Custom Conversion: 1973 Cadillac de Ville Pickup

Back in the 1970s, at least a couple of West Coast companies were inspired enough by the Chevrolet El Camino to undertake custom conversions on the Cadillac Coupe de Villes of the day, turning them in a luxury pickups. These conversions were not sanctioned by General Motors and only a few hundred of them were likely built. It’s reported that Evel Knievel even bought one. This one from 1973 is located in Hendersonville, Tennessee and available here on craigslist for $15,500. A tip of the hat to rex m for finding this one for us!

The seller gives us only a very brief description of this vehicle and leaves out the most important detail: who did the conversion. A little research online reveals that one sold last year in Chicago that looks exactly like this one. Since they were custom built, what’s the likelihood that two of them would be identical. Assuming the vehicles are in fact one-and-the-same, this “Caddymino“ very well could have the following attributes: 472 cubic inch (confirmed by the seller), automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, air conditioning, power windows, fender skirts and wire wheels. Both vehicles are gold with a black vinyl top and leather interior. The one sold in Chicago was a conversion done by Traditional Coach Works.

Traditional Coach Works was out of Chatsworth, California. Their Coupe de Ville-to-pickup conversions were called the Mirage. Estimates of the number produced are as high as 240, although our source for Traditional says they used 1975-76 models, but I supposed earlier editions could have crept in. These fancy El Caminos were mostly sold at Cadillac dealerships on special order. We understand that the conversion doubled the price of what a Coupe de Ville would otherwise go for.

Traditional wasn’t the only builder of these utilitarian land yachts. Another was called the Caribou, built by another California outfit that changed its name to match its product. The Caribou, which actually predates the Mirage by a couple of years, was also based on the de Ville. So, could the seller’s truck by a Caribou? BTW, the one that was sold in Chicago last year went for $7,150.

 

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Comments

  1. Jim

    Why not buy a flower car ?

    Like 10
    • Chris

      That’s absolutely right . Flowers car had class & had a purpose . Not that the customize job isn’t bad ,no one is going to haul anything in it . Plus flower cars had a long history . It’s ashame you do not see them in use anymore

      Like 1
  2. arkie Member

    With this car being in Hendersonville, TN, one mustn’t discount the possibility of it having once been the prized possession of a nouveau riche member within Nashville’s music industry

    Like 3
  3. Steve Clinton

    This would be strictly a car to show off in. With that shallow bed, you wouldn’t be able to haul anything over 12 inches high!

  4. wesley j alker

    That’s a Caribou. The Mirages had a small Opera Window behind the door glass in an extended “sail panel”. Mirage also made an “Estate Wagon”. Caribous were also issued, from GM new vin numbers. If you search a vin number from a Caribou you get an “invalid number” response. That’s what I got for mine. It’s a first year 1972 and from what I understand, they only made 22 that year. Less than 200 overall.

    Like 1
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I don’t know all the companies that built these conversions, but I do remember in 1964 while working on a chicken farm in Sumner, Washington there was a local fellow who owned three Cadillac pickup conversions built from 53 or 54 Cadillac cars. They actually looked quite normal, if you didn’t know better you might have thought they were factory built.
    I might be willing to pay 7 grand for something like this to park on the street in front of my house just to irritate the H.O.A.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  6. Michael L Gregory

    Having owned a ’73 Sedan de Ville, I find it odd that the fiber-optic headlight, turn signal, and high beam indicators that are usually on the front fenders are missing. I guess maybe those were an option. It was one of my favorite things on that car and my ’72 Eldorado. They also had red ones at the top of the rear window so you could monitor your taillights. I admit, little gadget-y things still sell cars to me.

    Like 1
  7. CCFisher

    The rear window appears to have been sourced from a ’78-87 El Camino. If that’s accurate, this car spent a few years as an ordinary Coupe deVille before the conversion was carried out.

  8. Michael Parker

    The grille is not from a 1973. Looks more like a 1974 model

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