This 1914 Cadillac Touring car began its life in Iowa Park, Texas when Ernst Goetze needed transportation.
Today, it is garaged in Ludlow, Vermont. Brian Wood is now the Cadillac’s owner/caretaker.
Mr. Goetze, an immigrant from Saxony, Germany, was a cattleman in Iowa Park, Texas. He had seen the two neighbor girls with broken arms and decided that any car he bought must have electric starting and electric lights.
He turned down Chevys, Fords and Oldsmobiles until June 5, 1914 when Mr. Claspy from the Munger Motor Company in Wichita Falls showed him this Brewster green Cadillac. After a trial ride, Mr. Goetze bought the car and presented it to his two daughters, Lina and Frieda, on condition that they care for it and drive him wherever he wished to go. He had lost the use of his left arm in an accident with a horse and could not drive himself.
With the car came the Dykes Visual Aids book, a creeper, trouble light, snow chains, tools and such accessories as the spring-loaded bumper and spare tire. It also had white tires. A garage was built for the Cadillac, and it was put inside on jacks after each outing. Miss Lina and Miss Frieda remember that usually Mr. Goetze would ask if they had set the jacks back under the car and admitted that sometimes they fibbed.
Miss Lina told of returning from town and outrunning a rainstorm. “I stepped on it and we were really flying. My father was in the rear and, as I glanced back, I saw he was holding the rail in both hands. We flew all the way home and just as we rolled into the garage, the biggest rain you ever did see burst out. I knew he didn’t like my speeding, but Father never said a word.”
Around 1920, the Cadillac passed her 100,000 mile mark and the Goetzes joined the 100,000 Mile Club. The daughters remember their dad often wearing the club pin.
In 1926, the speedometer gave out and was taken to town for repair. The mechanic shipped it off and died two days later. It was never heard of again.
About 1930, Miss Frieda was driving the family home from a rodeo in Electra, a village sixteen miles away. She remembered shouting “Look out. That cop is going to hit us!” Blam! A drunken policeman, on his motorcycle, had careened into the left front side of the car so that he blew out the Cadillac’s tire, bent the rim, ruined the fender and bent the bumper. No one was hurt and a new fender and rim were replace along with fixing the other damage. This was its only wreck.
The Cadillac was retired in 1934 having never been outside Texas and Oklahoma.
Brian Wood estimates the car had about 150,000 miles on it when he purchased it in 2004. He is the 3rd owner. He has rebuilt the engine, transmission and rear end along with the many smaller needed tweakings. He was able to confirm many of the story’s details while working on the car. He found a bent front axel, most likely the result of the drunken policeman’s wreck. There were holes in the floor where the daughter’s heels rested while driving those many mile, and the back carpet was worn through from Mr. Goetze’s feet. He always sat in the back seat on the passenger side.
Brian has been completely through the car mechanically without changing any of its appearance, including the 109-year old leather interior. He says it was pretty much worn out. It might be hard to see these two examples of worn bolts to the right. Brian says there were many more.
The car is fantastic to be around and unbelievable when you hear the story. BUT, when you hear the engine start and the car backs out of its garage, it transports you to 1914. The sound and sight will stay with you forever if you are an old car buff.
A document with the above words was certified by Lina and Frieda.
Ernst Ehregott Goetze was born September 15, 1843 and died December 11, 1936.
Daughters, Lina Rose (1/26/1883-6/21/1978) and Frieda Martha (5/28/1889-12/7/1986) are buried near their dad in nearby Highland Cemetery.