December 3, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

 

THIS WILL PERHAPS BE ONE OF THE GREATEST CAR STORIES EVER TOLD.  MY DAD BOUGHT THIS CAR NEW IN ROSSFORD, OHIO. 

IN 1957-1958 I WAS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL.  BY THAT TIME, I HAD BECOME AN AVID STUDENT OF CARS.  I COULD NAME CARS A BLOCK AWAY.  ANY PHOTOGRAPHS OF TAIL LIGHTS OR WHEEL COVERS, I COULD REVEAL MAKE AND MODEL.  I ALSO BECAME SENSITIVE TO FIT, FINISH, QUALITY OF MATERIALS, WORKMANSHIP, GREAT STYLING AND PERFORMANCE WITH TREMENDOUS THROTTLE RESPONSE.  MY DAD BROUGHT HOME A BRAND NEW 1957 CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE.  I THINK IT WAS A FACTORY OFFICIAL CAR, BUT HE WAS THE OFFICIAL ORIGINAL OWNER.  THE 1957 CADILLAC HAD MANY FIRSTS FAR TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION HERE.  IT WAS AN ENTIRELY NEW CAR.  THREE INCHES LOWER THAN THE 1956.  FIRST TIME THE HOOD WAS LOWER THAN THE FENDERS.  NO FENDER SKIRTS.  THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FUNCTIONAL CHROME BUMPER EXHAUSTS THAT WE HAVE NEVER AGAIN SEEN IN OUR LIFETIME.

THE NEW X FRAME AFFORDED REMARKABLE HEAD AND LEG ROOM EVEN IN A CONVERTIBLE.  THE ONE YEAR ONLY SCULPTURED CHROME TRIMMED CHROME BUTTON TUFTED LEATHER SEATS WERE SPECTACULAR.  OBVIOUS THAT NO EXPENSE HAD BEEN SPARED.  THE NEW DEEP DISHED CHROME TWO TONE STEERING WHEEL WAS STANDARD.  ENTIRELY NEW DASH WITH CHROMED CONCAVED REFLECTIVE TRIM.  FIRST TIME FOR BOTH RADIO KNOBS TO BE ENGINEERED SIDE BY SIDE.  FIRST AND LAST YEAR FOR A FLOOR SPEAKER.  A 300 HP NEW 365 CU-IN. CADILLAC 4 BBL V-8 WITH NEW SUPER FOUR SPEED HYDROMATIC WAS STANDARD IN EVERY 1957.  IF YOU NAILED IT, YOU BETTER HAVE SOMEWHERE TO AIM IT.  IT WOULD LAY BLACK RUBBER AND HAUL HINNY.  WHEN IT SHIFTED UNDER FULL THROTTLE, IT WOULD BARK THE TIRES.  DAD WAS VERY CLOSE TO THE ROLLIE BEALE SPRINT CAR RACING FOLKS OF TOLEDO.  THEY REJETTED THE CARBURETOR, ELIMINATED THE CUMBERSOME HEAVY OIL BATH AIR BREATHER, AND INSTALLED STRAIGHT THROUGH CONSTRUCTION MUFFLERS ELIMINATING THE RESONATORS GIVING A PLEASANT SOUND YET UNDER FULL THROTTLE, IT WAS VERY HEALTHY.

I TREASURED THE MOMENTS THAT DAD AND I SPENT INSIDE FRANK’S GULF STATION AFTER CLOSING AND APPLIED COATS OF INTOXICATING CADILLAC BLUE CORAL BEAUTY TREATMENTS ON THE LACQUER THAT LOOKED LIKE GLASS.  I HAD IT IN THE ROSSFORD EASTER PARADE WITH THREE OF MY GORGEOUS CLASSMATES PERCHED ON THE BACK: VIRGINIA, THEONE, AND BETTY.  

YOU MUST HEAR HOW I WAS CHALLENGED TO A DRAG RACE IN MAUMEE OHIO ON THE ANTHONY WAYNE TRAIL BY A LITTLE YELLOW 32 FORD DEUCE COUPE.  WITH DIANE GRUNST SITTING NEXT TO ME, I TOLD HIM, IT’S NOT MY CAR.  HE SAID, NO KIDDING.  HE HAD CHROME LEG PIPES, SMALL BLOCK CHEVY, CORRECT WHITE WALLS, AND 58 DODGE ROYAL LANCER SPINNERS.  COOL.  THE BRIEF DESCRIPTION IS THIS:  AS THE TRAFFIC WAS BACKING UP BEHIND US AT THE STOP LIGHT, I SAID I’VE GOT YOU BY 1,000 POUNDS.  LET’S GO FROM 45 MPH.  AGREED.  WE BOTH NAILED IT.  I DIDN’T KNOWANYONE COULD SHIFT A FOUR SPEED THAT FAST.  WHEN THE CADILLAC SHIFTED INTO THIRD AND I SAW 100 MPF ON MY SPEEDOMETER, DIANE WAS HYSTERICAL AND I STARTED TO BEAT HIM.  I SNOWED HIM UNDER WITH HORSEPOWER.  THEN OF COURSE, I STILL KEPT MY FOOT IN IT.  AT THE DISTANCE I SAW THE LIGHT TURN RED.  I FORGOT ONE IMPORTANT THING.  POWER BREAK FADE – I REMEMBER MY DAD ALWAYS PULLING A BIG HOUSE TRAILER ON VACATIONS SAID TO PUMP THE BRAKES.  I DID.  I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO PUT IT IN THE MEDIUM BUT FINALLY GOT IT STOPPED.  AT THE NEXT DRIVE IN, WE GOT TO MEET ONE ANOTHER.  GREAT GUY.  HE COULD NOT BELIEVE LOOKING UNDER THE HOOD, THAT THIS CADILLAC WAS STOCK.

