December 4, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

AS A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER I TRY TO TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH THAT TELLS A STORY FOR THE VIEWER.  YOU CAN SEE FROM MY NEW 1976 CRYSTAL BLUE FIRE MIST WHITE LEATHER BLUE CARPETS, DASH AND SEAT BELTS AND FACTORY CABRIOLET PADDED TOP THAT IS IN MY DRIVEWAY. YOU WILL BEGIN TO SEE THE FAMILIAR HUGE PRIVACY FENCE SEPARATING MY HOME FROM THE MCDONALDS WITH THE BIG CABOOSE NEXT DOOR.  I TRY TO HAVE MY DAUGHTERS IN THE PHOTO SO IT DATES IT.  NANCY AND THERESA ARE SITTING ON SOFT PROTECTIVE RUG TO PROTECT THE FINISH ON THE HOOD.

1976 FOR CADILLAC WAS HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PRIMARILY BECAUSE IT WAS SOON COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT THE 1977 FULL SIZE CADILLACS WOULD BE SMALLER WITH LESS PERFORMANCE.  MANY PEOPLE – CERTAINLY MY OWNERS AND CLIENTELE – WANTED THE VERY LAST FULL SIZE CADILLAC WITH THE 500 CU IN V-8.  NO MORE 60/40 DIVIDED SEATS.  ALL 1977’S WOULD HAVE A 50/50 SEAT MEANING THAT THREE ADULTS IN THE FRONT AND BACK SEAT WAS NO LONGER POSSIBLE.  THE TRUNK AREA ALSO SUFFERED.   I WAS PERMITTED TO SELL NEW CADILLACS.  I SOLD VIRTUALLY EVERY FULL SIZE 1976 CADILLAC IN INVENTORY.

CLIFF WAGNER WAS AN EXCELLENT INSTRUMENTED RATED MULTI ENGINE PILOT AND HE FLEW ME TO DETROIT WHERE WE LANDED AT DOWNTOWN DETROIT IN BETWEEN THE BUILDINGS.  WE PROCEEDED TO CADILLAC MOTOR CAR DIVISION HEADQUARTERS ON CLARK AVENUE.  EVERYONE KNEW CLIFF AND LATER ME.  CLIFF HAD 15 OR 20 EMPLOYEES WHO HAD PURCHASED A NEW 1976 CADILLAC FOR THEIR OWN USE CALLED BY SOME “BRASS HAT CARS”.  TOUGH TO COME BY.  I THINK WE BOUGHT 15 THAT DAY TO BE SHIPPED TO RICHMOND INDIANA.  MORE THAN HALF OF THEM I HAD ALREADY PRE-SOLD.

NOTE THE CORRECT WHITE WALL TIRES.  THEY GREATLY ENHANCE THE APPEARANCE AND GIVE IT A UNIQUE LOOK.  THE NEW LINCOLNS WITH MICHELIN TIRES WAS AN EXCELLENT CHOICE BUT THEY HAD SKINNY WHITE WALLS AND INSTANTLY MADE THEM APPEAR TO BE A USED CAR BECAUSE FOR ECONOMY REASONS THAT IS WHAT MOST USED CAR OPERATIONS DO WHEN THEY HAVE TO REPLACE TIRES.  I NEVER WENT FOR THAT.  OUR PRE-LOVED CADILLACS HAD THE CORRECT WIDTH WHITE WALL TIRES.  I DEVELOPED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE UNITED STATES INSTALLATION OF FOUR BRAND NEW BUICK RIVERIA CHROME WHEELS.  THE BOLT PATTERN IS THE SAME – 5 ON 5 15”.  MY PARTS MANAGER, A BRILLIANT MAN, ORDERED THE ROUND CENTER CAPS AND EXPERTLY INSTALLED A CADILLAC CREST IN THE CENTER AGAINST A BLACK BACKGROUND.

I HAD THE BEST LOOKING PRE-LOVED CADILLACS ANYWHERE.  THEY SOLD QUICKLY FOR HUGE BUCKS.  SOME OF YOU MIGHT SAY WAIT A MINUTE, ARE THOSE WHEELS GOING TO CLEAR THE REAR FENDER SKIRTS?  YOU ARE CORRECT.  THEY DID NOT, HOWEVER, BY PROFESSIONALLY GRINDING ABOUT A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF THE FENDER SKIRT ALLOWED EASY TRAVEL WITH THE BUICK WHEELS.  YOU FOLKS OUT THERE THAT ARE DRIVING A CADILLAC, IF YOU CAN FIND A SET OF RIVERIA WHEELS AND CAPS, YOU NOW KNOW HOW TO ENHANCE THE APPEARANCE OF YOUR CADILLAC FROM 1971 THROUGH 1976 REAR WHEEL DRIVE ONLY.

WE HAD IN RICHMOND A CAR LOT SELLING USED CADILLACS.  THE ORIGINS OF SOME WERE QUESTIONABLE BECAUSE HE WAS COVERING THE VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER ON THE DASH SO WE COULD NOT VERIFY HIS SOURCE (THAT’S AGAINST FEDERAL LAW).    AN EMPLOYEE OF CADILLAC AND SISTER DIVISIONS IS ALLOWED TO PURCHASE ONE NEW VEHICLE A YEAR AT THE WHISPERING PRICE.  THERE ARE STRICT GUIDELINES AS TO THE DISPOSITION OF THEIR VEHICLE ESPECIALLY IF THEY PURCHASE MORE THAN ONE.  IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE SOLD THROUGH A CADILLAC DEALER SO IT CAN BE PROPERLY SERVICED, BEAUTY TREATED, ADDRESS ANY RECALLS, AND DELIVER A FINE VEHICLE TO THE NEXT OWNER WITH A MODEST EXTRA COST CERTIFIED EXTENDED WARRANTIES.

ONE EVENING AN INDIVIDUAL PULLED UP ON OUR WAGNER USED CAR LOT TO LOOK AT A UNIQUE TRADE IN.  HE WAS DRIVING THE IDENTICAL SAME COUPE DEVILLE I SAW ON THE OTHER LOT THAT MORNING.  I ALWAYS STUDY THE COMPETITION ALMOST DAILY.  WHILE HE WAS ON A DEMONSTRATION DRIVE, I WROTE DOWN THE VIN NUMBERS, TOOK A PHOTO AND GAVE IT TO CLIFF WAGNER.  THE NEXT DAY THAT COUPE DEVILLE REAPPEARED ON THE OTHER LOT AGAIN FOR SALE WITH VIN NUMBER CONCEALED.  I TOOK ANOTHER PHOTO AND GAVE IT TO CLIFF.  CLIFF  CALLED THE INDIVIDUAL AND SAID HE HAD BEEN AWARE OF WHAT WAS TAKING PLACE AND WANTED TO INFORM HIM OFFICIALLY THAT HE WAS DROPPED FROM ALL CADILLAC PROGRAMS FOR LIFE INCLUDING HIS FAMILY.  THE INDIVIDUAL APPEARED TO BE IRATE AND DEMANDING.  CLIFF  SAID, YOU WOULD BE WISE TO ACCEPT THIS DECISION FROM CADILLAC.  YOU COULD ALSO FACE CRIMINAL FEDERAL CHARGES FOR VIOLATING LAWS REGARDING VIN NUMBERS.

CLIFF WAGNER HAD ON EVERY PRE-LOVED CADILLAC IN MY INVENTORY THAT WOULD QUALIFY (MOST DID) A CADILLAC CERTIFIED EXTENDED FACTORY PRE-OWNED WARRANTY GOOD ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY AT A SMALL CHARGE – YET VERY MUCH WORTH IT.

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