It was a small wire service story buried on a back page of the New York Post. Palo Alto police found a 29-year-old man in a torpid coma, sitting outside a Starbucks in a Porsche Carrera GT, incoherently mumbling something about a Cadillac DeVille DHS. The unidentified man was dressed in jeans, Nikes and a baseball cap worn backwards.
This seemingly unimportant event launched a whispered rumor that spread like wildfire throughout world financial markets. This was the modus operandi of the long-dormant international terrorist known as Hard Drive. The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading that day.
No one knows his real name, but those who claim to have encountered him coined the sobriquet, because of his merciless brutality. He is believed to be American, a former Wall Street stock broker who now moves in the sewers, gutters and parking garages of Tokyo, Munich, Moscow, Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Zurich with equal stealth. Alan Greenspan pays homage. OPEC nations track every vague rumor of sightings. His mystique extends to the top of the International Empire of the Suits. If Hard Drive should whisper in your ear, you dare not ignore him.
The unidentified man found in Palo Alto could be significant. It sparked rumors that Hard Drive is still alive and a key operative in the dot-com debacle.
Weeks later, world leaders followed reports of the mystery man in Palo Alto when he regained consciousness and claimed to have experienced a spiritual conversion. He bought a Cadillac DeVille DHS and began conducting seminars extolling the virtues of Cadillac with evangelical zeal. His message; If you arrogantly think your technology stocks can push out blue chippers while wearing a baseball cap and driving a Porsche, Hard Drive will make a correction out of you.
Cadillac has long been the symbol of quality and dependability, and if you want investors to stay with you, you must display similar quality and dependability. You are to dress in a suit and drive a proper car, i.e. Cadillac. For the 30-something Gen Xers who have come to think the dot-com highway is driven from a mouse pad, they're lagging behind the curve. They haven't seen the inside of a DeVille DHS.
The Cadillac of this millennium advances the Cadillac position as a world leader in integrating rapier-point technology with traditional regard for aesthetics and opulence in a transportation module.
Not to be ignored are rear parking assist (little sensors in the back bumper to warn you before you back into something), or the keen LED taillights, tri-zone climate control, tire pressure monitoring system and 12-way adjustable power leather seats with a massager in the lumbar support.
But two significant DeVille technological innovations are one, infotainment from its Bose audio system and two, news services from its Onstar Global Positioning Satellite communications system.
Bose audio system infotainment offers online and offline capabilities through integration of a computer, navigation system, CD-ROM and audio playback. The system is voice-controlled so you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. It lets you take notes on your voice memo and store them for playback later. Cadillac is test-marketing e-mail capability, so you can have your e-mail downloaded and read to you. For safety, the screen menus for e-mail and browser capability will not operate while the DeVille is moving.
A 22-character alphanumeric driver information display on the dash tells you things such as the pressure in each tire, average speed, miles to go on the gasoline you have, and so on and so on. And these are but a few of the MechanoTechno-geek peripherals that come packaged with an outstanding motorcar.
It hardly seems worth mentioning to detail the mechanicals of the DHS with its 275 horsepower Northstar V-8 engine. After all, it is a Cadillac. For your Greenie associates, it is a 50-state certified low emissions vehicle (LEV). As Cadillac owners have come to expect, a smooth quiet ride is fait accompli.
A six-passenger sedan is an endangered species. The DHS has a column-mounted shifter and a 40/20/40 split front seat arrangement with lap belts for all. To fully delineate all the opulent accommodations of the DHS would take volumes of rhapsodic prose and poetry.
America's brightest young minds may have assumed traditional capitalist doctrines are no longer relevant. Did they believe their Porsches, Range Rovers and Hummers gave them the cloak of invincibility? That's when the elusive Hard Drive resurfaced. Should young minds rethink this innovative new Cadillac? It might be just the thing for the 30-something generation after all. It could have a calming effect on nervous stockholders.
2001 CADILLAC DEVILLE
Base price, $46,267
As Tested, $51,272