What Are You Selling? | Miscellany | Chicago Reader

What Are You Selling? 

A Hearse by Any Other Name

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Retired mechanic Paul Szymanowski, who owns the gold 1974 Cadillac with purple tinted windows parked catercorner from the Target at Elston and Logan, says the car has a new engine with only seven miles on it. (The car itself has only 6,700.) He also recently put in a new windshield, alarm, stereo system, and air shocks. Yet it's been wearing those for sale signs for two years now. The problem may be that it appears to be a hearse. The manager of General Motors' Heritage Center identifies it from a photo as a "Superior Sovereign Landaulet funeral car," but Szymanowski insists it's an old ambulance. "If it was a hearse it would have bars on the side to show it was a casket carrier," he says. He drove the car (which he bought from a guy he saw driving it down Western) for about ten years, around the city and on skiing trips. Sometimes he used it as a motel: the back of the Caddy has curtains, a small fan, and light sconces. Sleeping in the vehicle has never creeped him out: "Why would it? I'm not superstitious. It's a car." He's fielded only two offers so far, one for $100 and one for $2,000, both of which he turned down--he's hoping to get around $4,500. Plus, he says, "you gotta find the right person. A normal person, like me."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jon Randolph.

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