My 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
The Cadillac was ordered in 1963 from Victor Camp Cadillac in Bayshore, Long Island, New York. A small dealer with only two cars in the showroom that no longer exists today. Brian Yeager, the son of Harold Yeager was only 11 years old at the time. But he can still remember it as if it were only yesterday.
His father ordered the "firmest green" color as an expensive optional extra that was not available as standard equipment on the car. As a Cadillac fan, Harold Yeager really wanted a 64′ model because it was the last year of fin Cadillacs. He also didn't want a 65′ model because it had the headlights stacked instead of side by side, which he didn't like.
He ordered the following accessories:
- White wall tires
- Soft ray glass
- 6-way seat
- AM radio (with station scan)
- Air conditioner with automatic temperature control
- Cruise Control
- Door guards
- Metallic paint green (firemist green)
- Wax treatment
- Floor mats front and rear
On December 24, 1963, Harold Yeager was able to pick up the Cadillac from the dealer and immediately brought it home.
On February 3, 1964, Harold Yeager received a letter of thanks from the Cadillac General Sales Manager.
Since Harold Yeager owned a car repair shop, it was mainly his wife Dorothy E. Yeager, who was only about 1.55 m tall, who drove the Cadillac.
Harold drove to work in his pickup truck. But he always made sure that the Cadillac was washed, waxed and in top technical condition.
Harold Yeager owned his auto repair shop for 35 years. Therefore, the Cadillac was never taken to an authorized repair shop because Harold always maintained and repaired everything himself.
In 1986, Harold Yeager told his son that he wanted to sell the Cadillac. Brian was very surprised and immediately asked "How much do you want for it?". They agreed on a price of $4,000 which he of course was happy to spend to keep the vehicle in family ownership. However, Brian never learned the exact reason for the sale of the Cadillac from his father.
Brian was already living in Texas with his family at the time. From there he drove with a motor home and a trailer towards New York to pick up the Cadillac there. Once there, the Cadillac was loaded up and transported just a few miles on the trailer towards Texas. However, since the Cadillac was much too long and heavy for the trailer, and the trailer was rocking very badly even at low speeds, he left the vehicle with his father and returned by plane a few months later to set out on the long road to Texas with the truck from his father's auto repair shop and a larger trailer, including his parents.
Halfway along the road, a heavy tractor-trailer overtook the team at high speed. Due to the strong air pressure of the semitrailer, the trailer and the car were rocked so much that the Cadillac threatened to fall off. The father yelled, "Put on the brakes, son!" but Brian was afraid that even though the trailer was braked, it would lurch and skid even more. He did just the right thing, he stepped on the gas. The lurching calmed, stopped, and they stopped to catch their breath and get their pulses back to normal. When Brian looked at his parents, they were both as white as chalk and his mother, who had always been a small energetic woman from a family of German emigrants, was as mute as a grave and just looked straight.
The rest of the way, you didn't dare go faster than 45 miles per hour (70 km/h). From New York to Texas is more than 2,400 km.
Brian Yeager got the vehicle with about 76,000 miles (about 122,000 km). In the 20+ years he has owned the vehicle it has always been under a protective cover in the garage, only brought out in warm, nice weather and only driven about 5,000 miles. Brian has always tried to take care of the vehicle as well as his father did.
In the late 1990s, the car stood longer and longer without being moved. Not that he wasn't interested in the car anymore, but his family and his job were increasingly taking their toll on him. Many times the Cadillac was simply taken out of the garage, washed, polished and returned to the garage under its protective cover.
In January 2005, Brian sent the Cadillac to his cousin Fred Heid Jr. in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Fred has been an auto mechanic all his life and has worked in Brian's father Harold's shop since he was a teenager. Fred Heid Junior's father, Fred Heid Senior, and Brian's father, Harold Yeager, were business partners and together owned the auto repair shop in New York. After both retired, Fred Jr. took over the shop and kept it for another 20 years.
Fred and Brian always loved to talk about cars, so Fred offered to take the Cadillac home, fix it up and get it back in shape. Over the next 18 months, Brian collected the parts and Fred meticulously did the repairs. The automatic transmission alone was taken to a specialist 8 times until everything was just as perfect as Fred wanted it! Most of the invoices are still there today.
In the summer of 2006, Fred brought the Cadillac back to Florida, where he now lives as a retiree. The Cadillac has been running like new ever since and many people turned heads when Brian drove the car around Fort Myers.
After a while, however, Brian ran into a problem. He bought a rare 1992 Cadillac Allante and had no room for two collector cars in his garage. After much thought and consideration, he decided with a heavy heart that it was time to let someone else enjoy the Cadillac as he always had. He offered the vehicle on eBay, still not sure if he really wanted to sell it and if it was the right marketplace. He had known for some time that in Europe, and especially in Germany, good vehicles are sought after and good prices are achieved. He knew several clubs and saw how well the vehicles were cared for. After a few days there were two serious interested parties. One from New Jersey and one from Huston, Texas. Then he received an email from Germany from Tom Witzel that he would like to look at the vehicle when he arrived in Florida. He was unsure about actually selling the vehicle and knowing it was so far away in Germany.
Since he had set up an unknown minimum bid, he let the bidding expire on eBay without selling it to the highest bidder. He simply wanted the Fleetwood to be in the right hands.
He called Tom Witzel and told him that the Cadillac was still for sale. Tom came to his house and looked at the car thoroughly. They immediately liked each other and Brian knew he had found the right one. Even though Brian didn't get as much as he thought he would, he signed the contract in November 2006 because it was more important to him who got the car than the money.
In early December, the car was taken by flatbed truck to the Port of Miami and shipped from there to Germany. He was sad to see the car go, but he was reassured to know it was in good hands who would care for the Cadillac as his father and he had done over the many years.
While searching for the first owner in December 2009, I found Brian Yeager's old address in Texas. Tom Witzel unfortunately had no more records with Brian's address in Florida. On the off chance I wrote a letter to his old address. Only a few days later Brian contacted me from Florida. His daughter, who lives in his old house in Texas, had sent him the letter from me. Only a few days before he himself had been looking for his old Cadillac in Europe and was completely delighted to hear from me.
On May 6, 2010 we visited Brian at his home near Fort Myers in Florida and spent a wonderful day together. He told me his story, the story of "our" Cadillac, gave me pictures of his brother and himself in front of the Cadillac when it was brand new and of his father washing the Cadillac in his driveway.
In summer 2014 Brian and his wife visited us in Germany. We drove with the 1964 Cadillac to the Cadillac BIG Meet in Austria and visited besides Salzburg many other places in the south of Bavaria.