As a child
growing up in Gary Indiana during the 1960’s Tony fell in love with the
Cadillac automobile. He saw a few of his father’s friends purchase second
hand Caddy’s from the local Cadillac dealer or drive as far Detroit to
purchase their dream car.
Back in 1983 Tony Hiller started down a road that would
take him on the adventure of his life. That's the year he purchased his
dream car, a 1947 Cadillac convertible. Before long the old ragtop was
looking good enough to enter into local car shows and did pretty well.
Thirteen years later, disaster struck when the old Caddy was involved in a
three-car accident that would require a complete new front clip and an
infusion of professional help. Tony turned to Grand Touring Restorations
in Orange County and said, "fix it...all of it."
And fix it they did. Tony wanted nothing but the best,
and that meant Christiansen chrome, a lush leather interior, hand-rubbed
Lotus Cream and endless detailing. In early 1999 the job was done—to
call this vehicle stunning would be an understatement. It is so visually
exciting that it literally stops people in their tracks.
eventually became a show winner. That car project was followed by the
restoration of a 1948 Cadillac convertible which led to a 1949 Coupe
Deville, 1958 Eldorado Biarritz, 1953 Cadillac convertible and a 1956
Continental Mark II.
Tony is a car builder and he’s at his best when
hunting down the elusive classic Cadillac. Once Tony finishes a project he
would always tell me “No More No More” until inevitability prediction he
caught the fever again. Three years ago Tony told me that he was finally
finished with restoring cars and he simply wanted to drive his collection
and enjoy them with his wife, Lynn, a very serious car enthusiast
Fortunately for Tony, his wife Lynn is as interested in
automotive aesthetics as he is. She enjoys the show and concours
circuit more, perhaps, than he does. The weekend after Tony and Lynn took
delivery of the freshly restored Forty-Seven, they won their first
"Best of Show." From that point on it has been one award after
another; a trail of honors, blue ribbons and trophies that may be
unmatched by any other Cadillac in the Southland, or the State, or maybe
even the USA. Sometimes the Hillers collect top honors at two different
car shows on the same weekend.
Tony and Lynn took the '47 to the
big Beverly Hills charity show. They were sent to park with cars in their
class which was quite large. When the show's promotional team walked by a
bit later, they too stopped in their tracks. "What's this car doing
here," they wanted to know. The Lotus Cream beauty was directed to
move to the platform to take it's place with the Duesenbergs, Talbos,
Rolls Royce and MBZs.. There were 300 fabulous cars at that show,
including many exotic foreign cabriolets. Not to worry, when the winner
for the Best Convertible in the Show was announced, Tony and Lyn stepped
forward to claim First Place.
Of course Tony doesn't just admire '47s. He has a
number of other collectible cars including an absolutely mint 1974
Eldorado convertible. In their home, the Hiller's have a trophy room that
packed with the awards their cars have won. Two six foot high trophy
cases, a wall full of plaques, plus trophies standing on the floor because
they are just too big to display elsewhere.
I received a
call from my very excited friend Tony telling me that he was on his way to
“look “at a 1958 Cadillac series 75 limousine. The limousine was formerly
owned by a high ranking west coast mob boss who gave it to his attorney in
1961 in exchange for legal fees.
The attorney kept the car in South
Pasadena until 1967 when he gave it to good friend, Craig Carr. It stayed in
Craig’s driveway until 2005. The car over the years had become
weather-beaten and Craig had no desire to restore the car. Tony and Craig
had known each other for years and Craig admired how quickly Tony could
restore a car. They agreed on a price and as quickly as you can say “fever”
Tony had another pet project.
started on the limo, immediately gutting the interior and restoring the
drive train. I would often see Tony transporting the limo, without
fenders or hood, barreling down the streets of Compton.
The car looked like
a half-eaten prehistoric creature. Tony continued to work his magic and
finally at the 2007 Southern California CLC meet in Lakewood the limo made
its first public appearance. The car chauffeured by Tony, escorting his
beautiful wife Lynn in the rear compartment. That day the car won best of
For the Hiller's, the show and concours circuit has given them a
wonderful opportunity to share their fabulous Cadillacs.
Look for Tony and
Lynn at the next big car show in your neighborhood. And THANKS TO THE
HILLERS FOR INTRODUCING NEW GENERATIONS TO THE HIGH STYLE WORLD OF CADILLACS.