF 0 roof was not offering
It's days like this where I don't mind the fact that my car sucks down
much money. This is the kind of day that I live for. I had
lot of things I could have been doing today and I should have been a
adult.But I traded that all in for some automotive joy. After I
up a little, I'll get on that responsible adult crap.
Happy cruising, folks. Never miss an opportunity to hit the road.
1975 Eldorado Convertible: $3500.
Repairs to make it roadworthy: $8000.
Gas to travel 200 miles: $60.
A cruise story to remember: priceless.
June 26, 2004
Walnut Creek for Surgery September
The question today boys and girls is:
What's the difference between interior parts of a 1975 Eldorado Coupe
and a Convertible?
Thankfully, the answer is "not a lot!"
Thanks to Stephan's
incredible generosity, the non-original interior
from his recently acquired parts hardtop coupe ("The Big Blue
has been transplanted into my 1975
Convertible. So I have gone fron an
Antique Light Blue interior to a dark blue non-original interior.
is quite can improvement over my dramatically rotting
seats which I
refused to spend over $1500 to re-cover. I am doing
on the cheap, and this was a great opportunity to reduce the suckage of
the interior (at the cost of originality).
I arrived around in Walnut Creek at 9AM after a 60 mile drive rocketing
up 680 from San Jose with the top down on a cool September morning in
Northern California. Cranking up the tunes in my 1978 nonoriginal
8-track with rotting non-10 Ohm speakers. No, this car will win
award, but the low-fidelity tunes with the wind in my thinning hair
made me smile the whole way.
We presumed we could easily do this jon in 3 hours, maybe 4. I
hard stop at 3:00PM (a school dinner commitment), but would easily
leave by 2. Fool! Fool, fool, fool! :-)
We jumped to work. We hauled the new seats and carpet out to the
driveway and went to work. We removed the rear seat and the 4 big
bolts and then muscled out the 16 nuts and 16 bolts holding in the
front seats. We discovered the trick to removing the handles on
back of the seat (The plastic INSERT pops out!). We moved my old
handles to the new seats so Stephan could preserve the original
orange-plaid handles under the re-covering material (He has a Mandarin Orange
1975 Eldorado Convertible). We then pulled
the matching recover material off that handle to cover my old ones.
The morning was spent pulling out the seats and carpet, and
the new carpet. The holes all matched! I also found that
the water invasion through my leaky top, the power seat cables were
hopelessly corroded. Thankfully, Stephan had an extra (surprise!).
The work was quite a sight - Stephan's neighbors wondered aloud at him
if he got another parts car. Some neighbors stopped by to chat,
support and help. It was something of a mechanical barn-raising
My favorite tool: The electric screwdriver. Don't leave the
garage without one!
We had a wonderful lunch of greek food (Thanke Janine!) and I got
friendly with the Kozanda Greyhounds. Well, at least their girl,
Rocket, who was such a sweetie. The boy dog was a bit more timid
didn't really get to meet him much. But those dogs were really
and a lot of fun to habve lunch around. I suppose Rocket was more
interested in the Gyro than me, but she was still cute.
We then started the install process after lunch. Two hours to go,
what can go wrorng?
We then learned to Cosmic Rule of Four. If you have FOUR things
to do, THREE will be effortless and ONE will suck.
The seats are 4 parts: 2 50-50 parts, a back, and a bottom.
in except the passenger side, whic sat too high. Looking at it,
that there were PLATES spot welded under the seats on the 4 mounting
points for no apparent reason.
3 of the 4 plates came off with a hammer and chisel (screwdriver).
4th needed earnest hacksawing. Why would you spot weld metal
under a seat? Anyone? Once we got off the 4 plates, the
seat went in.
I had in my stash 3 of the 4 seat belt assembles for the darker blue
color. The 4th was inexplicably missing from my stash, so I have one
mismatched seat belt in light blue. :-(
So then we went on:
The door panels went on nicely from the coupe - for the front.
the screws did not punch through the aftermarket covering, and we had
to fuss with that a lot (Maybe 3 of the 4 worked!!). So the doors
a dark blue and look pretty nice.
The carpet from the coupe fit in well. It was one piece instead
two, which made it fussier to install, but we got it in. It was
stained, but cleaned up pretty well after 15 quality minutes with a
carpet cleaner. Miraculously, all of the existing carpet holes lined
up. We were able to route all of the wires with minimal hassle.
The rear seat fit, albeit snugly (as I was told it would). The
were a no go - since the convertible has window controls, the top
opening was too small and there was NO opening for the courtesy light
(since the cope has it overhead). Stephan gave me the panels, I
try to strip off the covering and re-glue it to my existing panels.
Similarly, the upper-panel pads are differently sized, and I hope
uncover those as well and re-use the material to cover the convertible
We raced against the clock to install the last of the parts and as I
went to leave the seat belt buzzer failed to shut off. We never
connected the wires. After a mad dash to try to fix it (I was
late) Stephan suggested that disassembling the lower dash and removing
the buzzer would be faster. So we did! Quickly. We
buzzer, and now I need to fix all of the wiring to that the automatic
seat releases and seat belt alerts work properly. The power seats
On the way we have dozens of mismatched screws, missing holes, things
that didn't quite fit and parts that were not what we hoped. But
the end, the inside of my car looks MUCH better and FEELS better to sit
I left at 3:30 - 30 minutes past my absolute drop-dead departure time.
