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.

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