57 HEAVEN!

I ONLY LOVE YOU FOR YOUR PINK CADILLAC

WORDS ANG LOUPETIS * PHOTOS ELLEN DEWAR

TOYBOX

BUILDING YOUR DREAM GARAGE COMES AT A PRICE

$56,950

WE KNOW that you will agree that this is, indeed Cadillac’s finest year, was the claim. Welcome to Cadillac for 1957, GM’s finest motor car that in all its advertising campaigns promised prospective buyers quality, dignity and elegance!

For Cadillac ’57 was a huge year with 10 models on offer including the new flagship stainless-steel roofed Eldorado Brougham.

Most of us remember songs or film clips featuring the iconic image of a Cadillac. Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley sang about them and even owned them. Of all the colours offered it’s the pink Cadillac that has become an enduring cliché.

Glancing through the pages of Unique Cars last month I stumbled on a photo of a Cadillac that really grabbed my attention. This is no ordinary Series 62 Coupe Deville – it’s a car with its own interesting local history.

Back in the late 80s two business partners had big plans to open up a chain of Australian cafes wearing the Pink Cadillac Bar label.

One was established in the Melbourne suburb of Knoxfield in a shopfront at the base of the staircase leading to the old Knox cinemas. The story goes that the ’57 was sourced from the USA after sitting for 25 years in storage. When it arrived it was given a cosmetic makeover including its pink paint scheme and a complete interior trim in white vinyl. The motor was left alone at this stage as the car was destined for permanent display inside the restaurant window, living peacefully with the rear half of a pink 1959 Cadillac. The Cad was parked in December 1988, with the restaurant opening its doors to the public on Boxing Day.

Looking back I remember being bowled over by this huge pink chrome-bumpered rocket as a 10-year-old when my cousin had her wedding reception at the venue in 1990.

The man at the bar mixed me and my brother up every kind of soft drink you could think of and, whilst enjoying our fizzy brew, we stood and stared at this very Caddy. My cousin ended up buying a pink 1957 Cadillac Fleetwood of her own years later.

1957 CADILLAC SERIES 62 COUPE DEVILLE

BODY 2-door Coupe

ENGINE 365cid

POWER & TORQUE 224kW/542Nm

PERFORMANCE 0-100km/h 12.4 seconds

TOP SPEED 180 km/h

TRANSMISSION 4-speed Hydra-Matic

BRAKES Discs/Drum

WHEELS 15-inch PRICE $56,950 + orc

WHERE brooklandscc.com

I recall the cafe shutting its doors after a redevelopment of Knox Shopping Centre. While I lost track of the Caddy after that, I did check out a pretty much identical car for sale at the old Southern Motors site in Melbourne in the early 2000s. Whether it was this actual car I can’t be sure.

My research indicates that this ’57 gem has been in the hands of genuine American classic enthusiasts over the years, who have carried out a number of upgrades. It now wears the correct Coupe De Ville badging on the front guards and has received the “Biarritz style” gold treatment on its grille and badging. The pearlcraft steering wheel seems to fit its style – it was a traditional Down Under customising touch on American cars back in the day.

This special ’57 is now looking for its next loving custodian. With its detailed engine bay, power windows/quarter windows, electric seats and disc-brake upgrade, even a dealer-fitted Novi rear-compartment air-conditioner, what’s not to like?

Get it touch with Brooklands Classic Cars in Melbourne 03 9584 4909.

“THE PHOTO OF THE CADILLAC GRABBED MY ATTENTION”