(Note: This was written up by a friend of mine, Tom Conti. As he only had a couple of pictures of the subject car (the navy blue Cadillac), I went into ‘the vault’ and found some pictures I took of a similar Coupe de Ville, but in white. -TK) Sometimes, you just need to go for it. I am so happy that my Dad was able to fulfill the last item on his bucket list – owning a Cadillac. He had always wanted to own a Caddy before he died and he finally did. The year was 1989, December to be exact. Dad was in poor health, being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and only six months to live. He owned an ’87 Maxima at the time that he was never really happy with. “It rides too rough” or “it is just too small” were the constant complaints that my Mom and I would get. The latest Motor Trend issue had a very positive write-up on the new Caddies, so of course I had to make it my job to see that Dad read that article. Did I have influence on this purchase? You bet I did!
I wanted him to be happy more than anything and I knew owning one of these cars would certainly do that. After reading the different articles and reviews I could tell he was impressed. One Saturday he decided he and I would take a ride to the local dealer. They had a nice selection to choose from, but the salesman we caught was an obnoxious jerk. He had no desire to sell my Dad a car that day which I found extremely odd. Hmmmmm…….the perfect demographic for a new 1990 Sedan deVille is a 63 year old currently driving a Maxima he doesn’t like. Oh well, your loss! On to the next dealer!
This time we convinced Mom to come along to “look.” Well, my Mom and I spotted one that we thought Dad would like. It was a Sedan deVille in a light brown color called Antelope with matching leather interior. “No, I want that blue 2-door in the showroom.” Well that was a surprise….Dad wants a COUPE? There it was glistening in the showroom – a 1990 Spring Edition Coupe deVille in Medium Sapphire Blue Firemist that had been special ordered by a customer and at the last minute cancelled.
It was a highly optioned one, too. Ironically the one option it didn’t have was the factory theft deterrent system which I found odd, but it had every other option you could get – even the ultra rare heated Instaclear windshield!
But wait….it had the gold emblem package……no, Dad wouldn’t hear of it. He told them to remove the gold ornaments, emblems and scripts and replace them with silver ones or there was no deal. They switched them! So that was the car he got. I remember the day we picked it up like it was yesterday. Time doesn’t erase such a happy, memorable event! The smile on Dad’s face was the biggest I had seen on him in a long time.
He drove that car everywhere while in remission, taking Mom and the grandkids all over New England in that car. He polished that blue paint almost every weekend. He conditioned the leather seats constantly too. And absolutely loved every minute of it. I never saw him so excited and thrilled with a car before – in fact, he often called it the perfect car.
It was comfortable, roomy, stylish, fast…..what else could you want from a car? And was it ever reliable. Never back to the dealership once for any warranty work. Ever. Well, sadly Dad’s cancer returned and he passed in July of 1993. His love for the Caddy was enough to convince Mom to drive it for five more years until 1998.
It had developed an oil leak and a few electrical glitches so she decided it was time for something newer. It was hard to part with that car because of Dad’s love for it and all the memories, but Mom knew it was time. I am convinced that car gave him a reason to fight his cancer as he lived four good years in remission.
Sadly, for some strange reason the coupes of this generation are not well-loved by many in the internet world today. Things like awkwardly styled, not as nice looking as the sedan and out of proportion are often said about them. Well I beg to differ. We got so many compliments on that car it was crazy! And I don’t see the odd proportions whatsoever. All I see is a beautiful car that made one man very proud and happy!
Thank you for sharing! It’s always nice to hear about enthusiasm for a car that doesn’t have an enthusiastic cult following.
When I was younger, I wondered “why didn’t Lexus take over the world of luxury cars in 1990?”. And it’s apparent that other manufacturers sold things that were different and not quite as inferior as the collective hallucination would have us believe.
Glad you enjoyed Dad’s story! He had considered a Lexus, but his comment to me about never owning a Caddy stuck with me so when I saw the positive write-ups in the car magazines I made sure Dad read them. Glad I did!
This was a touching story and I’m glad you shared it. It’s nice that your dad was able to get what he wanted while he had the time to enjoy it. I imagine that it was more than just the car, it was what it represented – that he had made it to a point in his life where he could enjoy the fruits of his labors.
I hope we all get to enjoy our last years the same way he did.
Exactly. He worked so hard all his life only to retire and get sick. The Caddy gave him something to focus on and he enjoyed it immensely. And yes that car definitely gave him some satisfaction for all the hard years he worked. Glad you enjoyed reading Dad’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it!
What a nicely presented story! I remember when you and your dad stopped by my house right after he purchased it. We took it for a ride on the highway and it gave a superb ride with full power. Thanks Tom for sharing the memory.
You’re welcome Walter! I am so glad you were a part of that wonderful day!
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I hated these cars when they were new, I was young. I thought the Benzes and Jags were soooooo much cooler.
In retrospect being driven around in that back seat seems awesome.
I think people will appreciate them more and more as time goes on.
I understand why your father wanted the dark blue coupe – it looks great in that color. I’m agreeably surprised by the back seat room, too. It looks spacious back there. So glad your father ditched the Maxima and got something he really liked.
It really was a stunning car. The back seat was huge and comfortable! We used to go everywhere in that car. It rode beautifully and was very well-built. The Maxima was just not Dad’s cup of tea. So for him to get a car he loved at the end of his life was priceless.
My grandpa’s first Cadillac, 1989/1990 Cadillac Sedan deVille (medium or dark blue w/ dark blue leather), was also his last car. I rode along to pick it up from the dealership. Ohhhh I loved it! My grandma hated it. “Back window is too small, needs premium gas!!!!!” I had forgotten how beautiful that navy interior was, WOW! Thanks for sharing, and bringing to light a memory from a quarter of a century ago.
Edit: I owned a (used) red one. That beautiful, shiny car got way too much attention, more than I could stand. Buicks from then on out. I believe this is part of the reason my grandma and her children never buy Cadillacs.
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