The restoration of a 1950 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville sparked an idea. Why not make a replica of the Coupe de Ville that Briggs Cunningham took to Le Mans? It would be a sensation at car shows, the embodiment of a captivating story.
“It has undergone one restoration, and this is number two,” says blogging partner Kristen Cart. She sends the photos with mention of the red car to the right of our great Caddy–nothing other than a Willys.
John North Willys of Toledo is another story.
“At present the motor is in Illinois and the car [in Nebraska] is pretty well stripped down. The seats and interior are in Illinois, too, at the upholsterer. I have an extra rear bumper and one option will be to get a whole new rear axle with drums in lieu of the drum-hub setup which is rusted tight on so many junkyard cars.”
Kristen prowls junkyards when she’s in exotic destinations like Billings.
It so happens that she captains cargo jets around North America; layovers afford her the opportunity to look around with her camera.
In Montana, she visited a prison.
Kristen and I are dearest friends over our years of blogging about grain elevators. She continues about her son: “Jesse has been cleaning and rebuilding such things as the carburetor, water pump and radiator, which is done–with a clean bill of health–if dented in a few places.
“Thirty years is a long time to sit in a shed.”
So I floated my idea about turning the project towards a Le Mans replica instead of pursuing showroom originality. Wouldn’t that be something?
“It sure would,” Kristen replied.
But of course there’s a caveat.
“It would have to fly with my dad and brother.”
Well, as it happens, they do own the car, while Jesse is performing the work .
“I will run this by them. I don’t know if they want to stay stock. The car color is beautiful and the paint is still good. It has been out of the weather all this time.”
One distinction to make is that the Cadillac in restoration, a Series 62, came standard in 1950 with Hydra-Matic transmission. Cunningham’s Cads each had a manual gearbox, typical of Series 61.
Whatever colors it flies, I admitted to Kristen it may be a crackpot idea.
“This one is pretty cool.”