1964 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special
….the formidable Fleetwood legend continues
The pleasure of owning a Cadillac was exceeded only by that of driving it………..
The 1964 “Car of Cars” introduced a brilliant new level of performance in an automobile of such dignity and majesty. The 1964 Cadillacs were powered by the redesigned 429 CID V8. A new Turbo Hydra-Matic was refined to further enhance the performance of the new engine. Its tasteful new styling and incredible road manners made the 1964 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special an impressive example; motoring had achieved a new standard of excellence. This is another highly successful chapter in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
There was nothing more majestic than a Cadillac Fleetwood. The 1964 Series Sixty-Special escalated Fleetwood coachcrafting to new heights of luxury and elegance in the extra special world of Cadillac. The new headlamp configuration presents a crystal-like look augmenting a horizontal “Cadillac-sneer” grille. Cadillac always presented a poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac…..the “sneer” was signature. The iconic sweep of the tail fin was once again tapered. The 1964 model year was the finale for the tail fin which had been the iconic trademark since its inception in 1948. The 1964 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was in a class by itself with its luxury and magnificence. It was truly qualified to bear the enigmatic Fleetwood laurel wreath and crest.
The eminent Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was for the discerning owner who would be satisfied with nothing less than the world’s most elegant motoring. The eloquence of its limousine-like luxury without conjecture acknowledged it as the most aristocratic motorcar in the world. However grand the occasion….an arrival in a Cadillac Fleetwood was an impeccable reflection of good taste and achievement.
The regal Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was crafted in the traditional Fleetwood manner and of necessity, was a limited production series. The 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was immediately identified in any gathering of fine automobiles. It was the “Standard of the World” in distinction….the Fleetwood laurel wreath and crest distinguished the best that motoring could offer….and was the hallmark of one of the finest possessions one could own….
A Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special wasn’t an ordinary car. “It reflected one’s respect for correctness of styling, an admiration for flawless craftsmanship….one’s recognition of a sound investment.” The 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was the epitome of luxury, elegance, and opulence. In comfort and convenience, it cossets its owner in the lap of luxury.
Hand-rubbed imported African Baku wood accented the gracious interior by Fleetwood. The laurel wreath and crest was a continual reminder, one was at the wheel of a truly masterful motorcar. Its interior was elegant beyond belief….with the finest fabrics and leathers, gleaming ornamentation tastefully and meticulously crafted as if by a jeweler, and the peace of mind knowing there is no more regal sedan in all of motordom, make the eminent Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special the most resplendent way to travel Cadillac style.”
Cadillac offered the widest array of options and accessories to make the 1964 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special distinctively their own. New for the 1964 model year was “Twilight Sentinel.” It automatically turned on the headlamps at dusk and cancelled them at dawn, or activated them when lighting became poor. The system also had a timer to delay them allowing safe lighting to your door at night. Cruise Control was improved and more convenient.
The new seven position”Tilt & Telescopic” steering wheel allowed the driver to select the most comfortable setting. The steering wheel also tilted upward enhancing entry and exit. New to the automotive industry and exclusive to Cadillac was the new fully automatic “Comfort Control Air Conditioning” system. A single thermostatic setting maintained the desired temperature without further intervention. The Comfort Control Air Conditioning system evolved into the iconic “Automatic Climate Control” air conditioning system. Cadillac was a leader and by no means, a follower….
The great new Cadillac engine for the 1964 model year was the most powerful in the history of the brand. Cadillac’s “True Center Drive Line” isolated and cancelled normal sound and vibration providing a smooth and quiet flow of power to the drive wheels. That was the secret to the iconic Cadillac magic carpet ride. Cadillac offered triple braking as standard. A special dual hydraulic master cylinder with separate front and rear operation plus a true auxiliary parking/emergency brake provided an extra measure of safety for assured stopping power. These were just a few of the myriad components that made the indomitable Cadillac brand the “Standard of the World.”
The newly designed 429 CID 16 valve OHV V8 engine had a cast iron block and heads. It had five main bearings and hydraulic valve lifters. The engine was equipped with a Carter AFB 3903S 4-bbl down-draft carburetor with equalized manifold, mechanical fuel pump, dry-type air filter, and automatic choke. It produced 340 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 651 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 8.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 25.5 seconds, with a top speed of 126 mph. The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM 400 3-speed automatic transmission.
The 1964 Cadillacs were built as body on frame construction. They used the rigid tubular center X-frame that permitted a lower interior front floor facilitating optimum seat height and headroom. The front suspension used the traditional upper and lower control arm, spherical joint with independent helical coil springs, rubber mounted strut rods and rubber bushings to absorb impact and isolate road noise. The rear suspension was a four-link drive system with helical coil springs and rubber bushings to improve ride quality.
