Here it is, the last Sedan de Ville. Well, for all intents and purposes. As I’m sure you’ve heard, production of the Cadillac XTS, which replaced the Northstar V8 powered 2007-2011 DTS, is ending sometime in October of this year.
And it will end close to thirty-five years of production of full-sized, front wheel drive Cadillacs. Most people won’t notice, most people would prefer an XT5 or XT4, if they’re shopping Cadillacs at all. But I’ll notice. I liked these cars. And I’ll miss them when they’re gone.
When the XTS first appeared as a 2013 model, I thought it was a nice car. From its swept-back, almost fastback-like rear end, it reminded me a bit of the neoclassical 1980-85 Cadillac Seville, Bill Mitchell’s swan song at General Motors. I even tested a 2014 for the old website, and enjoyed it very much. Over the intervening five years, I half kept an eye on XTS certified pre-owned trade-ins at McLaughlin Cadillac, in case they get one in in pearl white or ruby red with the creme leather interior. So far, the right one hasn’t appeared. But I remain vigilant.
The Boeing 737 MAX 10 costs $134,900,000 — that’s about half of the price tag for an F-22 Raptor, but it’s five times as much as you’d pay for an Embraer 175 super-sized regional jet. Given that American Airlines was paying $48.4 million each for 737-800 jets a decade ago, you’d expect that the MAX 10 offers a lot of additional utility and capacity to go along with that significantly increased price. What you would not expect: that much of the software responsible for keeping the big little Boeing in the air was developed in Chennai, India at a cost of $9/hour.
But it was.
So, if you read Parts I and II of my Ettleson Cadillac car show posts, you’ll know I was in Chicagoland about a month ago. I always take Interstate 80, and if they are still open when I pass by on the way home, I always stop by the Peru Antique Mall, clearly visible from 80 itself, in Peru, IL. When I attended the Shirey Cadillac show on Memorial Day weekend, I discovered and bought a 1971 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado dealer promo there.
At that time, there was also a gold 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado promo sitting right next to it in the showcase.
But I picked the ’71 as it was missing only its stand-up hood ornament, while the ’69 had both taillights absent.
Norrington: No additional shot nor powder, a compass that doesn’t point north, (looks at Jack’s sword) and I half expected it to be made of wood. You are without doubt the worst pirate I’ve ever heard of.
Jack Sparrow: But you have heard of me.
Since 1958, the Impala had been Chevrolet’s top of the line model. When Ford added the luxurious LTD package to the Galaxie 500 for the 1965 model year, Chevy quickly responded with the Caprice. Both nameplates started out as a luxury trim level but would become full-fledged models in short order.
In 1965, the Caprice nameplate made its first appearance. Limited only to the Sport Sedan four-door hardtop body style.
This is CNN’s front page as of 9PM EST, 14 July 2019. I brought it up because I was curious to see what they are saying about Willen Van Spronsen, the fellow who brought a rifle to a privately-run immigration detention facility, started throwing Molotov cocktails at a propane tank, and died after being shot by police. His actions were no doubt at least partially influenced by media coverage of “concentration camps” and various calls to violent action from progressive media sources.
Think of him as Tim McVeigh, only far less effective, I guess. It has long been an article of faith among America’s left wing that McVeigh was stirred to action by a rising chorus of antigovernment voices such as Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy. If you buy that argument, then it almost certainly applies to Van Spronsen as well, with the added unpleasantness of the voices in this case being so-called papers of record in the United States.
In any event, if you get your news from CNN you’ll learn a lot this evening. A YouTube star died. “Duchess Meghan Meets Queen Bey”. Serena Williams “drops the mic” on a reporter’s question. But you won’t see anything about Von Spronsen. He’s been memory-holed. Was it ever going to be any other way? So let’s focus instead on CNN’s headlines for the night. As you can see, particularly if you aren’t red/green colorblind, there’s a common theme.
Before we begin today’s discussion, I have to get something off my chest. Long-time readers of this blog will recall my personal fascination with New Orleans, pursued through various visits and acquisitions. They may also recall my fondness for the David Simon show “Treme”. I’m not sure there is much, if anything, to improve about that show, but there’s one scene that really grinds my proverbial gears. It comes from Season One, Episode Five:
Producer: “Do you want to cut bass and drums first?”
Davis: “What is this band, Journey? Everyone in the big room, all at once, classic New Orleans R&B”
Producer: “Gonna have to call me Cosmo”
Why does that piss me off? Because Journey’s best-selling (and, frankly, just plain best) album, Escape, was recorded live in the studio. They didn’t split the musicians up and record them individually, the way Page did with Zeppelin or… well, pretty much every other arena-filling rock band did. Journey albums have a diamond-hard polish to them, but it’s mostly because the musicians involved are Just. That. Good. Even if their musical instruments are worthless.
Now you can argue that Steve Zahn’s character in “Treme” is meant to be an idiot, so perhaps that line in the script is meant to point out how stupid he is. ‘Twould be nice, but I doubt it. I think that David Simon just assumed that Journey did everything the way Steely Dan or the Doobie Brothers did, crafting pop confections one subtle ingredient at a time. He probably has no idea that Escape was recorded in six weeks, while Aja took ten times as long and cost about twenty times as much.
Which isn’t to say that Escape was not carefully produced, or that you can’t find a tremendous amount of tradecraft in it. Which brings us to the above video.
You knew it was going to happen. I took approximately 335 pictures at this show, so I was pretty sure one round wasn’t going to do it!
And although the earlier post on this event was all Cadillac, all the time, Buick owners were also invited to bring their cars, so we’ll see a few of Flint’s finest for this round. Enjoy the ride!
If there is one thing I do not know how to do, it is this: conceive, write, and publish a book. The 400-page anthology I assembled back in 2016 is still stuck in my laptop because I haven’t made time for the Itchy-And-Scratchy-Movie-style 40% new content, the photo book on Matsumoku-built Electra guitars was stillborn when my photographer got a day job, and the witty little Updike-lite period piece on social-media-driven adultery has been trapped in my backbrain for half a decade. I can crank a novel’s worth of words in 30 days but I have to do it 1,500 at a time. Oh well.
Luckily for me, Larry Webster came up with the brilliant idea of having me write one-fourth of a book. Three out of twelve chapters. Easy as pie. Did it Hall-and-Oates-style in a minute. Larry wrote another quarter of the thing, Zach Bowman contributed some heartfelt storytelling, and we arranged a bunch of superstar sidebars from writers, actors, racers, and collectors.
The finished product is called Never Stop Driving.
Last week, valued long-term commenter baconator offered a comment/topic for discussion that, to my mind at least, warranted a more detailed and considerate answer than I might be inclined to give in the comments. Read on to see if you’re convinced by my answer.