The Sebring Starting Line Sure Looks Good with Dick & Marilyn Roddie’s 1931 V-12 Caddies!
Greetings Cruisers! Early last March we were happy to help Wayne Estes, President and General Manager of Sebring International Raceway with the flag pole dedication event by arranging several 1930s classic cars to be on display around the flag pole. A great time was had by all and we were happy to have on hand Lake Country Cruiser co-founder and WW-II Veteran, 95-year-old Ross Longo and 100-year old WW-II Veteran, Chester Barber.
Sebring International Raceway Gets a New Main Sponsor
What Lake Country Cruisers wasn’t fully aware of was that Sebring International Raceway’s new major sponsor is Cadillac Racing. With nearly 100-year-old, fully restored and running classic vintage Cadillacs (a 1931 V-12 Cadillac Phaeton and 1931 V-12 Cadillac Roadster) residing practically in Sebring’s backyard (Lake Placid), Estes was hoping Roddie’s Cadillacs would both be able to “take a lap” around the track. Circumstances precluded that, but the story isn’t over.
Early in April, Estes contacted Lake Country Cruisers with an offer. The track is often rented out to various racing teams and groups, but on April 13, 2023, the track would not have any racing activity. Estes asked if Dick and Marilyn Roddie would like to bring their two 1931 V-12 Cadillacs to the track for a special photo shoot on the Sebring starting line and in front of one of the “Cadillac Racing” track-side banners? The answer was, “Absolutely, yes!”
Two 1931 V-12 Cadillacs on the Sebring Starting Line
While the classic Cadillacs indeed do “run” their “roadability” is questionable, considering the speed limits of the roads between Lake Placid and the Sebring track. But there’s always a way. The Roddie’s friend, John Meyerhoff volunteered the use of his enclosed trailer and Wayne Estes sent a transport to the Roddie’s Cadillac Service Garage-themed home garage. It was a perfect Florida spring day and all the pieces were in place.
Sebring International Raceway is typically a noisy place, so it was a little odd being there in the quiet. We staged Roddie’s two Cadillacs in two places on the track. On the main straightaway, we arranged the 1931 Cadillacs at 45-degree angles with 2023 Cadillacs between the classics.
Sports Car Racing Hallowed Ground
For those that love racing and sports car racing, Sebring International Raceway is “hallowed ground”. Since 1950, “everyone” who was ever “anyone” in racing and sports car racing has raced on the Sebring track and walked the grounds. Carroll Shelby, Roger Penske, Mark Donohue, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Mario Andretti, Peter Gregg, John Greenwood, Dan Gurney, Jim Hall, David Hobbs, and the list goes on and on!
As a person with a passion for racing, “surreal” is the best way for me to describe being on the starting line knowing that in times past, race cars thundered down that main straightaway at tremendous speeds. And there were, on a quiet Florida spring morning, with two, ninety-two-year-old classic Cadillacs and new state-of-the-art Cadillacs on the Sebring Internationale Raceway starting line.
After shooting the Cadillacs from every angle imaginable, Dick and Marilyn drove their classic Cadillacs (slowly) around the dreaded Hairpin #7 curve to the short Fangio Strait to pose in front of one of the big “Cadillac Racing” banners.
When Harley Earl was hired by General Motors in 1927 to head the “Art and Color Section”, he quickly put Cadillac into position to be considered “world-class luxury”. Nearly one hundred years later, General Motors has made Cadillac and Corvette (another Harley Earl design) their “Technology Flagship Cars”. Dick and Marilyn Roddie and Lake Country Cruisers are happy to have played a small part in bringing Sebring International Raceway and Cadillac Racing some historical perspective.
The Roddie’s have an open invitation to bring their classic 1931 Cadillacs back to Sebring International Raceway the next time the Cadillac Racing Team is back at the track for testing. We’ll be there. – Scott, Pete, & Ron
Our next Car & Bike Show at the Lake Placid American Legion on
May 13, 2023, will start at 9 AM and run until 12 NOON.