Author Topic: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs  (Read 3138 times)

Charles D. Barnette #1465

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1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« on: March 16, 2007, 12:43:43 PM »
I just got my copy of the March 2007 Self-Starter and read the excellent article by David Temple on these sporty Dream Car Cadillacs. Our editor and staff did a superb job on the lay out, and I just want to tell them in this format that they are very much appreciated! The Motorama expertise of David Temple is awesome, and our club has benefited greatly from his willingness to share his professional talents with us. What beauties these cars were! They were ahead of their time and wonderfully "Cadillac" created. They now exist again in well documented articles like this. Charles D. Barnette

Dick Heller

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1954 La Espada
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2007, 11:42:01 AM »
Is it 100percent confirmed that the La Espada was scrapped or is it in someones Barn?

Dick




Quote from: Charles D. Barnette #1465
I just got my copy of the March 2007 Self-Starter and read the excellent article by David Temple on these sporty Dream Car Cadillacs. Our editor and staff did a superb job on the lay out, and I just want to tell them in this format that they are very much appreciated! The Motorama expertise of David Temple is awesome, and our club has benefited greatly from his willingness to share his professional talents with us. What beauties these cars were! They were ahead of their time and wonderfully "Cadillac" created. They now exist again in well documented articles like this. Charles D. Barnette

David Temple, #22317

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Re: 1954 La Espada
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2007, 01:13:11 AM »
To my knowledge there is no proof the La Espada was scrapped. However, its companion, the El Camino, has been reported to have been crushed. Any paperwork related to the scrap orders which may be buried in GMs files for these two cars proves absolutely nothing. For example, the 1953 Skylark two-door HARDTOP prototype was not destroyed as paperwork in GMs files indicated. It is in perfectly good condition. The only proof of just about any Motorama cars destruction is someone who actually witnessed the destruction saying so. Are there any witnesses left alive? The next best indicator is if none of the missing cars surface within the ten years or so. However, the 1954 Nomad has not surfaced in 50 years yet is rumored to have been sold a couple of years ago to someone who already owned the red 1954 Corvair. At least in the case of the Corvair, some people saw it at Warhoops Used Auto & Truck Parts up until the late 1970s. Even if the La Espada did not get scrapped, that does not mean it exists today. The first Cadillac Le Mans was consumed by fire in 1985. We may never know with certainty the fate of the La Espada or other such cars. -- David Temple

Offline J.C.

  • Posts: 157
  • CLC Number: 18146
  • Name: John Houlsby
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2014, 06:31:47 PM »
I recently photographed Dick Birdsall's 1953 Cadillac Elegante, which was originally built by his father, Harry Birdsall.  The resemblance to the La Espada seems undeniable.  Dick Birdsall believes that his father's design for the Elegante dates back to 1951.  Is there any evidence that anyone from the Cadillac Motor Car Division actually saw the Elegante and copied it to make the La Espada?  This is certainly a tantalizing question!  Much of the Elegante was designed and built in Turin, Italy.  Could Cadillac have gotten wind of what Harry Birdsall was up to when the Italians were working on the car?  Who made the La Espada's first designs?  I haven't seen the March, 2007 issue of "The Self-Starter," but if anyone has information, please post!  Meanwhile, I'll try to post my pictures of the Elegante...

[img]PS Front-Top Closed-w/o Model EDITED FINAL.JPG/img] 
[img]DS Front-Top Closed-w/o Model EDITED FINAL.JPG/img]
[img]TS Front-Top Open Looking Down EDITED FINAL .JPG/img]
[img]DS Rear-Whole Car FINAL.JPG/img]
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Offline J.C.

  • Posts: 157
  • CLC Number: 18146
  • Name: John Houlsby
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2014, 06:34:23 PM »
Dick Birdsall's 1953 Cadillac Elegante.  It bears a striking resemblance to the La Espada.  What a car!
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Offline Quentin Hall

  • Posts: 1447
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2014, 07:52:37 PM »
I believe it was Dave Holls who designed the ElCamino and LaEspada. Sadly Dave is no longer with us. He was in his early twenties when he came to GM in the early fifties.
Wow, where has Dick been hiding this "elegante" beauty. In all these years I have never seen mention of it anywhere. If the timeline is indeed back to 51 then I tend to think that was earlier than the design for the Motorama twins. Looking forward to hearing much more on this. Sadly Charles is no longer with us either, but I know he would be in raptures over this car. David Temple is surely in the wings somewhere....."David.....??"
Of course the 59 and 60 Broughams were built by Pinninfarina.
PS Ordinarily I would never be so crass as to ask a woman as beautiful as the one above to "move it Darlin' " . . . however this is one of those times.
PPS On second scrutiny of the pic I would love to know when the car was built. A 53 Chassis might suggest the car was built 54 55 ?? or later. Still a stunner.   
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 08:43:28 PM by Quentin Hall »
53 Eldo #412.
53 Eldo #433
53 series 62 conv
39 Sixty Special Custom
57 Biarritz

Offline Quentin Hall

  • Posts: 1447
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2014, 08:59:26 PM »
I should have known, Yann has all the details covered. http://www.cadillacdatabase.org/Dbas_txt/Drm55.htm
53 Eldo #412.
53 Eldo #433
53 series 62 conv
39 Sixty Special Custom
57 Biarritz

Offline J.C.

