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1957 Cadillac four-door hardtop

Under the bonnet is a 365 cubic inch OHV V8 that produces a massive 400 pounds of torque and 300 BHP.

The roller door of Denis Thompson's cavernous warehouse rises slowly. He hits the light switch and there, bathed in a harsh white flourescent light, sits a 1957 Cadillac four-door hardtop. 

And it's pink - the colour Elvis Presley chose for his first Cadillac. And its BIG! Everything about Denis's car is big. It has a dominating presence which cannot be avoided.

From the twin 'dagmar' spinners jutting out from the front bumper bar to the chrome rear end that hides the fuel cap , it's all BIG.

The bigness theme is continued inside. I'm convinced the interior has more area than my first house . Under the bonnet is a 365 cubic inch OHV V8 that produces a massive 400 pounds of torque and 300 BHP. That's big , even in 2011. 

About the only thing not oversized are the brakes, Drums all round on this baby .I ask Dennis if he's planning to convert them to discs. "No" he replies in a manner that absolutely convinces me he is A-OK with them just as they are. 

Dennis kindly offers to take us out for a drive. From the driving position the view through the wrap around windscreen and across the bonnet goes on and on and on.

The back seat seems light years away, and four goodly sized folk could sit across the bench seats. 

The dashboard is a glitzy and impressive array of buttons, knobs and dials. I'm sure that the original Mercury astronauts had less complicated dashboards in their space capsules than what GM put in front of Cadillac owners in 1957.

Once we moving the size of the car is actually becomes an asset. Those driving smaller vehicles give us room to move. Trucks stay in their lanes. People look, point and wave. 

The soft suspension and soft seats easily soak up the irregularities in the pavement allowing us to progress to our destination in comfort and serenity. 

"Every time I take it out people stop and ask me about it", says Denis. "On freeways the other drivers cruise up alongside and passengers take photos of it!" 

The car was imported brand new by a Canberra doctor in mid 1957. The right hand drive conversion was done by Bill Buckle in Sydney, The doctor drove the car for a few years then had it stored. The car then went through a number of owners, all with intentions of restoring it. It finally ended up outside the Elvis Museum in Parkes, and that's where Dennis found it.

"It was sitting outside the museum in all the weather and was gradually rusting away. So we decided to buy it and restore it", he says. The restoration spanned two years, and involved a complete body off strip down and rebuild.

Denis drives the Caddy about once a week and he hires it out for formals, weddings, sightseeing trips and such like. "It is a driver", he emphasises.

www.retroautos.com.au

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