Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cars in Yards: 1957 Cadillac with Elvis’ touch

How often do you see a 1957 Cadillac hardtop coupe bought by Elvis Presley parked on the roadside? This long-suffering Cadillac’s current owner, Herman, bought the car from an old friend of Elvis Presley’s mother. The story goes like this. “Elvis bought the car for a friend of his mama,” Herman told me. “Elvis’ mama’s friend lived in Center Point, Alabama,” when Herman bought the car, “25 or so years ago.” When I circled the Cadillac I felt the year ’75 recessed in the car’s rusty 'Heart of Dixie'  license plate. Herman had plans to restore the car when he bought it. Those plans took a backseat for a quite few years. He still hopes to get the Cadillac out of the weather before it’s too late. The car remains a landmark of sorts for area residents but how many of them know that Elvis Presley, the king of rock ’n roll, once held onto its keys? 

For three decades this Harley Earl-designed Caddy has been standing watch at the end of a long dirt driveway not far from Herman’s business. People stop and ask if the car is for sale often. It’s not hard to wonder why. The car was once a majestic piece of General Motor's chrome-laden legacy. Elvis’ Cadillac connection may inspire someone to make Herman an offer he can’t refuse. Right now the legend and legacy of a 1957 Cadillac coupe lives on a well-traveled road in the most populated county in the state of Alabama.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

1965 Corvette - Readers Ride

We can all dream, right?  Junkyardlife readers are well aware that they could hit the lottery and be forced to park their beater car and start driving an investment car — a vehicle they could and would drive anywhere just because they can.  This Readers Rides 1965 Corvette probably held its value better than your 401K too.

Karen Dorsett owns her dream car. Dorsett first laid eyes on Chevrolet’s second generation 2-seat sports car when she was a teen.  Captivated by Corvettes, her youthful exuberance would take over.  When she spotted one driving down the street she would point and shout, ‘Sting Ray!’  The appeal of mid-sixties Vettes remained in 2001 when Dorsett went to see this blue coupe.  Dorsett was in love the minute the former owner rolled the Vette out of its storage space. It had to be hers.  A deal was made and now Dorsett owns this attention-grabbing ’65 Corvette.  Who says dreams don’t come true. 

The original 300-horsepower, 327-cubic-inch engine and 4-speed transmission give Dorsett’s fiberglass beauty plenty of motivation.  Throaty side exhaust pipes sing small block music when Dorsett takes her Corvette out for a spin.  Chevrolet built 23,562 Corvettes for the 1965 model year — 8,186 coupes, 15,376 convertibles.  Of those, 6,022 were painted Nassau Blue like Dorsett’s.  It’s easy to see why it was the most popular Corvette color that year with more than 25% of total production painted Nassau Blue. 

Pride and joy
Dorsett acts as curator, maintaining the spotless Corvette.  Her car is parked smack dab in the center of a large garage, creating the perfect showplace for Dorsett’s dream car.  When we parted with the Corvette and shut the garage door, Dorsett was smiling.  Her smile was tinged with the giddy excitement of a teen who just spotted her first Sting Ray in 1965.

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