It is Sunday, and it’s been a while since we’ve had a proper religious experience, so a bit of devotion at the Church of St. Mark of Excellence is called for. And thanks to these shots of this venerable old Cadillac posted at the Cohort by William Rubano, we shall do so. The ’62 ranks quite high in the celestial GM hierarchy, although this example seems to have been subjected to some venial sins. I’d like to think they’re not mortal, anyway; it seems to me that its soul is still shining despite the mortification of its flesh. Or because of it.
Yes, this Sixty-Two (model, not year) Six-Window sedan has been exposed the elements a bit longer than ideal.
And it’s not just patina.
There’s some minor perforation. But the chrome is good, and the gold Cadillac vee just needs a Brillo pad, or something like that.
Odds are that the 390 V8 and Hydramatic are still functioning.
I will admit that the ’62’s front end is probably the weakest of this era. It’s looking a bit too much like a ’59 Olds with the headlights moved together some.
It’s interesting that the ’63 went back to front end that resembles the ’59 quite significantly. It’s a very detailed recapitulation, and not the kind of thing typically done in Detroit back then. Maybe Bill Mitchell realized that Harley Earl’s greater flamboyance suited Cadillac better than his restraint.
No lack of flamboyance at the rear. No, this is not a short deck version, which for ’62 was only available with the four-window sedan body.
How’s that for…visibility? In, as well as out.
So about that cord…
it should not as a great surprise to find that the end of it plugs into space heater and not a lithium ion battery. Yes, this Cad is drying out.
The driver’s door seems to have been hit hard, but the dash looks to have been mostly spared, although the pad is cracked. A combination of rain and sun damage.
The rear seat is still there, although I rather think those are seat cover, not the original fabric. At least the original buyer ponied up for the optional power windows.
So what’s the final judgement? Is it redeemable or damned for all creation?
I think this was the car Bill Mitchell was talking about when he told the designers that it would be a fine Chevrolet, but a Cadillac needed to be regal and snooty.
Would love to know the level of dampness and why. Tinworm apparently has enough foothold as it is. However, if someone has decided to save this honored old beastie. More power to him or her. As for the design of the grill. Word is it was thought the 61 and 62 grilles looked a little too “Chevrolet” so of course they went back to what was a more “Cadillac” look. Cadillac could have actually gone with vertical headlights two years earlier, But that was being done by Pontiac in 63, and once again. “The Standard of the World” could not have that. so a reprise of the 59/60 look was done. It worked.
Is looking like Chaika, Comerade?
My hat’s off to whoever’s making the effort to keep this one on the road!
Since you mentioned the “short-deck” version, Paul: I wonder how GM got the word from customers wanting this, and it’s interesting to see their catalog language (“Town Sedan”) sells its virtues in a reassuring way:
LOLPolitely indulgent chuckle at “correct styling”.
The short deck version was about ten inches shorter than the 62 series. Curbside parking, which was still the most available choice, would have much easier. Earlier DeVille hardtop and Fleetwood series sedans had longer tails added for prestige.The ’62 coupe had a very nice bubble top, with lots of glass. My favorites were the four door hardtop sedans, They looked great with all the windows down.
Just saw the movie Green Book. There were two of these that were the stars of the show. I enjoyed the movie and really enjoyed all the cars that were used for a movie set in 1962.
I’m making a note of it and will go see it—but I spotted an anachronism in the first couple of seconds of the trailer: a 1963 Valiant parked in the street.
The movie was set in October -December 1962 so the 1963 models would have been out. However, there was a 1964 Chevy police car in a few scenes.
Okeh, so a brand-new ’63 Valiant. But yeah, that ’64 Chev is a no, though it doesn’t sound as careless as some of the ones I’ve seen.
Observed by police in Philadelphia this weekend–
Cracked-windshield, bullet-riddled NYC police car ……. on I-95. ………. WTF??
Was found abandoned shortly thereafter.
Turned out to be a stolen prop from a movie.
Just another exciting note about movie cars.
It looks like I’m wrong about the ’62 bubble top. It looks like it was only offered in 1961. The ’59 and ’60 coupes also had a similar curving glass back window. That rusty ’62 would be the kind of project that a bodyshop owner with a lot of free time would take on, it wouldn’t be economically feasible for anyone else.
Great car, I’d love to have one and I’m happy to see someone making an effort to keep it going.
I’m no expert but I suspect the car spent many years parked with the nose pointing west, possibly in more northerly latitudes. Sunlight has blasted off the relatively fragile acrylic lacquer paint where exposed on top and the south-facing driver’s side, leaving the north facing paint relatively intact.
I’m impressed the chrome is so good and the rockers aren’t rusted away. Maybe this car spent many years somewhere in the dry northern plains states? Montana? The Dakotas?
