1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille
The DeVille legend continues…..
Cadillac celebrated its Golden Anniversary in 1952 commemorating 50 years of automotive engineering excellence in a luxury brand. Cadillac began their second 50 years with the 1953 model year line-up offering some of the greatest achievements in automotive history. Cadillac was always the leader in automotive technology and engineering excellence…the “Standard of the World” in uncompromising luxury. The series 62 Coupe deVille was in its fifth year of splendor on the American highways.
The Coupe deVille was an exclusive trim option for the Series 62. Its revolutionary new pillarless hardtop design created a different class of automotive luxury that would be soon adopted by the entire automotive industry. The infamous hardtop coupe and hardtop sedan initiated the popular DeVille series. The DeVille was America’s favorite luxury car. Cadillac’s ability to create motor cars of unsurpassed luxury and elegance was no better way demonstrated than the Cadillac DeVille series which ran successfully from 1949 until 2005.
The DeVille legend continued…..The distinctive Series 62 Coupe deVille was one of the most dramatic silhouettes on the American highway. The ingenious design combined the comfort and safety of a closed coupe with the panache and savoir-faire of a convertible. Cadillac always featured a “special vehicle” in their annual model line-up. A car that stood out from the others….the proverbial taste of honey, that summed up Coupe deVille.
The youthful sophistication of this car was surpassed only by its magnificent engineering. The 1953 Series 62 Coupe deVille flaunted its fifty-first year as “Standard of the World” most elegantly, eloquently, in the grand Cadillac manner on the grand Cadillac scale. After the 1956 introduction of the hardtop Sedan deVille, the series became so popular that it became its own series for the 1959 model year…….Cadillac style!
Eight interior combinations in nylon and luxurious leathers of contrasting tones were available for the 1953 Series 62 Coupe deVille. The interior design was augmented with the use of bright chrome roof bows in the headlining mocking the appearance of a convertible. Deep wool-pile carpet was luxuriously under foot. The Series 62 Coupe deVille was a dramatic departure from the past…..
The Coupe deVille was one of Cadillac’s top selling models. Introduced as a deluxe trip option for the Series 62, it was intended as a prestige model. A Coupe deVille mocked a convertible with its pillarless hardtop styling. The Cadillac Coupe deVille had a long and successful production run from 1949 until 1993. The 1953 Cadillac Coupe deVille had a youthful spirit but maintained that poised dignity that was the hallmark of every Cadillac.
The 1953 Coupe deVille freshened the 1950 redesign with a larger front bumper and bumper guards, a redesigned grille that the rest of the industry tried to imitate, hooded headlamp housings, and re-positioned parking lamps under the head lamps. Inside, the interior was upholstered convertible-style with chrome bows in the headlining to simulate a convertible’s roof structure.
The pillarless hardtop styling made the 1953 Coupe deVille look even longer and sleeker. The Cadillac Series 62 was always a top-selling model, the Coupe deVille option added more appeal. The iconic tail fin went through its first re-design with the 1950-1953 model years. Model #53-62 6237DX Coupe deVille had a production run totaling 14,500 units for 1953.
The lightweight, high-compression over-head valve 5.4 litre 16-valve 331 CID V8 engine made the 1953 Coupe deVille one of the fastest cars of its time. High styling and performance is what sold cars in the 1950s & 1960s. The 331 Cid V8 used a Carter WCFB2005S or Rochester 4GC 4-bbl carburetor. The engine had a cast iron block and heads with five main bearings and hydraulic lifters. A dual exhaust was standard. The engine was mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic (Flashaway) 4-speed automatic transmission.
The engine produced 210 hp @ 4,150 rpm with 447 Nm of peak torque @ 2,700 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 12.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 14.8 seconds, and had a top speed of 109 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 77 mph in 19.1 seconds. On August 12, 1953 a fire at the Hydra-Matic transmission factory in Livonia, Michigan halted production for a week. Around 19,000+ 1953 Cadillacs were fitted with Buick Dynaflow transmissions.
The Cadillac Coupe deVille became one of the company’s most popular models. By the 1961 model year, the Coupe deVille had annual sales exceeding 20,000 units per year. It began in 1949 as a prestige trim option for the Series 62. It was the hardtop coupe styling which mocked a convertible that won admirers world-wide. High style and performance was the Cadillac credo.
