Sunday, March 27, 2005


White Horse 1977-2005

It was a big white Cadillac that I grew very attached to.

It was won in a raffle, in the summer of 99.
It was driven to coast to coast 5 times, and had accrued 60,000 of it’s 107,000 miles in the 6 years I owned it.
It passed the 100k mark in 2001, just outside of Portland, Oregon, at the end of what I swore would be the last long trip I would take it on. It was junked in Queens in 2005.

It wouldn’t start. The battery was dead, it needed a new head gasket. A headlight was out as well as a tail light. Along with that, the power steering was out, the air conditioner pump clutch was shot, the back seat got a puddle in it when it rained, the cd player rarely worked, and the electrical was screwed, so most controls were jury-rigged switches. The door locks were messed up, the passenger being unable to unlock her own door. None of the doors could be unlocked if the passenger was using the lights in the vanity mirror. The cruise control worked for a mile or two until it just began accelerating without end. The front bumper was pushed in due to a recent traffic smash-up. The front tires were so out of alignment that the front left tire got became bald in about 3000 miles. It got 4mpg in the city. There was no exhaust system past the converter ( an elected feature, though). The brakes were never fully bled, and since the rotors weren’t resurfaced the last time I replaced the pads, it went through the pads in about 10,000 miles. It leaked a quart of oil every two tanks of gas. Its third tranny was on it’s way out. It leaked oil, power steering fluid (even after there was no power steering), tranny fluid, and the ancient wiper fluid was brown, the pump never worked. It sometime leaked water, when the trunk would fill up during a rain. The vacuum system would often fail. The e-brake was only used for emotional reasons, it did not function. The gas gauge worked 50% of the time. The spring detent thing on the driver door died somehow, making the 300 pound door a bit of a hazard. The side mirror pointed at the ground, permanently. Rust was invading. It would not work at all below about 20 degrees.
In the time I had it, I paid for the tranny to be replaced twice. I paid for new wheel bearings, rear rotors, ignition switch, and a couple of front suspension components to be installed. Myself I put new u-joints in. I also put in a new master cylinder, new alternator, new pads, new heater core, new stereo, new fuel pump, a cherry bomb, various new switches, and a new wiper motor
The list of trim pieces, door handles, upholstery malfunctions and electrical curiosities is too long to remember. The hood was dented due to parade misuse. There were minor dents, caused my me, on three other body panels. The steering wheel pulled hard to the left, but when brakeing it pulled hard to the right, which combined with the lack of power steering, was incredibly dangerous. It needed the carb rebuilt, as well as a new harness.
It never once overheated, aside from a minor problem with the heater core, the coolant system never once even needed attention.
Of course it had a major short, requiring me to unhook the battery every time I parked it.

On Good Friday I went out to see if couldn’t get it to come back to life with a new battery, get it working for the coming good weather with the hope of some weekend trips. I found it sadly misused, it had been dented on many panels, the grill totally kicked in. There was glass all over the seats and the sidewalk and the contents of the glove compartment were strewn about. All the paper work was missing, though the cd player, which rested on the floor, not actually attached to anything but wires, remained.

The next day I walked out to it with a box, I retrieved everything I could find, some photos, some nail polish, the chili peppers dangling from the rearview. I yanked off the hood ornament, every Cadillac logo I could find I took, I removed the deVille d’Elegance script off the glove compartment. I found that every trim item I wanted to remove pretty much fell off in my hands, I used no tools. The tow truck driver was and hour and a half late, so I just sat there, listening to the Acela whip by over head.
It was the first almost warm day, the sunlight was warm.
The tow truck driver was a Chinese man, who brought in his ancient tow truck his wife and four children. As soon as the tow truck arrived they all poured out and chased each other and laughed, in the street, in the sunshine. He gave me his swiss army knife to remove the plates. He said, “Sorry I’m late” then “do you have the keys” and then in response to me, “no, that’s all, thanks”. I took my box and walked away. They must have driven down 46th street, as they did not pass me on my walk home.


Anonymous dave said...

what a downer. I was always jealous of that dang old car.

10:39 PM  
Blogger the barber said...

its the only car I can ever say I partied in.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous bro said...

I'm sorry to here that, such a kick ass car. Remarkably poignant last sentence.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

now what?

5:19 PM  
Anonymous ruby said...

that one weekend on cora st! the boobs & the street!

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the day I met this beautiful white Elegance, it was a foggy day in SF,CA. She was traveling from OR. She sat on a picturesque SF street (about 20% grade) her nose was resting parallel over the curb. Parked there her left door opened like 5 tons of lead would on a small hinge. Bless her.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous shelley said...

too many stories to relay just one, but coast to coast and coast to coast, uncountable reststops and every inch of that glorious upholstery. she will be missed, certainly.

2:53 AM  
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5:40 AM  

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