FREMANTLE, AUSTRALIA (February, 2012) – “Everything was great, except the wait!”
That’s what Reg Toohey had to say when asked about his experience purchasing a classic 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz from Vintage Motor Cars. The car’s 25,000-mile journey from Long Island, New York, via a literal slow boat to China, and eventually to Fremantle by way of Singapore, was almost too much to bear.
“Once I made the decision to buy the car, I couldn’t wait for it to get here,” said Toohey. “Fortunately, it was in such great shape that Australian Customs, which is notorious for holding overseas cargo in quarantine, cleared it straight away. I had it in time for Christmas, and it was well worth the wait!” Toohey, a semi-retired owner of a civil construction company, purchased his first antique automobile in 2009. He drove the 1935 Bentley in the 2010 Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge, a grueling, 10,000-mile cross-continental rally.
“That’s when the classic car bug bit me,” Reg said. “The car performed brilliantly, even along the unpaved roads of Mongolia. After that, I had to find another extraordinary antique automobile.”
He began searching for a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, but after six months of fruitless searching across Australia, he decided to look overseas. He soon found an ad for the ’56 Biarritz on a classic car web site, which led him to Vintage Motor Cars, a leading international dealer of antique, classic and special interest cars based in Ohio. After doing some initial background research on the company, Reg called Lee Wolff, Vintage Motor Cars’ CEO, to ask about the car. Wolff explained that this particular automobile was stored in a climate-controlled warehouse, and that it was in excellent condition.
“Lee was a great person to talk to, a real straight shooter,” recalls Reg. “He explained there were a couple of minor issues, including a cracked rear window and some missing gold plating on the front V. But otherwise, the vehicle was in terrific shape.”
And when the car emerged from Customs?
“It was everything Lee said it would be, and more!” said Reg. “Since the car is painted a gorgeous red, with white and black upholstery, and it arrived just before Christmas, my kids instantly dubbed it ‘Santa’s sled.’ The name stuck!”
Toohey notes that his ’56 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is one of “maybe two or three in all of Australia.” The car turns heads and starts conversations everywhere he drives, and he receives countless “thumbs up” from fellow drivers and pedestrians. The enthusiastic vintage car buff also marveled at how smoothly the purchase process went, since virtually every aspect of the $100,000 transaction was conducted over the Internet. Even the shipping process was nearly effortless.
“Dealing with Lee was just terrific. Everything I asked for, and more, was done,” said Toohey. “I’d buy another car from Lee tomorrow!”
“Reg was a pleasure to work with as well,” said Wolff from Vintage Motor Cars’ offices in Ohio. “He had a lot of questions, of course, and we had to jump through a few extra hoops because of the international issues. But we sell cars all over the world on a regular basis, so we knew what had to be done. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding customer service, and I’m glad to know Reg was pleased with our efforts.”
Toohey said he won’t be taking the Eldorado in the next Peking-to-Paris rally, scheduled for 2013.
“This car is too nice to put through that much abuse,” he said. “I’m keeping this one to myself, my family and my friends.”
The 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is one of the best examples of GM’s styling and engineering prowess of the 1950s. Only 2,150 were built and only a handful survive, making them highly-sought collectibles. The gorgeous, option-packed vehicle purchased by Toohey was given a complete restoration in 2009 and had been driven just over 1,000 miles since.
For more information, including photos of some of the world’s most extraordinary cars now in inventory, visit www.VintageMotorCarsUSA.com.