COLLEGE AND SERVICE CAME ALONG, AND I WAS AWAY FROM HOME FOR MANY YEARS.  AS MY AUTOMOBILE CAREER BLOSSOMED IN INDIANAPOLIS, DAD CAME WITH HIS LONG FACE AND THE CONVERTIBLE AND SAID, I WANT YOU TO SELL THE CAR FOR ME.  I KNEW IT WOULDN’T SELL IN ITS PRESENT CONDITION AND BRING TOP MONEY.  I AGREED I WOULD BUY THE CAR.  LATER WITH ADDITIONAL $2,000 OUT OF POCKET PREPARING RUSTED FLOORS AND PANELS, CARPETS AND THE NECESSARY MECHANICAL UPGRADES, IT WAS READY.  DAD AND MOM CAME FOR OUR THERESA’S FIRST COMMUNION.  DAD SAW HIS  PERFECT  CONVERTIBLE AND HAD TEARS IN HIS EYES.  I HANDED HIM THE KEYS AND HE FOLLOWED MOM BACK HOME IN HIS 1957 CONVERTIBLE.

PHOTO IS DAD AND HIS CAR WITH MR. AND MRS. ED SCHMIDT.  YEARS LATER WITH DAD IN A NURSING HOME NEVER TO DRIVE AGAIN, MOM SAID “SANDY, DO YOU WANT TO BUY DAD’S CAR? I SAID, YES.  DAD THOUGHT IT WAS ALWAYS WORTH $75 MILLION DOLLARS.  COUSIN JOHN “BOBO” SADEK, MY VERY GOOD FRIEND AND AUTOMOBILE MAN, SAID AUNT LAURA, UNCLE SASHA’S CADILLAC IS IN VERY BAD SHAPE.  IT’S ALL RUSTED TO PIECES.  I THINK IT IS WORTH $7,500.

THERE WAS A CLASS FOUR HITCH ON THE CAR.  HE TOWED HOUSE TRAILERS ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES ON VACATION FROM LIBBY OWENS FORD WHERE HE WAS HEAD GLASS MAKER. HE PUT 75,000 MILES ON THAT CAR AND TURNED IT INTO A NON-FUNCTIONAL RUSTED HULK.   I AGREED TO BUY IT.  IT COST ME $1,500 TO SHIP IT TO CALIFORNIA WITH THE ORIGINAL DARK YELLOW OHIO TITLE WITH STAMPS FOR EVERY YEAR REGISTRATION. SOME OF YOU OUT THERE WHO CAN APPRECIATE EMOTION OVER BRAINS CAN UNDERSTAND.

OFF THE CARRIER AT MY HOUSE IN BENICIA, IT HAD ZERO BRAKES.  DRIVING IT INTO THE GARAGE, I WAS STOPPED BY THE TWO RUBBER CHROMED BUMPERS MAKING NEW HOLES IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM.  I ALSO DISCOVERED THAT THERE WERE NO FLOORS AT ALL.  I AM LOOKING AT THE CONCRETE FRONT AND BACK.  THE ONLY WAY I COULD GET IT TO START WAS BY DUMPING KEROSENE IN THE CARBURETOR.  I JOYLESSLY DETAILED THE ENTIRE CAR WITH THE BELOFF TOUCH.  IT LOOKED GREAT.  PROBABLY WOULD HAVE MADE A NICE PLANTER WITH FLOWERS.

AS WE WERE PREPARING TO MOVE TO MEMPHIS, I KNEW I HAD TO DISPOSE OF THE CAR.  I DID NOT HAVE $50,000 MINIMUM TO DO IT RIGHT.  A FORCED QUICK SALE PRODUCED $6,500 FROM MY VERY VALUED FRIEND GAR THOMPSON AT A&A AUTO PARTS IN BRENTWOOD CALIFORNIA (CADILLAC SALVAGE YARD).  HIS FIGURE WAS EXTREMELY FAIR.  I THINK AFTER SOME SUBSTANTIAL FUNDS ON HIS PART, DAD’S 1957 CADILLAC WENT TO POLAND WHERE THE  FOLKS IN WINTER LOVE TO WORK ON CARS.

RETURN

 

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