What started as a bet turned into a colorful adventure for one operator.
What one icon best exemplifies Americana? Is it apple pie? Baseball? No. Many argue that the pink Cadillac best shows the true colors of the American public.
It was the mid-1980s and everything seemed to be turning pink. There was both a hit song and a hit movie out about the pink Cadillac. So when Donald Nowak’s friend bet him that he wouldn’t paint his vintage Cadillac pink and drive it for a year, the timing just seem right. “Clint Eastwood was playing a guy named Tom Nowak in ‘Pink Cadillac,’ so everything just came together,” Nowak explains.
Originally, Nowak’s Cadillac was his own personal vehicle—but consumer demands being what they are, he went into the limousine business. “People kept coming up to me and asking if they could rent the vehicle for weddings. The public pushed me into it. I never just woke up one day and said ‘I’d like to get into the vintage limousine business,” he adds.
Today, Nowak’s company, Electric Pink in St. Clair Shores, MI, operates both 1961 and 1963 Cadillac Fleetwood limousines and a 1985 stretched Cadillac Seville—all pink, of course. The Fleetwood’s rent for $65 per hour and the Seville rents at $45 per hour. According to Nowak, the vehicles are booked regularly every weekend. He finds these vehicles are mainly in demand for bachelorette parties. “Girls just love the cars, especially the Seville. They use it a lot for going out on the town,” he says. The Fleetwoods are also used in road rallies, and for nostalgic 1950s and 1960s parties.
“I’ve gotten my share of rude comments about the vehicles. People constantly want to know if they are ‘Mary Kay cars’ or ‘Where’s Elvis,” he adds. But Nowak also has his share of fun. “One of my more memorable times was when Morgana, the kissing bandit, was driven out on the ice in my 1963 Fleetwood in the middle of a hockey game.”