The 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille was a sparkling example of the “Standard of the World.” Cadillac was a leader in automotive design and technology. The 1953 Coupe deVille with its sleek pillarless design had set the stage for future Cadillac styling. Its long wheelbase and V8 power made it a winner with luxury car enthusiasts. The “Standard of the World” stood alone. Will there ever be another “Cadillac of Cadillacs?”
The Coupe deVille was one of America’s favorite luxury cars
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used to own one same year and colour, as a teenager. Would love one now but prices are high for good restored ones.
wonderbar radio and 6 body trunk. Could never get the tranny to shift properly until it was hot. Gas gauge always read 1/3 full and after a couple long pushes to the pumps my friends would not ride in it until I put $10 of gas into it (under the drivers tail light)
The tranny you are referring to was most likely the Buick Dynaflow. In 1953 there was a horrid fire in Livonia, Michigan at the Hydra-Matic factory. This facility supplied Oldsmobile and Cadillac with transmissions. They had to use the Buick Dynaflow as a replacement. This transmission had a nickname “Dynaslush” because they were “strange” requiring the driver to shift from low to drive to get an up shift. They were also slow in acceleration. This is how it got its nickname “Dynaslush!” The fire in 1953 at the Livonia plant was one of the worst and most expensive catastrophes in automotive history. When I was a teen, we would swap out those transmissions from Cadillac to the superb Hydra-Matic with a few tweaks to make it even smoother and quicker in response times while shifting. Tis a shame…after all the work we’d put into them, we would take them out to “National Trail Raceway” and run them to death! Then we would use them for demolition derbies for sport. Weren’t we crazy? Had we only known these cars would appreciate to the values of today, I don’t think we would have destroyed them! When I look back…we destroyed a fortune in cars like “Goats” Hemi-Cudas, Mustangs with the 351 Cleveland, and Camaro RS/SS models! But, unfortunately, ignorance is the price of youth…! Glad you enjoyed the article, make sure to come back, I always change back and forth with auto stories to keep the readers happy.
The one thing the Caddy did have was good pickup. The front would raise up when accelerating hard. Would drive it at up to 60 mph to get it to warm up and shift quicker. Probably why the motor finally dropped a piston! Had a great oil bath air filter with dual intake. Small V’s woven into the interior cloth. Crank windows and no power steering though a parts car I found had hydraulic windows and power steering etc. Unbolted the front bumper assy and could not lift it! When raining you’d have to let off the gas to have the wipers function. One of the best things was i could always get through intersections with no traffic lights, no one argued with those bumpers. Pulling up to a gas pump few attendance knew where the filler cap was. It was a fast car and did put the speedometer all the way over. As I remember always hot on the feet while the Caddy was running.
YOU GOT IT! Those were the days my friend. We would tweak the older Cadillacs to either 2-4bbl carbs or the Eldorado set-up with triple deuces. Remember…Cadillac was the FIRST automobile manufacturer to offer a mass production V8 engine. That was when the eminent slogan “Standard of the World” reigned supreme! The opulent Fleetwood-bodied Series Sixty-Special was the most revered luxury car in the entire universe! I look at what Cadillac once was…and compare them to the kitschy-faux puddle-jumpers they build today with sadness. RIP to the “Standard of the World” we shall never forget you! My dad traded them every year when they were REAL. I remember how all the guys would come over to our home to see the all-new Cadillac models in the garage, the September of the new car introduction for the following year. I learned to drive on a hardtop Sedan deVille. I remember the State Highway patrolman that gave me my driver’s test saying “it’s remarkable that a 16 year old guy could drive a car this size with such ease…why, if I drove it everyone would know exactly because I would wipe out every car on the street because of the width!” I chuckled under my breath, I hadn’t the balls to tell him I had been driving a Cadillac since I was 11 years old! Those are the memories time cannot take away from me! A 16 year old driving a brand new Cadillac to school!
I had the exact same colour caddy when I was 16 but it was not the DeVille, no power steering, brakes etc. It needed work and the engine was rebuilt. Best car I ever had, everything was bolted on and solid. You could easily outrun the headlights at night, those were not as good as todays lights. I liked the knob with “blower” written on it. I put the dual exhaust on it from the manifolds back it cost $150 total. A friend once got on the front bumper and ran over top of the Caddy, only the roof had a wow in it that easily popped out. Can’t do that today without creating $1000’s in damage. The sombrero hubcaps made it look great. Funny how things go full circle, it has push button start, something newer cars advertise now as special.
