A Beastie Boy put a Hi-Fi DAT sound system in his early-70s Cadillac just to listen to mixes

  • The Beastie Boys made use out of this cool ride
  • Adam Yauch updated the car with a DAT headset
  • Unfortunately, the car would later be sold at auction at a shockingly low price

Published on Jul 08, 2024 at 3:41 PM (UTC+4)
by Ben Thompson

Last updated on Jul 08, 2024 at 8:33 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

The Beastie Boys are known for their excellent music taste – but their choices in cars aren’t as widely recognised.

At the height of their success in the 1980s, one of their members purchased an early-70s Cadillac with the sole purpose of listening to mixes in it.

That’s as good a reason as any, you’d have to agree.

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The Beastie Boys’ Ride

The year was 1988, and the group had moved from New York City to Los Angeles.

Recording their iconic second album, Paul’s Boutique, was on the agenda.

Seeing as how LA had a car culture unlike anything in the Big Apple, it only made sense to integrate.

The late great Adam Yauch – also known as MCA – dipped his toe in the car water by picking up an early-70s Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.

In this vintage car, he installed a sound system built around a Digital Audio Tape (DAT) head unit.

Yauch’s bandmate, Michael Diamond – Mike D, as he’s better known – shared some insights about Yauch’s purchase in a Facebook post.

Alongside a shot of Yauch sitting in the car, Diamond wrote: “Yauch got this incredible car (Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance from the 1970s) while we were making Paul’s Boutique in LA.

“And then he put this crazy soundsystem in there with a DAT player.

“We would drive around in this crazy huge car listening to mixes of stuff super loud with the bass bumping while we were making it and it was pretty amazing.”

For those not in the know, DAT was first developed by Sony in 1987.

They were the preferred medium of music studios at the time, as they were a fully digital format and more sophisticated than the standard cassette tape.

The fate of the Beastie Boys’ Cadillac

The Cadillac even found itself being name-dropped in one of the tracks on Paul’s Boutique.

In Shadrach, Yauch raps: “Amps and crossovers under my rear hood/Because the bass is bumping from the back of my Fleetwood.”

The gigantic car also got a mention in a later MotorTrend interview, where Diamond recalled that guests in the back seat got their own footrests.

Unfortunately, photos of the car being driven by the Beastie Boys are few and far between.

It was sold of in 1999 in an auction, with the proceeds going towards the Milarepa Fund, which provided financial support to the Tibetan independence movement.

The auction started at $12,000 – which would be $22,600 nowadays when adjusted for inflation.

It’s a bargain for a car with an insanely cool backstory.

It certainly went for less than Elvis Presley’s private jet did, although that admittedly did have more to do with the fact it’d been sat rotting for four decades.

The King’s jet cost $320,000 at auction, but $6 million to become usable again.

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Ben Thompson

Ben got his start in journalism at Kennedy News and Media, writing stories for national newspapers, websites and magazines. Now working as a freelancer, he divides his time between teaching at News Associates and writing for news sites on all subjects.