1961-62 are just about my favorite years for classic Cadillac design. After the ‘50s excess and before they started going full pimp-mobile, those two years represent a new, cleaner, modern Cadillac. And today I bring to you the finest example that I could find on the old Bay of E.
The 1961 was a departure from its predecessor in all the right ways. The wheelbase was down a half inch and the overall length three inches from its predecessor. Special care was taken in narrower sills and wider-opening doors to ease entering and exiting the car, but in your authors opinion the single best improvement was trimming all that fat from the design.
Don’t get me wrong, It would take a heart of stone and a soul of concrete to actively hate the 1959’s. They’re the biggest expression of the dazzling fin-tailed Jet-age of car design. But to look at it as anything other than the exact moment when the ‘50s started collapsing onto themselves is to look at it through the eyes of nostalgia. If the 1955-57 Chevrolets were the beginning of the climb, and Virgil Exner’s “Suddenly it’s 1960” 1957 Chryslers were the peak in ‘50s design, the ‘59 Cadillac was coming down from the peak, going home, gaining 300 pounds, and going out in public claiming you’ve still “got it”.
I’m a fan, but not their biggest fan.
This style, on the other hand, can do no wrong in my book. Of course they were a lot more conservative than their predecessors, but that was exactly the point. The Lincoln Continental look was the future, and while the ‘62s still had the curved A-pillar and vestigial fins keeping it in the fifties, it was definitely a leap in the right direction. Besides, who would dare question Cadillac’s design and the cues they wanted to keep from generation to generation back then? (Anyone with a Continental.)
Oh dear, it seems like my love for the design has distracted me from the car itself. Well, it is the finest expression of the design. The Sixty Special was the finest Cadillac you bought if you wanted to drive it yourself. Our featured example is finished in black with a wool Broadcloth cream interior. The odometer is showing 36,117 miles.
Best part about it is that there’s a plethora of information regarding the car. To quote the ad “This outstanding Fleetwood Sixty Special was purchased new by Rueben B. Hays, president and chairman of the board of the First National Bank of Cincinnati. The original warranty book indicates that Mr. Hays took delivery on November 14th, 1961 from Thomson Brothers Cadillac in Cincinnati Ohio.” That’s the sort of attention to detail that lets you know you’re not buying from a Wormwood-style dealer.
Apart from a professional-grade respray at some undisclosed point in its life, everything is original and it’s in excellent condition. The interior doesn’t have a single tear in it, the wood is umblemished, the chrome shiny and even the jacking instructions decal is just lightly worn as a small concession to the 53 years it has spent attached to the car. The engine is claimed to be a 429, but since that didn’t arrive until 1964, we’ll assume it’s a typo and that the original 390 cubic inch V8 is still softly burbling away under that long hood.
With such an amazing vehicle, it should come as no surprise that they are asking quite a bit of money for it. If you want to take this Caddy home you’ll have to pay $32,500…OBO. I know it sounds like quite a bit of money (because it is) but it’s not a bad deal when you remember the same money would buy you something like a mildly optioned CLA or a loaded to the gills Ford Fusion. And if you buy either of those, people will think no better or worse of you. Buy this, and they will know you have taste.