Cadillac Chase: an automobile cross section of los angeles

The cadillac chase began on a sunday morning in West Los Angeles. As one cadillac was lost another was picked up and followed unitll it too was lost. Photographs document the chase.

9:30 am  By a coin laundry on Westwood Blvd.



9:32 a.m. At a car wash stand at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Westwood Blvd.



9:40 a.m. on a residential street in Westwood



9:50 a.m. Near Los Angeles Country Club

Photographing Cadillacs along the way, I followed a Cadillac going east to Beverly Hills. The Cadillac went north through rediential area of Beverly Hills, led me to Sunset Blvd. There I lost the car. As well as in Westwood, one finds many Cadillacs in this part of Beverly Hills.

 10:00 a.m. By Beverly Hills Hotel

10:15 a.m. on residential streets in Beverly Hills

10:25 a.m.Chasing another Cadillac that came out of a residential street in Beverly Hills, led me to antigue shop district on Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood. There I saw a few older Cadillacs.

10:45 a.m. A black Cadillac was going west on Sunset Blvd. The car went into a residential block in Westwood and parked near a church. It seemed that Sunday mass was just about to start.

11:55 a.m....in the parking lot of a church in Brentwood
“...I have been driving this car for 11 years. How is it? It is absolutely the most excellent car! Do you want me to be in the picture? Sure...... but I hope I do not break your camera!”

12:05 p.m.A Cadillac left the church went east on Sunset Blvd. It entered freeway 405 south. The car disappeared from freeway near Los Angeles Airport exit..

12:42 p.m. Near El Segundo exit, a Cadillac passed by, heading for Imperial Freeway 105 jjunction in a high speed. Going several miles east on 105, the car exited at Prairie Ave and disappeared into a residential block on 112th st. The area I landed is called Inglewood, a town of black middle class. There were many Cadillacs on the streets in Inglewood.

1:00 p.m. At a gas station on Prairie Ave.“...Which year is my Cadillac? It is ‘88. It is an old car. By the way, what brought you to this town? If you wanna take pictures of Cadillac, don’t you find many of them around UCLA? I tell you, you see so many Cadillacs here, but people often buy them even though they really can not afford. Why? Because girls want to ride in such cars. In 60s, they liked Jaguar. Guys bought those cars to pick uip girls. That is where the force come from.”
1:20 p.m. Another Cadillac was going north on Prairie Ave. The car entered the parking lot of Hollywood Park, one of the largest Casino /Race track in the region. Above the building, a jet was approaching LAX.

Back on Century Blvd.

1:30 p.m.An old model of Cadillac led me to a residential area on Western Ave, a few blocks north from Century Blvd.

1:25 p.m. Cadillacs found on Century blvd. A Cadillac for sale. Price $625



...another one for $800

1:50 p.m. Following a cadillac led to east of Century Blvd to a town called Watts.

...Customized cadillacs repainted in metallic pink, lowered and with custom size wheels.

2:20 p.m. A Cadillac with a ladder on its roof was going north on Crenshaw Ave. The car stopped by Rite Aid pharmacy mall near Jefferson Blvd. In the parking lot I saw a number of Cadillacs.

As finishing his ice cream in the car, the old man in the car said he is on his way to next painting job.

“I bought this car three years ago... How is it? It is O.K. It eats a lot of gas, though...Well, I’ve got to go to work.”

2:40 p.m. Another Cadillac in the parking lot. the owners in this part of Los Angeles were more careful in letting their Cadillacs photographed than Westside. Moire than half the time I was not given permit.


2:50 p.m. “...aren’t you really one of those sales people keep mailing me weard stuffs? “

“What is this for? Are you F.B.I.?Or Police?”


3:00 p.m. The pharmacy mall shared the parking lot with the adjacent grocery mall. On Sunday afternoon, people were doing big grocery shopping.
“You want to take a picture of my car!? Ah... go ahead, but not my license plate, O.K.?”

3:05 p.m Just south of the pharmacy there was a bowling alley and coffee shop. There were three Cadillacs parked in front of the building.Surprisingly, the coffee shop in the alley was offering some authentic Japanese dishes as well as typical diner’s menu.

3:30 p.m. From the grocery mall an old, lowered Cadillac went north on Florence Ave. The car disappeared into an industrial neighborhood near Alameda Street. On the corner of Avalon Blvd and Florence Ave., I saw several Cadillacs displayed in a used car dealer’s lot.

3:55 p.m. Another Cadillac in a used car lot on South Broadway


4:07 p.m.A young couple and their daughter were going south on Western Ave. They drove about a mile down to Jesse Owens Community Park located on the corner of Western Ave. and Century Blvd....the park was filled with young kids and their parents enjoying Sunday afternoon. A sound DJ was providing dance music for them. Another jet noise erased the music momentarily.

4:45 p.m Four women driving up Normandi they stop a Babtist Church.

End of Journey. See maps for path of travel.


All photographs © Shinya Yamada 2001

"The contemporary urban environment is composed and recomposed by each individual everyday around literal and virtual itineraries, and not in relation to a fixed arrangement of places" --Albert Pope

Following Cadillacs randomly for a day, allowing our path to be defined not by our own itinerary but by the chance encounters with the Cadillacs that cross our path. Relinquishing control of direction or destination, the Cadillacs lead us to unfamiliar territories, where a new city is revealed that is not defined by city boundaries or geographies, but rather by the common connection and desires of its citizens. It is here in Cadillac city that we can imagine the city as an organization composed of many realities and itineraries that together help to define the contemporary city.