Wonderbar radio, who knows what that is today??
Wonderbar! OMG! You are car-azy like I am! I hadn’t seen that in print from a reader yet! Funny how you would mention out running the headlamps. When I first got my licence the first car I bought was a 1958 Cadillac extended-deck Series 62 Sedan deVille and that used to scare the crap outta me at night! I have always driven VERY FAST and one particular night I was flying along a rural road where my friends and I would race. I was hitting 100 mph and ran up on a little Chevy Corvair so quickly, that I was glad I had souped-up the engine and had power in reserve…I chomped the accelerator pedal and went right around that dinky little Corvair so fast that it was only a blur in my rear view mirror! I know the other driver had to pull over and “wipe” after that experience because I was on that car like right-now. To give you an idea how close I was to it, I could have wiped off his tail lamps! I had converted the standard carb to the triple deuce Eldorado set-up, had Champion spark plugs, Casite 3-C in the crank case, and Motor Honey in the gas tank, I only burned premium-leaded gasoline (back then there was no such thing as unleaded fuel, oops told my age didn’t I?). My buddy designed a super high performance exhaust system without the resonators so it cruised up the road sounding like a Vette. That used to trip people out, when I would pull up beside them at the light and my super-shiny turquoise/white Sedan deVille had a deep rumble…I don’t mean the rude obnoxious sound, but a roar of a high-performance car. Then, as the light changed, I’d hit the accelerator (I designed it so it had a hair trigger)…and all I could barely see in my rear view mirror was a blur! To give you an idea how fast girlfriend was, she ran neck-to-neck with a 1957 Chevy on the track! That just blew people away to see a luxury sedan running as though it were a race car! I kept it so clean and shiny that my girlfriends could apply their make up using the bumper as a mirror! That 1958 Sedan deVille brought big bucks when I sold it…which I shouldn’t have, because if it were around today it would be worth a fortune! Everything under the hood was chrome. Remember how one could take parts to places that did chrome plating? Yup…I’d open the hood and people’s eyes would POP outta their sockets! That car had power everything, including power door locks, windows, 6-way seat, automatic trunk release, Autronic-Eye headlamp dimmer, and Sabre-spoke wheels. She was a real beauty. To look at her, she appeared as docile as a summer breeze…but then, take her out on a nice leafy run in the country…she became as relentless as a hurricane! Another Caddy I should have kept was a 1970 DeVille convertible in Nottingham green firemist with a white top and interior. It only had 15,000 miles when I sold it. My first brand new Cadillac was a 1976 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham d’Elegance in Academy grey with a light grey roof and matching leather interior. I tweaked the 500 CID V8 back to previous Eldorado tuning, I removed the catalytic converter…knocked out the nozzle restriction in the fuel filler neck…and burned only premium leaded fuel. I drove it to Las Vegas twice. The first time I made the run right after I tweaked it, when it was on the open highway it was not only VERY FAST but it sipped fuel so sparingly I thought my fuel gauge was broken! I had it from 1976 until I sold it back in 2005 when I needed room in my garage. It still looked showroom new, I never drove it in inclement weather, but I should have kept it! She had 135,000 miles on it, people thought it was brand new to look at. In my opinion…the last real Cadillac was the 1970 models. After 1976…we all have seen how the brand diluted into a hodge-podge of worthless GM parts. The music STOPPED officially for Cadillac in the 1980s…
I drove Caddy since I could drive, the 1953, 1974, 1978, 1973, 1992 and then p/u trucks and a 2002 Camaro SS I still have. The 1974 Caddy i drove for years, a fender bender not my fault paid for a new exhaust and plenty of beer $$$. He missed my front bumper and dinged the drivers fender when I was stopped! On the highway once it was overheating the 472 so I pulled to the side knowing never to shut it off. Opened the hood and flames were on the valve covers, the bit of oil that leaks there was on fire. I closed the hood and drove to the nearest garage. I presume the highway driving blew the flames out. Fan belt had broken. A top up on rad fluid and oil plus a belt and I was on my way after an hour to cool down. The heat never hurt that engine that always ran hot. The 1978 was a DeVille with the 425 and served me well, leather interior power goodies. 1973 was a black Eldorado convertible with the 500, white leather interior and parade boot. Smooth and fast acceleration, the front wheel driver could churn up rubber. The 1992 I drove until the tranny went, first time a Caddy did this to me, usually the only item to replace were rear springs. Now I have a 2 car garage, space for a Caddy but sadly none. Possibly a 1953 Caddy, just a nice driver will show up??? I better measure my garage length, I’m sure it would fit as it’s built larger than normal for these modern times.
