1980 Cadillac Le Cabriolet – Historical Roots

A Penthouse View of Tokyo

Today, convertibles seem to be an option reserved for those with some extra money to blow, but it wasn’t always this way. If you look back in history you’ll find that most cars were manufactured as either “open coupes” or “convertibles,” but that all changed when Cadillac introduced the United States’ first closed-body car back in 1910. While some tend to believe that convertibles met their demise because of the demand for increased safety standards, the real truth is that the demand for convertibles decreased simply because of a change in consumer demand, the increased cost to make them, as well as the most important fact that air conditioning systems vastly improved, thus making them the new “must-have.”

That said, the last years of the Cadillac Eldorado (in specific, the ’76) were marketed to American consumers as “the last of American convertibles.” Yet even after that occurred, the demand for “verts” slowly tapered away, and those who wanted a convertible could still get them built. These custom-ordered convertibles, often referred to as “coach built convertibles,” were manufactured by outside parties and the work put into them was incredible. From reconfiguring the interior to restructuring the frames, the process involved adding a few hundred pounds of steel in order to maintain the structural integrity of the vehicle, and that was all done prior to even removing the roof.

Because of the hefty price tag attached to doing such as job, the amount of customers wiling to spend that kind of money dwindled and the production numbers of “convertibles” dropped once again. Interestingly enough, that makes owning one of these ’80s throwbacks (most of which were produced by Hess & Eisenhardt) that much more precious and that’s exactly what you’re looking at here. This rare historical artifact was built and once owned by John Kennedy of Bowtie Connection.

Now the vehicle sits in splendor in Japan, where the new owner, Yoshiaki Kakishita, shows it on the regular, and he does so with pride. The vehicle is a head turner with a big history and after the original owner took the car down to pieces, the first major mod they did was mold a Euro clip onto the front. The new clip gave it a much-deserved ’90s feel, and to help complement the motif, he had interior revamped in leather, but with a ’90s pattern. The car was then taken to paint where it was treated to an Infinity Green paintjob, prior to having that ninja, OG Abel, hit the trunk with a mural worth dying for.

During the shoot, you could see the pride that Yoshiaki Kakishita of Japan felt as the owner of the car, and although he’s owned it for more than a decade, he’ll be the first to tell you that he fell in love with the car when he first laid eyes on it, and it’s exactly why he had to have it. Needless to say, Yoshiaki shows the LeCab with pride, and as a member of Continental Kings, he brings it out on the regular and maintains the car as if it were his first-born.

Tech Specs

Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1980 Cadillac Le Cabriolet

Vehicle Nickname: Le Cabriolet

Owner: Yoshiaki Kakishita

City/State: Tokyo, Japan

Club: Continental Kings

Body/Paint: Infinity Green paint with an OG Abel mural on the trunk

Engine: Original big-block

Suspension: Two chrome pumps, three Adex squares, and six batteires

Interior: The interior was updated to a ’90s look with a digital dash

Wheels/Tires: 14×7-inch Zenith Wire Wheels