Best Seat in the House

Did you ever spot something on the street you’ve never seen before and completely ‘get it?’ Walking along the Collingswood Classic Car Car Show which was part 20140524_092750of the mile-long “36th Annual May Fair” in Collingswood on Memorial Day weekend led me to a mint condition, 1967 Cadillac DeVille owned by Joe Carbone of Medford, NJ. My first thought was, “This is a Sunday-go-to-church car.” I could picture an elderly woman wearing her flowered dress with perfect strand of pearls, a pillbox hat and white gloves driving this car to church. Turns out, I wasn’t far off.

Joe Carbone and I started chatting when I told him my thought on his 20140524_092852beautiful car. I’ve never been attracted to a Cadillac of any year or vintage, but something drew me to talk to Joe. When I told him my first thought on the car. He told me I was almost exactly right. Turns out a man owned the car for 14 years and he only took the car out on Sundays – if the weather was just right. Joe went on to explain how the perfect vinyl roof on the Caddy stayed in perfect condition through the years because the car of course, was garage-kept. The owner event kept a cotton cover on the car.

Joe also told me about how the owner felt the car was “the best seat in the house.” He would drink his cup of coffee in that vehicle – still parked in the garage – every Sunday morning. When his wife went looking for her husband on Sunday mornings, she would open the kitchen door to the garage and there he was, enjoying his quiet-time with this Cadillac.

As we listened to Joe’s stories, he allowed me to sit in the driver’s seat. If you have ever been to a car show you learn quickly the mantra is “Look but don’t touch.” To be permitted to sit in the vehicle is truly an honor. The thin steering wheel, AM/FM radio with push-buttons, power windows and air conditioning were certainly signs of a luxurious car in 1967.

Joe Carbone went on to to show us20140524_093050 the massive trunk of the car and explain how the spare tire is original and he found the trunk just as we saw it on this day in Collingswood. Joe had to install an electric garage-door opener after purchasing the car 12 years ago since there wasn’t enough garage length for both the car and Joe when pulling the door down.

Joe purchased the car from the original owner’s widow. You can only imagine how selling her husband’s prized possession must have been an emotional decision. Joe explained that the woman’s mailman – yes, the mailman – told her 12 years ago that the car was worth about $14,000. Joe gave her $8500 cash and this prized car has been in Joe’s possession ever since.

Joe appreciated that my husband and I admired the car so much. Actually, it’s 20140524_095644not the Caddy – but the stories behind the car. The vehicle today is Joe’s “best seat in the house;” though Joe quipped that his wife told him, “You’re not going to sit in that car and have coffee on Sundays.” Joe Carbone is happy keeping the Caddy in mint condition and owning the memories of Sundays past.

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