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Gregrnk
Pit Crew

Why a 1979 Cadillac Coupe Deville Phaeton

Why a 1979 Cadillac Coupe Deville Phaeton

 

Most car enthusiasts have a story or their car(s) have a story.  I am no different. You may ask, why a 1979 Cadillac Coupe Deville Phaeton?  In 1980, my parents bought a blue over white1979 Coupe Deville Phaeton; very nice for a middle class working family back then.  I was 10 years old at the time.  I remember my father spending many hours in the garage maintaining the caddy.  My father promised it to me.  He kept it till 1986, when he traded it in for a front wheel drive black 1986 Fleetwood Cadillac brougham d'elegance (a story for another time).  I reminded my father that he said he would give it to me and he responded, “you don't want that car, it's rusting and leaking oil”.  So away went the Phaeton.  No big deal, I was excited that he got the short body (Fleetwood).  However, not receiving the 79 must have had some sort of subconscious effect on me.  I have or at least, I use to occasionally have several different recurring dreams.  One of which was of me owning my father’s 79 Coupe Deville.  I was always an adult in the dream and the dream was always similar.  I was busy doing a task and in the middle of doing that task, I would suddenly remember that I owned the Coupe Deville. Then I stopped doing the task and went to the garage.  The garage was always the garage of the house I grew up in on 79th & Hoyne in Chicago.  I would enter the garage, and there it was, the 79.  It was always clean.  I would start it and drive it around, going nowhere in particular.  The drive would always make me happy.  Then I would wake up.  I never thought much of the dream.  One day, I was in church speaking with a friend, Daryl Smith, who was a car enthusiast.  Daryl owned several old school cars.  Daryl would sometimes buy and sell classics and not so classic cars.  While talking cars with Daryl, I told him about my recurring dream.  He told me to just go and buy an old school car.  I told him that one day I would but I was neither ready nor prepared at that time.  He responded, nonsense, and went on to say that I could buy a car that was suitable for me.  Unconvinced, I went home.  Later that evening Daryl began sending me posts for different old school’s that were for sale, one of which was a 1979 white and blue Coupe Deville Phaeton just like my old man’s.  Looking at the post made time stop.  I thought, although I was not in the car market, what’s the harm in asking the seller a simple question about the car.  So I did.  The car was listed at Cody’s Classic Cars in Wisconsin.  That one question through the link to Classic Cars turned into many more questions.  Over the next few days and next few weeks, I found myself asking many more questions, which progressed from the link to texting the owner of Classic Cars, Jon.  These questions evolved into conversations through Jon’s personal cell phone.  Jon was great with answering the questions he could and getting back with me with the answers he did not have at the time.  In fact, I became so comfortable with Jon; I almost made an offer for the 79 without seeing it.  My father encouraged me to go see and test drive the car.  So I did.  Accompanying me on the five hour drive was my father, my oldest son and a trusted friend.  

 

Once at the dealership, I was a little discouraged, the 79 did not show as well as it did in the photos.  My son asked me what was the reason for my apprehension, and what was I looking for in a car.  I told him something with a solid foundation.  Something I could restore within 5 years, which is when I planned to retire.  That way the restored car would be my retirement present to myself.  My son asked me if I did not think this car provided that foundation.  Just like that, no more skepticism.  With just a little negotiating with Jon, I was the proud owner of a 1979 white over blue Cadillac Phaeton Coupe Deville that was identical to my father’s.  Jon even assisted me with shipping.  This was in the winter of 2017; I have not had any buyer’s remorse and have not looked back.  Since then, I have made several repairs to the 79, some of which are listed below.   

  • Touched up the paint.
  • My father and I tuned her up.
  • Had both the front armrest Reupholstered.
  • Replaced the front and rear bumper fillers.
  • Replaced radio and speakers with a period looking retro radio.
  • Rebuild the carburetor.
  • Recharged the A/C with R12 Freon.
  • Painted the engine block its original blue and cleaned the engine bay.  
  • Replaced the rear bumper.
  • Replaced the water pump, the heater core, flushed the radiator, and replaced the hoses to the cooling system.
  • Replaced the trunk actuator.  

I still have a list of repairs to make.  With retirement just under 2 ½ years away, I am not sure if I will make my goal of having the car completed by retirement.  Even if I don't, I am loving the journey.

 

Although I don't get a chance to drive the Caddy as much as I would like, when I do, I enjoy it just as I did in the dream I use to have. 

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4 REPLIES 4
Sajeev
Community Manager

Love, love LOVE this!  So glad you made your dreams come true with such a rare Cadillac!  

Gregrnk
Pit Crew

Thank you.  

TG
Instructor

One of my first cars was a mint green 79 coupe deville with a dark green landau top. I bought it from a mechanic for $400 after it had an engine fire. another $150 for a junkyard wire harness and a few hours of labor and I had myself a very nice car at a point in my life where nice things were hard to come by. Many years and miles went by and it finally went to the boneyard with 290,000 miles on the odo. I have never seen another one like it, and I haven't found one yet that I am willing to take the plunge on. I'm glad you did

Gregrnk
Pit Crew

Thank you!