1973 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
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1973 Cadillac Sedan DeVille

My first running and driving car, if you could call it that. It had a carb seriously in need of help and an engine that was well past due for a rebuild and a trans that slipped more than it drove. What did you expect for $300? On the plus side, it did have power everything, automatic climate control (butchered by a previous owner), headlight/tail light monitors, and a nearly pristine back seat. It also leaked water into the interior, dripped oil badly, and got about 3 mpg on a good day because it was running so badly. The engine was a 472 cid and the transmission was a TH400. The usual Rochester Q-Jet 4-bbl was on top of the motor. I also remember that the AC compressor was mounted dead center on the engine and that the intake manifold was recessed in the front to allow for clearance, and that this made the runners for the front two cylinders rather convoluted.

In my attempts to make it better, I removed the intake manifold to clean things up and check on the condition of the lifter valley, and found nearly 2" thick worth of solid crud on the bottom of the intake that had to be literally chipped away with a hammer and chisel! The same sort of gunk, though not nearly as hard, was found inside the valve covers. Yuck. I found out that a large part of the poor running was a distributor with a base plate that was falling off and twisting around on it's own, so a quick swap with a junkyard distributor did wonders for how the car ran.

The trans was basically a lost cause - it took minutes (yes minutes) to compete the 1-2 shift and had a nasty habit of jumping our of third gear and into neutral at highway speeds. One of these "jump out of gear and into neutral" incidents lead to the demise of the car - I was at full throttle at 70+ mph and it hopped out of gear. Before I could get out of the throttle, the motor spiked to 7000+ RPM and threw a rod - #7 if my memory is right. The motor still ran, but with an awful racket and very down on power. I drove it very gently like that for a few weeks until the racket intensified to unbearable levels and I parked it. I did do a partial engine teardown to see how bad it was, but got stuck at the harmonic balancer bolt and at the time was too uninformed to know how to go further. It sat like that until the city slapped an "abandoned" sticker on it and it got towed away. I simply turned over the title to the salvage yard rather than pay the towing and storage fees, and that was the end of my Caddy.

One of the more interesting facts to come out of this car was that my sisters and mother nicknamed it "Cadillaxious Rexous - Last of the Dinosaurs", or simply "Rex". The name stuck and most of the family still remembers Rex, though not very fondly.


Purchasing Order

This was Car #2. My first roadworthy (sort of) and operational vehicle.

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Page last updated 01/02/2009 01:51:39 PM