Sunday, April 26, 2015

CADILLAC SAL: WELCOME TO FLEETWOOD, FL!

It doesn’t have a zip code and it’s not on the map, but Fleetwood is home to Sal Santoro’s colorful Mirage Garage Cadillac collection. 
‘59 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe is totally original, including paint, chrome and interior. This was Sal’s first collector vehicle, purchased in 1991 in New Jersey with 51,000 miles from its original owner. It’s a “base” model with crank windows, AM radio, and power brakes and steering, and no AC. It has just two options: Two-tone paint and fog lights.
Sal’s other ‘59 Cadillac is a hearse/ambulance built by Cadillac on a Professional chassis with coachwork by Miller-Meteor in Ohio. This vehicle is twenty-one feet long and several inches higher and even a few inches wider than a standard ‘59 Cadillac from the windshield back. It has been transformed into ECTO-1, the ghost-busting machine made famous in the 1984 movie, Ghostbusters. ECTO-1 is a tribute to the original used in the movie and is embellished with all the "bells and whistles" (literally) that were seen on the big screen and still seen on TV.
‘66 Cadillac Eldorado, powered by the smooth 429-inch engine, represents the last of the rear-wheel-drive Eldorados and, at 19 feet, is considerably longer than the next generation (1967 to 1970) front-wheel-drive models. After 1970 they started stretching to massive proportions again. Sal’s fully loaded topline '66 is Crystal Firemist with a dark green leather interior and a white convertible top. The ‘84 Eldorado Biarritz convertible represents the 1980s in the Mirage Garage collection. It is white with a red tufted leather interior and white top and offers a wonderful, comfortable ride for four. The 4100 engine has proven trouble-free and reliable for the twenty years Sal has owned it.
Representing the 1970s is a rare ‘76 Cadillac Mirage. When first viewed, most refer to it as either a "flower car" or a Cadillac El Camino. It is a very low production Cadillac that provides the comfort of a passenger car along with the convenience of a pickup truck. Made only 1975 and 1976, there were only about 200 produced, and less than a dozen are known to survive today. Unlike other aftermarket conversions, the Mirage was the only pickup sold by
Cadillac dealers with a factory warranty.
Cadillac had not ventured into two-seater sports luxury convertibles until the Allante, with an optional hardtop, appeared in the lineup in 1987. The "Italian-American" car was produced from 1987 to 1993. Bodies were produced in Italy by Pinninfarina and flown by 747s to Michigan, where they were mated to Cadillac underpinnings. Sal’s ’92 Allante is pearl white with blood red leather interior and powered by Cadillac's 4.5-liter engine. It represents the 1990s.
The only non-Cadillac in the collection is this Resto-Mod ’56 Chevy 3800 long-wheelbase, one-ton panel truck, powered by a 350 small-block. It features new suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, full power and AC. Note shaved door handles (remote electric control doors), frenched ‘59 Cadillac taillights, House of Kolor Metallic True Blue and White Pearl paint accented by extensive gold leaf and hand-painted graphics inside and out. The interior has custom leather upholstery, a banjo-style steering wheel and modern gauges within the confines of the original ‘56 dash layout. Note Mirage Garage livery.

What does a serious Cadillac collector like “Cadillac Sal” Santoro drive for daily transportation? A Cadillac, of course! He and his wife own a ’10 Cadillac SRX, painted Red Crystal Tintcoat and fitted with optional 20-inch chrome wheels. He's a member of the Sarasota Cafe Racers.

Sal Santoro’s collection is private, but you can learn more about Sal, his passion for Cadillacs and the book he co-wrote with friend, Bob Walton: http://www.route66guys.com/


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