Summer Approaches: The 2019 Shirey Cadillac Show

Yesterday marked the fifth year I have attended the Shirey Cadillac show in Oak Lawn, Illinois. It is unique in that most of the cars there are interesting and not common show fare. Sure, on occasion there is a hot rod, Mustang or 1957 Chevrolet, but they are a small fringe element to the Broughamage that is usually on display.

1977 Cutlass Supreme Brougham. All original with 24,000 miles.

And it’s always nice to see my fellow Chicagoland Cadillac club friends. I interact with them all the time online, but only see them 2-3 times in person per year.

Oh, and the dealership grills lunch for everyone, gratis. So. I get to eat, yak with my fellow Brougham aficionados, gawk at the cars, and take approximately 250-300 photos each year. What’s not to like?

Although the trip up had a few issues this year. First, it was overcast when I left. Then, started raining hard about an hour into the trip. The bridge crossing Interstate 80 in Joliet is really disintegrating; it looks like a Datsun B210 looked in Milwaukee in 1989.

I crossed said bridge without issue, but immediately after traffic came to an absolute standstill. Fortunately there was an exit right there. I took it, and proceeded to get lost in Joliet. Did I mention it was pouring down rain?

I was IN Joliet about an hour before this photo was taken!

With 80 screwed up, I attempted to find Highway 43. The GPS on my phone wouldn’t do anything but give me the I-80 route. This was ridiculous. Fortunately I had an actual atlas in the trunk of the car, and found a way out of the city.

Via Highway 52, I spotted a sign saying “To Interstate 80” so I took that route. Took the ramp and all was clear. About five minutes later, I started hearing an odd, high-pitched whistling sound. It was like the sound you’d hear at highway speed if a window was open just a little. I checked all the windows; they were up.

1974 Grand Prix, factory 455 V8, buckets and console, slick top and cornering lamps!

Turned off the A/C. Still there. So then I started freaking out. What was it?! The car was driving fine, no warning lights, nothing.

I immediately had nightmares of the transmission exploding one hundred twenty miles from home. It had just been at Strieter Lincoln for service the prior week though, and they said everything was fine, other than new brakes, which were taken care of.

I wanted to pull over RIGHT NOW, but there was no exit for about fifteen miles. During which time your author thought he was going to have a stroke.

Finally took the LaGrange Road exit, pulled over at a hotel, checked everything. Nothing. No leaks, no smoke, no low tire pressure, nothing about to blow up. What the heck?

I was freaked out enough to want to turn around and go home right then and there. But I was already in Tinley Park, Oak Lawn was only like eight miles away. I was 99.5% there already. So I gingerly got off the always-busy, always congested LaGrange Road.

Took a parallel, much less traveled street, and put the windows down, alert for any funny business.

And arrived at Shirey Cadillac on Central Av. without issue.

The first person I saw that I knew was Ron Schweitzer. So he got the whole story, since I was still keyed up and in a high state of freak-out. Sorry Ron, haha.

I believe the total picture count for the day was 202 photos. Cadillac Fever, when it seizes you, simply has to run its course. There will probably be a second post in the near future, on this show.

This was my favorite. 1977 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz in Frost Orange Firemist. What a car!

In the plush 1977 Eldorado dealer catalog, the very same color was prominently featured on the first page. Ever since acquiring that brochure in the late ’90s, it’s become my favorite color on these cars.

Years ago, there was a rough, rusty one in one of the neighborhoods in Rock Island, it finally disappeared around 2001-02. But this one was perfect!

When I saw it, my jaw just dropped. I was like the wolf in the old Tex Avery cartoons. Hubba hubba! Awoogah!

Of course there were plenty of other awesome cars. Some of them you may recognize from prior posts, like the triple yellow 1986 Fleetwood Brougham…

1974 Grand Ville convertible…

and Brittany Blue 1971 Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham.

I’d finally calmed down enough from my weird car noises to grab lunch with Ron and Andrew. This is Chicago, and they know how to grill! Everything’s always good.

It had been partly cloudy when I’d initially arrived, but by now it was bright, sunny and 83. But not humid. Perfect car show weather.

