I didn’t want to have to be the one to have this conversation with you, but I simply can’t keep postponing it. Readers, we need to talk about Shaq’s Cadillac.
If you weren’t one of the millions of people who tuned in to watch last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, you may not know what I’m talking about. That’s okay. Take a moment out of your day to find out:
Yeah. We need to talk about Shaq’s Cadillac.
In what was perhaps the most iconic podium arrival ceremony of all time, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal pulled up to the parc fermé area at the Circuit of the Americas in the back of a heavily-customized Cadillac Eldorado that is, to put it one way, breathtaking. There was a collective gasp in the media center when we saw this bad boy pull up. I don’t think there’s any other proper reaction.
I don’t know what I love most. Is it the massive set of bull horns framing the windshield? Is it the limo-style rear seating pattern that includes delightful wraparound seats, cupholders, and a footrest? Is it the wood paneling on the hood? Is it... whatever the hell is covering the sides of the Cadillac? I don’t know. There’s not one part of this vehicle that does not, objectively, kick ass.
I’ve spent this entire week trying to hunt down the origins of this vehicle. My emails have gone unanswered. My Google searches have come up dry. I thought the ‘RIDE ART’ license plate might be a clue, but ART apparently also stands for Anaheim Resort Transportation, and I don’t think that’s the RIDE ART website I’m looking for. But I finally found it: Meet The Badillac.
The Badillac is a hand-crafted art car based in Austin, Texas, and the website describes it in the only fitting way:
The Badillac is a beautifully handcrafted, one of a kind art car. Imagine this 1969 Cadillac time traveled back through the Wild Wild West, then warp forward through a post apocalyptic future, cracking Mad Max on the ass with a bullwhip screaming “Hey let’s party!” It’s Baaad, it’s a Cadillac, it’s The Badillac.
The most astounding part of this whole debacle is that we didn’t even see The Badillac in full form. That wood paneling on the front? It’s a stage. The bull horns and weird side pieces are illuminated with LED lights. I assume there are built-in speakers somewhere to allow this thing to become a mobile stage.
The website doesn’t provide much of an origin story, so whoever actually designed and built this thing is still a bit of a mystery. It’s unclear if there was a deeper purpose to the build, or if it’s just supposed to be a party machine. Whatever the case, The Badillac rules.
If you live in Austin, you can actually book this thing. If you just need a cool ride for a few hours, you’ll pay $350-400 per hour. If you want The Badillac to become a stage, that’ll cost you anywhere from $900 for three hours to $14,000 for a five-day festival. You can even get it delivered anywhere else in North America, but that comes at an undisclosed extra cost.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that this was probably well within Shaq’s budget.
There’s been a lot of Discourse around the kinds of things celebrities need to do in order to prove their worthiness to attend an F1 race, but I’d like to assuage any fears and let you all know that Shaq has been an F1 fan for years. If you don’t believe me, here’s a photo of him cradling former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld like a baby. I’ll hear no Shaq slander in the comments.