(first posted 3/23/2015) In contrast to Gerardo’s entry last week on the Cimarron, which was perhaps the nadir of the Cadillac brand, I’d like to present an example of “Peak Cadillac.” Actually, one could argue that Cadillac’s success never really crested at a single point, but spanned decades, from the elegant V-16s of the Depression era to the beautiful Eldorados of the late 1960s. In those days, Cadillac was America’s Rolls Royce, and they never had to concern themselves with such nonsense as “matching the Germans.” Cars like this 1965 Sedan DeVille saw to that.
The most shocking thing to me about 1960s Cadillac “sedans” is that they don’t command more money. With a little searching, one can find a Sedan DeVille in reasonable condition for well under $10,000, ensuring its status as the value winner per pound among its collectible car brethren. Sedan DeVilles may look better than their coupe counterparts too, almost like they were designed as a sedan (or in this case, a four-door hardtop) first.
Since even the most handsome car should also prove to be a useful one, 429 Cadillac power moves its not inconsiderable bulk effortlessly down any superhighway in America. And it’s loaded.
Available for order on DeVilles was Cadillac’s brilliant “Comfort Control” climate control system, which included air conditioning. 1965 models came standard with GM’s outstanding Turbo-Hydramatic 400, and could even be ordered with cruise control, power seats, power door locks, automatic headlights, leather seats, tilting and telescoping steering wheel (which was quite sporty, actually), and an AM-FM radio. Save for a touch screen user interface, this cabin cruiser on wheels is nearly as well-equipped as a 2015 Cadillac.
1965 Cadillacs were a substantial leap forward from the 1964 model shown above; in fact, they were almost entirely new from the frame up (many GM models received a new perimeter frame in ’65, and Cadillacs were no exception). As has been noted many times, the ’65 Cadillac was shorn of its famous tailfins for the first time since 1947 (although one could argue that even the ’65 kept a vestigial fin of sorts). Whether the ’64 or ’65 was more attractive is open to interpretation, but magazine editors and road testers of the time were almost universal in their praise for both.
Cadillac’s greatness was so unquestioned in the mid-1960s that its resale value was almost unmatched, a fact that Cadillac highlighted in many of its print ads.
One could go so far as to call it the “Standard of the World.” Oh wait, Cadillac did, and they weren’t twisting the truth either. The featured ’65 Sedan DeVille was heralded by nearly all who drove one. Their engineering and quality matched their attractive looks, and GM mass produced a car that was in every way a match for even the most carefully handcrafted luxury cars the world had to offer.
The only thing wrong with this Sedan DeVille is that it’s not in my garage. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit. That doesn’t stop me from feeling a twinge of envy whenever I notice one of these big beauties. It’s not only a win for the home team, but also a somber reminder of a time when our greatest car didn’t have to play catch up, because it was miles ahead.
Oh my God that is beautiful. Off to EBay motors I go.
One of these lives on my street. Daily driver, parked outside. Because ’60s cars and trucks are fairly common here, I can compare the Caddy to others of similar vintage, and it still looks better. Paint is “deeper”, chrome is brighter. GM really did put something extra into the Caddy that didn’t go into Chevys or Pontiacs.
Definitely on the same page with you on this shape, Aaron. Peak Cadillac, it edges ahead of the 66 with its cleaner front fender turning lights configuration, and fights neck and neck with the 67/68 for best looking. Plus, you’re so right about the four door looking better than the two door; they never really made the formal roof work in coupe form for the 65-68. Is this one of your 28?
It’s actually not, but I do like it! 🙂
I agree, sedan DeVilles are way cooler than the coupes. I’m a hardcore 2 door fan 99% of the time but when it comes to the idea and image of ‘Luxury’, THIS is what I think of. As sad as it is to see the lack of 2 door hardtops from Cadillac today(particularly when Mercedes Benz is still making them in 2015) the continued extinction of the true 4 door hardtop(sorry, frameless glass on a pillared sedan IS NOT a hardtop) is almost more upsetting, because nothing else really pulled that off better than Cadillac – With all the other GM divisions at the time offering their own hardtops, I’d always pick the Coupe versions aesthetically, but the Cadillac’s classy rooflines and long low flanks just make the choice pick of the breed. The Chevy, Pontiac, Olds and Buick 4 door hardtops just look like Caddie imitators at best
And it doesn’t even matter this doesn’t fit in a garage. This should be outside for the world to see. It’s nearly as big as the Vatican and just as beautiful!
