Travels With Jayson

So, with the, ahem, health events, shall we say? I’ve been in a sort of office/home/grocery store limbo. Ordinarily during Memorial Day weekend, I would have spent Saturday morning driving to Chicagoland for the Shirey Cadillac all-GM classic car show, in Oak Lawn.

Alas, all of Cook County is shut down, and the revised, relaxed rules were still too late to attend the event. Dagnabit. My friend in Texas, and fellow Cadillac nut and Cadillac owner (he wrote up his Seville here on RG about a year and a half ago), Jayson Coombes, was going to fly in, rent, hopefully, a Caddy, and we were going to drive in style to Oak Lawn. But all that got blown up.

But, hark! Jayson said F it, and came up anyway. So I devised an itinerary that would be most pleasant, and allow us to stay far, far away from Crook County. He arrived last Friday afternoon, and texted me this pic: “My rental car.” It was, of course, a plug ugly, willfully ugly, Prius. He hates those things, they frequently cut him off on the freeways of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. Altimas and Rogues are close behind in frequency.

Anyway, I responded with a sarcastic comment. But of course he was yanking my chain, and got a nice gunmetal gray 2019 Continental instead. I had been in contact with my other pal K. V. Dahl, who owns a lot of cool classic cars, and we were able to finagle a tour from the Old Car Home Museum’s caretaker, Al.

Al was awesome, and though I’ve been to the museum probably 8-10 times since 2011-12, I never get tired of visiting. The cars are so diverse, and there’s always a new arrival or two to gawk at.

Like this 1940 Lincoln Continental convertible. I’d seen it before via text, but this was the first time I saw it right up close and personal.

Or this 1962 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight with a mere 9900 miles on the odometer.

Everything, from paint to upholstery, is original. OK, maybe not the battery, belts, hoses and tires, but you get the idea.

And a bottle green 1953 Kaiser Manhattan.

All sorts of vintage signs and posters adorn the walls. They were just as interesting as the cars themselves.

Some of you may remember the writeup on his 1960 Chrysler New Yorker, which I wrote up a couple years ago.

This was the newest arrival, a first generation Ford Bronco. I can’t wait to see it when it’s all restored and reassembled.

Afterward, we went to an excellent Mexican restaurant on Brady Street. Iowa had recently reopened, and Azteca was very busy, though most folks were getting carry out. We opted for a table (only half were available, they were keeping folks apart more than usual), and the food and chips and salsa was excellent, as always.

Saturday was spent mostly driving around, after a monsoon-like late-morning rainstorm, anyway. We stopped by McLaughlin Cadillac, where there was a really nice 1993 Allante. My salesman pal, Brian Cox, told us it belonged to the dealership owners. It was in great shape. Even the leather on the driver’s seat was like new.

The day before he was scheduled to head home, after BLTs at Harlan’s, a diner in Davenport, we spied this maroon 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special in downtown Bettendorf.

It was rough around the edges, and both the front and the back seat were full of various stuff, but I spied it, went “Holy crap!”, and veered the Continental over to the curb.

It was a local car, sold new at the long-defunct Warren L. Langwith Pontiac-Cadillac dealership in downtown Davenport. Always love to see a survivor still plying the mean streets of the Quad Cities.

From there we went on a drive along the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, past the giant Alcoa (recently renamed Arconic, but same company) factory and thru LeClaire, home of the cable TV pickers, where this custom Corvette was spied. From there we took the river road up into Clinton, IA, where we drove along the riverfront park (near another favorite restaurant, the Candlelight Inn, located at the Clinton Marina) and checked out a cool antique store on the far side of downtown.

We both found some cool stuff, various model cars and I snagged this 1966 Continental ad. Same color as my grandfather’s first Lincoln, but his was a four door.

So, despite the original purpose of the trip-Caddys in Chi-Town-we had a good time. It was a good visit. Summer’s coming. Hopefully, not every single show will be cancelled, and I’ll be off and about on various and sundry car show excursions yet! Be well, everyone. And remember: Always tip your bartender. And your waiter.


10 Replies to “Travels With Jayson”

  1. stingray65

    Jetting across the country and renting a gas guzzling Lincoln to drive aimlessly around two states spreading germs during a pandemic. If you don’t kill us all immediately with Wuflu, you will kill us all a little more slowly with man-made global warming. Greta Thunberg would not be amused. Good thing I’m in a forgiving mood – thanks Tom for sharing a good story and nice pictures of some very interesting cars.

  2. John C.

    That first shot the Allante shows what a crisp, clean shape it had. Imagine/remember how advanced it would have looked compared to the 380SL and XJS in 1985. Both of the competitors were still trying to give you compromised 1960s interiors while the Allante had enough digital displays for a 2020 Audi.

    No wonder Jaguar commissioned a restyle that year by the great Geoff Lawson that they were not able to get into production till 1991 but then still lead to it’s best sales years.

