December 2, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

CLIFF WAGNER APPROACHED ME AND SAID, I’VE GOT THE PERFECT CAR FOR YOU.  WE NEED SOME HELP MAKING A NEW CADILLAC DEAL.  YOU’VE ALREADY APPRAISED THIS 1959 CADILLAC COUPE DEVILLE AND YOU ARE RIGHT ON THE MONEY.  SO ASIDE FROM BEING MY USED CAR MANAGER, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY THE CAR?  WE NEED ANOTHER $1200 IN THE CAR TO MAKE OUR DEAL.  I SAID, OF COURSE.

NOW FOLKS, THIS ICONIC WORLD FAMOUS 1959 CADILLAC, IN MY VIEW, WAS ONE VERY IMPRESSIVE LOOKING CAR.   I DISMISS ALL THE SNIDE REMARKS THAT PEOPLE MAKE REGARDING ITS STYLE AND HEIGHT OF FINS WHO UNDOUBTEDLY HAVE NEVER BEEN IN A POSITION TO BUY ONE NEW OR PRE-LOVED.  THIS COUPE DEVILLE WAS ENGINEERED  AND PRICED FOR THE PRIVILEGED.  THE INITIAL APPEARANCE OF THIS CAR WAS POOR.  THIS COUPE DEVILLE WAS SO DIRTY YOU COULDN’T SEE THE CHROME OR THE PAINT AND MAKE A JUDGEMENT TO ITS CONDITION.  I HAVE SOME TECHNIQUES I PERFECTED OVER THE YEARS THAT REVEALS THE CONDITION OF CHROME AND PAINT QUICKLY.  WHEN YOU OPENED THE DOOR, THE INTERIOR WAS AWFUL.  THERE WAS THE UGLIEST SET OF SEATS COVERS I HAVE EVER SEEN ON A CAR AND THEY WERE BADLY SOILED.

THE CARPETS WERE CAKED WITH YEARS OF DIRT, OIL, AND BEVERAGE SPILLS.  THE INDIVIDUAL, AS I RECALL, WAS EITHER A RAILROAD ENGINEER OR HEAVY INDUSTRY AND BOTH VOCATIONS ARE HOT, DIRTY, DANGEROUS WORK.  THE OWNER MAINTAINED ALL DRIVE TRAIN COMPONENTS PERFECTLY WITH A LONG HISTORY OF SERVICE AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE.  IT WAS AFTER ALL HIS GO TO WORK CAR, PERSONAL CAR AND FUN CAR.  WELL, I BOUGHT IT BECAUSE TO ME EVEN WITH ALL THE YUCK, IT LOOKED SPECTACULAR.  BECAUSE THE PAINT AND CHROME WAS COATED WITH SO MUCH ROAD FILM, TAR AND ROAD RESIDUE, THE PAINT AND CHROME WERE SURPRISINGLY PRESERVED.  AS YOU CAN SEE, IT WAS A VERY NICE CAR.

I PULLED THE ENTIRE INTERIOR OUT OF THE CAR.  WITH A RAZOR BLADE, I CAREFULLY REMOVED THE HORRIBLE SEAT COVERS.  WHAT A SHOCK.  THE ORIGINAL FACTORY UPHOLSTERY WAS NEAR PERFECT.  IT WAS NOT FADED BY THE SUN.  BAD NEWS, HOWEVER, WHEN I GOT IN THE BACK SEAT TO CLEAN THAT MASSIVE WINDOW AND I PUT MY KNEE ON THE BACK-SEAT PASSENGER FLOOR, MY KNEE SUNK RIGHT THROUGH THE CARPET.  YOU NORTHERN FOLKS KNOW WHAT IS COMING NEXT, DON’T YOU?  I LOOKED UNDERNEATH THE CAR AND THE CARPET WAS SAGGING BECAUSE THE RUST HAD DISSOLVED THE FLOORS FRONT AND BACK.   FORTUNATELY ON THE 1959 CADILLAC, I WAS ABLE TO WASH ALL OF THE CARPETS IN A HEAVY DUTY LAUNDER MAT MACHINE, DRY THEM, AND PUT THEM ON THE FLOOR IN THE GARAGE.  I APPLIED RITE DYE WITH A SPONGE AND RUBBER GLOVE AND CARPETS WERE BEAUTIFUL..

