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Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Sunday afternoons were devoted to listening to Frazier Thomas introduce the “Family Classics” program which showed a family-friendly movie in that time slot on WGN. Everything from Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” to “Heidi” starring Shirley Temple graced the small screen. Whether it was “the Grandfather” or molten lava from the Earth’s core, each selection was made with care and enjoyed by all.

Sci-Fi genres continued to be popular in the mid-70s as thoughts turned to the future. A staggering beast birthed from an H-bomb’s energy, 1954’s “Godzilla” charmed moviegoers and couch potatoes alike. With over 30 sequels to the original, Godzilla battled all kinds of creatures as well as terrorizing the people of Tokyo. My favorite was when he locked horns with Mothra.

Paducah | cars | Kentucky | Dan Jarrett | Cadillac
Paducah | cars | Kentucky | Dan Jarrett | Cadillac

Now, you may not have heard of “Family Classics”, Frazier Thomas or WGN, but you surely have heard of Godzilla. Well…look close enough around Paducah and you’ll probably see Cadzilla.

The sleek, black 1974 Cadillac Eldorado gives the same impression of power and fortitude as its namesake. Trimmed with skirts over its whitewalls and beaming red interior, Cadzilla is definitely formidable. Who knew Kentucky had a Tokyo connection? Just ask its owner, Paducah businessman Dan Jarrett.

As a Murray State graduate, this basketball standout has called Paducah home for over 40 years. Dan traveled the world playing his favorite game, considering he’s 6’ 11”, one can understand why. He fits the car and the car fits him.

His love for convertibles was sparked when he took his 1967 Buick Electra 225 convertible on a cross-country trip from Paducah to San Francisco. An internship awaited him there and what better way to arrive than in a convertible. Those thoughts and experiences stuck with him for a lifetime and thus the search began for another open-air beauty.

Purchased from a collector, Cadzilla is a Memphis native. It’s long look, fender skirts and round headlights bring a strong stance with class that attracted Dan. The 501 cu. in. engine was the largest production V8 at the time. One would think that an engine that big would fly, but it producing just 210 hp was due to the fact that fuel efficiency had become the focus as America was going through tough times at the pump.

Partake in Paducah | Cadillac | Paducah cars | Jules Stayton
Partake in Paducah | Cadillac | Paducah cars | Jules Stayton

Dan characterizes it with having, (a) “heavy feel, but it also floats down the highway”. It’s like “driving a houseboat”. Heads turn and selfies are posed for when Cadzilla rolls around town. Rubbernecking takes on a whole new meaning as waves and shouts greet Dan on his Paducah adventures.

Credit for the name Cadzilla must be given and Dan does it with ease. Billy Gibbons of the band ZZ Top commissioned the restoration of a 1949 Cadillac Eldorado to Boyd Coddington.

The result was a beautiful piece of work and inspired Dan’s naming of his car. Every car needs a name right?

When asked what Partake in Paducah means to him, Dan answers… “Well I have chosen to remain in Paducah, and I’ve chosen to build my business here in Paducah. I have employees here which supports the community…its a place of opportunity.”

Dan has been recruited to relocate his technology company multiple times to Nashville or North Carolina or even Atlanta. “There is no reason for that” according to Dan. “Everything I could possibly want is in Paducah.” “It’s a great place to live.” “I’m proud to be from Paducah.”

We are glad you are part of our community Dan. We will keep an eye out for Cadzilla too!

Read more about autos and why we love them from Jules on her blog JulesOnWheelz.net.  Check out her social media outlets as well, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.