    Over at Mercedes, they were finally realizing that they couldn’t sell W116 based styling forever and got Sacco to work translating 190E styling cues to a new SL.

    Would either advancement have happened without the Allante?

    • One Leg at a Time

      Those really were gorgeous.

      When they first came out, they were my “when I get old and rich” cars.

      About a week ago, I saw a convertible Allante on the road – looked like it was in great shape. Hit me like a truck that it was around thirty years old.

    • CJinSD

      Too bad the Allante arrived in 1987, when the 380 SL had been replaced by the relatively powerful 560 SL. Mercedes-Benz designed the R129 that succeeded it in 1984, so without any influence at all from the Italian-bodied Cadillac ragtop. I’m calling it a ragtop because the soft top was a major failing of the car that arrived in 1987. Considering Pininfarina had just spent close to thirty years manufacturing the FIAT 124 Sport Spider with one of the best soft top mechanisms in history, I guess GM didn’t know when to leave well enough alone.

      So much of the expense of the Allante was just due to its construction process involving two transatlantic flights that it never had much of a chance of offering value to the customer. It was a very pretty car with hideous tail lights. Shame about the engines and the top though. For the last model year, GM upgraded the rear suspension to be worthy of a luxury car with an engine that tried to copy Lexus and Infinity while adding another sad chapter to Cadillac’s post 1980 engine saga.

      • John C.

        Interesting the replacing of the 380SL with the 560 just when the 300SL was replacing the 280SL in Europe. The USA 300 had 177hp a nice bump from the 380 V8. Given the fanfare in Germany of having a 300SL again, I wonder if we only got a 560 because of the Allante V8? Notice Jag didn’t send over the 3.6/4.0 six in the XJS until Mercedes downgraded the base engine on the R129 when it came to America in 1990 apparently 6 years after it was designed and 8 after the 190E. Must have been Germany’s equivalent of the joint strike fighter. Maybe if they had just used the 124 spider top like you suggested for Cadillac it could have been quicker to market.

        The Allante airbridge would have seemed cooler if they had offered the multi factory multi continent factory tour delivery option. It works for Corvette. Oh sorry, you are tired of hearing of those.

        • CJinSD

          Here are a few facts that won’t cause you to reexamine your fantasies:

          1. The W126 S-class was designed and introduced before the W201 190E that was styled in the same manner as the S-class that preceded it. Nothing could ever be styled like the 190E, because the 190E was a miniature of what had come a couple of years earlier.

          2. The 560 series 5.5 liter engines were a response to lost sales due to grey-market imports of 500 series 5 liter V8s available in Mercedes-Benz cars in Europe starting with the 450 SLC 5.0 of the late ’70s.

          3. The availability of whatever six cylinder engines Mercedes-Benz was putting in European models had nothing to do with what MBNA was putting in the SL in the US. It is possible that the strong performance of the 3.0 liter SOHC six in the W124 forced their hand on killing the 380s in the US, but that’s a different issue from Mercedes upgrading the European base engine. The reason we never got an R107 280 SL is because the R107 was heavy and the 2.8 liter DOHC six of the day was a lesser performer than the previous SOHC six was without emissions controls.

          4. The R129 six coming to the US was probably just down to MSRP creep. The 500 SL and 600 SL were both approaching exotic territory price-wise, and so they introduced a six cylinder once they had a 24-valve six with decent performance in a two-ton car. Cadillac proponents thinking the Allante influenced SL-product planning are like ants fornicating with elephants and yelling, “take it all!.”

          • John C.

            You are wrong about the 190E. Not that it was a miniature but of the wrong model. On the W126, because that was just trying to make the W116 more lite and aerodynamic because the emission engines sucked . Rather that it was a miniature of the W124 and the R129 because at some point rich hippie fools are not going to buy 240Ds that take 30 seconds to 60 just to avoid Detroit.

            I understand if you can’t admit to what I am saying above. A big part of what our Austrian friend at cc claims is that 80s fwd GM is just the same shape recycled and thus lazy/loser. The idea that Mercedes did the same thing because Saco lived up to the Italian tradition of being a one trick pony is too much too bear.

            PN is wrong. MB did a better job bringing what they do to a smaller size with the W201 that any current A class does of offering a fake Golf.. Similarly GM 80s offerings were brilliant because they gave a traditional GM/American experience to a buyer facing the need to downsize. Notice Ford was building fake Audis and Chrysler had to work with just their economy platform.

    • -Nate

      The Mercedes W116 S Klasses chassis was dropped in 1981…..

      Every so often I find a 1979 W116 Diesel in the junkyards , I strip them of the non E.G.R. manifolds & plumbig, just the thing to create a ‘Euro spec.’ OM161 Diesel.

      The W126 that replaced it was a far better car IMO .


  3. -Nate

    OBTW :

    Loved the trip article and notes on the various old cars .

    That ’76 Caddy still looks pretty good to m e .



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