November 30, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

SOMEONE HAD APPROACHED ME WITH AN OLD CADILLAC FOR SALE.  WASN’T SURE WHAT YEAR IT WAS ONLY THAT IT HAD FOUR HEADLIGHTS AND TAIL FINS AND IT WAS BLACK.  I SAID, OF COURSE I WAS INTERESTED IF IT WAS IN MY BUDGET.  THEY INDICATED THAT THE CAR PERFORMED WELL BUT HAD BEEN TAKING UP VALUABLE GARAGE SPACE FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS.  TURNED OUT TO BE A 1958 CADILLAC 62 SERIES COUPE NOT A COUPE DEVILLE.  WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?  BECAUSE THE COUPE DEVILLE HAS A STUNNING INTERIOR WITH MAGNIFICENT SCULPTURED SEATS ACCENTED WITH CHROME TRIM – A CARRY OVER FROM 1957.  UNFORTUNATELY I CAN ONLY ASSUME FOR ECONOMY REASONS GENEROUS MOTORS ELIMINATED THE CHROME BUTTONS ON THE SEAT REPLACED BY PAINTED BUTTONS.  THE CONCAVE CHROME ON THE DASH FOR ’57 REFLECTED LIGHT THAT GAVE THE DASH A VISUAL DEEP FUNCTIONAL DESIGN THAT WAS ELIMINATED BY RIBBED CONCAVE TRIM IN 1958.  ALSO THE ATTRACTIVE METAL FLOOR MOUNTED SPEAKER UNDER THE DASH WAS ELIMINATED.

THE GOOD NEWS FOR 1958 WAS THAT CADILLAC WENT TO FOUR WHEEL COIL SPRING SUSPENSION ELIMINATING THE LEAF SPRINGS FROM 1957.  LEAF SPRINGS CAN CAUSE WHEEL HOP IN HARD ACCELERATION.  THAT RARELY OCCURRED IN A CADILLAC BECAUSE OF ITS CURB WEIGHT.  IT NEVER OCCURRED IN A CONVERTIBLE BECAUSE OF EXCELLENT WEIGHT TRANSFER.  YOU ALSO HAD TO BE VERY CAREFUL IN 1958 BECAUSE YOU COULD ORDER A 2 BBL VERSION OF THE FABULOUS 365 CU IN V-8.  WHY WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN ECONOMY DRIVING A CADILLAC?  SOMEONE ASKED MY DAD IN MY PRESENCE REFERRING TO HIS NEW 1957 CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE, HEY AL WHAT KIND OF MILEAGE DO YOU GET WITH THAT CADILLAC?  MY DAD’S RESPONSE HAS NEVER BEEN FORGOTTEN.  HE SAID, IF I WORRIED ABOUT GAS, I’D RIDE A BICYCLE.  IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD THE GAS, OWNING A CADILLAC YOU’VE GOT NO BUSINESS BUYING ONE.  BUT DAD SAID, I WILL TELL YOU THIS, ON THE HIGHWAY IT GETS BETTER MILEAGE THAN THAT UNDER POWERED CHEVY YOU DRIVE.  HE WAS RIGHT.  TOUGH TO BEAT A 300 HORSE FOUR SPEED HYDROMATIC COMPARED TO A 283 POWER GLIDE EVEN WITH A 1,000 POUNDS LESS WEIGHT.

WELL, THE 1958 62 SERIES COUPE HAD ITS ORIGINAL LACQUER PAINT AND DEFINITELY WAS A GOOD LOOKING CAR.  THE 1957 CADILLAC SOLD 147,000 UNITS.  THERE WERE NO HUGE FLEET, RENTAL CARS OR GET-ME-DONE CREDIT CRIMINALS LIKE WE HAVE TODAY.  CADILLAC WOULD LOVE TO SEE THOSE KIND OF NUMBERS ON THEIR STAND ALONE HALLMARK NUMBERS.

THE 1958 FOR CADILLAC ALSO HAD SOME FAVORABLE IMPROVEMENTS.  THE BEST LOOKING BUMPER EXHAUST EVER MADE ON A CAR WERE PRESERVED FROM RUST AND CORROSION BY RUNNING THE PIPES DOWN ON THE STREET.  THE FINS FACED TO THE REAR AGAIN AND FOUR HEADLIGHTS WERE INTRODUCED.  IMPRESSIVE CAR.  I THINK THE 1958 GM MODEL RUN WAS THEIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY.  PROBLEM – A MASSIVE RECESSION TOOK PLACE CAUSING STRIKES, LAYOFFS AND MATERIAL SHORTAGES.  SO THE NEW 1958 CADILLAC DID NOT DO NEAR AS WELL AS THE 1957.  NOTE DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN, I HAVE MY OWN THEORIES.  THE 1957 CADILLAC 300 HORSE 4 SPEED HYDROMATIC WAS ONE HOT CAR.  IT WOULD LAY BLACK MARKS AND BADLY BEAT SISTER DIVISION PONTIAC, OLDSMOBILES AND BUICK INCLUDING POWER GLIDE CHEVYS AND FORD-A-MATICS FROM HENRY FORD.  HOW DO I KNOW?  BECAUSE I MATCHED OFF WITH THEM SEVERAL TIMES.  DAD WOULD HAVE KILLED ME IF HE HAD CAUGHT ME.  ASK ME SOMETIME HOW I BEAT A 32 FORD DEUCE COUPE IN A DRAG RACE ON THE ANTHONY WAYNE TRAIL IN MAUMEE OHIO.  MY DAD WAS VERY CLOSE TO THE ROLLIE BEALE SPRINT CAR AND DIRT TRACK CHANPION  RACING PEOPLE IN TOLEDO.  DAD AND ROLLIE TWEAKED THE 1957.  OUR 1957 HAD THE RESONATORS ELIMINATED STRAIGHT THROUGH CONSTRUCTION MUFFLERS AND SPECIAL TUNING WITH A LOW RESTRICTION AIR BREATHER THAT CREATED THAT WONDERFUL PERFORMANCE HOWL UNDER FULL ACCELERATION.

I PUT THE BLACK 1958 COUPE ON OUR ANNEX LOT IN PERU AND IT SOLD QUICKLY ALSO GIVING THE SALES STAFF AN OPPORTUNITY TO GENERATE THEIR OWN CUSTOMERS AND GET THE BENEFIT OF THEIR OWN SALE.  THERE WERE NO SUBSEQUENT TRADE INS.

 

EXTREMELY RARE 1969 GTO JUDGE DRAG RACING CAR THAT BELOFF PONTIAC CADILLAC SPONSORED THE GENTLEMAN WHO OWNED THIS CLASS ELIMINATOR 1969 GTO JUDGE GOAT DRAG RACING CAR.  WHEN THIS CAR STARTED UP WITH THE OPEN HEADERS, IT DREW QUITE A CROWD AND YOU COULD FEEL THE GROUND SHAKE.  IT GAVE EVERY FAN OF PONTIAC A REAL SENSE OF PRIDE TO SEE  “GOOD VIBRATIONS”

 

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