Cadillacs were workhorses back in the day! They were built to last as long as one kept up the maintenance regularly. Here are the Cadillacs I have owned in my lifetime; 1958 Sedan deVille, 1970 DeVille convertible, 1972 Sedan deVille in Persian Aqua. 1973 Coupe deVille in that burnt sienna shade, 1976 Fleetwood Brougham, 1979 DeVille Sedan d’Elegance in Colonial yellow, 1981 Fleetwood Brougham in a grey color, 1982 Fleetwood Brougham in dark blue,1988 Brougham d’Elegance, 1990 Brougham d’Elegance in white, 1993 Fleetwood Brougham in black, 1996 Fleetwood Brougham in dark blue…made the second worst mistake trading my 1996 Brougham for a brand new 1999 DeVille that wasn’t worth the metal it was made out of, and the last cadillac I will ever purchase is a 2002 DeVille that is still in use as my beater. I bought it new and broke it in driving it like a 7 Series. That kept carbon deposits out of the engine. If you drove the 2000-2011 DeVilles like the church lady, they turned to junk going from the showroom to the scrap yard in one svelte swoop.That ’02 runs like a scalded cat! I have always taken it out on the freeway getting the speed up to around 70-75 mph and then I chomp the accelerator pedal. I only burn premium gasoline, never had the injectors cleaned and had its first tune up at 125,000 miles and the tech said I didn’t need it then because of the platinum tipped plugs and me burning 93 octane fuel. Now for the bad news: That 1981 V864 was Fleetwood Brougham d’Crap! OMG! Talking about humiliation…imagine this, it was a beautiful summer day I am out and about in my brand new 1981, with guests…all of a sudden, the car starts doing a “buck-dance” right in front of everyone at a stop light! I was horrified, the car didn’t even have 1,000 miles on it. The problem went away…I thought, then at around 1500 miles the buck-dancing became fierce and unpredictable. It was like Sybil Dorsett! It got to the point where the engine blew at 15,000 miles or so, and that was after numerous visits to the Cadillac dealer service bay! They replaced the engine…I replaced the car! Mistake # 2, I traded it for the 1982 which was A COMPLETE NIGHTMARE! That horrid little HT 4100 was a piece of CRAP, it blew 2 engines, no not a typo…2 new engines while it was still under warranty. In 1983 I traded it for a new Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham which was one of the best cars I have ever owned. I didn’t go back to Cadillac until 1988 that Brougham had an Olds 5.7 litre V8 which was super. The 1990 was a doll baby, I loved it because of its Oldsmobile V8 (imagine an Oldsmobile powered Fleetwood!), The 1993 and 1996 were just outstanding Cadillacs. I made an HORRID error when I traded the 1996 for that 1999 DeVille which was powered by satan himself! That awful piece of junk was in the dealer’s service bay the first 2 years more than it was in my garage! It was brand new off the dealer’s sales floor…where I should have left it! I went to trade it for my 2002 and the Cadillac dealer wasn’t going to give me hardly anything for it in trade so I bought it back home and let it sit in the garage. That ’99 had a set of Vogue tires, the custom fiberglass fender skirts, and I had the “DeVille” nomenclature removed from the front doors and had the Sedan deVille script from the 1992 model applied to the rear fenders. To look at it, it looked like a million bucks…to drive it was like a living nightmare. It was Cotillion white and polished like a diamond. When I sold it, the guy had to bring a flat bed because the rear wheels had seized…sittin in the garage!!! The engine was ticking like piston slapping…it was Northstar at its absolute worse! I took a gamble on the 2002 DeVille which was also new. She has been one of the best Cadillacs I have ever owned. So I drive it and let my collectible cars mellow out in storage. I never thought I would see the day when I would never own another Cadillac. I forgot the 1976 Firethorne Red Eldorado convertible I bought just for an investment, I got twice what I paid for it…I should have kept it, the car still smelled new, I bought it from an elderly couple who moved to Florida back in the mid 1980s and it only had 25,000 miles on it. Until Cadillac makes another REAL car and stops riding the coat tails of Mercedes-Benz and the 7 Series BMW…I will no longer patronize them. It’s a shame…Cadillac taught the European cars how to become luxury cars and now look at them…remember how primitive a Mercedes-Benz S-Class used to be? Just like the 7 Series BMW it was most austere at one time…now look at them commanding six figures! Will there ever be another “Standard of the World?”
