BACK IN THE DAYS BEFORE MERCEDESES AND BMWS began dominating Southern California roadways, the name Cadillac sent shivers down the spines of those longing for a luxury car. Doctors and lawyers drove them; so did politicians. Your successful grandpa might have owned one in the good old days, and Dad may still. And for some of us, Caddies were right up there atop the list of things we planned to buy when we got rich. It's no surprise then that Frank Corrente's Cadillac Corner in Hollywood does a land-office business in the sales and leasing of vintage Cadillacs. Sedan de Villes, Coupe de Villes and convertibles, all with the famous "Body by Fisher," sit gleaming on his lot, ready to be driven out into the Sunset--Boulevard, that is--or shipped anywhere in the world.
According to Corrente, who has been in the Cadillac business for 30 years, the most popular model is the fin-tastic '59 convertible, which can run about $75,000 fully restored. And although you might think that red would be the most asked-for color, Corrente says people often choose color on the basis of nostalgia: If gramps had a black Cadillac, chances are that's the one his grandson or granddaughter will want. And if you can't afford one all tarted up, you can restore as you go with a fixer-upper priced in the low teens.
Frank Corrente's Cadillac Corner, 7614 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; (213) 850-1881.