(Hello, I am not dead! I’ll get around to describing my disappearance at some point, but today I must talk about the Cadillac Escalade. I saw Andrew Collins’ story earlier and was compelled to tell my own Escalade tale. Honestly, they’re garbage but at the same time just so good.)
The following begins in 2008 in Cary, NC. My father and stepmother turned in the lease for their 2006 Volvo XC90 V8 Ocean Race Edition and replaced it with...nothing. Thankfully, my father had a 2008 Volvo S60 2.5T, but the sedan didn’t have near enough space for a two year old, an eight year old, and an extremely newborn baby. Obviously, they needed a vehicle to suit the needs of their growing family, but what would be the best car for their family?
Enter into the picture my stepmother’s parents. Her father made a fortune doing something, no one really knows for sure, and had a pristine, fully maintained, pearl white on tan 2002 Cadillac Escalade that he didn’t need anymore. Being the benevolent man that he is, he gifted the Escalade to my father and stepmother as a celebration to the birth of their latest son.
Now, her parents live in rural Oregon and, naturally, they had the vehicle shipped to North Carolina. Driving around in an Escalade in the suburbs of Raleigh was, and still is, fairly commonplace and we fit right in. My white, suburban, stepmother ruled the streets in her expert level mall crawler, and I personally felt on an evolved level of, “cool,” as it was the car all the rappers of the era talked about. A few months into Escalade ownership, though, everything changed.
In the summer of 2009, my father and stepmother moved their part of the family to Olympia, WA, where they quickly learned that V8 powered, 14 MPG on a good day, excessive, bourgeoisie machines were not particularly accepted in the environmentally sensitive and practical Pacific Northwest.
My father once told me over the phone that somebody yelled at him in traffic about the Escalade, and how uneconomical it was. Another time, my stepmother discovered a note was attached to the windshield wiper of the Escalade after she had come out of the grocery store. She opened the paper, thinking it was perhaps some sort of ad, revealing instead a very angry message from a concerned citizen.
The writer allegedly went into their detail about how gaudy their car was and how much it was a plague to the environment. While true on both fronts, my stepmother didn’t really appreciate with what the enraged author had to say about status-mobile.
At this point, I was becoming a bit skeptical. Two vehicular hate crimes occur on one poor and innocent Cadillac Escalade in a six month period, within a two square mile radius? Yeah, OK. It just didn’t make sense to me, as I didn’t understand why somebody would publicly attack another person over a difference of opinion or lifestyle. I was also ten years old and didn’t understand most things, such as why my mother would yell at me when I jacked the heat up to 80+ degrees in the wintertime. Obviously, we can’t all be winners.
Anyway, I went out to visit in spring 2011, and while driving the Escalade through downtown Olympia the complete unexpected happened. Okay, a lot of weird and unexpected things happen in downtown Olympia, but this incident was particularly strange.
Somebody threw an egg at the car.
Like, a real egg. The kind of eggs we eat. An egg. At the car. They threw it. On a weekday morning. What? Why? I don’t even know.
I remember my father flooring the nearly three ton behemoth after the egg cracked and splattered all over the driver side rear door window, as he was under the impression that we were, in fact, under attack from gunfire. Obviously we weren’t, as people from Olympia are thankfully and typically too high to figure out how guns work.
We stopped at a gas station a few miles later, where my father inspected the window and attempted to wipe off the egg residue with a microfiber towel, only for the aforementioned residue to just get caked on the glass and create swirls so bad that any professional detailer would quit their job on the spot if they came across this window.
We never did pursue the assailant and obviously never figured out their motivation. At this point, my stepmother thought they were being, “targeted,” and wanted to sell the Escalade as soon as possible.
They ended up not selling the Escalade for another two years, because efficiency aside, that SUV was killer. It hauled and towed anything you could shake a stick at, was very comfortable and quaint in that nostalgic early 2000's sort of way, and it never had any issues whatsoever.
My father never liked it because he also thought it was too gaudy and had a terrible interior. Sure, he’s absolutely correct, but at the same time couldn’t be further from the truth. It seems as if he forgot that Cadillac optioned the SUV to a tee, with an analog clock, very much real and in no way at all fake woodgrain, and, of course, OnStar aka The Coolest Shit Ever.
The second generation Cadillac Escalade was the perfect car for it’s era. Think of what the housing bubble, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Y2K and the dot-com bubble, and Super Bowl XXXVIII had in common. Aside from being relics of days gone by, they’re more or less all facades. The Cadillac Escalade fits right in there, as well.
Underneath the surface of the Escalade, it’s very different than what it was trying to accomplish. Still a GMT900 chassis, still a 6.0 small block V8, still a 4L60E transmission, and still GM-cheap to repair.
Also, now that an early 2nd generation Escalade can be obtained for about the price of a used hat, I’m truly surprised these things aren’t flooding every high school parking lot in America. I mean, other than the astronomical fuel costs, of course.
In conclusion, the Cadillac Escalade could be a contender for the best worst car ever made. It was cool to people who could afford them new, and literally only people who bought them new, and hated specifically by environmental enthusiasts in Olympia, WA. The Cadillac Escalade is probably and partially for an egg to be hurled in my direction, and for that alone I cannot thank it enough. I’ll take my eggs scrambled, please.
It’s good to be back.