In 1981, Tim Garratt’s mother and his stepfather brought home a new Cadillac Eldorado. “It made an impression on me,” Garratt says. That Cadillac is long gone, but the memory of it still lingers for Garratt.
In 2009, Garratt was browsing through the electronic media when he saw an old, but familiar, automotive shape for sale. It was a 1983 Cadillac Eldorado and it was located in relatively nearby West Virginia.
Garratt had earned some time off at his work, so he drove the seven hours to Barboursville, W.Va., to inspect the condition of the 1983 Cadillac. While the car was up on a lift in the garage, Garratt heard another bid for the car arrive on the telephone. He convinced the seller that his cash in the hand was superior to a telephone promise.
The deal was done in October 2009 if the seller could hold the car for 30 days. The seller agreed. Garratt returned to his home near Washington, D.C. and made arrangements to return later in order to take possession of his prize. The return trip via Amtrak to Huntington, W.Va., consumed 14 hours, twice as long as the trip had taken via automobile.
After purchasing the car the return trip in the 1983 Cadillac proved to be incident-free. Garratt’s only concern was that he was driving on 26-year-old tires. The first order of business once he got home was to replace those original tires.
Records that came with the Cadillac Eldorado indicate that it was purchased new at the Moses Cadillac/Buick dealership in Charleston, and that it had a final assembly point at the factory in Linden, N.J.
A total of 67,416 such Cadillac models were produced with the base price of each one being $19,334. Back in those days, thanks to federal government regulations, all speedometers topped out at 85 mph.
Though the fuel-injected 4.1-liter (249-cubic-inch) engine acquired a bad reputation, Garratt has experienced none of the typical maladies associated with the engine. When he purchased the car the odometer was approaching only 19,000 miles. After more than just one year, he is just now adding 2,000 miles to bring the accumulated total to 21,000, not bad after 28 years.
Once Garratt got his handsome Cadillac home he learned the well-equipped car came with standard equipment including: radial tires, electric locks, SoftRay glass, trunk release, power steering, electric leveler, power windows, trunk pull down, two remote mirrors, AM/FM stereo radio, six-way driver’s seat, electric climate control, automatic transmission, dual comfort front seats, four-wheel power disc brakes, and a four-wheel independent suspension.
Riding on a 114-inch wheelbase, the 3,748-pound Cadillac was very comfortable when Garratt settled behind the two-spoke steering wheel. Garratt has discovered that old cars require maintenance. Earlier this year the gasoline tank was replaced.
He has no qualms about caring for his 1983 Cadillac because whenever he sees the opera lights on the sides of his car after sunset, he remarks, “I’m so pleased.” — Vern Parker, Motor Matters
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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2011