Possibly another standard of the world when Cadillac drop making SUV’s and the like. Stick to couples and sedans.
As a teenager a friend Brian had an old Caddy and had a bright idea that fire insurance would net him some cash. He put a brick on the accelerator and left it. He came back later to find the Caddy had ran out of gas.
I once had a European spec 1974 280C, a plain car without even a radio! Had the straight 6 with dual overhead cams, dual exhaust and a 4bbl carb. Fast for what it was about 7 seconds to 60mph. The slim bumpers and halogen headlights were particular to European specs, not the unsightly huge rubber bumperettes and round sealed beams.
Great car but when parts required 3 weeks to ship from Germany it was time to sell.
Someday I’ll find a 50’s Caddy for my garage but up here in Canada most have turned to rust.
All I have now are 4 wheel discs off a 75 Caddy de eleganceI had bought to fix up but then decided it was just not worth it, rather fix a 50’s Caddy.
Also have the front corner light assy’s for it and a few other bits.
Don’t know why I still have them it’s been years since I had the car.
After a few moves I can no longer find the winged lady off my 53 Caddy parts car I once had.
Haven’t had a ride in a 50’s car in years now, a friend has a 56 Lincoln Premiere coup, black with the chrome and gold redone.
Also a 1967 Beaumont SD with original 396, frame off restoration and has a clone of a 1967 Beaumont Cheetah with 427 engine. He would sell the 67 SD but I don’t have $90+k to buy it, besides I’m still a Caddy guy even if I currently don’t own one..
I’m still in the “thought” stage when considering a 50’s caddy. Prices are on par with a good (if you can call them that) new car.
I would be looking fora reliable driver but not a restored from frame up kind. something to give me reason to attend old car shows.
I’m afraid my budget sucks for what I want.
I do have one of those fender extensions off the 1975 Caddy still in my garage in good shape. Definitely not something to start with.
I;m not buying just yet because I have no idea what kind of caddy in the 50’s $20k gets you. Probably not much.
The convertible you have now at $80k is a stunner, absolutely beautiful.
OOOOOOONOOOOO! U R thinking wrong! To make a thing appear…you gotta really want it, have faith in the purchase, and be kind to others! I found a 1975 Cadillac Coupe deVille with 65,000 miles recently, the widow only wanted $5500.00. I twas like brand new, the old man bought it brand new and she didn’t drive. She wasn’t money-hungry like some the the re-build able wrecks I have seen selling as “slightly used” and you see them and them go “ahem…does this come with a tow truck subscription? Do they still make parts for these anymore?” And the biggie…”does this come with road-side service?” You can find bargains if you look on a constant basis. To find an excellent specimen with a motivated seller can make some really bare-bones deal with surprisingly little outlay. These cars sell usually the day the ad runs. You would be surprised at thee requests I am seeking for people and stumble upon them by accident. Don’t be frightened by these avarice-driven sellers who want to snatch as money as possible…for junk that looks like someone’s mom just supervised the restoration. They scare you with the “This is an extremely rare…” but then remember too…people are passing, unfortunately each day and widows do NOT wish to negotiate the demeanor of a football-sized field car. So there are really good sales as I stated, but the downside is one must be vigilant…the goodies go the same day. This is why I want to coordinate a site for such. To buy and sell affordable classic cars and parts service. Have the fun of owning a car one doesn’t see at every stop light…and having to go on scavenger hunts for parts is highly entertaining because you meet really nice people all over the world. They look at it this way…what they lack in individuals sales they more than make up the volume… and it is so much fun and then, the car shows, this is where one may find motivated sellers with mint vehicles for the premium price. You will instantly recognize the expensive classics because they appear absolutely brand new. That Coupe deVille had a trunk that smelled like it did when it left the Clark Street Plant in Michigan! The key is persistent. Ask yourself, just what you can really sacrifice, then stay within the wires. You never know when you run across the little old widow with a car she can never drive! Like a 1973 Sedan deVille I found for $850 which ran like a scalded cat. It was a Florida car with faded not rusted body work. It was well worth the restoration because this car was scary without any rust. That little old guy kept it in the garage. This is what you want. Do not let these over-inflated windbags out there masquerading as classic car sellers steal your money! But…you gotta be vigilante, I mean, you can’t just look at the want ads every Thursday because two or three of them could have sold the very day you were not looking. These are the cars that are detailed by the avarice-driven establishments which desire a small fortune. My advice…do it your self. You can find these cars. This is why I want to dedicate a site to such, the affordable classics. I will let you know what I run across because I see them each and everyday. I should write a book about some of the sellers I have run across that actually gets pissed when you ask a serious question about a car’s condition…they feel because it is so old anyone will buy it. Well, I have seen some of those cars selling for usually up to and including 3 years. Some newbie comes and just has to have it and finally buys it.What years are your preference? I think I can see your price range purchasing something promising, but you MUST believe it! Ask for it, and then claim it…watch what ends up in your “gair’-aje” as the British refer to a garage! Let me know…excuse the typos I am writing 3 things at once as I answer your inquiry. I stay on-line. My email address is on the home page to keep in touch regularly. There was also a 1955 Series Sixty-two Sedan deVille reasonably priced. It was a very light green with a white top. The car was faded and needed very little to make it a glamorous collectible. It sold the minute the ad ran!