I rudely left Stephan with an awesomely bad mess in his driveway,
I felt bad about that (Sorry, Stephan!), but I felt even worse about
the possibility of failing to meet my commitment at home.
I completed the drive home, top down and top speed, in record time.
Cranking the tunes, getting burned by the relentless autumn sun.
I love my new interior seats. Thanks Stephan and Janine! I
dumped most of my parts stash on Stephan. I so rarely work on my
that there is no point for me to have them. Working on a car has
become a social event for me, so I'm sure the next time I need a part I
will drive out to Walnut Creek again for another mechanical play date.
Stephan should be posting photos on House of Cadillacs soon. I
need to fine tune the installed bits, but the mismatched, non-orginal,
non-convertible, incorrectly colored seats are just TONS better than
what I had.
Did I mention that I'm smiling?
Stephan has published a photo
essay of the project.
Live and Drive in LA: Being Planned.
The philosophy of this cruise is to pack as much
into a weekend trip, 12 hours of which is already eaten up getting to
from the greater LA Metroplitian area. The basic idea is to drive
that you have heard of, eat at only famous places, and find every
even mentioned in a rock and roll song and drive down it.
- Mulholland between Cahuenga and Coldwater Canyon
- Ledgewood drive to the Hollywood Sign
- Hollywood between La Brea and Argyle
- Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
- The 110 to the 105 to Crenshaw Boulevard
- Santa Monica Boulevard
- Bob's Big Boy
Toluca Lake (Burbank) on a friday night
- Casa de Cadillac in Sherman Oaks
- Santa Monica Pier
- Capitol Records
- Griffith Park Observatory
- Forest Lawn
- Cineramadome on Sunset
Visit Legendary Cadillac owners Joe Foerster and Jeff Stork.
Life Madness: Being Planned. This was the
Shhh, Its a secret. An idea. Madness. Total madness,
On the weekend of 6/25/2004, I have a vision: An idea that is
indefensible, and whatever other in-word you can think of.
My wife and kids... gone.
Sean's wife and kids... gone.
Steve's wife and kids... understanding of Steve's need for a break.
My car has a new suspension. It looks like crap, but it can drive.
It can drive a long way.
A long, long way.
It can go to the place it was *born* to go. The place of
The Entertainment Capital of the World. The Land of Elvis
Cadillacs, and Dan Tanner.
Las Vegas, Nevada.
That's right. With no air conditioning, we will sail the 8 1/2
journey across the desert, top down 24x7, slathered in SPF 50.
bugs, burning skin, and mussing our hair all to show up in a place
we will not spend a penny gambling. Except for the utter lack of
Hunter Thompson would be proud.
Put 44 PSI in the tires, 30 gallons of Texas Tea in the tank, and
of drinking water in the back seat. Load up the 8 tracks, and
up the MP3 player. Cut your hair short, stock up on chap
Get some cheap sunglasses, a change of clothes, and a bad
The itinerary includes cruising the arcades on the strip, marveling at
Hoover Dam, getting a chocolate buzz at the Ethel M chocolate factory,
roller-coastering at the stratosphere. Drinking virgin Pina
on faux beaches, and rocking out at the Hard Rock casino. Hitting
water park in the 130 degree heat. Marveling at the New York
Making an archeological dig at Luxor, and looking at the Tigers That
Sigfried and Roy. Sleep all day, adventure all night.
the sleeping schedule, and hide from the cruel desert sun. Big
Yes, my friends. Madness. Madness writ large. I have
to do: Work, homework, community service, long term financial
All of that adult responsibility crap. I would be well advised to
such folly. You should even devote your energy to disabusing me of the
I can hear it.
The beckoning of Las Vegas Boulevard.
My need to drive my 30 year old beater down the strip. To take it
see its home, its roots, the place where it belongs. To thumb my
at the newer slicker cars, and the well dressed gold-lamé clad
people. To slum it into town in the great landshark, in the night,
in the manic glittering of megawatts of wantonly squandered energy.
My wife will kill me. "Where did you get all this Las Vegas
"Las Vegas" "Whaaaaaaaaat!!?!?!"
So, think about it. Talk me out of it. Get on board.
about what you'll pack. Or laugh and delete the message.
I think I may be serious. Do you hear the call?
Far be it from my friends to talk sense into me. Here
the follow up messages.
In order to sweeten the deal, here is what I propose bringing:
a) my personal spud bazooka -- uses hairspray, and can probably put a
through a windshield at 30 paces. An amazing (and necessary)
for a road trip to LV in a convertable. Imagine all the kangaroos
can waste on the way there...
b) some form of guitar that can plug into an amp of some sort that
into your car in some way that allows me to stand in the back seat and
Elvis while driving down the strip at 15 miles an hour...
c) survival gear, in case the climate suddenly changes and/or the
nuke the Western seaboard and we have to fight the irradiated human
mutants and whatnot when the local 7-11 runs out of sunflower seeds and
gulps -- I mean come on, Nevada has prostitutes, so they shouldn't have
problem with guns and ammo in the trunk of the Elvis-mobile.... right?