Under The Hood

The Ultimate Cocktail Cruiser

You can’t share spirits in a toast with Frank Sinatra anymore, but you might be able to catch his own spirit Aug. 14 when Bonhams & Butterfields offers Ol’ Blue Eyes’ 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. This rolling cocktail cruiser is being offered at the auction house’s Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia auction Aug. 14 at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, Calif.

America was living the high life in the 1950s, and Cadillac’s Eldorado Brougham was the culture’s ultimate representation of that life. With Frank Sinatra as the soundtrack, the glamorous 1950s were a time of extravagance and entertainment, and at $13,074 with a load of accompanying goodies, the stainless-steel-topped Brougham had both.

This Brougham (OS11467/58P011421) comes with all six of the original drink tumblers (presumable with some mileage on them by the original owner) and cigarette case (likewise, carefully used by Sinatra), offering the opportunity to own the ultimate example of 1950s culture on wheels.

The ex-Sinatra 1958 Brougham also has a known past, recounted by previous owner and CHP officer Neal Gann who recalled pulling over Sinatra in the car when it was nearly new. According to Bonhams & Butterfields, here’s that story:

    “In early 1958 while on traffic patrol duties as a California Highway Patrolman, I was coming onto outbound Interstate 10 at Towne Avenue in Pomona, California … on a Friday afternoon late. I observed a 1958 Cadillac Brougham eastbound in moderate fast traffic; the car was passing using several lanes…. There was no license plate displayed, which was not unusual for those years … temporary dealer plates … frequently came off.

    “I executed a traffic stop near Ontario Airport. Upon approaching the driver’s side I immediately recognized Mr. Sinatra, as I had been a fan since WWII. I advised as to why he was stopped and he said curtly, “You must have the wrong car Officer.” I replied, “Mr. Sinatra, you don’t see many Broughams at one time,” This elicited a grin and a reply of “No, I guess not.”

    “I asked for his driver’s license and registration. He produced his billfold and had a difficult time finding his license among the many photos and miscellaneous papers. I noted that most of the photos were of Ava Gardner…. [after reflection] I considered as to how unfair [it was] to cite him just because he was a celebrity.

    “About this time, Mr. Sinatra got out and came back to my position and said, “Could you hurry up with the ticket. I’m running late.” I then told him … that I was just warning him to slow down and display the registration. I could tell this caught him off guard. He replied with a few expletives and “This is the first time I ever got a break from this kind of situation. As soon as someone finds out you’re a [expletive] celebrity they shove it to you.” His whole attitude changed from … indignant to friendly…. [W]e parted company and I about drooled over such a magnificent car.

    “Years went by and I had put this on the back burners of my memory. [Then] my half brother, Matthew L. Post (Bill), [who] was an avid car collector and Chairman of the board of Le Cercle – Concours d’Elegance in Los Angeles called me and stated, “Years ago you told me about stopping Sinatra in that ‘58 Brougham! Well, I just bought it at auction.” Bill owned the car and stored it in Hollywood Hills. One day he called me and stated “L’il brother, I’m going to give you the Brougham if you will drive and enjoy it.” Thus I acquired the car and the documentation. The car was mine and the dream came true.

    “I entered the car in many car shows and it won Best of Show at the Cadillac Club International car show in Palm Springs, California.”

The car is offered by Bonhams & Butterfields on behalf of Sidney H. Craig, who collected cars with provenance that were once owned by celebrities, and it comes with registration citing Sinatra as the owner. If you want to go back to the 1950s, this might be your best chance to do it, and certainly the most stylish way to go about it. My guess is, it will cost about $250K to do it,  but we’ll find out for sure when the car sells at no reserve on Aug. 14. To learn more, click here.

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