Permit me if you will this one final indulgence in my recent Cadillac purchase. I simply have to collect these thoughts in order to put the lid on it. So here goes.
Two things: first, anyone such as I who has owned seven Lincolns in the past fifteen years has to wonder, “Is Cadillac really any better?“; second, is there any substance to the popular adage, “The Cadillac package“? In short, Yes and Yes. Here’s why.
One would be guileless to imagine the cliché “You get what you pay for” doesn’t hold some water. Comparing apples to apples, the Cadillac is more expensive than the Lincoln, by about $6,000 minimum. And as far as I can tell, you get more. This of course isn’t the complete story in that mere expense doesn’t necessarily ensure quality; but once again the general maxim prevails – you not only get what you pay for but what you pay for is worth getting. To imagine otherwise is probably nothing more than wishful thinking or at the very least an attempt to disguise one’s own paramount sense of economy. To dismiss years of consumer tradition as mere commercial hype (“You’re only paying for the name“) is ludicrous. Anyway, at this level of comparison, it isn’t about putting one product down. They’re both excellent. In fact it required some concentration for me to discern any palpable differences. But the differences do exist and in my opinion the Cadillac comes out ahead on a number of points.
I won’t even attempt to delineate the reasons for my preference for the Cadillac over the Lincoln. I haven’t any mechanical skill whatsoever so my opinion is more visceral than technical. What I do have however is a sensitivity to material and machinery. I know for example the difference between a Steinway piano action and other less expensive pianos though I couldn’t begin to tell you why. I can tell the feel of a Rolex blindfolded. The same goes for the touch of 18K gold. And Egyptian cotton. The frozen truth is that some things simply exude quality even if one hasn’t the numbers to back it up.
The first time I tried my Steinway grand piano, after playing the first piece, I stood up from the bench, took a deep breath and – wide eyed – exhaled slowly through rounded lips while at the same time whispering “Wow!” The Cadillac drive is synonymous with that experience. From the door handle to the gear shift to the road stance to the ride, it’s all good! My account is noticeably lacking in reference to engine noise or rumble and speed or power. This type of sedan is about insulation from the world, not “feeling the road“. It wouldn’t be stretching the point to observe that the car is a chrysalis of fantasy, a bubble of imagination. Still the concept of grand American luxury has progressed beyond being a “living room on wheels”; there is unquestionably an element of road worthiness to the vehicle but it certainly doesn’t instil the necessity to be first in line or first off the mark. That would be far too vulgar an employment for a sedan such as this.