It got nice enough that several more show cars arrived, apparently they had waited for the storm to pass.

I’d more or less relaxed from my drive up, and took several dozen additional pictures. Jim Smith, my go-to guy for 1970s dealership promo model cars, arrived around this time and we proceeded to yak with several other owners.

Finally I decided I needed to head out, being a little nervous about the car acting up on the way home. Home being approximately 165 miles away.

All the stop and go (and long, loooong red lights) in suburban Chicago made me keyed up. This is not where I want the car to conk out, should said conking be inevitable.

Eventually I got back to LaGrange Road, then on to 80. Car was fine.

And remained fine. Well enough that I stopped in Peru, where there is a most excellent antique mall right next to the Interstate. Two six-foot tall showcases there had a ton of 1950s-1970s 1/24 scale dealer promo models, and I always find at least one to buy.

I can easily spend an hour or more in there, but I arrived about 4:30, and they close at 5:00, so I went direct to the main showcase with the promos, and found a 1971 Eldorado promo in Duchess Gold that I had to have. All in all, a fun trip!

Oh, and the car? It was 100% fine. How do I know this? When I was walking through the antique store, all of a sudden I heard that whistling sound again. It sure as heck wasn’t the car that time! The nearest person was a fiftyish gentleman looking at an item in a booth. Definitely not him.

So you know what it was? My damn cochlear implant! My older one used to do it once in a while, though then it was more of a staticky sound. I think all the rain and moisture over the last month, combined with the hot weather, means it’s time to put it in its Tupperware container with the Dri Aid stuff. Man that was a relief. And the car did no further funny stuff all the way back to the QC. Because it wasn’t the dam car!

So it’s a good thing I went to the show. If I’d turned around and went home earlier, and then found out it was my hearing device, I would have been THOROUGHLY PISSED.

I’d have missed this excellent show for no good reason than my assuming the worst possible thing, i.e. the transmission grenading, when it was such a minor thing in reality. Yep, just Stupid Klockau being stupid!

But in the end, I came, I saw, and I Broughamed. The day ended as a win.

9 Replies to “Summer Approaches: The 2019 Shirey Cadillac Show”

  1. John C.

    On the 74 Grand Prix, wasn’t the crossfire mahogany on the dash at least actually wood, or was that just the Grand Am?

    The 455 was disadvantaged by having to quote net horsepower, 250, that sounded low compared to the gross numbers of five years before, but compared to the 301 that was coming in 76 with more Monte Carlo like price and equipment levels, it was still pretty special. Thanks Tom, glad your car turned out okay on the trip.

  2. Tom Klockau Post author

    John, it was genuine wood on the GP 1973 and 1974, after that it was fauxwood. I loved the color combo on that car, especially the white interior with blue dash and carpet!

  3. stingray65

    Amazingly well kept up cars – thank God there are some anal car collectors who refuse to drive in bad weather or drive at all, but always keep their pride and joys polished, covered, and serviced so the rest of us can be reminded what they were like in their prime 40 or 60 years ago. Thanks for sharing Tom.

    • Stephen

      I disagree, just drive it.

      I won’t drive mine in the rain voluntarily, but I just finished a 3 day vintage car rally through the Colorado mountains. 1100 miles in a 1965 American economy car. They like being driven, and you remember why you own it.

      I was thinking about writing the trip and sending to Jack to put on the website.


    • Carmine

      They’re cars, not wedding cakes, they were made a in dirty factory, sat in dirty lots getting rained and snowed on, then they rode on dirty trains to dirty car lots where they were given spit shine and put on the road, they’re tougher than you think.

      Don’t abuse them but use them for sure.

    • Tom Klockau Post author

      It was an all-GM show put together by the West of the Lake region of the Cadillac LaSalle Club.

  4. dejal

    At least a car show with these kinds of cars tends not to attract fuzzy dice, bobby socks, poodle skirts and doo-wop.
    Oh, and white t-shirts with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve.
    Everytime I see a video of Goodwood I cringe. Not the cars but the play time dress up.

    I await the day when Metallica is the music of choice.


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