1964 Was the finale for the iconic Cadillac tail fin
The big news for the 1964 model year was that Cadillac introduced an all new powertrain. The 429 CID engine with 16 overhead valves in the V8 configuration and a new version of the GM Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission were introduced. The 1964 Fleetwood Eldorado showcased a new level of performance with a new spirit that until now was unavailable in a car of such dignity. The Fleetwood Eldorado series now consisted of one model. This was also the finale for the legendary Cadillac tail fin. Motoring had achieved a new “Standard of Excellence” in the 1964 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible. Cadillac was still the leader offering eleven models in three series.
In a class by itself, the 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado combined luxury, magnificence, and performance. It was the only luxury convertible built in the land that offered this unique spirit. The Eldorado has always been the sporting grand tourer. Its unusually spirited performance was due in no small part to the new Cadillac 429 CID OHV V8 engine. It was fitted with a Carter 4-bbl downdraft carburetor. The engine produced 308 hp @ 4,400 rpm with 606 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. It went from 0-60 mph in 9.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 28 seconds with a top speed of 118 mph.
The engine was mated to an all new GM Turbo Hydra-Matic THM 400 3-speed automatic transmission. It could do the 1/4 mile between 80-83 mph in 16.8 seconds, not that anyone would dare to drag-race their Fleetwood Eldorado. This was the most powerful and masterful engine/transmission combination in Cadillac’s history. Cadillac’s patented “True center Drive Line” reduced sound and vibration to almost imperceptible levels. Nothing could come close to Cadillac’s smooth, responsive, and legendary quiet performance.
The 1964 Fleetwood Eldorado was a large front engine rear wheel drive vehicle. It was built on a rugged tubular X-frame that provided exceptional torsional rigidity. The frame also permitted a lower front floor providing comfortable seat height and head room. The 1964 Eldorado had a long 129.5” wheelbase. It was 79.7” wide with the luxury length of 223.5.”
The front suspension used spherical joints with independent helical coil springs, rubber mounted strut rods, and rubber bushings to isolate road noise and to absorb impact. The rear was fitted with a 4-link drive, helical coil springs and rubber bushings. The Cadillac motor car had a reputation of giving a magic carpet ride.
The 1964 Fleetwood Eldorado was a freshened version of the 1963 model. This was the farewell to the iconic Cadillac tail fin that reigned since 1948…..a requiem also for the rear-drive Eldorado was about to begin. The Eldorado was rear-wheel drive from 1953 until 1966. The Eldorado in its rear drive form was rather vanilla by now. It lost its exclusivity gradually throughout the 1960s.
The Fleetwood Eldorado shared its underpinnings with the Series 62 platform. It really took the eagle eye to spot the difference. The Eldorado used the dignified laurel wreath and Cadillac crest but went commando without fender skirts. It looked particularly rakish with the top up contrasted against the open rear wheel wells.
However grand the occasion, an arrival in a Cadillac Fleetwood made it an extra special affair. The Fleetwood Eldorado was an impeccable reflection of good taste and achievement. The interior was accented with the soft warmth of hand-rubbed imported African Baku wood. The Fleetwood Eldorado had a leather trimmed interior standard.
It could be fitted with a locking center console and bucket seating optional at no extra cost. This was sporting in the grand Cadillac manner. It was the little things that Cadillac did to pamper its owners, for instance, the perforated leather inserts into the seat cushions provided cooling. There were eight colors available for the Eldorado convertible. “The only way to travel….was Cadillac style!”
Standard features for the 1964 Fleetwood Eldorado included a power folding fabric roof. Power windows and seats, power steering, power brakes, five whitewall tires, cornering lamps, front center folding armrest (deleted when bucket seat interior ordered), real wood trim, and leather upholstery. And there was that Cadillac peace of mind knowing you had a masterful motor car at hand. Cadillac was preeminent in the luxury car arena. It was the “Standard of Comfort and Convenience.”
The 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was powered by the new 429 CID V8 and all new Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. This was Cadillac’s most powerful engine to date. The Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was included in the Fleetwood series augmenting the line up. It had lost the exclusivity Eldorados possessed in the 1950s. The 1964 model was merely a dressed-up version of the Series 62 without fender skirts.
The 1964 Fleetwood Eldorado was nearing the end of the rear wheel drive generations from 1953-1966. The 1964 Cadillac was the last to use the iconic tail fins. The 1964 Fleetwood Eldorado was a superb example of the craftsmanship and attention to detail that made Cadillac the internationally recognized “Standard of the World.” Will Cadillac ever return to such stature without compromise?
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