Under The Hood

The Ultimate Cadillac & LaSalle Experience: CLCMRC Fall Festival

Spectators could get rides in vintage Cadillacs during the Saturday concours. Kids and adults alike rode in the passenger seat of this 1955 Coupe deVille.

Story and photos by Angelo Van Bogart

Not even rain or the threat of it could dampen what was essentially the ultimate Cadillac experience. There were presentations by current and former Cadillac staff and designers and chances to rub elbows with them — rides in vintage Cadillacs (a 1955 Coupe deVille or a 1980s Maloney stretch limousine) — old and new Cadillac concept cars (including the very first and very last Cadillac two-door hardtop prototypes) — a display of new vehicles by Cadillac — a garage sale of Cadillac and LaSalle-related items by the museum — a concours field of beautiful restored and survivor-quality Cadillacs and LaSalles — tours — and eight museums to visit on the Gilmore Car Museum campus in Hickory Corners, Mich.

All of these incredible opportunities and more were crunched into four days of the  Cadillac & LaSalle Museum & Research Center’s (CLCMRC) annual Fall Festival & Concours d’Elegance held Sept, 26-29 at the CLCMRC.

One of the principals behind the “Fall Festival” is Old Cars “Resto Basics” columnist William “Bill” Anderson, who serves as president and chairman of the board for the Cadillac & LaSalle Museum & Research Center. Since the Fall Festival is a fund raiser for the museum, Anderson works diligently to make the event a worthwhile stop for hobbyists, and he and the rest of the team made this an unmatched Cadillac experience. Among the judges were one dozen automotive designers, each of them with experience designing Cadillacs and their components over the years. These judges included the famous Wayne Kady, whose design became the 1971 Eldorado, and who created this year’s event poster. On top of it all, Kady served as honorary chief judge. Maurizio Corbi of coachbuilder Pininfarina came all of the way from Italy to participate. In addition, several Cadillac & LaSalle Club members served as judges, including yours truly, as did fellow magazine editor Richard Lentinello of Hemmings.

Best of Show winner of Saturday’s Concours d’Elegance was this 1929 Cadillac dual cowl phaeton finished in correct original colors and with authentic accessories including the running board-mounted spotlight.

This is an event worthy of the Cadillacs and LaSalles it celebrates the Cadillac and LaSalle experience like no other event. I plant to return next year, and if the brake system is fully functional on my ’55 Cadillac by next September, I’ll even be there with an old Cadillac. I hope to see you there with your car, too.

Angelo Van Bogart is editor of Old Cars and has been a Cadillac & LaSalle Club member since he was 17 years old. He’s a multiple Cadillac owner and author of several books including “Cadillac: 100 Years of Innovation.” He serves as a judge at many club and concours events each year.

Greg Thomas’ 1937 Cadillac V-12 town car with body by Fleetwood int eh display-only section.

John and Linda Bertolone’s 1940 LaSalle 5219 with GM’s beautiful turtle-deck styling that debuted that model year.

1954 Eureka Cadillac side-load funeral coach in the display-only area of the concours.

An utterly original 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 displayed in the unrestored class. Its owner says he’s not a car guy, per say, but a 1959 Cadillac guy specifically. This is one of many ’59s — and ’59s only — in his collection.

Bob Tiffin’s stunning 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz had been treated to a striking restoration. It was fitted with the rare bucket seat option.

1964 Cadillac Coupe deVille in the display-only section wore California plates. These are lovely drivers and it surely could have been comfortably driven to Michigan from the coast.

Rare 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado was one of 2125 built.

This 1973 Cadillac Eldorado Indy 500 Pace Car owned by Tim Pawl was a track-used car. The ’73 Eldorado was the first pace car to run on track day with radial tires.

A 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham from the last year that the model could be had in coupe form.

The last year a Fleetwood coupe was offered was 1992, the year this 33,000-mile survivor hails from. That year, just 291 Fleetwood coupes were built.

Museum and CLC supporter Ron Schweitzer brought his 1991 Cadillac Brougham to the CLCMRC Fall Festival’s display-only area.

CLC President Glenn Brown brought his 2002 Eldorado convertible to the judging field. His car hails from the last year of Eldorado production and is one of scant few Eldorados converted to convertibles during this generation’s production run.

The very first and very last Cadillac two-door hardtops, both prototypes. The 1949 Coupe deVille was based on a longer wheelbase than the production Coupe deVille that followed it later that year, and the Elmiraj is a 2013 concept car that many Cadillac faithful hoped would be produced. Designers on site at this year’s Fall Festival noted that current Cadillac styling is derived from the Elmiraj show car.

Wayne Kady, who created the styling of the 1971 Eldorado, was honorary chief judge at this year’s Fall Festival. Kady was joined by a dozen other Cadillac designers and even brought his own Eldorado convertible to the concours.

A rear view of the first and last Cadillac two-door hardtop prototypes.

Riders head toward the Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum & Research in a 1955 Cadillac Coupe deVille.

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