Custom Cruise Friday
Normally, the Don Wheaton Custom Cruise Friday series prefers to look at a wide variety of cars. The aim is certainly not to focus too much on one particular make or model. But when the opportunity presents itself to see true automotive oddities, it isn’t something to let get away. This week’s Custom Cruise Friday blog features a 1976 Cadillac Castilian Fleetwood Estate Wagon, owned by Paul Doerksen. He and his car are very closely equated with last week’s 1976 Cadillac Mirage in the collection of Glenn Suprovich. In addition to both cars being incredibly rare, each one was built by Traditional Coach Works in California.
The Castilian was built on a top of the line Cadillac Fleetwood frame and has two rows of seats. Station wagons were very popular models in the 1970s. Stories of family trips with unsecured children roaming the vast expanses of these vehicles are as common, almost cliché, as the veiled threats to ‘turn this car around.’ People who remember riding in these vehicles should have known there was to turning around as very few roads are wide enough for such a maneuver.
Doerksen is very serious car collector and sought out the Castilian to add some serious flavor to his growing fleet. He purchased the car from the seller in Illinois in December of 2014 and had the wagon stored in Kansas City (which state was not specified) before seeing the vehicle for the first time this past April.
“I bought (the 1976 Castilian) sight unseen,” Doerksen said. “I didn’t know when the next one would be available.”
He and his wife flew into Kansas City to look at the car and get it ready for the trip back to Edmonton. Before embarking on the trip, he added new, stronger wheels and tires because of the cars massive weight. The Castilian is more than 600 pounds heavier than the heaviest non-commercial Cadillac frame ever built. This includes vehicles like hearses and ambulances. Luckily, when Doerksen made the trip to the states to pick up the car little work was required to get the car going.
Before heading back to Edmonton, he stopped in Las Vegas for a Cadillac car show that was underway during his time in the States. Doerksen completed the first leg of the trip, a 1,500-mile drive Kansas City to Las Vegas with out incident. Once they got into Vegas, the challenges of owning classic cars started to show up.
“We arrived (to Las Vegas) Thursday night with no trouble,” Doerksen said. “On the way to dinner on Friday we blew a water pump. I repaired it on Saturday and on Sunday I was awarded with ‘Most Unusual Cadillac’ at the auto show.”
Vehicles like this were more or less the SUVs of the day. In fact, Doerksen has used the car to haul a full-size interior door back home from Home Depot with ease. There is so much room in the rear of the vehicle with the second row that a door measuring longer than six-feet long could fit in the Castilian with the fiberglass tailgate closing easily.
Doerksen has not been shy about driving his special Cadillac around the city. In fact he plans on driving it regularly for the first year he owns it to be able to get to know it better from a mechanical stand point. Although getting a lot of head turns and approval probably isn’t taking away from the vehicles panache, either.
“I get a lot of thumbs up,” Doerksen said. “I’ve even had people following me to get a picture.”
According to his research there are no more than 50 of these vehicles in existence. The model that Doerksen has in his collection is fully-loaded with almost every available accessory that could be added, sans a sunroof.
If you have a vehicle that you would like to profile on a Custom Cruise Friday Blog, contact Don Wheaton Internet Manager Melina Kawecki by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, along a few photos and any pertinent information.