Cadillac had been “Standard of the World” for 52 years in 1954
The 1954 Cadillacs were completely redesigned. The iconic tail fin was on its second styling. Cadillac was a showcase of engineering innovation. A new engine combined with the refined Hydra-Matic automatic transmission featured an increase of nearly 10% in horsepower. The 1954 Fleetwood Series was augmented by the Series Seventy-Five eight passenger sedan and formal limousine. No other limousine got the respect and admiration as these two supreme achievements in motoring. Here are two of the more regal superlatives in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
Cadillac was the purveyor of the luxury automobile. Superlative reputation in any field of endeavor is historically slow in the making. Cadillac set out year after year to create the finest luxury cars in the world, and the inevitable happened: a legend was initiated and expedited artfully garnering accolades world-wide. The Cadillac motorcar became a legend and a lifestyle. During the 1950s the automobile went through a shocking metamorphosis through evolution. Cadillac technology has always led the industry. Cadillac was the first with electric starting, lighting, and ignition in 1912. Cadillac led the industry with the introduction of safety glass in 1928. For the 1954 model year, Cadillac became longer, lower, and wider with more graceful bodylines. The series seventy-Five wore this new body design elegantly….Cadillac style.
The 1954 Cadillacs got a new panoramic windshield that was first introduced on the Eldorado the previous model year. All 1954 Cadillacs got a new cowl air intake and chrome windshield visor. The all-new front end styling was augmented by the classic “Dagmar” bumper guards, a wide egg-crate grille and sculpted stand-up hood. From its distinguished front styling to the sweep of the iconic tail fins, The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five for 1954 was a Flagship of distinction. The “Standard of the World” stood alone……
The interior was furnished as limousines from the period. Tasteful understatement was the ambiance. Light toned Bedford cord or elegant broadcloth was upholstered in a luxurious biscuit tufting. Three dignified color combinations were available.
A wide center folding armrest and full width folding jump seats were just two of the many features for comfort and convenience for the Series Seventy-Five. The formal limousine featured a power glass partition and a chauffeur’s compartment trimmed in black leather. An improved air conditioning system was optional at extra cost.
The 1954 Cadillacs were powered by the all-new 331 CID 16-valve OHV V8. The engine was equipped with a Carter or Rochester 4GG 4-bbl carburetor with equalized manifold, mechanical fuel pump, oil-bath type air cleaner, intake silencer, and automatic choke. The engine produced 230 hp @ 4,400 rpm with 450 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm.
Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 12.3 seconds, 0-90 mph in 32.3 seconds and had a top speed of 97 mph. The engine was mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission. The Hydra-Matic was refined to provide smoother operation in all driving situations. Transmissions back then were basic; the Hydra-Matic consisted of a fluid coupling with automatically actuated gear sets providing two driving ranges, a low-speed range and reverse.
The 1954 Cadillacs were built as body on frame construction. The body was married to Cadillac’s rugged X-type frame with reinforced side bars and deep X-member junction. The 1954 Series Seventy-Five’s front suspension was the traditional upper and lower control arm with Cadillac independent Knee-Action.
The rear was fitted with a hypoid semi-floating axle with offset differential housing to facilitate Straight-Line Drive. It used independent helical coil springs in the front with 5-leaf semi-elliptic springs fitted to the rear. The 1954 Series Seventy-Fives had the luxury length of 237.1”, rode on a long 149.7” wheelbase and was 79.8” wide. Every 1954 series Seventy-Five was built entirely by Fleetwood with pride.
New for the 1954 model year was Cadillac’s Auxiliary Power Braking system, optional at extra cost. We take niceties like that for granted today. By the mid 1950s, automobiles began shedding chrome and stereo types acquiring contemporary attitudes. Cadillac was the leader that everyone revered. Refined hydraulically operated power steering was standard. The steering ratio was lowered for 1954 which reduced the turns necessary to turn and park the vehicle.
Eight passengers were driven about in luxury and distinction in the 1954 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five sedan and formal limousine. The all-new architecture was longer and lower with a more contemporary look for the day. The newly designed 331 CID V8 combined with the refined Hydra-Matic
Drive was the perfect performance combination producing 230 horses. With their very own exterior identity and understated interior, the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five sedan and formal limousine earned respect and admiration wherever they were driven. The 1954 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five was another exemplary performance in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
Thanks to Bob Adams at Classic Auto Brokers for the photos