The 64 looks like an old car – the 65 looks like a classic.
I hope Don Draper’s not still driving his when Mad Men starts up again next month. That would put it around 5 or 6 years old, NEW YORK years!
Yeah, I can see him driving an Eldorado or something, or maybe a Lincoln Mark III.
The new ad for the season has him driving it, which I think is a statement of Don’s character as much as anything else. And even in NYC if you garage a car it’ll look new forever.
Just this past weekend, I saw this variation (which I believe is a 1967 model) at a gas station. These cars were elegant even in a hearse configuration. Modern hearses seem ungainly by comparison.
You’re right! Can tell by the side marker light reflectors on the front fender (which are concentric rectangles on the 1968) and the hide-away windshield wipers on the 1968 model.
What’s strange is that the Fleetwood 75 and the commercial chassis retained the basic 1959 body thru 1965. This makes the ’66 model Fleetwood 75 & commercial a one year wonder.
There’s a kid at my daughter’s high school who drives one of these on nice days. It’s a blue, four door hard-top and appears to be in original, but well loved, condition. It really stands out among the lifted pick-ups, Jeeps, and small, modern eco-blobs which most of his classmates drive. Its hard to imagine a 17 year old choosing to drive a car like this, but it sure is nice to know there are some who do.
In 1965 and for a few years after GM and Cadillac had the resources to fend of mercedes. What a shame that they were not farsighted enough to come up with something comparable, perhaps as a reincarnation of LaSalle. They sure had the engineering talent and manufacturing skills available. Heartbreaking that they went for crushed velour, fake wire wheels, etc., etc., etc., and decontenting instead.
You could argue the 1967 Eldo was the LaSalle proxy. A step in the right direction but not really carried through.
I have always preffered the 63-64, considering the 65-66 a little bland. However, in trying to look at this with a fresh eye, I have to agree that it is a beautifully styled car. Though it lacks some of the flash of the earlier car, it is a more conservative look that is unmistakably a Cadillac.
Sigh. This was indeed -in my humble opinion- the high water mark for Cadillac. Surely someone knows the reason that Caddy decided to cash in on the name. That would be interesting reading. Certainly the seeds of the Cimmaron were sown in the next few years, well before the Oil Shock ‘changed everything’. When I was in college in the early 70’s my classmate drove a 69 Cadillac that his father had given him; dad had just skipped a trade-in when he replaced his own car. I remember distinctly his father’s complaints that the 72 that replaced the 69 seemed like a much more cheaply built car. Why, why, why did Caddy decide to do that?
One reason Cadillac may have gone astray in the next few years was the hunt for the elusive wealthy younger buyer. My parents bought a ’66 Coupe in ’68, and it always looked like an “older people” car to my young eyes. The Vietnam War and that “Generation Gap” thing meant that younger people stopped aspiring for such a car (the Mustang or the VW Beetle substituted well). The typical 40 year old started looking for youthful cars, and GM went down the path of trying to supply them (and came up with the Vega).
Mad Men plays with the generation gap issue and places Dan Draper squarely on the “old fogie” side with his big top-of-the-line American cars. But then the big Packards suffered from the same “old person” bias in the ’40s and ’50s.
The ’62-’68 fall into peak Cadillac for me. The ’61 carries over too much of the ’60 for my taste, and an interior materials slip that may have started in ’67 was definitely obvious for ’69.
Agreed that the ’65 – ’66 is at its best as a four door hardtop. It is also very good as a convertible. ’67 – ’68 Cadillacs make excellent coupes, perhaps the best standard Cadillac coupes of all.
