(first posted 6/30/2014) What is today’s Cadillac? Well, they do have a line of rather attractive cars, ranging from sedans to crossovers to a big honkin’ SUV, and with their Art & Science-derived, sharp-edged lines, will likely not be mistaken for a Camry LE Novocain limited edition. But what about the Cadillacs of old? Now those cars were something!
In 1960, you aspired to a Cadillac. Really, what else was there? A Japanese car? Ha! Those were little tin cans to most Americans in 1960, and about as desirable as an ingrown toenail. Mercedes-Benz or Jaguar? True, they had some real cachet, but unless you lived in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, service could be problematic. Plus, they were really, really expensive. Lincoln and Imperial were both valid competitors, but Cadillac Motor Division still stood head and shoulders above the FoMoCo and Ma Mopar luxury cars, at least in the hearts and minds of most.
The 1960 Cadillac is a favorite of mine. While there is no denying that the 1959 gonzo edition was the most over-the-top ’50s car ever, the 1960 toned it down, and the results were exceedingly attractive. Every 1960 Cadillac, from Series 62 through the elusive and über-expensive Eldorado Brougham, had smooth lines, clean fins with nary a rocket in sight, and most agreeable interior environments.
If I was ordering a 1960 Cadillac and had an unlimited budget, I would have chosen a navy blue or maroon Sixty Special. The chrome rocker trim, rear quarter hash marks, Eldorado wheel covers and clean yet luxurious interior just do it for me. Extra chrome is always good!
But for those captains of industry for whom the Sixty Special was just a bit too common, there was always the Eldorado Brougham, in its final year for 1960. A 1960 Brougham cost a princely $13,075–$5674 MORE than its Eldorado Seville hardtop and Eldorado Biarritz convertible stablemates. Only 101 were built.
But for those desiring a more down-to-earth Cadillac, there was the Sixty-Two. In addition to today’s featured six-window model, a four-window version with “cantilever” roofline was also catalogued. A hardtop coupe and convertible were also offered in this series. The six-window Sixty-Two listed for $5080; 26,824 were produced.
The biggest difference between a Series Sixty-Two and the Coupe/Sedan de Villes was the plusher interiors offered by the latter. But that did not mean that the Sixty-Two was a penalty box. Heavens no! This was still a Cadillac, and for around five grand ($2311 more than a ’60 V8-equipped Impala Sport Sedan) you got your money’s worth:
Power windows, power brakes, automatic transmission, reversing lights, full wheel discs, automatic parking brake release and two-speed wipes were all standard.
And inside it was every inch a Cadillac, despite being the lowest-cost series. Just look how comfy this back seat is! You could really stretch out, relax, and watch the U.S. go by through the ample glass area.
And like all other Cadillacs, under the hood was the robust and powerful 390 CID V8 with 325 hp, with four-barrel Carter carburetion. Eldorados and Eldo Broughams added three two-barrel Rochester carbs, bumping power to 345 hp. This “Eldorado” engine was available optionally on all other Cadillacs for $134.40 extra.
I spotted this Sixty-Two last summer at one of the Quad City Cruisers shows. I was impressed by how the owner had kept it in such solid original shape. Other than clearly new–and factory correct–upholstery and door panels, this looked to be an original car with original paint.
Not everyone is a fan of patina, and if it is too far advanced, it can ruin the look of a cool old car. But the amount on this Caddy was just right, and I liked it immensely. See, you can enjoy an old car without spending $50K on a nut and bolt, better-than-new restoration! Good on you, unseen Caddy owner.