Over in one corner of the San Diego Automotive Museum was a nondescript 1947 Cadillac. Located not far from the 1966 Bizzarrini (see yesterday's entry), this unrestored auto appeared out of place.
But this Caddy had a story to tell that went beyond mere glamor.
This was a story--actually, two stories--of function.
The Old '47 is the product of five years of Louie Mattar's inventiveness that produced a world endurance non-stop record across the United States, making the round trip of 6,320 miles in seven days--from September 20-27, 1952! (San Diego to New York City Round Trip, Non-Stop.)
How were those feats accomplished?
Three men drove in five-hour shifts, refueling on the run from fast moving trucks at Kansas City, MO; Camden, NJ; and Omaha, NE. The trailer (below) held 230 gallons of gas (plus 15 gallons of oil and 30 gallons of water). The car was escorted by local police through all towns and cities.
The platform that encircled the car enabled the team to retrieve a tire
(By the way, the pipe shown in the photo (left) leads to a showerhead.)
And under the hood was an array of additional containers, tubing, and wires.
Louie's Cadillac is considered to be the first motorhome ever built. In addition to using the shower noted above, the three men who completed the grueling journey had other services of the rolling home at their disposal. The modified Cadillac featured many luxuries such as an electric stove, refrigerator, TV,
Another function made more to meet Mattar's early interest in developing a vehicle for camping trips is this dining booth located at the back of the fuel tank.
Up front, the car had a nationwide mobile telephone, PA system, tape recorder,
and a bar