Hazel Park resident Phil  Guadagni purchased his 1950 Cadillac Series 61 two-door, hard-top sport coupe in 1989.

Hazel Park resident Phil Guadagni purchased his 1950 Cadillac Series 61 two-door, hard-top sport coupe in 1989.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Behind the Wheel: Cadillac comes home again

By: Jennifer Sigouin | C&G Newspapers | Published June 26, 2019

 The Cadillac Series 61 is painted in Matador Red and is decked out in plenty of chrome.

The Cadillac Series 61 is painted in Matador Red and is decked out in plenty of chrome.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 One interesting feature is the gas cap, above right, which is located under the driver’s side rear taillight.

One interesting feature is the gas cap, above right, which is located under the driver’s side rear taillight.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Guadagni’s 1950 Cadillac is pictured shortly after he purchased  it, above, and during the restoration process, below.

Guadagni’s 1950 Cadillac is pictured shortly after he purchased it, above, and during the restoration process, below.

Photo provided by Phil Guadagni

Hazel Park resident Phil Guadagni’s 30-year journey with his 1950 Cadillac has come full circle — starting in Michigan, traveling to Florida and then returning back to the Mitten, just a short walk from where it all began. 

The Cadillac came into Guadagni’s life in 1989, when he was living in Ferndale. He bought the classic car from a man in Hazel Park who wasn’t exactly sure of the car’s make and model. The seller initially told Guadagni that it was a Pontiac, but Guadagni knew exactly what he was buying: a 1950 Cadillac Series 61 two-door, hard-top sport coupe. 

Over the years, Guadagni spent time restoring the classic Caddy with a little help from one of his sons, who’s a mechanic. 

“People tell me it’s a rich man’s hobby, and it never dawned on me how much you have to put into these things,” he said of the restoration project. 

After all of the work he put in, the engine — a V-8 331 — “runs practically perfect,” and the car is about “95% finished.”

“It just needs interior door panels,” said Guadagni. “But it’s beautiful. It has a nice paint job and beautiful chrome. It’s out of this world.”

While restoring the car was rewarding, Guadagni likes driving it even more. When Guadagni moved to Florida for several years, the Cadillac went with him. Then when health problems led Guadagni to move back to Michigan recently, his son made sure that the Cadillac made a safe trip back up north. 

Upon his return to Michigan, Guadagni moved into a house in Hazel Park, which to his surprise was more of a homecoming for the Cadillac than he had anticipated. As it turned out, his new residence was just one block away from where he had purchased the car 30 years ago. He realized the coincidence when he came across the old bill of sale for the car and noticed that the seller had lived one street over — and in the second house from the corner, just like Guadagni. 

Guadagni added that his house is conveniently close to an ice cream shop on Nine Mile Road that hosts classic car nights, which he regularly attends with the Cadillac. He also takes the car to other cruises and events around the area, where he enjoys reconnecting with friends, meeting other car buffs, and fielding questions about the Cadillac’s mileage — less than 50,000 — its make and model, and its sparkling chrome. 

“Wherever I go, people are taking pictures of it,” he added.


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Do you own a vehicle that has an interesting history? Contact Staff Writer Jennifer Sigouin at jsigouin@candgnews.com, and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel.