That’s a gorgeous Coupé Deville convertible you’ve got there John! Where did you find this beauty?
I decided to buy myself a 50th birthday present as our six kids are all grown up and I finally had some spare cash.
In August 2014, while in London for my dad’s birthday, I was browsing the net and that’s when I found this beautiful Caddy. There were two days left on the auction, and I made a call to the seller that evening. The car was purchased new in 1963 in Utah, and was being sold through a classic car dealer for the original owner, who accepted my bid, making me just the second owner in its 53-year history! I had to wait until November for it to arrive to the UAE. The car had only covered 32,701 kays, and the original owner changed his car every year and only drove Cadillacs, but had kept the ’63 instead of trading it in. Sight unseen I went for it and won the auction.
We’re glad you got it. Tell us more about this stunner…
It’s a numbers-matching survivor and has the original chassis, engine, gearbox and rear axle, but the suspension is not standard; I bought an Air Ride kit from RideTech in the US, and fitted it myself last summer. The kit is excellent and has eight inches of travel. The air ride improves the handling immensely and takes the wallowing ride away and gives you much more cornering confidence, and when its parked you can slam the car to the ground, which I think looks amazing and makes an incredibly long car (5.8 metres) look even longer. Also, all the suspension bushes, track rods, steering bushes and arms are new.
The seats and door panels have a custom white tuck and roll finish with contrasting red piping. I had the dashboard done in the opposite pattern, red tuck and roll with white piping, and also a matching parade cover for the roof when it is down. The wheels are 52 spoke wires, which I had made in the States in stainless steel, and the exhaust tips are also custom. They are Bellflower tips, which was a popular customising technique from the Sixties.
They look great and the rumble must add to the joy of driving this car, but as it’s so big, is not a little tricky at times?
Even though it is huge, I don’t find it hard to drive. You can steer it with one finger as the power steering is so light! I drive it as much as possible, mainly in the winter months (I have a Lincoln Navigator as my daily driver) and it is a great car to drive along the Beach Road, and a total dream on the highway to Abu Dhabi, but it gets far too much attention. Since I have had this car, I reckon I have had more photos taken of me than Madonna!
I am very proud of my car and feel a million dollars when I’m in it. When I have a stressful time at work, I come home and take her out for a spin and the smile soon returns. I love everything about this car, it is just amazing.
We agree. It has a 6.4-litre V8 under the bonnet; what is it like?
It shared the same 102mm bore and 98.4mm stroke as its predecessor for an unchanged displacement of 390 cubic inches, and power was unchanged at 325 horses and 580Nm of torque. The motor had a major rebuild in the US and has covered 8,000km since, and additional 4,800 since I have owned it. It is mated to a Hydramatic four-speed gearbox with overdrive and so at highway speeds, the engine revs really low and the ride is as smooth as silk.
It doesn’t give me any major problems although it tends to run a little hot in the summer. I am going to put in a larger radiator and electric fans to cure this, and when it comes to servicing, I do as much work on it as I can. I’m waiting for the parts to arrive to do a disc brake conversion; parts are reasonably easy to get in the US although there are obviously obsolete parts that are a bit harder, but I have a guy in California that deals in ’63 and ’64 Caddy parts.
Didn’t you get stuck in the car once while working on it?
I knew you’d remind me of that! Yes, I did. I was working on the fuse board under the dash, and as you can see I’m quite a large guy, so I was squirming around trying to reach a part with both hands when I realised I was wedged between the seat, the floor and the steering wheel! It took me around 15 minutes to wriggle free but it felt like hours at the time!
If that was my first car, I’d probably still be stuck in it. I had a Daytona yellow 1973 Ford Escort 1100L. I couldn’t afford the Mexico that I had always wanted (when I was eight years old I remember my dad’s friend had one and I loved it), so instead I added black stripes on this one, painted the badges matte black, added a set of 13in Rostyle wheels and a small rally-style steering. It was pretty hot back in the day and being a 17-year-old car-mad lad, I loved it.
You’ve always been passionate about cars haven’t you…
Ever since I can remember. In fact, my mum just reminded me that in 1973 I drove her crazy to take me to the cinema for my birthday to go to see American Graffiti. If any readers have not seen it, see it as soon as possible.
That’s a great flick. Have you got any other classics aside from the Caddy?
I have a 1973 Plymouth Duster, a 1971 Chevrolet C10 (it’s a full custom Pro Street Style truck that I am rebuilding right now) and a 1969 Buick Wildcat.
Wow, we’ll definitely be seeing you in the magazine again! What is your dream car?
That’s not easy, but I will try to keep this list short. A 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird Hemi, 1932 Ford three- or five-window coupé hot rod and a 1940 Willys coupé Gasser.
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