A plenary indulgence for the restorer. It’s a handsome car, especially with the six – window greenhouse.
Although I am not a fan of resto-mods, I would grant special dispensation for this as it doesn’t look like it is cost effective to restore it to its original state.
OTOH, if it will be well executed everything it needs could just as easily be original as custom. The difference would be availability/cost of correct original stuff. Customs tend to have poor resale value relative to construction cost; an accurate restoration will be worth more than a custom, which may recover the extra cost of accurate restoration parts.
I kind of like the ’62 body and front myself. Now if it could only be combined with that neat ’61 coupe roof. The ’62 was the first Cadillac (perhaps the first car) with cornering lights that illuminated when the turn signal was engaged. It has been a Cadillac feature ever since.
It would have looked like that before 1970 in Northwest Indiana. It’s off to a good start, with the drying out. When you first showed the space heater I thought someone was just living in it. I wonder what it will look like when it’s done. If you like the patina look it has that covered already. How is the chrome in such spectacular shape? Does chrome really survive that well compared to the rest of the car? Around here it just seems to flake off eventually, pushed off by rust. Great post as always.
Top-down rust is always more redeemable than bottom-up rust, the drivers fender and hood would probably be easier to replace but as far as I can see the worst perforation is on those two panels, even what I can see of the roof looks pretty good.
I’m betting this was sitting out in the open in a field for a few long decades and very recently liberated from there via craigslist or an estate sale. Being stored on soil does leave me with some concern for the condition of the frame and floors, I see some holes inside near the B pillars, though most of the rest of the floors look remarkably solid. I presume the bulk of the interior was taken out for the drying process, otherwise a totally missing interior would make this a little bit much of a project since you’d have to find another doner car.
Oh, saved, for sure, by the skin of its original-equipment trick tail lights, about which more info here.
Those stick-on side reflectors are of no real use, pointing down (front) and up (rear), but points for effort to whoever added them.
Oldsmobile also got into the trick taillight act for one year only with the 1966 98. Like the ’62 Caddy, the lower half of the clear area served as the backup light.
Chrysler did as well, for the early ’65 New Yorkers, but then switched to red + clear lenses for most of the year – my grandfather’s 4 door hardtop was built after the switch (being in a car dealer family, we never bought cars when they first came out).
Previous discussion of ’65 Chrysler clear tails here.
Two more obscure trick tail lights:
1966 Thunderbird (center backup lights)
The ’68 Baccaruda did not have trick taillights. It had regular ones: the red-lens section made only red light for the stop/tail/turn functions, and the white section made only white light for the reversing light functions.
I’d buy this, get the drivetrain, brakes, etc in safe running condition, maybe scrape the interior and replace it with something modern and comfortable, and drive it otherwise as-is.
A very good write up on the complexity of the Cadillac grilles of this era can be found at:
The amount of parts and labor hours used to build them would today be considered insane by auto manufacturers.
Oh, those clear tail lights that turned red when you hit the brakes! Everything is there, chrome looks real good. It’s a keeper. Are seat covers and carpet kits still available from J.C. Whitney? Someone out there will have these and they won’t be too expensive. Body is straight – that’s great!
I’ve long been curious if the different frames used in pre-’65 GM full-sizers noticeably affected leg space, and here with the front seat pulled you can easily discern the shape of the X frame. Note the lack of protrusion from a perimeter frame near the door openings, making the floorpan look like it was from a unibody car rather than body-on-frame. I wonder though if the GM brands that didn’t use X frames have smaller center tunnels.
Agreed about the weak front end styling. It’s not terribly unattractive, but it is utterly generic. There’s just nothing about it that says “Cadillac”; if it had a Chevy bow tie in the center it wouldn’t look out of place.
Thanks for posting this today Paul, as I was thinking about the Series 62 just now … since today is my 62nd birthday, and naturally I had to figure out a car connection. CC Effect, of a sort.
I always thought this stuff about the gradual cheapening-out of Caddies was a bit overstated, but a mains-power-only heater and no seats? And air-con only through the floor? That’s far more extreme than I had thought.
I am a longtime fan of the 62 owing to the 4 window Sedan deVille that my grandfather drove when I was a kid.
My bet is that this car spent decades sitting in a damp, leaky garage or barn. I can smell the mildew from here.
I will leave this one to someone with a higher pain tolerance. This car would flunk my rule that out of body, interior and mechanicals, any 2 of the three have to be good. If it were a convertible and was a great driver, then maybe. I was badly mistreated by an old Cadillac a lot nicer than this one. Ain’t going there again.
My experience with 200+ cars has directly lead to the conclusion that body condition, ie: no significant rust or damage, trumps (sorry) all, by a mile.