Will a 33-year-old Cadillac make it to Las Vegas?
The truth is: We don’t know how this is going to end.
The 2,500-mile drive from Babcox Media’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio, to Las Vegas, across the iconic Route 66, is enough to test any vehicle. But the car Babcox Media’s Joe Keene picked to rehab and drive to AAPEX held in Las Vegas, Nov. 1-3, isn’t just any car. It’s a 33-year-old Cadillac Brougham with more than 180,000 miles on the odometer.
As Keene says in the first episode of The Road to AAPEX, “It’s about the journey,” and the ASE-certified technician had a long road ahead of him as he brought the Cadillac up to a safe standard. With the help of aftermarket suppliers and experts, Keene conquered the leaking transmission, an air suspension that didn’t work, and a complete lack of air conditioning (which could have made a drive through the desert even longer), to name a few challenges.
“There were a lot of things about the car that weren’t specified in the ad,” Keene said with a laugh. “It floated, the steering was all over the place, the windows didn’t work–just all kinds of things going on with it. But I didn’t want something easy. I wanted something that was going to be an ‘are you going to make it’ moment every time I get in the car.”
Combing through junk yards, testing the counterman’s expertise in hunting down new parts for an old car, and a trip to Ohio Technical College were just a few stops Joe makes to whip the Caddy into shape. Watch the first episode above to see how Joe takes a clunker and, with expert help from the automotive aftermarket, gets it ready to tackle The Road to AAPEX.
Make/Model: Cadillac Brougham
Hometown: Arlington, Texas
Mileage: 180,000+ miles
Engine: 307 LV2 Olds V8
Power: 140 hp and 245 lb/ft
Weight: 4,500 lbs.
Length: 20 ft
Fuel Capacity: 21 Gallons
Fuel Economy: 15 City/22 Highway
Transmission: Remanufactured Turbo-Hydramatic 200-4R
Brakes: Front Vented Disc/Rear Drum Brakes
Air Conditioning: R134a Conversion
Air Bags: None
I notice that they tried converting the air conditioning to use R-134a instead of using the original Freon 12. It’s been my experience that the result of such a conversion is decreased cooling – which isn’t a good idea for driving in the desert. How poor was the air conditioning?
“While a slight decrease in air conditioning performance may be noticed after converting to R-134a from R-12 we did not experience any issues with our air conditioning system. It was as cool as the other side of the pillow! And R-134a is much more environmentally friendly and readily available for purchase than R-12.”
I would not hesitate to take a GM (Chevy) powered Cadillac to Vegas. Paint it pink and name it Aretha.
My 1960 Imperial would make it with ease and fo it in great comfort.
Great first episode! We are looking forward to the next one!
I drive my 1970 MG-B to Las Vegas every year from Albuquerque and between AAPEX events, use the car to travel to the East Coast, Central Mexico and to the Pacific Northwest. There is no reason that a Cadillac that new would not be up to the task.
I had a 1968 MG-B. It was fun to drive but was very finicky about the gasoline it would run on. I had to use Premium!
How much of old Route 66 were you able to navigate and where do I find info on following the original road? Good story. My Father took us back and forth in the early 60’s. 1961 Buick Le Sabre.