It used a hypoid type rear axle with differential housing offset to accommodate the True Center Drive Line system. An available controlled differential directed power to the drive wheel with the best traction. The 1964 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was a very large front engine rear drive vehicle. With its sheer size and weight combined with its individually longer wheelbase, the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special had an extremely smooth and utterly luxurious ride. It had the luxury length of 223’ and rode on a long 129.5” wheelbase with a 79.7” width.
The Cadillac Fleetwood series augmented the model hierarchy as Flagships; these were the “Cadillacs of Cadillacs.” Fleetwood crafted both body and interior to absolute perfection. Cadillac offered more features as standard equipment than any other luxury brand. A Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special maintained a poised dignity that was the hallmark of every Cadillac. The newly designed 340 hp V8 engine and the refined Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission propelled this dignified sedan with the utmost precision. The Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was the “Standard of the World” in grace and dignity….which proved, the ONLY way to travel was Cadillac style….Here ends another successful chapter in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
An ad for Kelsey-Hayes genuine true-spoke wire wheels
Just more superlative-superlatives…. in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
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I could be wrong. But I think my 1964 Fleetwood, has a TH700R, 4 speed transmission. It is matching numbers. Is this possible ?
The 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special is equipped with a THM-400 3-speed automatic transmission. The TH700R is a bolt-on replacement for the GM TH350, Powerglide, TH400, or TH200-4R. This transmission is available for vehicles from the 1980s. It is an overdrive automatic transmission and was not available for a 1964 Cadillac with the 429 CID V8…overdrive wasn’t even thought about in the 1960s because there was no big concern over fuel cost. The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo is what started the dance towards fuel economy. Sounds like somebody swapped your car’s tranny. Have a mechanic look at it, he’ll tell you I am quite correct. There is NO overdrive transmission available in 1964 for Cadillacs as standard equipment. In fact, the THM-400 was at the time, the all-new “Turbo-Hydramatic” 3-speed automatic transmission that replaced both “Hydra-Matic” and “Dynaflow” transmissions. It was introduced for Cadillac’s 1964 model year. This new version was more efficient with faster response and negligible shifting sensation. Cadillac was the first GM product to receive this automatic transmission upgrade. That’s when Cadillac was an “innovator” and not a “copy-cat” like today! Through the years, collectible cars become adulterated with its owner’s specifications especially when parts are limited. There were versions of Cadillac built for export, so who’s to say what goes on with a car after it has left the assembly line. But to answer your question directly, nope….1964 Cadillacs used the new “THM-400 Turbo Hydra-Matic” 3-speed automatic, either your car is mutant or your car may be modified.. As a rule of thumb, if you are an avid Cadillac collector, and want expert specifications, ALWAYS make sure to use the Cadillac archives at the “GM Heritage Center” which documents Cadillac in depth by year, model, etc. This is an all General Motors venue, without anyone’s interference or interpretation. There used to be a service at the GM Heritage Center available for Cadillac owners and a few other GM brands that would (for a small fee) send a complete blueprint for the vehicle VIN you supply to them.Between NotoriousLuxury, the GM Heritage Center and “Hemming’s Motor News” one cannot go wrong. Thanks for stopping by, come back often…I always leave the readers wondering what car will appear next! Happy New Year!
Because there were only 14,500, 1964 Fleetwoods ever made. I was wanting to start a register, to find out how many have survived, after 52 years. I’m not clever enough on a computer to start one.
Absolutely fantastic article, thank you. I have just purchased a ‘64 Deville series 60 special in Seacrest Green and it’s a great car, completely original. It has a bit of a shudder through engine in park that transfers when driving espeacislly under load so I will replace engine mounts and trans mount. Thanks Shane
beautiful 1964 cadillac fleetwood a true classic 60.s luxury car the epitome of elegance and stately driving thats when cadillac was the standard of the world they dont make them like that anymore todays cars just dont compare.
Hello Jerome! You have good taste when it comes to fine automobiles! It’s a shame….the “Standard of the World” taught automakers how to build cars and look at what happened: now Cadillac is riding the competitor’s coattails! Cadillac used to be the industry innovator – ESPECIALLY in the inherently balanced V8 engine!!!!! Cadillac milestone models will live on forever! As long as I wake this side of the flower bed I am going to give Cadillac its propers – THECLASSIC CADILLAC of course. As you so eloquently stated “they don’t make them like that anymore…today’s cars don’t compare – ” You GO Jerome!!!
I think the black 1964 Fleetwood Cadillac pictured used to be my grandparents and was gifted to me in the 80’s. I’d love to know what happened to it. I loved that car!