(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.
An American beauty. I also really love the illustrations carmakers used to feature in their deluxe brochures. It’s almost hard to focus on the actual car with that woman’s seductive stare in the 2nd picture.
Is it just me, or do the cars in all of the American manufacturer’s illustrations look extra long and slim?
oh no , your senses arent lying. illustrated cars were very often lower and longer as well as slammed. the justifiably reverred AFVK painting for pontiac were big on this.
first time posting a pic, had trouble posting more than one. Here is the same Pontiac…a little less wide, no?
They did it all the time. I call them the stretchers. Cars were lowered, stretched and widened. Adds to the glam factor.
+1 on the pretty lady in the brochure. She played a large factor in my using that picture!
Nice car .
‘ patina ‘ is bullcrap , rust never sleeps so those who deliberately cause this look , don’t actually like old cars….
This is a ‘ Survivor ‘ , not ‘ patina ‘ BS .
+1. It’s neat to see a car that has survived as mostly original, but to me leaving rust untreated and that will only worsen with time makes no sense whatsoever. Fine if you want to keep the original paint, but at least have the rust repairs done and blend them into as much of the original paint as can be left in place. That front fender doesn’t look good to me, how long before that develops into a hole?
Survivor, that’s right. Patina sometimes is s synonym for “sat in a field for 15 years.”
Patina: A word coined by fair climate hipsters who enjoy the irony of seeing a rotton car in an environment of clean cars. 🙂
From someone in salt country, that’s not patina, that’s just the start of a rust problem. Or sometimes you’ve already got a pretty bad rust problem and that’s just the visible symptoms.
Still, assuming that what we can see is the extent of it, with some care like keeping it garaged and avoiding driving in bad weather, the rate at which it gets worse will be fairly slow and you can leave it as original for the time being.
Geez they went to a lot of trouble with detailing in those days – those individual “bullets” on that grille in the last shot are amazing and would never get through budget review these days!
I cannot get over the price of that Brougham either – $13K would have been an astonishing spend for a domestic sedan – even a rare Caddy!
The 1959-60 Broughams weren’t exactly domestic. The chassis were shipped from Detroit Clark Street to Italy where the bodies were built by Pininfarina. Despite the fact that the bodies were made largely by hand, the quality control was notoriously poor. Upon their return to the US, nearly all of the completed cars had to have repairs done by Fisher Body prior to shipment.
The actual cost of building the Eldorado Broughams exceeded $20,000.00. I don’t know if that was the average of the whole 4 years of production or what exactly.
That’s probably an accurate figure. The ’57-’58 Broughams were built in-house and were known for very high quality. The ’59-’60s were farmed out to Pininfarina in an attempt to lower production costs. Transatlantic shipping, import duties and the cost of having to repair most of them upon their return home easily killed whatever savings had been envisioned by the brain trust at 3044 W. Grand.
Power Windows were not standard on Series 62s, they cost extra. The final crank-window Caddy was the ’67 Calais.
Oops. Thanks for the correction!
You are so correct, Roger628. I once looked at a clean ’64 Series 62 . . . it had crank windows. Broadcloth/jacquard seats with vinyl bolsters. Whitewalls were not standard . . .
Nice find, Tom. We see so many 59s, but the 60 is not seen nearly so frequently.
I love the grille closeup. I am curious about something. It is plainly an assembled batch of aluminum stampings. Would this be more or less expensive than a chrome plated diecasting as used on the competition? It is my suspicion that the Cadillac part is cheaper, but that was the brilliance of Cadillac. Imperial could design expense into a car like nobody else, but did so in pieces like the grille that nobody really looked at. Cadillac put its money into things that the owner would actually touch. My 63 Cadillac subjectively felt more luxurious than my 64 Imperial did.
The ‘cost’ would depend upon the amount of labor required to assemble the final product. With all its parts and pieces the Caddy grille wins that round. It also has a lot of material-0.09″ aluminum vertical and horizontal bars in addition to all the zoomy bullets. The final finish-anodizing-could have been applied before or after assembly. The competition was probably using die cast zinc units which would have required chrome plating-not cheap but due to the high quality finish you get with zinc, it probably didn’t require intermediate or final buffing which is where the cost comes from in chrome. Whose cheaper? Probably a wash.
My family took a summer vacation in my grandparents’ 1960 Cadillac Sedan de Ville (silver exterior and black/white interior) from central Illinois to Colorado. I remember using the (motorized) signal seeking radio. The horizontal speedometer is almost as large a whole dashboard on some compact cars (or so it seemed). One of the main reasons we took the car was the powerful air conditioning.
The ’59 is the icon, but I prefer the ’60. It’s so much cleaner…in fact, I’ll go out on a limb and declare that the ’60 gets my vote for “greatest ’60s Cadillac,” with the possible exception of the ’67 Eldorado.
I always preferred the ’59, but now I understand the appeal of the ’60. Good writing.
While it is true that the series 62 was the low end for Cadillac, the DeVille’s were series 62 until 1959. The series 61 was the real low end until it was dropped in the very early 50’s. Actually the series 60 was low end until the 60 Special was introduced in 1938 requiring the base Cadillac to become the series 61. The base Cadillac was upgraded to series 62 before the LaSalle was dropped and a lower end series 61 came out to replace the LaSalle.
Series 61 disappeared after ’51; the 62 series was the base through 1965 at which point in was simply renamed “Calais” . . .
What a lovely car and I feel like I could get lost in that paint job.
When a Cadillac was a by god Cadillac. I dig the patina too, not everything has to be restored within an inch of its life.
No cooling system overflow. Yikes!
Common back then.
Love the survivor quality, and I’m sure an owner who has gone to such lengths to keep the car up would treat the rust if it became a problem. The interior has been redone to factory correct, probably out of necessity, and I’m sure anything else that became a problem would be also.
Love the color, and I agree that while the ’59 gets all the recognition, the ’60 is a prettier car.
In an age where we watched married couples on television head for separate twin beds, Cadillac gives us Sophia Loren suggesting that we join her on a queen size front seat and take her where we wanted. That guy in the bow tie behind her isn’t getting the “come do me” look – you are.
I really like the glimpses at the owners in each of the model pages, I miss that from Cadillac brochures, it was a trend they used well into the 80’s, the elegant fur wrapped woman looking at fine furnishings, the lady having her portrait done in the Sixty Special page, the couple overlooking rare gilded books on the Eldorado Brougham page.
Same here, and also in the National Geographic ads of those times. It clearly showed who they expected, or more realistically, whom they wanted others to think, bought the cars.
You had the clearly rich people buying Cadillacs (either in the boardroom, lavishly dressed for a charity ball, like Sophia Loren and her companion or people with ‘exotic’ hobbies like fencing or polo or rare-book collecting), somewhat restrained yet prosperous looking people (dark suits with little references to “value”–calling all surgeons, trust and estate lawyers, and ministers) directed towards Electra and 98 buyers, “endearing” all-American nuclear family photos for the LeSabres, 88s, and large Chevies (also lots of neighborhood scenes with the family in the car and the neighbors and their kids checking it out “oooohhh”) , and then young singles in the sports cars. I miss advertising like that.
It dipped into improbability in some cases in the 80s, you see depictions of supposed Cadillac customers who would not be likely to buy one by that time: the 40ish young executive types with the (beautiful) silver ’84 Fleetwood Brougham (realistic: 60 year old senior partner at Minneapolis law firm with 3 piece suit and large, plastic framed glasses. Lives in Edina, Mn.) and medium blue ’83 Seville (realistic: 60 year old female real estate broker in Shaker Heights, Oh. with dyed red hair and a poodle named Cupcakes scratching the daylights out of the back seat)
I remember a 70’s Cadillac brochure with a young tennis playing couple and a Coupe deVille, a couple of pages later, there was the big Eldorado at a ski-chalet, classic.
Nothing quite matched the snootiness of the Van Cleef and Arpels Cadillac ads. I remember collecting them in scrapbooks as a kid – alas, long gone.
I also loved the ads where the cars are parked in front of America’s swanky hotels. Cadillac always put out interesting ads…
Expensive car, expensive advertising – the sort the target buyer would expect and appreciate.
I busted a gut laughing at your all-too-accurate assessment of ’80s Cadillac demographics. 🙂
I remember thumbing through old magazines that my dad had accumulated, and seeing the Cadillac ads. Elegant people in elegant surroundings, and the car seldom in motion: You don’t want to drive this car so much as you want to show up in it. I also remember a series with the Cadillac crest interpreted by various well-known jewelers: Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, etc. “Standard of the World” was the tagline, and it was still legitimate at the time.
Well done Mayor! I wouldn’t expect anything less.
“…it was a trend they used well into the 80’s…”
So true, and in television advertising as well. This commercial, which I believe originally aired during the Master’s Tournament, essentially changed my ten-year-old aspirations in approximately 60 seconds…
When I look at the ’58-’60s I really do get what Cadillac is trying to do with Arts and Science…replicate the edginess and cool and aggression of these late 50s Cadillacs, after the formal to baroque to stodgy to unnoticed progression that took place between 1965-1999 (some of which cars I admittedly like a lot, but not my point here).
To a degree, they have succeeded: at least their entire customer base isn’t Medicare-eligible.
However, without the kind (not necessarily the identical) elements that made up these old designs: for example the heavily detailed chrome and interior elements that are either too expensive or too unsafe and/or “unsafe” to use now, as well as the apparent “need” for a global car rather than an American car, they can never replicate what they had here. That’s what sucks. They are trying and I just don’t see how they can ever get back to this level. Their supposedly better competition is nowhere close either. Yawn.
There is nothing currently on the market, not even a Rolls Royce or a Bentley, that says “game over, I win” like rolling up in this Cadillac does.
I have said before that my grandfather had a 1959 Sedan DeVille as his first Cadillac, bought after he completed a significant business transaction that year, the same year he had finished a new house on a hill overlooking the town where he lived. After reading this article, I was looking at the only picture remaining of it, a black and white aerial shot he had of the new house with the new Cadillac (gold) pulled halfway into the driveway, and I may be wrong–it might be a 1960. Wish I knew for sure, but it’s just too little in the picture to tell. But what an expression of the American dream c. 1960: a modern, large brick ranch house on an open lot 25 minutes outside the city with a peanut shaped swimming pool, and a new, finned Cadillac sitting in the driveway.
I think that interior detailing on Cadillacs has been steadily improving over the last several years, the return of the little chrome “V” accents on the interior and increased and improved interior accent and courtesy lighting show they are moving in a positive direction.
I agree there’s been some progress. But man, oh man. I do have hope that I will one day see a new Cadillac that–OTHER than technological and safety points which I realize are really important to many people and maybe should be more important to me–I’d rather have than an old one.
The “automatic parking brake release” is a feature Cadillac stuck with at least thru my ’94 Fleetwood. It’s quite nice actually and far easier to use than the parking brake was on my ’94 Caprice. The Cadillac mechanism requires less force to apply and releases as soon as the transmission is put into gear. This is safe because it requires you to apply the regular brake before you can move the shifter.
I found this feature to be quite handy one day after ignoring the brake warning light for too long. One of the rear wheel cylinders was leaking and dropped the fluid level, then the almost worn out front pads dropped the level in the reservoir until I lost the front brakes too. I discovered this when gently approaching a red light and used the parking brake, which working the big drums stopped the car with no drama. The automatic release continues to function while the car is driven, such that instead of ratcheting down like a normal parking brake pedal, it springs back making it basically a back-up brake pedal.
