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Peter Keleghan from CBC's 18 to Life sits in his '64 Cadillac that gets 8 MPG. (J.P. MOCZULSKI/J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail)
Peter Keleghan from CBC's 18 to Life sits in his '64 Cadillac that gets 8 MPG. (J.P. MOCZULSKI/J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail)

My Car

A practical Prius and a Cadillac dream Add to ...

Peter Keleghan

Profession: Actor

Age: 51

Hometown: Montreal

Notable achievements: Four-time Gemini Award winner for best performance in a comedy program or series; Appeared in Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, Cheers, Leslie, My Name is Evil, The Newsroom, The Red Green Show, Billable Hours, Coopers Camera and Slings and Arrows

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Currently: 18 to Life on CBC, Monday at 8:30 p.m.

Peter Keleghan from CBC's 18 to Life stands with his 64 Cadillac that gets 8 mpg, and his Toyota Prius in Toronto.

He's an award-winning actor who appeared in The Newsroom, The Red Green Show and Seinfeld, playing George Costanza's childhood rival Lloyd Braun.

Nowadays, Peter Keleghan stars as one of the parents in the CBC sitcom 18 to Life. To get to work he drives a 2009 Toyota Prius, but for fun he takes a vintage ride - a 1964 Cadillac.

How did you end up with two completely different cars?

We wanted a hybrid. We're environmentally concerned.

It flies in the face of my 1964 Cadillac, but I got that so many years ago and I've just been hanging on to it. I love the look of it. It's a beautiful-looking car but just totally impractical to drive. It gets 8 miles to the gallon down a hill with the wind behind you.

So we bought the Prius. We wanted an environmental car because we shoot around the city quite a bit.

Where did you buy the Caddy?

I lived in Los Angeles for five years right on the border of Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks and there was a car that was sitting in the driveway of this house. I always passed this car.

It was sea-foam green '64 Cadillac, but it was perfect. It was California - there was no rust, no dings on it. I stopped, got out, and the guy was in the driveway and I said, "This is in great shape." He said, "I'm going to fix it up one day." I said, "Are you going to sell it?" He said, "Nah."

So years go by and it just stays there. It's in the driveway and nothing happens to it. It's getting cobwebs and the tires are flat. So I stop again and knock on the door and he says, "I'm not going to get to fixing it. Give me 700 bucks." I said, "Does it start?" He said, "I think so. I haven't started it in a number of years, but I'm sure it does."

I went out and put the key in and nothing happened. The battery was dead. So I boosted it with my car and sure enough after about 15 seconds the thing started up and it sounded like bowels of hell because the muffler was gone. So I drove this car home and the family looked out and said, "OK, he's lost it."

Did you get around to restoring it?

I had limited money so I did Midas Muffler, Earl Scheib's paint job and I had the upholstery done by somebody else. So a few thousand dollars later, the car is perfect - the chrome is gleaming, it's fantastic. Everything is perfect on it. I just had a blast with it and I've had it ever since.

Peter Keleghan from CBC's hit show 18 to Life with his '64 Cadillac and his Toyota Prius in Toronto.

What's your best memory with the Cadillac?

It's a great old car. If you're hard pressed you can live in the trunk of the thing - it's massive. It's 21 feet long and 2 1/2 tonnes. I've had everything done on it. It's a land yacht that is just beautiful."

Cars in the past have always had faces to them. I've always hated the face of a Valiant. I loved the face of the '63 and '64 Cadillac - they had a great face.

Certainly when I was growing up we never had anything like it. I just love it. It's like a time capsule when you drive the thing. There's a little ticking clock and I love old things that I can make work again. It has an AM-FM radio. I remember that scratchy sound when you turn on the radio. There's a dial that you turn and the lead thing goes back and forth. And the chrome on the gear shifter coming out of the steering column. I love old things.

Are you mechanically inclined?

I did quite a bit of the work. I did most of the engine work myself and I still do.

I gave it to a guy in Los Angeles to do the transmission because I didn't feel good about doing that. Apparently in '64, there were two kinds of transmission - one was good, the other one wasn't. I got the good one.

It's a fortress - nothing stops it. If I forget to start it, it just keeps going. I don't think I've changed the spark plugs in 2 1/2 years and it fires up no problem. But in the Prius, there's so many electronics in the car it's a bit Greek to me.

Are vintage cars a good investment?

No. you have to know what you're doing. … Generally speaking, the majority of old cars aren't good investments.

And the reality is the parking lots and some streets don't generally fit these things any more. The lines are drawn a little narrower to accommodate more cars.

What do you think of modern-day Cadillacs?

I have a hard time seeing the faces on them any more. Grilles have changed; every once and a while there's something that looks very interesting.

What are your plans for the Caddy?

I haven't driven it in about a year and a half. I'd love to sell it, but to the right person.

My son at one point said he wants it. But I told him you know you got to make friends with someone in Saudi Arabia if you want to drive this thing.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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