Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 7:16 am | Fair 36º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Auto Fanatics Use Orcutt Car Show to Help Raise Funds to Fix Crumpled Classic Cadillac

John Shuffield's red 1959 convertible is sporting signifcant front-end damage from March 9 crash in Orcutt

 

A candy apple-red Cadillac convertible stood out among the dozens of shiny, perfectly restored classic cars on display Saturday in Orcutt, but not because of its pristine condition.

Instead, the 1959 Cadillac’s crumpled front end prompted even noncar buffs to wince.

The car show appearance came nine days after the Cadillac slammed into a concrete pole on Clark Avenue at Highway 135 and before its owner and driver, John Shuffield, has even left the hospital.

“It’s an iconic piece for the local community here,” said Shuffield’s grandson, Chad. “It’s a piece of the family that’s for sure.”

In fact, the hospitalized 87-year-old owner fretted about needing to get the car restored quickly so it wouldn’t miss Saturday’s event.

The 6th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Car Show at St. Louis de Montfort Church raises money to provide scholarships for students at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School and St. Joseph High School, in addition to other youth programs.

The Knights of Columbus 11137 — a fraternal organization James Jepsen likened to the Catholics’ Elks — organized the event.

While not huge, the scholarships help ease families’ financial burden, Jepsen said, noting the program would have assisted his parents when he was in high school.

Approximately 125 classic vehicles sat on display while booths offered food, beverages and information.

But Saturday’s gathering had a secondary purpose as the Shuffield family set up a booth seeking donations to help pay for the car’s restoration.

Shuffield and his Cadillac have attended five of the six shows.

“Everybody knows John in the car show community ...,” Jepsen said. “So many people want to help.”

Upon learning of the crash and seeing photos of the vintage car, he said he knew immediately who owned the vehicle.

His first thought centered on Shuffield’s condition, knowing the car didn’t have modern-day seatbelt or airbags, and before learning the octogenarian driver had to airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Shuffield remained at Cottage Hospital on Saturday, but his family hopes he will be transferred to a rehabilitation facility within days.

“The next question in my mind was, ‘Wow. How bad is the Caddy?’” Jepsen said. “We saw the pictures, but when you see these things they’re built like tanks compared to today’s cars.”

Since the car can’t be driven, Santa Maria Towing provided free transportation to get the Cadillac to the church for the car show.

Chad Shuffield said his grandfather has owned the car, previously owned by Alex Madonna, since approximately 1987.

Cost may not be the only impediment to restoring the classic vehicle.

“A car this old, parts don’t come cheap” Jepsen said. “They’re hard to find.”

The Shuffields don’t know yet how much it will cost to restore the Cadillac, but they say it will be paid by the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash.

Organizers of Saturday’s event also allowed the Shuffields to set up a booth to collect donations.

“I haven’t even got into the numbers of it yet, but it’s pricey,” Chad Shuffield added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >