Custom Cruise Friday
There is nothing quite like rolling down the road in a huge Cadillac convertible listening to music and simply letting the stresses of life get blown away. The owner of this week’s Custom Cruise Friday feature, Randy Jackson, calls this “Eldo Windshield Therapy” while behind the wheel of his 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Jackson caught the car collecting bug after attending a car show with his brother-in-law and quickly decided it was a hobby that would keep his interest. After some trial and error, he was finally able to find what he was looking for in southwest Ontario.
“I knew that was the one I wanted,” Jackson said. “I don’t know why I fell in love with those cars. I like the big ones.”
It is almost a cliché at this point for people buying classic cars, they find a gem just sitting in the driveway of a sweet old woman who only drove it to church on Sundays. This is almost exactly what happened to Jackson. After having an appraiser check out the 1976 Eldorado, Jackson and his wife Tracy made their way to Ontario and found the car simply sitting in the original owner’s driveway. Beatrice, the wife of the original owner drove the car for the first time when she backed it away from garage to allow Jackson to take a closer look.
During the final steps of the sales process, Jackson and Tracy noticed that Beatrice was having some reservations about letting go. There may have been several things stirring emotions on that day. Beatrice’s husband had passed away only a few months earlier. Compounding her grief was the fact that the car carried vanity plates reading “HONEYB.” Only after Jackson reassured her that the car was going to a good home where it would be enjoyed for what it is, did she come to terms with the sale.
“I explained it wasn’t going to be flipped for profit,” Jackson said. “It’s going to car shows and golf courses and for ice cream in the summer.”
Jackson was in that portion of Ontario for business anyway and took the opportunity to get some “Eldo Windshield Therapy” while he was there. In the week he had the car before sending back to Alberta, he put on 1,000 miles.
“(I like to) get the hair messed up,” Jackson said. “Listening to tunes or just listening to the pipes.”
After sending the Eldorado back to Alberta via train and some choice words with Canadian National railroad, Jackson made a few upgrades to the car. He replaced the manifolds and had them powder coated as well as adding dual exhaust with chrome tips and a resonator by the very large gas tank.
Jackson will be the first to admit that he enjoys tinkering with the car saying, “It’s not rocket science. You don’t need $300 worth of tools.”
He has replaced the interior after finding a near twin of his car in a garage after helping his mother-in-law with a project. He used that car, which was a coupe, for parts and of course for its better preserved interior with white leather interior.
Jackson’s future plans for his 1976 Cadillac Eldorado are ambitious, but without sacrificing what the car is meant to be. He plans on cleaning up the transmission and modifying the engine to give it a boost in power. However, he plans to keep the suspension just like it is, soft and smooth like a big car should have.
“I could make it handle like a sports car,” Jackson said. “I don’t want a go-cart. I want my living room going down the road.”
When the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado was produced, General Motors announced it was going to be the last American convertible produced. Chrysler gave up on the drop top in 1971 with Ford following suit in 1973. This announcement led to many people buying up these vehicles as investments. Owners then tried to file a class action lawsuit against GM in the early 1980s when the company restarted production of the Eldorado convertible. They were not successful.
If you have a classic or otherwise modified vehicle that you would like to see profiled in a Custom Cruise Friday blog, send photos and pertinent information to Don Wheaton Internet Manager Melina Kawecki to her email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.