MY DAD’S CADILLAC by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
1958 CADILLAC ELDORADO “When Cars Were Cars and The MUSIC Was GREAT”
My Dad’s Cadillac. A 1958 Eldorado. Gun Metal Gray, the color. Wow, what a gorgeous car. Without a doubt “One of The Most Beautiful Cars Ever Made.” To me anyway. To many. The 1958 Cadillac, when-cars-were-cars. They had personality, they were beautiful. Some works of art. Not like the crap and Mediocrity of today. Like so many things today, Mediocre and no things more so than two of America’s most beloved things, Music and Cars. The cars of today,”They All Look The Same,” pretty much anyway. No beauty what-so-ever, unless you spend upward of $60,000 or more. Well pretty much over $100,000 to get the beauty of a car like the 1958 Cadillac. Even a regular old Buick or Oldsmobile from the years between 1958 to 1968 were far more beautiful than 99% of the cars made today, “They All Look The Same,” they’re ugly and mundane, not like my fathers Cadillac, a 1958 Eldorado Broughm. Boy was that a beautiful car. And boy do I wish I had one today. I’ve thought about it numerous times, going down to the famed Car Swap and Show at Hershey Pennsylvania every Labor Day weekend year after year. I want one of those babies, one of the most beautiful cars ever made, just like my Dad’s 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Broughm, and Gun Metal Gray please. Two problems with that, I live in New York City, the land of you most likely don’t own a car. You don’t need one, you live in New York. Problem two, one of these gorgeous babies in very good to mint condition cost $50,000 or more. I know, to you maybe a mere pittance But to me, $50,000 plus yearly expenses on a car I’d hardly ever use? Well?
Hey, I’ve got memories though. I loved that car. My dad had a late 50’s Green Plymouth Fury before that, and one of the last Packard’s ever made before he got that gorgeous Cadillac. He actually got it from a famous New Jersey Gangster of the 1960’s, one Antony Provenzano, better known as “Tony Pro.” My father was a truck driver and member of the nations most powerful Labor Union of the day, The Teamsters .. My dad drove a truck for The Continental Can Company in Paterson, New Jersey and was a member of The Teamsters Local 560 … My dad worked and drove the truck at night and during the days he had a couple of side businesses to make some extra cash. His main little side business was as a Landscaper during the Spring and Summer months(on weekends and all Summer long my brother Jimmy and I worked for my Dad). He had several clients of which he would do landscaping at their homes and or businesses . He’d do work like mowing the lawn, planting shrubbery, trees, and flowers, as well as laying sod. One of my dad’s clients Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano was a Teamsters Vice President under Jimmy Hoffa, as well as being a reputed North Jersey Capo of The Genovese Crime Family. My dad mowed Tony Pro’s lawn, and planted dew shrubbery and flowers at his North Jersey home. My dad got his 1958 Cadillac from Tony Pro. Mr. Provanzano owed my dad money on his Landscaping Bill … As most men in Mr. Provenzano’s position, it is cutsomary to get a new car every two years, quite often a Cadillac. My dad got this Caddy from Tony Pro, if I remember correctly around 1967 .. Tony was finished with it, wasn’t using it any more and asked my dad if it wanted it in lew of the money Mr. Provanzano owed my dad. Guess what? You don’t say No to Tony Pro. My dad said, “Yeah,” and got the car. When I brought it home, I was all excited, the car was beautiful. I asked my dad where he got it, and he told me some Guy Owed Him Some Cabbage (money), so he gave me the cabbage. I just said, “Oh,” but remember thinking to myself that this guy Tony Pro actually owed to my dad real Cabbage, the vegetable. I was imagining a a pick-up truck load of Cabbage.
Well, my dad got tony Pro’s 1958 Cadillac Eldorado, and boy was it a beauty, and did we have tons of fun in that car. My dad wasn’t like the other kids dads in the neighborhood. No my dad was much cooler than all the others. Of course my dad was the best dad in the world. To me any way. Of course he was the coolest, he had Tony Pro’s old Cadillac. And my dad, unlike the other dads, used to live to drive around, go for rides, just around North Jersey, down the shore (famous Jersey expression for The Beach), to Pennsylvania, or Upstate New York. We’d invariable stop at a diner, burger, or Hot Dog Joint for Burgers or Dogs. And if we went to any one of the many cool old diners in Jersey (Diner Capital of The World) or anywhere on the East Coast, we’d always grab a “Booth” to sit at, and my dad would give us quarters to fill the Juke Box, playing our favorite songs, The Beatles, The Monkees, Rolling Stones and Motown, “when Music was Good,” (Great), but “no more” the Music, the Cars, all quite bad now. What the Hell happened? How can they make such Shitty Music now? Sorry but it really is. And it’s not just a generational thing. If there are good artist, I will like them, like Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse R.i.P., Cee Lo Green. It’s just there is so much crap, like “Crap Rap” and the other garbage music they make these days. What the Hell Happened? Dam, when I was growing up in the 60’s and 70s there was so much great music it was beyond belief; all the great Motown artist, Pop, Classic Rock, and mixed in, there were greats like Frank Sinatra, Tony Benett, and Dean martin still going strong along with The Beatles, Stones, and others.
Well the music is quite bad these days. The music business has died. And cars too. What Happened to the cars? Have you looked at the cars these days? Horrible, they all look the same, “Crappy.”
Well, enough of that. Back to my dads Cadillac. Yeah, we had some good times in that baby; riding down to Asbury Park for the day, a day at the Sea Shore, go on some rides, eat soft Ice Cream, have a Burger, ride back and forth on the Parkway, the radio playing all the great tunes of the day, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” Sherry “Baby” by Jersey’s own Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, The Rascals, The Supremes. Now that was music, and riding down the road in a 1958 Cadillac, stopping for Burgers and Fries. Ladies and Gents “It Doesn’t Get
Much Better Than That!”
A short, stocky and ham-fisted man who bore the scars of his young years as an amateur boxer, Mr. Provenzano – known to friend and foe alike as Tony Pro – joined the teamsters as a Depression-Era truck driver and, through muscle and shrewd maneuvers, fought his way into the top ranks of the crime-riddled union.