Yesterday morning I woke up very early and was on the road by 6:30, bound for Shirey Cadillac. Why? Simple. Broughamage.
Options. It’s always nice to have options, especially when you’re talking Detroit luxury like Cadillac, Lincoln and Chrysler. Take Cadillac in the mid-1980s, for example. Between 1980 and 1986, Cadillac Motor Division went through some major changes. It arguably had to be done, but by 1986 most people used to Cadillacs being large, plush and heavily chromed were in for a surprise. Sure, they were still plush, but a crash diet program in anticipation of major gas price increases (that never happened) made for a very different showroom experience. Except for one holdout.
The De Villes and Fleetwoods introduced as very early ’85 models were completely different from their ’84 iterations. Smaller, yes, but also more space efficient-and front wheel drive! Despite the huge change in design, they sold well.
My good friend, Jim Smith, recently celebrated his 50th annual visit to the Chicago Auto Show. I’ve known Jim for several years thanks to Facebook, and have bought myriad dealer promo models and vintage brochures from him as well. As a fellow gearhead and Broughamophile, he has taken many pictures at the show for decades-well before it was cheap and easy as it is today with smartphones. Just this past weekend he posted a number of terrific pictures to my favorite Facebook group, The American Brougham Society. I was bowled over by them, and Jim has graciously agreed to let me share them here on RG. Continue Reading →
2015 was a big year for me. Not in home and hearth (I haven’t moved since 2002) nor at work (been at the same place, happily, since 2013), but in other matters. For starters, I left CC. Why? Easy. The guy who runs the site became insufferable. Let’s leave it at that. As a result of that voluntary departure, I decided that 2015 was going to be “the summer of George!” It was going to be my year. I was going to do what I wanted. So I did. I joined the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club, went on a club meet to the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee (and had a blast!), bought a second Town Car, and met a lot of terrific people I had previously only known via Facebook. Case in point: The 2015 Shirey Cadillac show in Oak Lawn, Illinois (convenient to the City of Chicago).
Some people love Corvettes. Others are really into Civics. And in certain parts of the country, there are fine folks who will accept nothing less than a diesel F250 King Ranch. But for me, it’s Broughams. Fine, wire wheel-covered, opera-lamped Broughams. With soft Corinthian leather, d’Elegance button tufted seating, St. Regis landau tops, and chrome. Chrome everywhere! Why? Well, my grandparents had Lincoln Continentals, LTDs and Thunderbirds, and they made an impression on me. I was also unduly influenced by my dad’s root beer brown 1979 Pontiac Bonneville during my pre-kindergarten years. Fleetwood Brougham, Cougar Villager and Mark IV toy cars I received as a kid also were a factor. But despite also loving Volvos (I drove them for nearly twenty years) and Porsches (Dad had them before I was born), it always comes back to the Broughams.
Today’s post is by none other than my uncle, Dave Klockau. This was previously published over at the old site I used to write for. TK
In the late 1800s a sailor in the German Navy by the name of Wilhelm Johann Klockau, decided to jump ship in New York harbor and made his way to Rock Island, IL where he got a job as a blacksmith. His family trade in Germany was coach building. He later bought the carriage shop he worked at which eventually became the Klockau Garage. He was my Great Grand Daddy gear head, so we have him to thank for our family affliction.