CC Outtake: Cadillac Catarra, 1957 Edition – It Doesn’t Zig, But It Does Share A Roof With A Chevy

Cadillac 1957 rear  PB

Oh right; it was spelled Catera. But when I came across this delicious ’57 Caddy rear end posted at the Cohort by paulvaranasi, I couldn’t help but notice the coincidental name painted on the driveway. It must belong to Catarra, and he obviously loves it. Let’s check out the (long) side view.

Cadillac 1957 CDV PB side

Even with the rude interruptions of those two posts, this is quite a sight. When I was a kid, I used to think that the whole center section of these Coupe deVilles was shared with the 1958 Impala.

Chevrolet 1958 Impala side

Well you can see why. But then I learned about GM’s A, B and C bodies, and how different they were (or were supposed to be). Which of course essentially all ended in 1959. But looking at these two now again makes me think that maybe I wasn’t so far off the mark. Did Chevy just “borrow” the ’57 Cadillac coupe greenhouse?

Cadillac 1957 CDV PB side snip-vert

Yes, there’s a few minor detail differences, like the length of the front vent window. But given the slight difference in camera angle, these are mighty similar.

So I headed to automobile-catalog.com, which is a terrific resource, and compared some dimensions. Of course the Caddy is longer, in wheelbase and overall length. But that’s a game always being played by GM. The center section looks roughly the same length. Critically, the Caddy is wider, 80.0″ to 77.7″. And in key interior dimensions, it’s also wider, with the Caddy’s shoulder room (65″) and hip room (65″) wider also than the Impala’s (56″ shoulder; 62/63″ hip). Well, maybe they just widened the roof structure a bit?

Either way, I had never really thought about this crucial life-or-death issue since I was maybe nine or so. And now that I have, and almost resolved it, I’m ready to move on. But isn’t it fun to be able to re-examine one’s crucial childhood observations and mysteries? Even if there’s no absolute definitive answer some 50 years later?