Cadillac El Clasico – The SuperFly ElDorado

The 1970s were truly a decade of excess. I have chronicled this in previous posts such as the Custom Cloud and the 1970’s revival of the Stutz Blackhawk. This decade was also a popular time for neo-classic automobiles, which I have also written about extensively for this site. Today we feature another artifact of this decade that I recently came across at a car show: the Cadillac El Clasico.

It’s hard not to use terms like “pimp mobile” or “pimp car” when admiring this vehicle, as it certainly looks like the product of one person with too much money and questionable taste. However, these cars were actually converted in small numbers by Wisco Corp., a coachbuilder formerly located in Roseville, Michigan. One source I read said that approximately 100 vehicles were given the “El Clasico” treatment, though I was unable to verify this.

Wisco took a car that was already a standard of luxury and prestige and just added MORE to it. More chrome, more trim, more everything. The car’s exterior is extremely busy. Most notable are the completely unnecessary exhaust header extensions that exit through the front fenders and pass through the running boards to the rear of the vehicle. The hood was not open on this car, so I could not verify if they were functional or simply a decoration.

Up at the front, an oversize waterfall grille and hood ornament are all done in chrome. The standard headlights are shrouded by oversize covers that resemble a 1920s car. A pair of fog lights were also added. Again, “more is more” was the mantra here.

With so much chrome, the fixed exterior windshield visor was probably a necessity to prevent the driver being blinded by the glare of his own vehicle.

From the rear, the car has a vinyl roof with a Landau bar, and miles of chrome trim adorning the body lines, window trim, and just generally stuck on all over the place – such as behind the rear wheel arches. It has running boards, similar to those found on full size vans. It has decorative trunk straps similar to the Excalibur, though these are not functional. The car sports dual exhaust with horizontal tips. The wheels are quite unusual and I don’t know how to describe them other than white wire wheels.

Interestingly, this car does not have a Continental Kit at the rear, which would have involved relocating the license plate. It also does not have spare wheels mounted on the fenders, another common feature on neoclassic cars.

The interior is actually the most tasteful part of this car. It seems to have been updated with a leather trimmed center console integrating an iPad. The dark red and black leather upholstery looks right at home with the 1970s era wood. I would have expected this car to have swivel seats and an all white leather interior!

A brand-new 1972 Cadillac ElDorado 2-door hardtop coupe would have cost about $7,360 when new. The Wisco conversion added about $3,630 to the price, for a total of $10,990 in 1972 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, this car would cost the equivalent of $66,705 in 2018.

There’s not a ton of information about Wisco or these El Clasico Cadillac conversions online, so if you have any information, please do share it with us!

Someone Needs To Put This Abomination Out Of Its Misery (2006 Packard/Lincoln Town Car)

With a face that any mother would abort this is the 2006 Lincoln/Packard Town Car..  On the plus side, there is still a nice Town Car under there somewhere.

“A beautifully customized Packard. Ready to show and drive. Car runs and drives like new. Fully loaded 2006 Lincoln Town car with less than 50K converted to a Packard. Has authentic Packard wheels, interior and exterior trim. Excellent workmanship was used throughout the customization. True whitewall Packard tires really enhance this gorgeous car.  Car available for inspection and sale at a location in Okemos, Michigan.  The customization was done by Packard Grille out of Lima, Ohio” Continue reading

1989 Corsair Roadster Neoclassic Car

corsair-roadster-profileI am becoming quite the expert on Neoclassic cars, having written about the Spartan II, Archer, Excalibur, Zimmer, Gatsby, and the Classic Tiffany.

Today, I’m going to talk about another Neoclassic auto that I spotted at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016 auction. This is a 1989 Corsair Roadster, and like most of these cars, it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

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1986 Zimmer Golden Spirit Neoclassic Car

zimmer-golden-spirit-frontHaving written about nearly every other type of neoclassic car, I was excited to see my first Zimmer at the 2015 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. Like other neoclassic cars, the Zimmer combines the reliability of a modern, fuel-injected powertrain with classic styling. The prominent waterfall grille, exposed headlamps, full-length running boards, and bustleback style rear end are all design characteristics of pre-war American cars.

While there have been many companies that produced cars in this style, Zimmer was one of the most successful. Founded in Florida, the company built over 1,500 cars during their peak years of 1978-1988.

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1980 Excalibur Phaeton Neoclassic Car

From about 1960 through 1990, there was a golden age of startup companies building “neoclassic” styled kit cars in America. These “contemporary classics” offered vintage styling with modern power and handling. The first and most famous of these companies was Excalibur, which was started in 1964 by a former Studebaker designer and his two sons.

Brooks Stevens of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was asked by his boss at Studebaker to build a vehicle for the New York Auto Show that would turn heads. Stevens took a supercharged Avanti and reworked it to look like a 1920s Mercedes SSK. The top brass at Studebaker made a last-minute decision not to show the car, but Brooks Stevens contacted Jerry Allen, the organizer of the auto show who “found a corner” for Stevens to display the car.

As it turns out, the Excalibur was a huge hit with Stevens turning down cash offers on the spot for the car and coming home with a dozen pre-orders. With that, he set up shop with his sons David and William and Excalibur was born.

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Archer Neoclassic Car

The 1970s through 1990s were a heydey of kit car manufacturing in the United States. It seemed like everybody and their brother was offering turn-key vehicles based on Chevrolet platforms. Looking back, I have to wonder if there was really enough demand in the market to support all of these companies?

The answer of course, is no. Save for a few, nearly all of the kit car manufacturers have  gone out of business. Some companies such as Zimmer have survived (in one form or another) for decades, while others were just a blip on the radar. Such was the case with Archer Coachworks out of Valparaiso, Indiana.

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Gatsby Cabriolet Neoclassic Car

First published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is considered by the American Literary Association to be among the 100 best American novels published during the last century; it is also F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work. While the story line is a standard tale of unrequited love, it is Fitzgerald’s vivid, flowing descriptive imagery and rich character development that makes his work so timeless.

The novel’s setting of New York City during the “Roaring Twenties” calls to mind images of Art Deco skyscrapers and extreme opulence in fashion and design. This was also a high point for automotive design as Duesenberg, Bugatti, and Rolls-Royce offered ever more luxurious models.

This lavish elegance is what Gatsby Coachworks, Ltd. sought to recreate in the 1970s.

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Spartan II Neoclassic Car

Based on the picture, you may be thinking “Oh boy, here comes another lame kit car!” But if you lump the Spartan II in with the Excalibur, Gazelle, Tiffany, Zimmer, or any other neo-classic automobile, you would have made a serious mistake.

You see, reproductions of old-timey cars are often built around cheap mass-market vehicles such as a Ford Pinto or a Volkswagen. While this arrangement makes a neoclassic car practical to own, it also places them at the low end of the performance spectrum.

The Spartan II is different. While its rounded headlamps and swooping front fenders may harken back to the early days of motoring, it’s a completely different story under the hood. That’s because the Spartan II is actually based on the Nissan 300ZX, a compact sports car from Japan! With its front-engine, rear drive layout and 2+2 seating configuration, the Spartan II is a bit sportier than you might expect.

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