In my time of buying CCs as daily drivers, I brought home a ’65 Sedan DeVille on a test drive. It was that sand beige color that was popular in the mid ’60s, no vinyl top. It’s footprint in my normal parking place was dominating to say the least. A very nice car in good condition. I don’t recall why I didn’t pull the trigger on that one. Probably because I was still pretty dedicated to buying two door cars at the time.
The apex of Cadillac is said by many aficionados, including myself to be between 1965 and 1969; with 1967 being the post-war high watermark of Cadillac as a luxury car producer. 1967 was a golden year for GM and especially one for Cadillac. I do have to disagree with you on the “material slip”. Many Cadillac connoisseurs believe interior quality took a dive beginning in 1969. 1967 marked an era of padded, yet luxurious surfaces. 1968 however began that dreadful one-piece molded door panel, cheap! The materials in the interior of a 1967 Cadillac are just carry overs from the 1966 line. The plastic dash and arm rests present in the 1966 models were replaced by highly textured vinyl padded surfaces in 1967; a very refined approach. One could argue that the interior quality fell slightly beginning in 1965, with the introduction of hard plastics throughout the cabin, however this dissipated for the 1967 model year, but was reintroduced in 1969. Cadillac begin to subtly slip following the 1970 model year. Cadillac’s slip was both a result of their own actions as well as the federal government, and its strict regulations. 1967 was truly an understated height in Cadillac’s interior design theme. It was handsome, yet efficient, the last of the great Cadillacs before the government and oil crisis struck.
My father owned a 1967 Calais 4-door sedan (had a B-pillar but frameless door windows like the hardtop). Apparently, that “entry level” Caddy with the center post was fairly rare since I have seen only one other in the ensuing 48 years. The car was excellent in every way except, of course, it swilled high-test gasoline. At 36 cents a gallon in those days who really cared? It rode like a magic carpet and Dad did something a bit progressive for the time: he had Goodrich radial tires and Monroe-matic shocks installed almost immediately after he acquired the car which was useful on our many trips to the Colorado Rockies. Dad has a seemingly curious affinity for the mountains since he is a life-long resident of the table flat Texas Gulf Coast. Perhaps he enjoys the contrast.
The dash board on the ’67 was much more sedate that that of the ’65 or ’66 year model – no longer was the glove box in the middle of the dash and there was practically no chrome. Our neighbor had a 1965 Coupe de Ville (purchased used after he experienced our ’67) and the difference between the two was obvious even to my 7-year old eyes.
The Calais, with the same 130-inch wheelbase as the Sedan de Ville, did fit in our garage with about 3 inches to spare on each end. With the garage door closed one could not get from one side of the car to the other without climbing over it and that was simply not done. 🙂 Naturally, the tennis ball suspended from the ceiling of the garage to properly position the car was mandatory.
I had some relatives who owned a 67 Calais. It was an elderly couple who bought it new – air conditioning was the only significant option I can recall on it. Same 4 door pillared hardtop, painted in that light platinum-gold. it was the only Cadillac I ever spent any time in that had crank windows. It eventually served 3 if not 4 generations of that family over the next 15 or 20 years.
I concur with your observations on the 1967-68 Caddy dashboard – it not only looks a bit more sedate than the 65-66 one, but looks too much like the Buick ones.
Does it have anything to do with mandated safety standards that the manufacturers had to comply starting those years?
Silverkris, my guess is yes to the dashboard redesign. The upper portion was padded and the lower half, which impressed my father, was a material not unlike a Samsonite suitcase. It was pretty good at absorbing an impact.
jp, Dad did not special order his Calais, it was “on the lot” and it was fairly well optioned. It had a beautiful greenish-blue metallic paint and pleated nylon cloth interior (attractive to my frugal and maintenance minded father). Dad would not have had a 4-door hardtop. He thought they were “too flimsy.” Note: he was the first of his compatriots to buy a foreign car for its fuel economy in the wake of the first Arab oil embargo and it was a 1973 Volvo 144.
