Writer Abbey's Cadillac put up for sale in Moab

Oct 11 2010 - 11:26pm

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(Courtesy of Andy Nettell) Late writer Edward Abbey’s 1975 Cadillac Eldorado sits on a dirt road in the Utah desert. Its owner is trying to sell the collector car on eBay.
(Courtesy of Andy Nettell) Late writer Edward Abbey’s 1975 Cadillac Eldorado sits on a dirt road in the Utah desert. Its owner is trying to sell the collector car on eBay.

MOAB -- A candy-red Cadillac Eldorado that belonged to the late author of "The Monkey Wrench Gang" is getting a slow start in an online auction.

Bidding barely reached $6,000 on eBay Monday after a Moab book dealer lowered the minimum on Edward Abbey's 1975 Cadillac to $5,000.

The 18-foot-long convertible fetched no offers last week when the minimum bid was set at $16,000.

The car was a curious trophy for a man celebrated for his environmental writing. It gets about 12 miles per gallon.

Abbey was a man of contradictions who told his wife he deserved a Cadillac when he turned 61, said Andy Nettell, owner of Moab's Back of Beyond Bookstore, who has kept the car in his garage for the past three years.

"My wife wants it out badly," Nettell said Monday.

Abbey drove the used Cadillac in Arizona for a time before his death in 1989 at age 62.

Nettell said the car shows some wear and the V-8 hesitates to fire up in winter. An electrical glitch can drain the battery and the odometer doesn't work. But the convertible rag top has been replaced and operates flawlessly. The seats were reupholstered to turn back damage from a mouse infestation, and the car has a new paint job.

"I've had a hoot driving around Arches National Park with the top down," Nettell wrote on the eBay listing. "I'm sure Ed threw a few beer cans out while cruising."

Abbey wrote in his spare time while working as a ranger at Arches National Park.

Nettell said comparable values for the 1975 Eldorado -- Cadillac's first front-wheel-drive car -- run about $16,000. He set a hidden reserve price lower than that amount. The reserve is different from the minimum bid.

Nettell plans to devote the proceeds of any sale to Confluence, his Moab literary festival. The car has traded hands among book dealers since Abbey's widow, Clarke, sold it in 1990 for $5,000.

"It was slightly controversial between us when he first bought it because I thought we couldn't afford it," she said.

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