My association with Cadillac LaSalle and ultimate purchase of a 1936 sedan can be attributed to
Irwin Sinclair.  My then workmate in 1988, Irwin invited me to a Cadillac weekend even in Ararat.  
After acceptance of a further event, I decided that these events were so rewarding that I joined the Club.

Commencing in 1989, Irwin dutifully informed me of innumerable Cadillacs and LaSalles that were
for sale.  He must have been relinquishing all hope of success by 2001 when he announced at our
Christmas function that I had bought a Toyota mini bus.  His implied reaction lay somewhere between
despair and disbelief.  Irwin’s disappointment ultimately turned to satisfaction as this vehicle, by then
converted into a mobile home, was instrumental in the acquisition of my ’36 Cadillac.

Perseverance pays!

Early in 2003 Irwin told me of a ’36 in Loxton that was in good condition.  As we traveled to Loxton
to see this unrestored car, I was pessimistic as I knew that I could not accommodate a restoration in
my schedule.

My ambivalence turned to surprise when I first saw the ’36.  Although it had never been fully restored,
it had probably been initially chauffeur driven, and had since had much work done on it.  It had been
resprayed in recent years, seat covers had been replaced, underbody had been cleaned and coated,
much mechanical and electrical work was evident, and generally been well maintained.

Negotiation on price was futile.  As the owner, Robert Haby said, “They don’t make these cars
anymore”.  Soon a holding deposit was paid and early in 2004 we returned to Loxton in the Toyota
bus which was towing a huge six wheeled trailer.

 JJCadillac002.jpg (137602 bytes)

                                             Road Train - picking up the '36 Caddy.

One memorable event during this mini holiday was when the entire staff and all patrons (all 6 of them)
emptied from the Hotel at Paruna (a tiny town south of Loxton).  They were not going to miss their
only chance of seeing a huge six wheel Caddie on an ever larger six wheel trailer.

Twelve months and numerous repairs later I was ready to travel to Drouin to engage the expertise
of Bill Formby for the requisite roadworthy.  This was the first time that I had been able to drive
the car, and only the second Caddy that I had driven.  The other was my son’s ’59 which I drove
three kilometres on the day that he purchased it.  So …… is this some sort of record?  Sixteen
years a Club member, and driving experience in a Caddy all of 3kms!!  Sixteen years a Club member
and Cadillacless.  Seventeen years before I first drove my own Cadillac.  Better late than never.

 JJCadillac004.jpg (193032 bytes)

                    John and his Cadillac.

How does one describe the transition from my every day driver (’76 Kombi) to a ’36 Caddy?  
Which is the most radical difference?  Is it the bonnet that stretches interminably?  Perhaps the sheer
bulk?  Maybe the glorious internal odour that only old cars seem to possess?  It could be the huge
torque that renders optional the need to change down for hills and corners.  And speaking of hills,
the best part of traveling to Drouin was being able to accelerate effortlessly up a hill.  This was an
unprecedented experience for me as a long term VW driver.  This reminds me of a comment from
Ken Moss as told to me by Peter Ratcliff.  Ken said that when he owned the car in the fifties that
few other cars could out perform it.

My first event was G.M. Day at Mornington.  Perfect weather and a vast array of cars provided
a memorable day.  View these cars was a wonderful experience, however this was eclipsed by the
expressions showed clearly that they were so pleased to see us gain from our car the pleasures
and satisfaction obviously gained from theirs. 

Monday morning and back to the Kombie.  It felt like a matchbox.  A light weight matchbox!  
Oh well our next event is coming soon.

Our Club run to the Ford factory had been organized for 3 June, and as organizer I was certainly
attending.  I had offered the car to use in a friend’s wedding – whenever that may occur.  
Now the Law of Murphy surely does not need to be explained here.  Sure enough, the wedding
invitation arrived and the date was to be the THIRD OF JUNE.  The way out was to leave the
Ford factory early, stop along the way to change clothes, and get to the wedding just in time.  
Not to be thwarted, Murphy sent along his partner in crime called Flannigan.

  JJCadillac003.jpg (135745 bytes)

                                            A whole lot of Cadillac

We naturally struck every traffic light and every person in the entire Metropolitan area who
owned a car was going in the same direction as us.  Imagine, yet another red light and nothing to
do but sit in heavy traffic facing up hill with cars both sides and a huge truck close behind.  As a
distraction, we perused the approximate the hundred people who were lined up on the footpath.  
We were diverting our anxiety regards time by pondering the nature of the sale that caused the
queue of people by now were pointing and clearly asking each other "What brand of car is that?"  
Flannigan now dealt his trump card.  Cadillac may be very good but unfortunately not perfect.

Fortunately, the bride was suitably late - we arrived in the nick of time.

Footnote Any information on the history of this car would be appreciated.
If you know any details, please phone John Jenkins (03) 9551 2968