No one is immune to anxiety when it comes to disposing of a loved one’s car. It’s probably even more difficult when it was owned by a public figure whose persona identified a city for a while. But when your father was Mayor Frank L. Rizzo and he is memorialized in bronze, you do what you have to do.
Franny Rizzo, a sitting Philadelphia councilman at large, is offering his dad’s 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham for sale at a Wildwood N.J. auto auction to help fund the care of the late mayor’s statue, which greets visitors at a municipal building in center city Philly.
If the '80s vintage Fleetwood has escaped your mind’s eye, this one is inches short of 19 feet long and is powered by a 6.0-liter engine. It is equipped with air shocks, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a floor mounted car phone and a built in CB radio. But the extras that might just motivate buyers to get interested in this cruiser are a cigar box that is tucked away in the trunk and inscribed in the mayor’s own hand “Wheel cover lock”, an American Flag decal on the rear window and a plate “up front that is embossed with the seal of the State of Pennsylvania” as described in an article on Philly.
The car will have a reserve of $40,000 going into the auction, which represents some appreciation over its purchase price of $17,724. The auction promoter told CBS Philly that with the right combination of bidders and adrenalin, the Black vinyl topped brougham may bring as much as $80,000.
Franny Rizzo is a self described “car guy” but his father wasn’t. He rarely had need for a personal car because he had use of city provided vehicles. In his lifetime the mayor only owned two cars other than the Cadillac, which only made it out of the garage on Sundays and for trips to the park with his dog. This accounts for the meager 16170 on the odometer.
The councilman is anxious about the sale. That anxiety was the subject of the Family Car Guide post Vehicle Attachment Or Just Sentimentality which takes up the difficulty family members have when left with a loved one’s vehicle and also the place cars occupy in the American psyche.
Franny Rizzo must be very torn between keeping that green stuff that accumulates on statues away from his father’s shoes and keeping the 1980 Cadillac Brougham safely in the garage.