This past weekend, my friend Jayson Coombes flew up from Texas to visit. Main goal: attend the Cadillac LaSalle Club Grand National in Lombard and the Buick Club of America’s national meet in nearby Lisle.
It was nearly a once in a lifetime event. Two national clubs with extreme Broughamish tendencies would be less than three hours from home base. Sure, Chi-town has gotten even more third-worldish the last couple years, and I’d be lying if those events didn’t give me some pause. But via texts and several phone calls, we decided it was worth it.
And it was. It SO was. But we weren’t sure at first. OK, the show was June 25th. I avoid politics like I avoid sports, which is to say you won’t see a Cubs or Cardinals bumper sticker on my car, if you get my drift. But for those of you that do, you will recall certain court-ish events that occurred the previous Friday. This gave me additional concern, but by then, Jayson was already here. Plus, the event was in the high end Western suburbs, not the city proper.
And then, lo and behold: I was woken up Saturday morning by lightning pulsing.
And the previous week I’d idiotically worn a pair of loafers with pretty much zero cushioning for two days because they still look good and matched my Cole Haan belt. Again, doy. So that my left foot was throbbing and slightly swollen, because I’m not exactly a spring chicken any more, and because I’m stupid.
But when I finally woke up Saturday and it was pouring rain, it only intensified my resolve. Got dam it, I don’t care, I’m going! Eff off Mother Nature!
So we went. And a rainstorm chased us 2/3rds of the way there, making visibility extremely poor when behind the stupid semis doing the stupid ‘pass each other going 0.0007851 mph faster than the other one’ bull schtick. Asshats. But we made it to the Westin Chicago Lombard unscathed.
It was raining but not too bad, and we immediately spotted Jim Smith, my buddy who’s lived in Chicago his whole life and has attended every Chicago Auto Show since 1968.
We struck off to gawk at the cars and take pictures. We also met another pal, Jim Jordan, who brought a friend’s green ’57 Fleetwood Sixty Special all the way from Oklahoma City. Shortly thereafter I spied a MAGNIFICENT Persian Sand 1960 Eldorado Seville coupe and scampered off to take pictures.
Naturally we were as far as possible from the building when the rain started pouring. I’d been distracted photographing a Phantom Gray 1970 Fleetwood Brougham when it began. I stood under a tree for approximately 5 minutes when Jayson came running up, also seeking shelter. We stood there like idiots for about another ten minutes when we wordlessly agreed to say fuck it and ran for the hotel.
We met up with other Cadillac pals, both from the Chicago area and much further locales, and took a picture in front of Harry Caray’s restaurant. It was great seeing friends I ordinarily only communicate with thru FB or email.
But wait, there was a Buick show too wasn’t there? I didn’t really want to drive, as I’m from a smaller metropolitan area and while I have driven in Chicago, Milwaukee and Des Moines with only minor discomfort, I just didn’t want to deal.
But Jayson agreed to pilot the MKZ as he’s much more familiar with congestion and idiots, living near the Dallas Fort Worth area.
It was pretty good too, at the nearby Sheraton, but it was getting toward late afternoon and getting somewhat cloudy again (the sun came out after the rain, around 2 PM) and a lot of cars had left. But there were still a ton of compelling motorcars from Flint.
My favorite was the gold 1973 Riviera GS. Awooga.
Since I’d driven us up, Jayson drove us back, after stopping for dinner at the Harry Carey’s inside the Westin. It was pretty good, by the way.
When we left Moline about 8:15 AM, we had a full tank of gas, we got back to the Quad Cities with about 130 miles to empty, awesome. I never thought I’d buy a hybrid but I love my MKZ. It has all the luxury car gadgets, doesn’t look like the ‘hey look at me in my Prius I’m saving the world’ wheeled virtue signal-mobiles, decent room, and it was certified.
All in all a great trip. Jayson left Monday and I was at the office, but we said our farewells at lunch at a great Mexican place a block away. Good trip. Awesome trip, really. But I’m glad I’m back to the usual routine this week. I’m still recharging!