Any Caddy from 53 to 59 are truly great though the 53 holds memories for me. We just don’t find the old ones in garages here in Canada, the winter salt rots them away. Always thought of taking a cruise down south through Arizona and other states where their climate is kind to vehicles. I’ve been toying with it but know I must get serious if I’m going to find one. I’m in no rush and can wait for the right one, I just have to be ready to pounce when it does come along. I prefer coupes though some sedans look just as good.
I remember walking to grade school about a mile from my home on the way there was usually a black 1959 Caddy with its rear backed out of a garage. Those rocket tail bezels and chrome bumper I can’t forget. Even then I knew I wanted one.
You got excellent taste! The 1959 as I stated previously is the Duesenberg of tomorrow.The 1953 is a popular year. This was the first of the Series 62 Eldorado convertible, and the rest of the line is equally as elusive. Cadillac got its identity established between 1949 with the Overhead valve design (and the birth of the tail fin in 1948), 1952 Golden Anniversary edition, 1953 Series 62 Eldorado, 1954-55 Tail fin, then 1956 for the Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz & Seville and the regular production models design, the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham, and last but not least the ultimate Cadillac was the 1959 and any model in that year. These are the milestone models which will cost premium prices. But as I stated, keep your shoulder to the wheel…you never know when Karma will strike and your number comes up! Start chucking away a few bucks at a time so you can be ready when the opportunity arises! I have taught many this trick, but like I said…you gotta believe you can find it, want it bad enough, and have Faith in finding it! Canada is a harsh climate for collectible cars because of the calcium chloride on the roads when it snows. It eats away relentlessly at cars. Also, more and more people are entering the automobile delivery services and the prices are lowering every year. You can take a chance and buy one sight unseen OR there are also people in business to inspect cars for clients before they purchase them if the buyer is in a different state or country. So you see, nothing is impossible! When you go to sleep tonight, right before you drift off…get a clear picture in your head what you want…then, each night before you go to sleep look at that picture in your head…it’s the positive reinforcement that will bring it to you! I will let you know if I see one in a restore worthy condition. It is the frame, platform and floor boards you want to be concerned with. Sure the body can be nice, but if the platform is like toast, you can be riding up to a car show and your “collectible” snaps in half right in front of the media! (OOPS…should have had a V8 right?!) I see many many from the 1960s to the 1970s in restorable condition and easy on the wallet too. Those are more realistic to find on today’s market. Parts are easier to find because they are now making after market parts better than the original parts, besides, you may want to tweak it yourself, after all, there will be nothing to compare it to because it is YOUR collectible car! Do this for me today. Simply Google certain years for Cadillac “for sale” and you will see what I mean! They’re out there, but as I said, there are also crooks who will restore the body detail it to show car quality, but look underneath and find painted over rust and corrosion! So when you find a car, the heck with the cosmetics, open the trunk first…look under the mat around the wheel wells, this will tell you the story whether or not to continue. If it looks good in the trunk (no musty smell of mildew) open each door and inspect the weld seams. If there is putty…leave it alone unless you want to look for replacement doors. They rot from the inside out so be cautious. Remove the back seat and inspect the floor boards. Pull up the carpet in various places to inspect, but, one can always tell a car that has water damage because of a tell-tale odor paint cannot cover up. Put it up on a rack and inspect the areas around suspension components. Rust in certain areas cannot be repaired if the rust is too far gone. So, if the body/platform is relatively acceptable…then look at the glass! This is very important because replacement glass…GOOD replacement glass is expensive. The cheap stuff…stay away from it because you will have it installed, then be riding along one day and tiny cracks will appear, these are stress cracks from improper glass installation. If the body and glass are cool, then look at the chrome. Crooks plate over rust but a keen