- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2002

As far as Franklin Gage is aware, no one in his family nor any acquaintance has ever owned a 1955 Cadillac.
Consequently, he surprised even himself last February when an ad for a 1955 Cadillac Series 62 four-door sedan in Wyckoff, N.J. caught his eye.
The ad explained that the owner wanted to sell the car so that he could spend more time with his family. Mr. Gage surmised that the owner's wife was tired of the car and had given him an ultimatum.
Mr. Gage telephoned the owner and found that the low-mileage Cadillac was in original condition, with the exception of the paint.
Buyer and seller could not agree on a price and parted amicably. Three months had transpired when Mr. Gage was surprised to receive a call from the seller inquiring if he was still interested in the luxury car.
Yes, he was.
As luck would have it, later in that same month of May, the Antique Automobile Club of America had scheduled the Eastern Division Tour to begin in Vineland, N.J., 150 or so miles south of the New York City suburb where the Cadillac was.
Mr. Gage arranged for a ride to get to the Cadillac where the transaction was to take place. The odometer at the time had recorded just 71,191 miles.
The Cadillac was everything that the owner had claimed. When the dark blue car started life, it was light blue. "I'm glad somebody professionally painted it dark blue," Mr. Gage said.
The darker color seems more in keeping with such a formal automobile.
With only a cursory inspection of the Cadillac and the assurance of the owner, Mr. Gage climbed behind the two-spoke steering wheel and drove off to join the antique car tour.
Six days and 1,000 miles later, Mr. Gage drove his car home to Greenbelt.
He had set off on the adventure with the idea that when and if the car broke down, he would have it towed and would rent a car. But the mechanical health of the Cadillac proved to be better than Mr. Gage had expected.
Mr. Gage discovered that his car was the most popular model that Cadillac produced in 1955. About 45,000 of the six-passenger sedans were built.
His car is equipped with extra-cost options including:
Air conditioning……….$620.
Radio and antenna……..132.
Heater and vent system….129.
Power windows………..108.
Four-way power seat……..70.
Power brakes……………48.
The cost of all these accessories was tacked onto the $3,977 base price of the car.
To assist the air conditioner in climate control, the windows in the car are tinted E-Z-Eye glass.
The air conditioner is in the trunk. Air captured by the two scoops on the hindquarters of the car is fed to the air conditioner, after which it is pumped into the passenger compartment through a pair of tubes from the package shelf to the headliner.
The tubes are transparent to avoid hindering the driver's view to the rear.
Although the four main side windows are electrically operated, the front wind vents are still operated with a hand crank. The rear vents are merely pushed open and pulled shut.
A courtesy light under the lip of the padded dashboard illuminates the front seat when either front door is opened. Opening either back door activates the dome light.
The big 331-cubic-inch overhead-valve V-8 generates 250 horsepower while delivering remarkable efficiency more than 20 miles per gallon. Outstanding for a 4,375-pound car.
A set of 8.00x15-inch white sidewall tires mounted on a 129-inch wheelbase supports the 18-foot-long Cadillac.
Hydramatic transmissions became standard equipment on Cadillacs in 1955.
A dual-exhaust system was also standard, probably because the design of the rear bumper called for twin pipes.
The Florentine curve of the rear roof line is especially attractive with the 1955 model's still-subtle tail fins. Following Cadillac custom, the gasoline filler cap is hidden under the left taillight.
A two-tone blue color scheme is carried throughout the spacious interior, from the carpeting up to the headliner.
While comfortably seated behind the shoulder-wide steering wheel, the driver is confronted with a flashing light on the dashboard announcing that the parking brake is engaged.
A 110-mph speedometer is visible through the 360-degree chrome horn ring accenting the steering wheel.
Because the windows are electric, Mr. Gage says, he was surprised to learn the windshield wipers are vacuum-powered.
The roof line of the big sedan extends slightly over the windshield to create a minuscule sun visor.
Mr. Gage has owned the Cadillac less than two months and has a lot to learn about the car. However, the 1,000-mile first week has encouraged him to take part in many more touring events.
"I like to drive my cars," Mr. Gage says.

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