Without question, it can be said that Cadillac is its own institution here in America. It may not have completely caught on elsewhere overseas, but here at home, Cadillac always shines. This is impressive considering that the Cadillac brand has almost always been a part of General Motors, an often messy collection of various auto brands that, for better or worse, has always been one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world. Not only that, Cadillac has almost always been the crown jewel -the flagship brand- of GM. For this very reason, the brand has always been very culturally significant in America. Musical artists write songs about Cadillacs, actors drive them in Hollywood movies, and just about everybody has a story about them. Cynthia, the owner of this month’s featured car probably says it best. As she puts it, “Everybody has a story with a Cadillac. They have a memory associated with a Cadillac. Their grandparents, their parents, their aunt, their uncle… a Cadillac truly brings a nostalgic aspect to a vehicle.” Cynthia recognizes the cultural prevalence that Cadillac has in spite of not growing up with one and having never owned one before. The prevalence of Cadillac in America is what made Cynthia really want her own and she finally found hers last year when she bought a 1968 Deville which she named Lucille.
For Cynthia, this Cadillac ownership experience had been a long time coming. Before she bought Lucille in 2018, she had been searching a whole decade for the perfect classic Cadillac. Cynthia’s husband and CFF(Car Friend Forever) found Lucille posted for sale in Florida on a Facebook Marketplace listing that was shared to a group. Within 24 hours, he had trekked out to Florida and brought back the car for Cynthia after she saw the photos and knew that she had to have it. When she first saw the car in the post, she felt like it was too good to be true. It was easy to see from pictures that the car was in such wonderful condition, and the “too good to be true” nature of the car became even more pronounced when they got it home. The car had been custom ordered from Cadillac with several special features including electric windows, electric door locks, electrically adjustable seats, temperature-controlled A/C and much more. Every single one of those features mentioned worked properly upon the car’s return to Texas.
If the wonderfully maintained Caddy wasn’t already enough of an automotive fairy tale, Cynthia’s husband brought back quite a few stories from the original owner’s wife(the original owner, Calvin, had since passed away). As mentioned before, the car had been custom-ordered by Calvin directly from Cadillac in 1968. As part of the custom order, a plaque was placed on the dashboard reading, “Special Ordered for Calvin Duncan”. This car became a comfortable ride in which to drive around town. Among the places the car was driven regularly was the church where Calvin and his wife always arrived looking their best. She would even keep her hat box in the Deville’s rear bench seats and put on her fancy church bonnet when they arrived. One could argue that this was the couple that everybody at church envied in spite of their bible lessons. Good times like that aren’t meant to last forever. By the time Cynthia bought the car, it had been garaged for years. It still had Calvin’s army base ID sticker on the front windshield from 1978 and hadn’t been inspected or registered since 1983. Memories and years of loving use are why Cynthia was interested in the car, though. She grew up in her parents’ cars making memories with them. The excellent overall condition of the Cadillac was just the cherry on top.
When Cynthia took possession of her Cadillac Deville last year, she was enamored with the history of the car and its one-of-a-kind status accentuated by the custom build plaque on the dashboard with Calvin’s name on it. That said, she really wanted to start making the Deville her own. The first order of business was a name for her new ride. Everybody has always told Cynthia that she’s great at naming her cars and the Cadillac couldn’t be an exception. Her other car, which she already had at the time, is a supercharged 1970 Chevy Chevelle named Evil Annie. The Chevelle is definitely more of a fun car than a daily driver, as she often gets used for drag racing, autocross, and long road trips. Cynthia’s car history reveals even more about her naming prowess. A ‘68 Chevy C10 pickup truck that she owned had a similar blue body with white roof color combination as her Cadillac. The truck was named Blue Bell, a name that somewhat reminded us of the Roe family’s Silverado pickup, Bessie(Why does everyone named their pickup truck like the farmer’s favorite cow? It’s so wholesome!). Finally, the earliest car that Cynthia mentioned was her 2002 Z06 Corvette, Bet-Z, a name indicating a love of puns that is more than appreciated here at 4-Wheeled Friends. However, for the Cadillac, Cynthia wanted a name that reflected its sleek looks and elegant heritage. She chose to name the car after her grandmother, Lucille, a name befitting a classy, proper lady. After this first crucial step was done, Cynthia continued with her customization of the car.
Not long after Cynthia got Lucille home to Texas, the Cadillac was stripped of its original suspension and wheels. In their place, a full front end suspension from CBC Pro, an aftermarket suspension company in California, airbag suspension components, and 20 inch rims were installed. The airbags allow Cynthia to raise and lower Lucille as she sees fit. It’s not quite a lowrider, as the car isn’t using hydraulics to raise, lower, or even bounce the car. Cars with airbag suspensions are a cooler, quieter counterpart to traditional lowriders, and that type of persona fits the classy Cadillac very well. Currently, Lucille still has her original engine and transmission, but Cynthia has plans to change that. She has all of the components needed to make the swap to a more modern drivetrain, but she wants to keep it a secret until after it’s done. That way, showing Lucille off at car shows about a year from now will be even more exciting. Cynthia’s husband owns and operates an automotive specialty shop, Pro-Touring Texas, where they will make the swap together when they have time and the shop has space.
Asked about what she hopes to do in the future after Lucille’s powertrain swap, Cynthia said that she wants to continue driving Lucille to work and bringing her to car shows. More importantly, she hopes to bring the Cadillac with her on Hot Rod Power Tour, an annual tour put on by Hot Rod magazine that takes a sort of travelling car show to several major cities along a pre-determined route. Cynthia and her husband will be taking his Chevy Chevelle, named Big Booty Judy, on the tour with them this June. Her father will also be bringing a 1969 Pontiac GTO that Cynthia came home in as a newborn and that belonged to her late mother. Being surrounded by these cars that hold many memories for Cynthia while she makes new ones will certainly be a wonderful time. The same will be true when Lucille is ready to go on Power Tour next year. Though the memories aren’t her own, Cynthia enjoys the feeling that others loved the car and had memories of it before her. Customizing the Cadillac and bringing it on Power Tour with friends and family will only add to its one-of-a-kind history.