I drove home without incident and atoned for my sins by upgrading all the brakes to the 9C1 heavy duty discs from my Caprice. The only down side is that now the parking brake is significantly weaker, since it works on only the small parking shoes.
My Town Car has the automatic parking brake release too, but I don’t know if they retained them through 2011.
Probably. My folks’ 2010 Grand Marquis has it, no reason the TC wouldn’t.
I was a little curious, as FoMoCo started rapidly decontenting the Panthers starting about 2005-06.
Yup, I had my own experience getting home on a Cadillac parking brake in a ’63 when the master cylinder went kaput. With two-wheel mechanical brakes you’ve gotta keep the speed down — but they will work. As I recall, GM described this in the owner’s manual as a kind of safety feature.
I had a brake line burst on my 63 Fleetwood. Fortunately, it was one of only two cars made that year with a dual-circuit braking system. AMC Ambassador was the other.
Modern Caddy styling is reminiscent of the razor edge saloons from Britain in the late 40s like the gormless Mayflower and the newer versions arent priced like Caddies of old which no doubt helps sales somewhat as they fall into mid range Holden pricing some 48k out the door at Ebbetts. Me I prefer Cadillacs from the early 60s they come with all the details and geegaws that were uncommon on most cars of the era and unnecessary on most cars but nice to have if your income ran to those levels.
Well, I guess you wouldn’t mistake it for anything else, but it looks kinda weird.
While the turquoise car seems friendly enough, I always thought the ’60 looked a bit sinister, especially in the condition I would see them in when they were a dozen years old. Not my favorite Caddy, but the owner here has a fine specimen.
The 2010 to the present SRX sports the iconic tailfins!!
GM did a nice job in turning the 59 Chevrolet and 59 Cadillac into much better looking cars for 1960, though I prefer the 61 versions of both cars – cleaner, sleeker, and more modern I thought then and continue to think today. Tom, wonderful interior shots – great piece!
What I like seeing in this car is a survivor-a mere Series 62 that someone decided he wanted to keep.
I do like the looks of the ’59 and ’60 Eldorado Biarritz, the real big money versions of these cars, but I don’t think of the lowly Series 62s as parts donors or bases for someone’s attempt to fabricate one on the cheap. I think they are worth keeping and driving on their own merits.
That Eldorado Brougham definately points the way to Cadillac styling for `62. Me? I prefer the outright over the top `59s, but I have to agree, the `60s are beautiful cars.
As a kid I made a model of this. I customized mine by shaving off the fins. Made the rear look like it was drooping – fail.
But your post triggered an old memory of an ad from “Hemmings”.
Someone had shaved the fins off a ’59 (?) Caddy and welded a single fin down the center of the trunk lid, like a dorsal fin.
The ad ran for months. No takers, I guess.
Doing a quick search, I couldn’t find that Caddy, but found a ’57 and ’60 sporting your modification. So, someone thought it was a great idea!
I would like to think if I had $$$$ in 1960 I would go to my local Studebaker Dealer and buy a Mercedes 300 hardtop, or maybe go Imperial -only to trade that in for a ‘62 or ‘63 Continental.
I’ve never been a big Cadillac fan, but do think the 1960 Cadillac was IMHO by far GM’s best restyle of the 1959s.
A friend of mine had a 1960 black Coupe de Ville, one thing that amazed me was that understated Cadillac nameplate on the front fenders – it’s elegant and discreet and likely made every owner proud to be driving “the standard of the world”
How about that page with the dignified man showing the young man who-knows-what. The proof that this is an Eldorado Brougham is in this exchange of knowledge between two generations PLUSD the ridiculous interested woman with the purple hat and her finger on her chin. I love these corny advertisements and brochures.
Stop calling 1960-70s cars land yachts.
Have you looked at classic luxury autos from the 30s, 40s? They were massive in size and we do not call those classics “land yachts”.