The Cadillac also had AC (we are in Texas, after all), power windows (except the vent windows), SIX-way power front bench seat, cruise control (the nifty one with the round wheel on the side of the instrument nacelle), and an AM-FM radio with power antenna. It had a fold down center armrest for the front bench seat but, oddly, none in the rear. A rear armrest could have been a real peace-keeper for my sister and me on long trips.
My sister and I were amazed that there were cigarette lighters in both rear ashtrays and a double ash receiver in front flanking the lighter there. I’m sure the rear seat lighters caused my mother untold worry imagining what her children might decide to do with them if left to their own devices.
I wrote recently on another thread about a great uncle (my father’s father’s brother-in-law) who ordered a “strippo” 1964 Olds 98. Uncle “Frank” and my father got along well but had entirely different attitudes about automobiles.
A 1967 Cadillac’s dash looks nothing like that of a Buick. I suggest you refine your Google search. At this point in time, Cadillac had its own refined touches.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The dash may have seemed more sedate to some over the 1965 and 1966’s. But to Car and Driver and Motortrend, the interior was “tasteful and efficient beyond reproach.” They stated that Cadillac had come a long way in taste since the garish fins of the 1950s. The “sedate” dash of the 1967’s were, at the time, considered very tastefully done and handsome.
Anyone interested in more dashboard/interior/quality chat about this and later Cadillacs:
For the Buick Electra, the pillared sedan had a significantly roomier rear seat than the hardtop. Probably true of Cadillac and Olds, too.
Lovely car and I too often wonder why Cadillac followed the oath they did. I have read that the Mercedes w108 and 109’s played a role here – apparently Doctor’s car parks started filling with these from the mid sixties onwards and never went back to Caddy’s. A shame and I wonder what Caddy’s would be now if they had kept to their quality roots.
I agree that the sedans look better, and 65-66 are among Cadillac’s most timeless designs. Seriously, if someone told you these cars were built in any given year from 1957-1981, why would you doubt them?
I would’ve loved to park one (just barely) in my garage, but they don’t have a collapsable steering column. I don’t intend to crash my classic, but that’s just non-negotiable for anything that goes farther than a car show. (And I really do like to drive my older cars.) So practically speaking, my American car list is limited to 1967 and later.
1968 & later (actually late 1967) if it’s a FoMoCo product.
Yes, I was particularly frustrated to learn that Ford was late to adopt this feature. When I was searching, I couldn’t find a ’68 Continental, only ’67 and earlier!
I think that the convertibles were still nice looking cars with the top down. In the 60’s Cadillac was probably at their best, and imports were not much of a threat, although Rolls Royce was THE status symbol for many. Cadillac was the “Standard of the World” when they won the Dewar Trophy (more than once), but I think that after World War Two this was mostly advertising nonsense.
Thanks for this. I’m always happy to see a post on Caddies from this era. These are such beautiful cars. Not as flashy as the earlier 60s models, not as dynamic looking as the ’67-’68s, but so clean and elegant. For a while, these were probably my favorite series Cadillacs, although now I’d say everything from ’63 to ’68 is pretty close.
They are perhaps a touch bland in standard sedan and coupe models, but are really spectacular as convertibles, and I think the extended wheelbase of the Fleetwood improve the looks too. But the clean and minimalist design of the hardtop SDV is really timeless.
While the ’67-’68s looked fantastic – and I loved the Coupe versions of these, it’s too bad the interior quality started its decline. It’s remarkable to me that GM would consciously make the decision to cheapen everything from this point on, only making them look even worse compared to contemporary Mercedes.
What museum are these pictures from?
These are from the Gilmore in Hickory Corners, MI, which is certainly on the list of greatest museums in the world. If you can ever make it, do it. I’m lucky to live only three hours away from it.
I’ve had to correct so many on the interior quality of a 1967/1968 and 1969/1970 Cadillacs. Interior quality really took a dive beginning in 1969. 1968 marked the beginning of one-piece molded door panels, cheap compared to its predecessors. A 1967 Cadillac’s dash and door panels are of the highest quality, many of the materials are simply carry overs from the 1966s. Many point to the 1967 models as a sign of cheapening, but it was a sign of refinement until 1969. 1968 was the first year that Cadillac began to cut corners. 1967 was a golden year at GM and Cadillac. The impending government regulations forced Cadillac to reduce the amount of bright work throughout the interior, resulting in rather bland instrument and door panels.
