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Earle’s New Daily Driver 2003 Cadillac STS

As promised, here is the story of my new daily driver; the car I now call Bebe which is short for Better Beater. It has replaced the ’01 SLS I was driving on a daily basis and always called my Beater.

My beloved Beater had rolled up something in excess of 70 K on the odometer and I was aware that I would be looking to replace the car in a year or so. One night in early June I was passing the time by perusing the internet looking under the heading of 2003 STS. I was hoping to find something out there with 50 K or less Miles. I was secretly hoping to find one around 40 K but it was looking grim as the ads I was viewing were constantly touting the “low mileage” cars with 124 K or even more. Since I don’t consider anything over 100 K low mileage on that vintage Northstar, I was skimming over a lot of ads. Then I saw an ad claiming an ’03 STS with 22 thousand miles. At first I went right by the ad because I miss read the ad as 122 K. Then I went back and looked at the ad carefully. Initially convinced it was a misprint I studied the two dozen or so pictures included in the ad. I started to dare to think the ad just might be on the level. I emailed the owner of the car asking if the car was still available and for some additional information.

2003 Cadillac STS Front

What followed was three days of long distance Q&A eventually leading to an equally long distance negotiating session and finally and agreed on selling price. Oh, did I mention that the car was located in Wilmington NC and I live in southern New Hampshire? This meant the car and I were separated by almost a thousand miles. The seller was a small used car dealer and assured me that the state of North Carolina had a temporary registration program that would allow me to legally drive the car home; all I had to do was get there.

2003 Cadillac STS Front Bumper

Without going into the specifics, I am not a fan of flying so my trip was going to be somewhat of a challenge. I determined that the least costly way would be by bus. The longest bus trips I had taken in the past were generally less than one hundred miles and based on that I thought I knew what to expect. A word of advise, if anyone reading this has the opportunity to take a cross country bus trip – – DON’T.

2003 Cadillac STS Passenger side

Long story short, I survived the grueling twenty eight hour cross country excursion and arrived in Wilmington NC within ten minutes or so of the stated arrival time. I was picked up by Chuck, the seller, and after a quick stop at a branch of my bank went to see the car. It was stunning to say the least. After looking things over and some entertaining exchange of “car talk” I was the proud owner of a 2003 Cadillac STS with precisely 22,341 miles on the clock. What I consider to be the find of the year.

I spent a total of seventeen hours on the road and made it home much more relaxed and refreshed than after the bus ordeal. After careful scrutiny I have found the car needs some work to the suspension – after all, everything is thirteen years old under there. The parts have come in and I take it in for the needed repairs after the 4th of July and look forward to many years of delightful daily driving in my “new” old STS.

2003 Cadillac STS Rear

As an aside; this is my fourth Seville of this vintage. I’ve had, in order a ’98, an ’02, an ’01 and now this ’03. Anyone that has driven these cars in winter conditions – New Hampshire remember – can tell you that these vehicles whether by design or pure chance offer one of the most stable and confidence inspiring driving experiences on Snow Covered Roads. I owned the ’02 when I was working and I had a forty mile commute, one way and would choose the STS to take to work in bad weather rather than my four wheel drive pick up; which was no slouch on snow covered roads but the STS was better.

Finally I would say to anyone searching for their “dream car”, be persistent, don’t get discouraged keep looking. When the time comes be prepared to take advantage of the situation and remember – don’t go by bus.

Earle W

This post first appeared on Cadillac Country Club – The Place Where Cadillac Owners Meet, please read the originial post: here

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Earle’s New Daily Driver 2003 Cadillac STS


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