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59 Cadillac Death Car-- cool article

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by notebooms, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. notebooms
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,072

    Alliance Member

    Ah, the old tale of finding a classic that somebody died in for a good deal...

    Found this article (from July 1990 Automobile Magazine) while looking around at Abomination's body diagram links:

    Remember all those stories you've heard about a classic car that sold for next to nothing because a guy died in the front seat? Well, this one is true.
    On February 8, 1959, Maurice Gagnon was shot as he sat in the front seat of his own Eldorado Seville. The bloodstains on the floor mats are authentic.
    (body of article)
    You've heard the story. "My brother-in-law's friend's third cousin knows a widow who has a '53 Corvette. It's in perfect shape, but the widow's son was killed in it, so she let it sit for thirty-six years. Now she wants to sell it but doesn't have a clue how much it's worth."
    The death of the owner is a pervasive theme, but these stories have unlimited permutations. The car is always something interesting, rare, and valuable, never a '65 Comet. Often, the car was never resold because the owner died at the wheel and they couldn't get the smell out.
    The story is never completely true (except, of course, for your personal stories, which will doubtless flood our mailbox momentarily). But keep an open mind about this one.
    We know where there's an absolutely original - down to the tires and battery - 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville. This monument to conspicuous consumption, complete with tail fins that rival those of an F-84, has only 2232 miles on the odometer - the lowest-mileage 1959 Cadillac in the world, as far as we can determine.
    It's in perfect shape because it was stored in a heated government garage as state's evidence for a murder case. Indeed, the owner was executed in the front seat.
    After the trial, the Cadillac was no longer needed for evidence, and the state eventually returned it to the family, who stored it in a corner of a warehouse. Finally, they offered it for sale. The first time he heard the story, John Pfanstiehl, a lover and collector of late-Fifties Cadillacs, didn't believe it, either. "I was talking to a successful businessman," recalls Pfanstiehl, "and he told me about this car that hadn't been driven since new because the owner died in it. I sighed and rolled my eyes. Then he said, 'Do you want me to call and find out if it's for sale?' Pop! went the myth. The guy called, I saw it and bought it."
    Pfanstiehl's white 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville, with silver-blue top and trim, is a rare (only 975 were produced) and, uh, interesting example of a styling theme hitting critical mass. Under the acres of sheetmetal are three carburetors, 345 horsepower, and an air suspension. The original price, less options, was $7401, which in 1959 would have bought four Chevrolets.
    The car's original owner, Maurice Gagnon of Cumberland, Rhode Island, was an archetype of the time. A self-made man, Gagnon started a plastics business in his basement and soon turned it into an international concern. In newspaper reports of the murder, he was described as a man about town who carried 1000 pre-inflation dollars in his pocket.
    Gagnon's residence was burglarized in the winter of 1958, soon after he bought the Cadillac. Frederick J. Martineau and Russell J. Nelson were accused of the crime and thus faced life imprisonment under Rhode Island's "burglary committed after 6:00 p.m." statute. On February 8, 1959, they tried to force Gagnon into changing his testimony. Even after a beating, Gagnon refused, so they shot him as he sat in the passenger's seat of his own car. The Cadillac and Gagnon were dumped in a bad section of Nashua, New Hampshire.
    It's possible the two might have made their escape except that, while attempting to slip away from the scene at 1:00 a.m., Nelson drove the wrong way out of Nashua. They turned around and went back through town, and that attracted the attention of two rookie cops, who stopped and held the out-of-towners on "suspicion." (Remember this was 1959.)
    After sitting in a state garage for fifteen years, the car was returned to Gagnon's company in 1974 - where it sat for another seven years until Pfanstiehl heard about it. It took Pfanstiehl several more years to obtain the Cadillac's floor mats. He pestered officials until the mats, complete with bloodstains, were found in a musty courthouse basement.
    When Pfanstiehl finally got the car, it had 2216 miles on the clock. He drove it only another sixteen miles, just to see what 1959 was like. You can see the legendary Caddy yourself if you visit the Car Palace Museum in Somerset, Massachusetts. But we'll warn you right now, not all the legend is intact. The seats don't smell.
    -scott noteboom
  2. PhatCaddy
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 1,453


    I think this car sold this year at B-J, Scottsdale or Palm Beach.
  3. rdachsdog
    Joined: Dec 31, 2005
    Posts: 234

    from michigan

    Old Cars Weekly I think did an article on it just before it sold at auction.
  4. Ole Pork
    Joined: Sep 4, 2006
    Posts: 581

    Ole Pork

    They don't necessarily smell. It depends on weather, how long the stiff was in the car, decomposition, all kindsa shit. I bought a '71 GMC pickup from a friend's family after her brother shot himself in the chest w/a 20 ga. shotgun slug. The dent in the door was a handy place for my elbow. Servicemaster cleaned it up (white upholstery) and not the least smell. I drove the thing for about 6 years after that...Ole Pork
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  5. Fingers
    Joined: Feb 23, 2005
    Posts: 105


    I had a '69 Valiant that someone had died smell, cheap car, all good.:D
  6. G'day fingers. a mate and I where looking at an old holden eh sedan out on a bush track that had no wheels and no windows, I'd ripped half the engine off and walked to the back door and opened it, and out dropped the head and arms of an old abo (black person) from under a blanket I was scrared shitless he looked and smelt a few days dead. my mate called the cops and they where thare in about five mins (10km from town). the cop grabbed a stick and poked him a fewtimes. it was on about the forth poke that the barstard opened his eyes and shouting and screaming..... turned out the drunk old barstard hard fallen off the back of a ute so had camped there.

    If u think its dead, poke it to make sure
  7. hahahaa tylerrae40 what a ripper of a story!
  8. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,437

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    I had an old 76 4 door Dodge Dart.... what a beauty.....
    ...every time I ate aunt Norma's Barvarian Bratwurst cabbage rolls,it smelled like someone died too.

    ....I could never sell it either.
  9. Sadly I Knew Of Two Cars That Fit This Thread Both Were From Suicdes (engine Running In A Garage)the Familys Of Each Had The Cars Crushed... Although Years Apart They Wer Both In My Small Home Town...and Sisters Of Girls I Dated
  10. Mercmad
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 1,388

    from Brisvegas

    The shot gun is always a bastard of a way to kill yourself.Girl I knew in High school swallowed her fathers 12guage, both barrels, and only her lower jaw was left.A mate bought the car( '63 Fairlane)and promptly pissed it off when he found a piece of vertebrae under the backseat..pretty big dent in the roof too.:eek:
    I attracted the attention of the law once ,when I saw a coupe parked in a Sydney(OZ) suburb.I stopped and looked at it for a while ,thinking the owner was close by.I sat in my car for about 30 minutes and when no one showed I drove off.That night on the TV news,theres the coupe on TV with a story about how the driver( italian ,colorful biz identity) had been shot in the back of the head....and the cops were seeking persons seen loitering in the area:D

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