When I like at the sheer size and bulk of those cars I always wonder : What were they thinking?
It signalled to the world that you had arrived, both in the literal and more metaphorical sense. You didn’t have to worry about space inefficiencies or MPG when you drove a Cadillac. Remember, this was when the average price of gas was $0.31/gal.
Yet I wasnt even thinking about the economics at all.
Instead I was thinking about the size. What must it have been like to steer, park and generally maneuver around such a huge piece of metal ? I mean…back at the time even tiny Doriy Day type housewives ran their errands in such landyachts, didnt they?
That kind of thinking is what led to the production of the Seville…the first “small” Cadillac.
The 1972 Benz W116 is what led to the production of the Seville.
They could have fit a V16 under that hood. Also cars were lower and trunks weren’t as high, so the extra ten or so feet at the back helped provide tons of trunk room. In 1965 Ford moved the flatish fuel tank under the trunk floor to one squashed up behind the rear axle hump on “full sized” cars, extending that flat shelf. The spare tire (not compact yet) went on top of it. This left a very deep and far more useful trunk, but (just looked up photos) GM and Chrysler didn’t think of that for their also new big cars. Ford first did this with the terrible 1964 facelift and extension of the Lincoln Continental, hence the fuel filler door on the side in the middle of the rear fender area, ruining the flattish expanse of beautiful car.
But yes, if you compare cars from that era to a corresponding three box car today there is a much higher ratio of passenger compartment to whole car.
Although I consider myself a “Lincoln Man”, having owned four Town Cars, and believing that the post 1971 Cadillac’s are too flashy for my tastes, I would add this classy, refined, “conservative old money” 1966 Cadillac to MY driveway quicker than this car’s TubroHydraMatic 400 could shift from Park to Drive.
Very few vehicles say “I MEAN BUSINESS” like a black 65 Cadillac Sedan De Ville. Anyone driving one should be addressed “Yes, Sir” or “Yes, Ma’am” even if they’re 25 years old.
I’ve always thought the 1965-70 Cadillac’s were some of the best cars ever built, I definitely agree that the 1965-66 Caddy’s looked better in sedan form than coupe, I always thought the interiors didn’t start to be cheapened out until the 1969 Caddy although it would get even worse starting with the 1971 Caddy’s.
If I were to have one Cadillac in my garage it’ll be either a 1968 Cadillac Deville (both coupe or sedan form) or a 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood due to the stacked headlights and the massive 472 cubic inch V8 engine.
Cadillac did start to cheapen the interiors beginning with the 1969 models. But mechanically it all came together with the excellent 472 cubic-inch V-8, standard front disk brakes and variable-ratio power steering for 1969. I also prefer the exterior styling of the 1969-70 Cadillacs to the 1965-68 models.
The stacked headlights of the 1965-68 models remind me of a Pontiac. Cadillac didn’t need to lift styling cues from a cheaper model.
Too big, too heavy, too underbraked, too powerful, too much of a gas hog, and so beautiful none of rest matters.
A comment like that is a roller coaster!
My ex-brother-in-law had two ’65 Sedan de Ville hardtops.
One spent years in a garage being restored (the Beauty) and the other was a parts car and transport in the meantime (the Beast). Beauty wound up being very lovely in metallic blue; Beast was primer-black with no grille and half the dashboard missing – great for intimidating traffic.
I was always a sports-car fan but I have to say I liked navigating them around when I visited. Pic shows ex-BIL and nephew #2, cruising with all the windows down.
OMG.. The ’66 Caddy brings back so many memories (I like the 66 better than the 65).
I liked the ’66 better, due to the changes that made the car look a bit more modern. Like how the bottom of the rear bumper was body color instead of chrome (I believe caddy did this on all the even years for awhile). I also liked the front fender cornering lights better, as they were not intergrated with the front headlights and grille, plus the grilled on the 66 was way more modern looking. The interior was also nicer on the 66 due to the sew syle of the seats.
