14 January 2014

Our Cars: Eric Carrillo’s 1978 Cadillac Coupe De Ville

Eric Carrillo’s father was an aircraft mechanic and enjoyed all things mechanical. “He always had nice cars,” Eric said. “Cadillacs, Thunderbirds, a Mercury Zephyr, a Chevy Bonanza pickup ...” Eric’s first car was a 1970 Ford Mustang, and since it was up to him to keep it running, he became a pretty decent mechanic. He grew up in Albuquerque, N.M., and met his wife, Elizabeth, there while she was earning a Master’s Degree. After five years in New Mexico, the couple headed east to be nearer to Elizabeth’s parents in her native Michigan – first moving to Chicago, and then to Traverse City, Mich., home of Hagerty. The Carrillos have two children, Naomi (3) and Mateo (6 months), who Eric “hopes will become involved in the hobby.” There’s no better place to start than with their dad’s 1978 Cadillac Coupe De Ville, which was the last car that Eric’s father owned.

Name: Eric Carrillo

Position at Hagerty: Claims Adjuster

Years at Hagerty: 2

Vehicle: 1978 Cadillac Coupe De Ville

Why did you choose a ’78 Cadillac Coupe De Ville? It was my dad’s last vehicle before he passed away, so it’s special to me.

Repairs and Modifications: Minor repairs only. The Caddy has 65,000 miles and its original paint. It’s completely stock, right down to the 8-track player.

Hobby activities: I’m not in any clubs and I don’t put the car in any shows. I just enjoy driving it and maintaining it.

Greatest Moments: One day I took my daughter, Naomi, for a ride in the Caddy. Freddy Fender was playing on the 8-track and she was singing in the backseat. I thought that was great.

When Elizabeth and I first started dating, I picked her up at the Albuquerque airport back in 2001. She said, “That’s quite a car” – and she still hates it today.

When I moved to Chicago, I left my Cadillac with my best friend in Las Vegas, N.M. (about 120 miles northeast of Albuquerque), until I got settled. He called me one day and said there was movie being filmed there and they needed old cars. So he drove the car to the set. We later found out that the movie was “No Country for Old Men.”  The Cadillac didn’t make the final cut, but Dave describes the scene where the line of cars came down the strip and pulled in to a motel. He even got paid and has the W-2 from the movie company.

Worst Moment: My co-worker Spencer Riebow and I were on our way to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit in 2012, but the Cadillac died at a gas station 50 miles away in Cadillac, Mich. We needed to get towed home and never made it to Detroit. We still talk and laugh about “The Cadillac that died in Cadillac.”

Favorite Drive: After I moved to Chicago, I flew back to get the car, and we drove it from Las Vegas (N.M.) to Dodge City (Kan.) to Kansas City (Mo.) to Des Moines (Iowa), and then crossed the Mississippi River before stopping in Chicago. It was a great trip.

4 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Steve Charlotte, NC January 23, 2014 at 13:17
    Good stories Eric! Very nice Cadillac...I appreciate them much more than I did when they were new but I always liked the style of the '78 coupe. Enjoy!
  • 2
    charlie fleenor blountville, tn. January 23, 2014 at 22:15
    Great Car - I have ( 2nd owner ) a 78 " Pheaton " coupe with 58,000 miles. It is all orginal, including top and paint. Has the built - in factory CB radio. Was purchased, by the orginal owner, from the local cadillac dealer.
  • 3
    Dean Escue Milford, New Jersey January 25, 2014 at 22:25
    Eric, Great article! The '78 Caddy really caught my eye since I owned a '77 green CDV for over 20 years 'til it finally died. I grew up in Riverside, California & my dad had owned both a '55 baby blue cdv w/ the flip up tail light gas cap & later, a 'beautiful '57 mint green cdv as well. I got a job on the East coast as a pilot in '81 & the first thing I did was buy my used mint green Cadillac. We weren't making that much to start and I got flak from my buddies for buying something unaffordable but I just had to have a Caddy. Years later the engine blew. I replaced it with a salvage yard 425 but they never connected the oil pressure switch and one day it ran out of oil w/out my having checked it and that was the end of it. My wife, like yours thought it was just a boulevard barge but I always loved the car and drove it about 102,000 miles. A funny thing, I bought life time mufflers from an auto parts store and after the 4th exchange, they just groaned whenever they saw me walking in for another replacement muffler.
  • 4
    thomas petrie stella north carolina February 4, 2014 at 19:21
    nice caddy! I had a 79 coupe triple blue colors.I still have a nice set of taillites and chrome housings.Part of the 3piece bumpers. I did love that car.

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