eye can tell, just look for rough bubbles. Don’t even consider the engine and transmission because you are gonna rebuild them anyway, you may even swap out an engine for one of your choice. They now make many motor mount adaptations to accommodate the motor of your choice but consult a technician first to make sure it is feasible. It is very dangerous if you don’t know how to swap out the mounts correctly. Don’t worry over interior cosmetics as there is now aftermarket fabric and carpet to replicate what you seek. All you really want in a collectible is to make sure it is rust free and not filled with Bondo. Always take a magnet with you! Why? This will tell you the places that do not contain metal! Another trick I learned…always take the car thru a car wash…look for leaks while inside! The entire process “ain’t” easy! But…nothing ventured…nothing gained, right? I saw a Series 70 Eldorado Brougham on eBay and I contacted the seller with a few key questions, he became hostile so I knew the car was junk! Remember this too, if the seller cannot be cordial all the way thru questioning…he is hiding something. That Eldorado Brougham I saw was worthless junk! There was absolutely NO life left in it what so ever, and he wanted an arm and three legs for the cost! He was playing on the “highly collectible” heart strings! I know better, called him out on a few things, then went on with life, no one bought that junk either! I have seen quite a few 1969 thru 1976 models in very good shape recently. Just start with Google, the photos will teach you what to look for in the car you are looking for! If you have questions, just ask ole’ Greg, I would never steer you wrong!
Great advice, i know the frame components, the smaller pieces rot as mine had on my 53. Rot also where the read fenders attach at the body with a liner. I am amazed how the old glass seems to last forever.
I thought the same with drivetrain, this can be repaired and are just wear items. The body is another story and the most costly to repair. A friend Mike who restores the odd car, here is his page: http://www.everythingbeaumont.com told me what it cost him for his Beaumont as he doesn’t do all the bodywork himself. Even bringing original rust free rear quarters to the bodyshop they said buy repro quarters as it will cost more to take out the small dents etc.
I love the sound of the original engine and the look of it with high rise intake and “Cadillac” on the valve covers. If I really had to replace the engine with a modern one it would be the LS1, same as in my Camaro SS. There are many choices out there with lots of power like the 502 etc. but reliability and fuel economy? As I recall my 53 seemed to get 20mpg which I don’t think they can duplicate today with the same weight of vehicle.
I consider 70’s Caddies as just old drivers the same as when I had them to drive around, has to be the earlier models to excite me.
But remember…the day will come for the cars of the 1970s…I’ll tell you why: These are the last real American cars! You will see one day, at least have one 1970s cruiser…they’re the end! The thing with the older cars you will pay the price of a Roll Royce for one. Those Cadillacs you like had bolt-on rear fenders that rot like heck. You really have to be careful when buying them IF you can find one for sale! That’s how I bought a Rolls Royce! I refused to pay what a collector wanted for a 1953 Eldorado (at the time, I really should have) I got a Silver Wraith II.
Latest 70’s Caddies for me would be 1972, before the smog equipment and lower HP. I do like the 1969 tail lights, I remember a purple 69 Caddy back in about 1975.
A 1953 Eldorado, that’s top of the line. I’d hate to pay for maintenance on a Rolls Royce brakes or anything.
I’d want to upgrade those front brake drums and have rotors. Quick stops Caddies or any old car were not known for and todays drivers cut in and brake without thinking. Of course those bumpers will protect the Caddy. A rot free 50’s Caddy even if faded and required paint and mechanical work would be better than an older restoration with rot. Bondo lasts about 10 years then back to square one and it will cost even more. My first car the 1953 Caddy couple I had a deal that it would start if I was to buy it. It started “once” with a blue smoke show. I had the engine rebuilt. A couple years later in the spring I noticed one tailpipe had no exhaust coming out. I could not find out where or if any was coming out. A trip to Midas then Speedy got similar results, explanations about an internal valve or??? They had no idea. I took it back to the mechanic Ken Lowry who fixed it before and the next morning I got a call to come and pick it up. The blocked pipe had a mouse nest in it.