FORTUNATELY, THIS WAS THE THIRD YEAR FOR CADILLAC’S X FRAME AND ALL VITAL SUSPENSION COMPONENTS HAD NO RUST.  I CUT OUT THE FLOORS THE BEST I COULD.  I PUT IN NEW STAINLESS-STEEL PLATES, DRILLED HOLES AND BOLTED THEM TO THE EXISTING FACTORY FLOOR THAT REMAINED.  I PAINTED INSIDE AND OUT WITH A PRESERVATIVE THAT RESEMBLES UNDERCOATING.  IT WORKED GREAT AS WE HAD NO ORIGINAL PARTS GROUP TO ORDER REPLACEMENT FLOOR FROM – IT HAD TO BE DONE BY HAND.  ALL FUELS LINES AND BRAKE LINES WERE IN TACT AND IN GOOD WORKING ORDER

THE PADDED DASH FOR 1959 WAS IMPRESSIVE BUT HAD A SERIOUS DESIGN FLAW.  THEY ALL SAGGED BADLY FROM THE SUN AND DETERIORATED.  I TOLD GAR THOMPSON AT A & A AUTO PARTS, BRENTWOOD, CALIFORNIA, CLEAR BACK IN 1992 THAT I WAS GOING TO USE THE PADDED DASH FROM A 1960 CADILLAC WHICH WAS IDENTICALLY THE SAME DASH WITH AN IMPRESSIVE BEVELED EDGE EFFECT THAT WAS DESIGNED TO REPEL THE SUN IF YOU LEFT IT IN THE SAHARA.  HE SAID, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.  MOST 1959 REPLACED DASHES WERE REPLACED WITH JUNK YARD 1960’S IF AVAILABLE.  WE ALSO DID NOT HAVE THE COMPANY (JUST DASHES) THAT RESTORES THEM, SO YOU WERE PRETTY MUCH ON YOUR OWN ESPECIALLY HIGH END LOW PRODUCTION LUXURY VEHICLES.

THE 1959 COUPE DEVILLE TURNED OUT TO BE STUNNING. NO ONE COULD BELIEVE THE INTERIOR OR EXTERIOR.  CLIFF WAGNER SEEING THE 1959 ON COMPLETION SAID, I ANTICIPATED THE BELOFF TOUCH, BUT THIS CADILLAC IS GLOWING AND BEAUTIFUL.  YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT CLIFF WAGNER WAS HEAD OF CADILLAC MOTOR CAR DIVISION AND SERVICE AND A BRILLIANT AUTHORITY OF CORRECT CADILLAC DESIGN AND SERVICE.  IT BOUGHT BACK FOND MEMORIES OF AN ERA GONE BY WHEN HE STARTED WITH CADILLAC IN BEAUMONT AND HOUSTON TEXAS

MANY PEOPLE SAW THIS CAR, SO IT SOLD QUICKLY, AND I AM VERY THANKFUL THAT FINANCIALLY I DID VERY WELL.  IT IS DIFFICULT TO DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL THANKS OF SATISFACTION WHEN YOU DRIVE A VEHICLE LIKE THIS AND EVERYONE FUSSES OVER IT AND WANTS TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT.  THEIR COMPLEMENTS WERE USUALLY, I USED TO HAVE ONE LIKE THAT.  I WISH I WOULD NEVER HAVE SOLD IT.  THIS IS A 390 CU 4 BBL DUAL EXHAUST SUPER FOUR SPEED HYDRAMATIC. IF YOU NAIL IT, YOU BETTER HAVE SOMEWHERE TO AIM IT.

THE COUPE DEVILLE — A GREAT CAR.  PERFECT EXAMPLE IS THIS 1959 COUPE DEVILLE I SAW AT THE CADILLAC LASALLE CAR SHOW AT TAYLOR CADILLAC IN DETROIT JULY 2010.  IT IS A CLASSIC BEAUTY!

HEY YOU NFL FOOTBALL FANS . . .  WHO WAS THE FEARSOME FOURSOME?

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