My family was lucky to have a beautiful white 1966 Hardtop Sedan de Ville, with a black leather interior and a black vinyl top. Dad ordered the car new, and selected all the famous for the day options… Climate Control, 6 way power front seat, Cruise, Tilt & Telesopic Wheel, Guidematic, Twilight Sentinnel, AM-FM Stereo (instead of the single seeking AM-FM), power antenna, Power Door Locks, and Power Trunk Release. It was such a beautiful, glamorous car. So elegant!
Our neighbors had the 1965 Coupe de Ville, which was also a beautiful car. But I have to agree, this body style looked much better in 4 doors. It was also white, but with a red leather interior and black vinyl top.
One of the local business owners in our neighborhood had a 1966 Calais 4 door Sedan. Also a nice car, but for the price difference, it didn’t seem to be worth it. I had the opportunity to drive in it a few times, and even to my young eyes, I could tell that it was just not as nice as our Sedan de Ville. It lacked the vinyl top and had a vinyl interior. It had power windows, but I do remember that the armrest on the doors where not as luxurious as the Sedan de Villes. But, it was still a beautiful car.
Quit trying to “match the Germans”. Or the Japanese.
Just use the cars shown above…and the ’57 Eldo Biarritz…and the ’41 60 Special, the ’48 Coupe DeVille, et.al…as inspiration and build the 2015 version of that.
I think your recent efforts are a step in the right direction but the flagship is still missing and from all accounts, the coming CT6 ain’t it.
Give us the Elmiraj, call it “CT8” if you wish.
BE the Standard of the World, if you will only follow your new ad campaign and Dare Greatly.
May your wish come true.
The market place they are trying to compete in has been over crowded for many years anyway.
The 65-68 Caddys were my favorites. I could see switching to a 65 Caddy from a 61 Lincoln.
I believe that the trunk lid on the 65 is the first automotive part designed with the aid of a computer.
This is the model that was the lowrider in the original Gone in 60 Seconds isn’t it?
Yes it is although it was a coupe version of the car, I definitely liked the scenes with the young males driving around in the car smoking weed.
Our family had a `66 de Ville 4 door, white with black leather interior and a black vinyl top in the mid `70s. Interior was practically like the one in the picture.Car had everything except power vent windows. If cars were called “boats” or “land yachts”,this Caddy went beyond that. It was an ocean liner.Its nickname was “The Queen Mary”.
Car handled well, but the brakes could have been better, and got fairly good as economy for a large car. Not only did it have an ashtray-remember those ?-but it was more of a smokers compartment up front with 2 ashtrays and 2 lighters with notches for cigarettes, cigars or pipes. It also had the outside fender turn signal indicators and cornering lights that lit up when you made a turn. All these details are what made a Cadillac a Cadillac.
Car was a blast to drive.You`d get in, adjust the seat,dial up the air conditioning, use the signal seeking AM-FM radio,find some cool music, and be on your way. Cadillac wasn`t called “the standard of the world” for nothing. This was big , pre Brougham luxury at its best.And yes,it did fit in the garage.
I’ve always appreciated one design feature of the 65s that has yet to be mentioned here, and that’s curved side glass. 1965 saw all of the GM brands adopt curved side glass for the first time. Compare the ’64 and ’65 in the pics above, and see how curving the side glass allowed the designers to dial in more “tumblehome,” making the top of the “greenhouse” narrower than the beltline, resulting in more of a fuselage- type side and 3/4 profile. You may have lost a little headroom, but you gained some attractive proportions. Virtually every car on the road today follows this design.
Trivia question: what was the first American-built production car to feature curved side glass? Hazard a guess, anyone?
I think the 57 Imperial was the first production car to use curved side glass. But I am going from memory, so I am open to a better researched answer.
I think you are correct. The ’61 Lincoln Continental has curved side glass, and Rambler beat the mainstream Big Three cars by two years with curved glass in the redesigned ’63 Classic and Ambassador.
