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Cadillac Coupe Deville restored to 1967 glory
Original owner gets first ride
Herman Moore (left) poses with Barbara Morris, the previous owner of Moore’s almost fully restored 1967 Cadillac Coupe Deville convertible, seen at right. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, January 6, 2013
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
You might have noticed Herman Moore’s newest ride cruising around the Martinsville-Henry County area.
At 20 feet long, it’s difficult to miss a convertible sky-blue 1967 Cadillac Coupe Deville.
The story of how Moore came to own the car is the classic tale of the “barn find”: a diamond-in-the-rough vintage car that the savvy car collector just happens to stumble across.
Two years ago, Moore and a group of helpers moved Barbara Morris, 85, from her house in Patrick County to her new home in Bassett.
Moore has given Morris a nickname: Miss Chancellor, after Katherine Chancellor, “The Dame of Genoa City” from the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.”
According to Moore, while loading a van at the house in Patrick County, he happened to notice a car inside a shed on the property. At first, he thought it might be a Pontiac GTO. He knew he had to investigate.
“I walked over and looked at it and saw it was a (Cadillac) convertible,” Moore said. “I asked her, ‘Miss Chancellor, would you consider selling this car?’ She said, ‘Yeah, I’ll sell you that car. But on one condition: I’ll be the first one to ride in it when you restore it.’”
It didn’t take long for Moore to agree to those terms.
Morris said her husband, the late James Morris, originally purchased the convertible for their daughter, Hilda “Summer” Morris, to drive while she was in college in North Carolina.
“She wanted that car, so he bought it for her,” Morris said.
After college, Hilda Morris joined the military and traveled overseas. While her daughter was out of the country, Barbara Morris received custody of the Cadillac.
As often happens with old cars, it eventually wound up parked in a shed. No one is sure exactly when it was parked, although Moore said the license plate stickers had expired in 1982.
When Moore bought the car, “The top was caved in,” he said. “It had rotted out. But structurally, (the car) was in good shape. It needed painting and re-chroming.”
Thankfully, Morris’ son, Johnny Morris, had restored the floorboards of the Cadillac, which had prevented a lot of weather damage. Also, the transmission and massive 429 cubic inch engine were in fine shape.
For the next two years, Moore worked on restoring the car, including re-painting it to its original sky blue, re-upholstering the interior and replacing the top.
“I’m still in the process,” Moore said, adding that the restoration is about 95 percent complete.
After a lot of hard work, Moore was finally ready to show off the car at the Bassett Christmas Parade on Dec. 8.
Barbara Morris, of course, was sitting in the passenger seat on the maiden voyage.
According to Moore, the Cadillac’s debut was a hit.
“At the Christmas parade here — and that’s the only time that most people have seen it — two people came up wanting to buy it,” Moore said.
“You told them it wasn’t for sale,” Morris added.
Moore expects the restoration will be complete by spring. While it isn’t a daily driver, he does plan to drive it on special occasions and to go to church.
“I’m going to be using it to go to car shows,” he said. “With your antique tags, you’ve got to do that.”
Moore’s wife, Doris Moore, pointed out that this isn’t the first time her husband has brought home a classic car. He also has owned a 1931 Ford Coupe, a 1969 Buick Wildcat, a 1962 Austin Healey 3000 and a 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air.
She has come to accept the fact that her husband has been bitten by the classic car bug.
“I do get mad when he brings them in,” Doris Moore said. “But eventually, they become part of the family.”