Two Sundays ago I attended the twice-a-year model car/promo/kit swap meet and show in Countryside, IL, in suburban Chicagoland. As usual, I brought plenty of cash. As usual, I spent a lot of it. I got several nice Cadillac promos. One of them was this dark red 1966 Cadillac Coupe de Ville promo, which I got from my buddy Jim Smith. And all was well-until last night.
I was doing some cleaning around the house that evening and noticed that this model had a dusty interior. Common on these old promos, as many of them have sat on shelves for decades. The easy solution is a Q tip. So as I was cleaning the 1/24 scale seats and floorboards, I knocked the steering wheel off. It must have been previously glued, maybe with Elmer’s glue or something, because it shouldn’t have come off so easily.
Ordinarily this would be an easy fix if the model was a convertible. A drop of superglue, pressure for 30 seconds or so, job done. But the tiny vent windows on this car prevented easy access to the dash. As well as my fat fingers, as I found out with increasingly mounting fury.
To make matters worse, the freaking wheel itself was just a smidge too large to fit thru the window, and when I tried they popped out of the tweezers’ grip. Multiple times. By this point there was lots of colorful swearing. ‘Dagnabit’ and ‘consarnit’ quickly gave way to R- and X-rated epitaphs. The tiny Cadillac crest on that steering wheel was laughing at me, I tell you.
I just kept getting more and more pissed off. Which is always a recipe for disaster. And naturally I went backward success-wise in increasingly futile attempts. I was using my phone’s LED flashlight for extra light, and it got thrown across the room at one point. And I came *thisclose* to doing the same thing with the car. Oh, ohhh, it would have felt sooooo good to smash the freaking thing. For two seconds. Then regret would have immediately set in, and ‘Dammit, why was I so stupid?’ recriminations. I know this from model kits I built as a kid. And it’s why I rarely build model kits today, I just don’t have the patience.
So I took a break before I blacked out and wrecked this awesome tiny Cadillac, but it took some effort. Finally, after about the 26th try, I got the damn thing to seat properly in the socket, and all was well. I don’t even remember how I did it. Man, the whole experience drove me nuts! I quickly put it back on the shelf and made a vodka tonic. Or two. Or was it three?
Anyway, this morning I thought it was kind of amusing, and thought I’d share it, now that the fury and frustration was burned off after a good night’s sleep. Ha. I really do love the model though. Thanks to a certain movie this past summer, I’ll always associate 1966 Coupe de Villes with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Was ’66 Peak Cadillac? Maybe, though ’58, ’62 and ’68 are all great years too.