Search This Blog

Saturday, January 08, 2011

This Cadillac Went From San Diego to New York and Back - NONSTOP - in 1952

Louie Mattar's 1947 Cadillac

Our hotel is 2 miles from Balboa Park up in the hills. That park houses the San Diego Zoo and several other museums. You can imagine my delight when I googled "auto museum san diego" and up came the San Diego Auto Museum.

Since the 2 miles were uphill - I took a cab up and walked down. Balboa Park is a beautiful setting overlooking the city. When jets come into the airport - they cruise very low coming over the park - it is a pretty setting.

I will be doing a story about the whole museum later - but this story will focus just on one car. It is a 1947 Cadillac that Louie Mattar retrofitted for long range travel and camping. In 1952 - this car made a NONSTOP round trip from San Diego to New York City. It traveled 6320 miles with 3 men taking turns driving in 5 hour shifts. They even refilled the 250 gallon gas tank 3 times while on the move.

Two years later - 18 days in 1954 - they made an even longer - 7482 mile trip - NONSTOP - from Anchorage Alaska to Mexico City.

You may recall that Lulu and I owned a bus back in 1978. We used to take groups of kids to Disneyworld driving 20 hours (including stops) from Pennsylvania. We thought it was a big deal - even with plenty of stops for fuel - meals - and bathrooms. But this Cadillac did not have the benefit of Eisenhower's Interstate Highways.

The Caddy is equipped with all sorts of neat features like a toilet - stove - sink - washing machine - bar - shower - bed - and much more.The shower is used by standing on a platform on the side of the car. A video demonstrated them going down the highway changing a tire and showering. They could also change the oil on the fly. You could automatically fill the radiator - fill the tires with air - and lube the wheels and joints without stopping.

The odometer reads 265,000 miles.

To see more - google - "louie mattar"

Tape Recorder - Whiskey Bar - Turkish Water Piper

Cadillac with Trailer that went 7500 miles nonstop

The builder of this special Cadillac - Louie Mattar

Trailer held 250 gallon fuel tank and 50 gallon water tank

Map shows 7500 miles nonstop trip from Alaska to Mexico on 1954 roads

San Diego to New York City and back nonstop - filling gas tank from a truck on the move - three times

This trailer carried 250 gallons of gas - originally designed as camper

Tires changed on the fly using this red platform

Bed - toilet - washing machine - iron an ironing board - sink - all in back seat