I hereby declare you famous. So it shall be written, so it shall be done!
Tom, why did you not let me know you were in attendence? I was judging Saturday between rain drops. I invited Jack but never saw him. The green Fleetwood Brougham in the header is Jeff Montgomery’s which he drove from Jersey. The Firethorn and white 76 Eldorado convertible is a 300 mile car riding on its original LR78-15’s, The Firethorn and white Fleetwood Brougham next to the Eldorado convertible, is Micheal Stenson’s which he drove from Phily. Hope you chose something other then a hamburger at Harry Carey’s because they have the worse $20 hamburger that you could find anywhere. 🙂 Anyway it was a great show and Cadillac Motor Division provided a CT4-V street racer in orange, as well as an XT4 and XT5 combover for display. You missed the $150,000 Escalade V Sport that was in the hotel ballroom for the Welcome Reception and Awards Dinner. It was nice of GM to spare them as there are not any at the dealerships…. Again sorry I missed you as I may never be in Chicago again, truck traffic on the south side of the lake the worse…..
PS: drove though Lousiville coming and going and I do not know what Ford is doing but the Louisville truck plant is out of storage space and they are storing 1,000’s of new truck at the airport, go figure….
To be quite frank, I was on 10/10 sensory overload the entire time and was frantically taking picture after picture.
But it would have been great to meet you and chat.
Oh and I got the shrimp scampi, it was good. The wedge salad, I’m not a huge salad guy, but it was possibly in the top 5 salads I’ve ever had. Jayson had lasagna and reported that it was excellent.
Oh and I did text Jack, he would have loved to attend but he was traveling elsewhere in the USA. 🙂
Gald you enjoyed lunch… heard the wedge salad was good.
Well, it was dinner, not lunch, we hit the road about 7. Smooth sailing all the way home.
Lynn I need to pick your brain on judging. Thank you for volunteering to do a thankless job! And I *LOVE* that actual brochure you sent me, a pinnacle of The Ark’s ever growing provenance. Thank you! Laurie and The Ark
You got to love the professional, rain ready, car show guys who have handy land yacht size sandwich bags for their treasures.
John C. yes I felt bad for the owner of that 84 Eldorado convertible wrapped in a sandwich bag… The damage that one of those clear plastic wraps can do to a car is signifiant as it holds the moisture in. I do not know what he was thinking????? There was another car, and 76 Eldorado, that stayed wrapped in clear plastic all week, must be a midwestern thing. 🙂 🙂
The sandwich bag will get you and your detail through the storm. Since this is probably our last at the Riverside, it seems worth going car by car to expose our loves and hates.
For example, I am wondering about corporate Cadillac’s participation. With nothing to offer the trad buyer, maybe making such a full court press at this show, demonstrates that Caddy is now just a brand to be milked in the form of R/T?
I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that the people who coveted V16s during the Depression felt the same way about the big Chevys that were sold as Cadillacs in the decades after WWII that you feel about their light trucks.
I wouldn’t either, and wouldn’t it be great to have hand built cars for just the WASP elite, with gatekeeper salesmen appraising would be buyers in the style of a snooty French restaurant waiter.
But going beyond and leaving behind the self made successes who are still noble in their own way to cater to the you go girrl women and the urban is a bridge too far.
Wow ! .
I’m in sensory overload, THANK YOU SIR ! .
Vince just posted some of the photos I took at the Grand National on the Regional Web Page, here is the link:
@ Lynn ;
OH. MY. GHOD.
THANK YOU SO MUCH ! .
The very first one is sort of a dream car for me although I remember the sky blue paint being more…..Pastel .
So many wonderful pictures .
I’m wondering though : where are all the black folks ? .
Where I live all the really nice old Caddies are owned by black folks and every Sunday they take them out to drive….
I’m ever so glad I was alive when these were just nice old cars from the late 1950’s through the 1970’s, daily drivers most of them then .
In 1960, Buick had two different four-door hardtop bodies for the Electra 225 model. Times do change.