Oddly enough, the Lincoln temporarily lost its curved side glass windows for the 1964 and 1965 model years, when it reverted to flat side glass windows. The curved side glass windows returned with the 1966 restyle.
Thunderbirds too. Some edict from management because of window fit problems or something. I’m sure the design department was pissed. I had a 40+ year old 1962 Lincoln for years and even with gaskets that old it never leaked a drop in a thunderstorm or let in any noise around the windows.
@jpcavanaugh – you are correct, sir! (As far as I know, and unless someone can chime in with another candidate.) Well done.
I love the 1965-68 Cadillacs. In my opinion, the ’65 was the most elegant since the ’56, with some wild and crazy years in between, topped of course by outrageous ’59.
Love the late-’60s Cadillacs, but I’m partial to the ’69s for personal reasons – my dad realized his dream back in the mid-’70s when he bought a used Palmetto Green Sedan hardtop. I loved it, and then I hated it five years later when he bought a used ’78 Coupe. To my child’s eye, it was all about the bling – compared to that almost-new Coupe, the old Sedan had gotten tired. The front seats were torn, the paint on the hood was eroding. Ironic that the Coupe would end up in the same condition at just 10 years old, when I would inherit it as my first car, while my father would fully realize The Dream, paying cash for a brand-new white Sedan de Ville (with black vinyl top of course). I do miss the Coupe, as we sometimes do our first cars, but I truly miss that ’69 Sedan. One day (soon)…
In 2002 I stumbled accross a 65 Coupe DeVille in midnight blue for sale at a local parking lot. For $4,500 I got a two owner car with 67k miles and every option Cadillac offered for 1965. With exception of having to put it on the truck lift, my mechanic loved it as he said it was one of the easiest cars to work on. I later downsized to a 1976 Seville which was beautiful, easy to drive, but the climate control was a huge issue to deal with in cold New England. I was sadden to see Cadillac’s image decline in the late 80’s and 90’s and couldn’t feel the love anymore. However I recently treated myself to a 2011 CTS AWD Performance sedan and I have to say the Standard of the World is returning..
In case you’re unaware, the CTS,Camaro,etc, are based on GM 1980s evolved Opel/Holden/GM Brazil Platforms…..not Cadillac/ or ” Americana” in any way……….even still,they fail in sales results and Genuine Reviews…with and beyond the overpriced versions having a “old school” American V8s installed in them….not American or Cadillac in any way.
Last time I recall,Peugeot (Having Controlling Stake in GM Europe and recent Fiat-Chrysler and Ford dependent on them as a supplier of everything including Diesel engines,etc.) Peugeot a couple years back told GM,they were on their own in 7 years time for Opel-Vauxhall derived Platflorms. After Peugeot purchasing GM Europe and firing most of the Failed: American,German, Australian, and British Upper Management….GM Europe posted its 1st ever Profit in Decades in just 18 months the tune of of 1 1/2 Billion USA dollars.
Even with sales/profits in USA-China imploding…GM profits only exist now on fractional guaranteed sales and sales/profits on US/Canada-light-trucks which are also imploding. Beyond its various Finance Divisions….GM vehicle manufacturing will be a thing of past in due course.
In case your’re thinking I’m “anti-American,etc.” I have a 74 Coupe Deville (loaded with every option), the build-quality:…. fit/finish is a joke…that’s the Standard GM has lived by 50 years and counting from its Halo the brand Cadillac to Chevrolet.
Does that every option 74 Coupe Deville have collision air bag?
Thinking about the line “matching the Germans”…. In the ’60s the Mercedes really wasn’t a match for Caddy by any means. Most MBs had a balky 4-on-the-tree shifter, not HydraMatic, and the engines felt rev-limited and dieselish. You had to row that clumsy shifter a lot. MB had better seats than Caddy for sure, but so did Renault.
back when Cadillac had gravitas
still think the 1965 New Yorker was better, certainly better made and more advanced
I have to say, I don’t often hear that 1960s Chrysler build quality was better than GM’s, but I wasn’t around to know for sure. Either way, I’d take either one…I’ve drooled over them both.