  • Posts: 157
  • CLC Number: 18146
  • Name: John Houlsby
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2014, 12:33:12 AM »
According to Dick Birdsall, his Elegante was built between November of 1952 and April of 1955.  For thirty months it was worked on in Italy at Carrozzeria Rocco Motto.  And since you wanted to see a shot without the girl...
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Offline J.C.

  • Posts: 157
  • CLC Number: 18146
  • Name: John Houlsby
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2014, 12:54:19 AM »
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Offline okccadman

  • Posts: 794
  • CLC Number: 5374
  • Name: Jim Jordan
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2014, 09:18:32 AM »
After our good friend Charles Barnette passed away, I obtained a design drawing from his collection that has elements of the 53 LeMans, 54 El Camino/La Espada and 53 Buick Wildcat.  This drawing is signed by Dave Holls but not dated.
Jim Jordan CLC# 5374
Oklahoma City, OK

55 Series 62 Sedan
56 Series 62 Coupe
56 Fleetwood 75 Derham Limo
59 Fleetwood Sixty Special
66 Fleetwood Brougham
66 Superior Hearse/Ambulance
67 Fleetwood Sixty Special
68 Fleetwood Eldorado
76 Coupe de Ville d'Elegance
90 Brougham
92 Fleetwood Coupe
93 Allante
94 Fleetwood Brougham
02 Eldorado Commemorative Edition

Offline Quentin Hall

  • Posts: 1447
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 08:10:00 PM »
Dave Holls was one of the primary 59 designers along with Chuck Jordan. You can see direct similarities of the 59 production and Brougham  pancaked hood with the Elegante's hood.
Hey Jim can you scan or take a pic of Dave's artwork?? I'd love to see it.
53 Eldo #412.
53 Eldo #433
53 series 62 conv
39 Sixty Special Custom
57 Biarritz

Offline veesixteen

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  • The moment is NOW!
  • CLC Number: 12588
  • Name: Yann Saunders
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2014, 04:05:53 PM »
Thanks for the heads up, my friend.

IMHO opinion, too few CLC members and other Cadillac aficionados are turning to the Cadillac Database as a first and immediate source of general information and photos of collectible Cads.

Have I been wasting my time processing and posting upwards of 45,000 Cadillac images since I created this digital resource and donated it the CLC Museum & Research Center in 1999?

It may be time for the CLC to do some advertising, both in the Self Starter and in other car club magazines. I realise we can't derive any income from the resource, since the bulk of the images therein are copyrighted to GM-Cadillac and other private parties, but nothing should prevent the Club from "pushing" the resource even if this benefits only GM-Cadillac via potentially increased sales!

We also need to get our friend JC Franchitti more involved in the on-going project. JC volunteered to take over from me the responsibility for the Database in early 2012 but he has been busy on so many other projects. I still help him by processing and adding new or better images whenever I have some free time ... but "free time" is what I have less and less of !     
Yann Saunders, CLC #12588
Compiler and former keeper of "The Cadillac Database"
aka "MrCadillac", aka "Veesixteen"

Offline Quentin Hall

  • Posts: 1447
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2014, 06:20:39 PM »
Yann's act of generosity in donating the Database is the single most important and significant donation to our hobby and a lasting legacy to our favorite marque. If Cadillac PR was on the ball , they would have parked a new Cadillac in his driveway. . . And maybe one for Gita.....for being so patient all those years.
53 Eldo #412.
53 Eldo #433
53 series 62 conv
39 Sixty Special Custom
57 Biarritz

Offline veesixteen

  • Posts: 1174
  • The moment is NOW!
  • CLC Number: 12588
  • Name: Yann Saunders
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2014, 07:09:21 AM »
Just for the record:  I did not donate to the Club anything that was MINE to give ... other than a lot of my time.

My "contribution" to the hobby has been simply to gather and group together in one single, handy (digital) location [www.cadillacdatabase.org], the research and the thousands of photos published individually by aficionados like myself who are (or "were", for the many who have already left us) as keen as me to document for posterity a part of the grand story of America's once most desirable (and still well respected) luxury automobile.

Now I wish some younger and equally zealous member(s) of the Club would take on the (thankless) task of doing the same thing for post-1970 Cadillac production. Heck, that's another 45 years of the company's history, right there!

Think of the glory (photo) ... but try to spend a lot of time with your loved ones
 too !!!
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 07:10:52 AM by veesixteen »
Yann Saunders, CLC #12588
Compiler and former keeper of "The Cadillac Database"
aka "MrCadillac", aka "Veesixteen"

Offline Tito Sobrinho

  • CLC # 5246
  • Posts: 309
  • Name: Tito Sobrinho
Re: 1954 La Espada & El Camino Cadillacs
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2014, 11:32:33 AM »
The El Camino and La Espada were designed under Ed Glowacke's tutelage. His team at that time were: Bob Scheelk, Dave Holls, Ron Hill and others.
Tito S.

1949 CCP 6267X  (First Series)

Thanks to Frank Hershey for its design and thanks to Harry Barr, Ed Cole, John Gordon and Byron Ellis for its engine.

 

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