Hook of the Week: The “Deathbed Cadillac”

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Kev here… and this one is personal.

There are two types of people in this world. Those who talk to their cars and the weirdos that don’t.

I’ve had deep relationships with most of my cars. In my stand up comedy days, they ferried me back and forth across country several times, so we would get very close. My girls (always girls) treated me well. At times they would fire up and roll on beyond any scientific reasoning (just when I needed them most)… and I always forgave them when they broke down on me (even at the worst possible times).

But this car… she was the most special one of all.

If you’ve watched the video (in the bonus area of this site) of the live presentation the 60SSH book is based on, then you’ll recognize this story. (Here’s a youtube link timed at the start of the story for you)

The famous “deathbed Cadillac” that I scribbled a note to my wife about upon emerging from a 2-day coma is now for sale.

Readers have shared success stories with me about using the KLT to sell cars, so I thought it would be fun to do the same with the best car I ever owned.

Here it is…

IDENTITY/STRUGGLE

I was 35 and nearly dead. My wife held vigil at my bedside while I laid silent in the hospital for two days, comatose. Kept alive on a respirator.

My 1-yr-old son barely knew me.

The doctor’s told Michelle (my wife) I would “probably live”, but could not predict the condition of my brain function, now or in the future.

Forty-eight excruciating hours of beeping monitors, frightening what ifs and “wait and see” updates from the doctors.

Then, slowly… I came to, my fingers twitching lightly in her hand. She cried.

Suddenly my eyes popped open wide. I fought to speak, but couldn’t get anything but grunts past the breathing tube.

It was clear I had something important to say. Michelle scrambled for pen and paper, placing them in my hands and waited for me to scratch out my crucial message.

Were these my “dying words”? A makeshift will and testament? A simple profession of eternal love?

She struggled to make out the childlike lettering on the paper…

“CADILLAC?” was all it said?

DISCOVERY

The day before dropping into a coma, I had (after weeks of searching) found the car of my dreams… a 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, white with burgundy leather, low miles and clean paint. “The last great Cadillac GM ever made”, my friend Lou called it. And he was right.

This was 2005, the height of the “sporty” Cadillac era with Northstar motors that were fast, sure, but also fraught with techie glitches that frustrated owners and mechanics to no end. Gone were the days of having your Caddy serviced at the local garage or under your cousin Al’s shade tree. It was all corporate from here.

Cadillac retired the Fleetwood model for good after 1996, but held nothing back in the farewell edition. Rear wheel drive, robust LT1 5.7 liter V* engine (same as Corvettes), premium sound, CD and cassette. Booya!

Add to that the Brougham package with the vinyl top, heated leather seats, sail panel badging and backseat storage armrest, and you’re experiencing Cadillac at it’s big, fat American best…

“The Cadillac of Cadillacs.”

So, you can imagine why… even emerging from a two-day coma and suffering undetermined degrees of brain damage… I was hell-bent of securing this car – and little else.

All I wanted to know, via my scribbled message to my now irritated wife, was “did you get the money to the dealer so we don’t lose the car?”

She had not.

Apparently, in here estimation, rushing to my bedside as I lay unconscious was of much greater importance than some stupid car. I suppose this is why, statistically speaking, married men live longer… but far too often drive uncool rides.

However, as fate would have it… not long after (while I was still recovering from open-heart surgery), my old friend Lou happened upon another ’96 Fleetwood. This one from a private owner, with even lower miles and reportedly garage kept her entire life.

RESULT

He visited her for me, took one look and purchased on the spot.

She’s been my steady companion ever since.

Eight years, my daily driver. Even though I work from home and don’t wander far, I’ve kept her in fresh oil and steady maintenance all along.

She’s wearing only 128,000 original miles and still runs like a thoroughbred. But, as you can imagine, my wife doesn’t drive her and she’s never been allowed in the garage. So she’s sporting a few minor blemishes here and there. But not enough to stop strangers at stoplights from signaling me to proclaim, “I love your car!”

I love her, too. But it’s time to let her go.

CALL TO ACTION

She’s got a lot of miles ahead of her still. The right next owner is going to be very happy to have her.

Call _____________

5 replies
  1. Roderick
    Roderick says:

    I love this formula. Who can’t build pictures in their mind while reading this. Takes me back to the early days of eBay when I was selling sports memorabilia.

    The best bidding wars always happened when I told a great story around the item.

    One of my favorites was a limited edition signed picture of Julius “Dr. J” Erving.

    It was a wicked cool picture. When I was growing up he was the man.

    And I talked about that. And how he was the first man to “fly”.

    The winning bidder was so excited when he won the auction. With a 300% profit to me.

    This was before Paypal, and I had to get the credit card over the phone from him.

    You know why he bought that? He told me because Dr J was the first man to “fly”.

    What a timeless formula. Thanks for bringing it back to me.

  2. Jack
    Jack says:

    I’m neither looking for a car or have much interest in them for anything other than transportation. The deathbed drama put the marital pledge for better or worse into play. What kind of guy does this? Maybe me. See while reading I’m rethinking my old Buick, and trying to picture your aircraft carrier Caddy. You built an ad story and buyers will come.

  3. Mia Sherwood Landau
    Mia Sherwood Landau says:

    I LOVE THIS STORY! Makes me want another vehicle… but there’s no room in the driveway between my 96 Geo Tracker and 98 Toyota pickup. Go 90s! Great example of the hook, too.

  4. Julian
    Julian says:

    If I was in the Cadillac market I’d buy it just to have the dinner story to tell. I love that all the features and benefits are seamlessly woven in.

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