No doubt the Chrysler’s unit-body construction was tighter than the body-and-frame construction of the Cadillac.
GM had engineered a certain amount of flex into the frames of its 1965 B- and C-bodies. The theory was that the frame would flex first, and absorb any bumps before they reached the passenger compartment. Unfortunately, the frames on GM’s 1965 B- and C-bodies turned out to be TOO flexible, and had to be beefed up next year. As far as workmanship goes – the Cadillac was better than the Chrysler.
Imperial did not get unit-body when other Chrysler cars did (1960), waiting until 1967, presumably due to low sales. -allpar
New Yorker was at Buick level, not Cadillac. My dad’s ’64 Continental was unibody and solid as a rock.
I love those….
I am generally a small car guy, but I really like these. I went to high school in In the mid 60s in Toronto and the school district included a very wealthy area (not mine). A girl in my class drove one of these to school. Must have been nice. In my last year the father of one of my friends drove one. He seemed to always drive a Cadillac they was a couple of years old. They had a fairly large dog and whenever they took him in the car he would lie down in the passenger footwell and go to sleep. A very relaxed dog, but also a testament to the ride of the Cadillac.
I never could decide whether I preferred the 1965 or 1966 Cadillac. Maybe the 1966 because of its Frenched headlights and taillights, plus…we had one! But the build quality of the 1966 seemed to have slipped a bit from our 1963 Cadillac. The next one, a 1971, was no match for either in style or build. The 1979 Eldorado was classically styled and well appointed. But it had that Diesel engine (though it was still running normally after fifteen years when the Eldorado was traded toward a Ford Taurus); and the short-lived paint and shrinking vinyl roof were a letdown. That was Dad’s last Cadillac. His brother, though, bought a Cimarron.
One thing that I’ll add just because no one else has is that not only could you tell that this was a Cadillac ahead of you in the dark by it’s distinctive taillights, but, if you met one coming at you in the dark, the very wide spaced headlights also identified it. Sometimes a Pontiac would fool you with the headlights but even in the dark they were distinctive.
How many ashtrays does it have? My 1967 Imperial had four and also four lighters.
Going by memory, the 1963 had four ashtrays/lighters. One was left/ center for the driver, and one far right beyond the glove box door, for the front passenger. That was reduced in the 1966. With the more-curved dash, there could not be a passenger’s in that location so an integrated set, two ashtrays flanking a central lighter, was placed in the center.
WOW! We sure like our Cadillacs! I had the opportunity to drive the 1966 Sedan de Ville. What a nice driver!
Regarding the 65 vs the 66…when I was working in SE Michigan, I had a friend who worked for GM Styling. He told me that Cadillac was instructed by management to “get some $s out of the 66s”. Well, the grille is simpler and cleaner, same for the panel between the taillights. More tellingly, note that the chrome strip on the front fender tops are now absent on the 66s; you have a little groove left. The parts count is less, body wise; the headlight now do not have the chrome bezel, as another example.
The result: many (slightly) prefer the 66, since it has a cleaner, more integrated look. I had a 65 60s Fleetwood, and love both years. One large advantage, at least to my eyes, is the wood in the 66 Fleetwood Brougham: it is slab-like and dark, and more attractive vs the 65. Another advantage of the 66 Fleetwood: the Brougham was introduced. This meant footrests and fold-down trays in the back, something not available in the 65.
i presently have a 67 Calais coupe with 17K miles. I think the grille is particularly attractive, a 41 grille presented in contemporary style. But that straight fender line of the 65-66 was a high point of Cadillac 60s-era styling. Currell
Yep, the ’65 and ’66 were both great cars. I personally give a slight preference to the ’66 because of the luxurious Fleetwood Brougham, as you mentioned above.
In their defense, in 1968 Cadillac introduced a very good, in fact, one of the best V8 engines. The 472. It was a big improvement in terms of power over the 429 it replaced that I think had been around since 1964. I like them through the ’70 model year best, but in ’69 and ’70, they had really, really cheaped out the interiors. Compare the 69-70 Caddy interiors to the full size Oldsmobiles of that period. Olds looked much better.