Cadillac was the “Standard of the World” for 50 years in 1952
Cadillac’s Golden Anniversary Edition
The 1952 model year marked 50 years of automotive supremacy for Cadillac. The Golden Anniversary Cadillacs celebrated an important milestone. It was half-century of progress introducing new innovation, while setting the stage for the rest of the industry to follow. Since 1902 Cadillac’s margin of leadership among luxury motorcars lengthened and strengthened until the brand became universally recognized as the “Standard of the World.” This Golden Performance was celebrated in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
Cadillac, without conjecture was the leader, setting standards of motorcar quality. In 1913 The Royal Automobile Club presented Cadillac with its SECOND Dewar trophy for the Delco electric starting, lighting, and ignition system developed by Cadillac founder Henry Martyn Leland and Charles F. Kettering of the Dayton Engineering Laboratories. In 1908 Cadillac was bestowed its first Dewar trophy for the standardization and interchangeability of parts. It was the first time that a “foreign” car had won this honor. The award was for the greatest achievement of the year. Leland then adopted a new slogan that became Cadillac’s iconic motto: “Standard of the World.”
Cadillac introduced an all-new 190 hp V8 engine. It was the highest compression OHV engine ever offered and was the finest engine Cadillac ever built. The Golden Anniversary Cadillac also introduced a new automatic transmission. Hydra-Matic Drive was quieter, smoother, and offered two forward driving ranges. For regular open road driving this transmission provided four separate gear ratio changes that were virtually imperceptible. For city and hilly terrain the transmission could switch into three gear ratios providing better acceleration, faster “step-down” action, and all around better operation at lower speeds. The “LO” gear was for steep inclines and severe down-hill braking. Remember, this was back in 1952 and all cars weren’t this sophisticated yet….the “Standard of the World” stood alone.
Cadillac offered three separate series for the 1952 model year in seven distinctive body styles. The Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was the model that played a key role bringing the Cadillac brand name into world-wide recognition as “Standard of the World.” The 1952 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special stood supreme among all other luxury cars in the world. From the bold front end styling augmented by the famous “Dagmar” bumper guards to the sweep of the iconic tail fins, the 1952 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was the finest owner-driven Cadillac available. It was exceptionally spacious and appointed for consummate comfort. Cadillac was now in their 50th year as “Standard of the World.”
The interiors available for the 1952 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special were understated luxury. Wool broadcloth with metallic leather trim sumptuously upholstered these interiors crafted by Fleetwood. Eight beautiful tu-tone combinations were available. Jewel-like interior hardware, chrome window moldings, and integral arm rests in the door panels added to its elegance. The Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was a very special Cadillac for very special people. It was the obvious choice of motorists who required the very best. The 1952 Golden Anniversary Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special was a masterpiece from the master craftsmen….
The newly developed 331 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine featured a Carter WCD896S or Rochester 4GC 4-bbl carburetor, a free-flow intake manifold with intake silencer, new ignition wiring, a new 45-amp extruded frame generator, a new high-capacity air cleaner, larger exhaust valves and wider exhaust ports, new dual exhaust manifolds, mechanical fuel pump, and automatic choke. The 4-bbl developed by the Rochester Division of General Motors offered better fuel distribution and high-speed breathing while retaining economy at lower speeds.
A progressive throttle linkage opened only the two primary barrels until half-throttle was reached then cut in the secondary barrels for maximum power. The engine block and heads were made of cast iron. It produced 190 hp @ 4,000 rpm with 437 Nm of peak torque @ 2,400 rpm. The engine was mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic (Flashaway) 4-speed automatic transmission. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 13.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 58.1 seconds with a top speed of 105 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19.8 seconds.
The 1952 Golden Anniversary Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special rode on a long 130” wheelbase. It had the luxury length of 224.5” and was 80.1” wide. The 1952 Cadillacs were built as body on frame construction. They were built on Cadillac’s rugged X-type frame with reinforced side bars and deep X-member junction. The front suspension was the traditional upper and lower control arm with independent Knee-Action. It used independent helical coli springs in the front and semi-elliptic rear springs. It had a hypoid semi-floating rear axle with an offset differential housing to facilitate Straight-Line Drive.
The 1952 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special came standard equipped with power windows and seat, directional signal indicators, one-piece curved windshield, low pressure tires, Hydra-Matic transmission, and glare-proof rear view mirror. Popular options for 1952 included heating and ventilation systems, fog lamps, spot lamps, and hydraulic power steering. These seem like modest conveniences but remember, this is 1952 and the others didn’t even offer standard amenities such as these. The “Standard of the World” led the way with innovation. There was always a Cadillac right for its day.
Saginaw Power Steering was offered as an extra cost option. It greatly reduced steering effort making parking easier. It eliminated 75% of normal steering effort. This new hydraulic steering feature combined with the all-new 190 hp V8 engine and Hydra-Matic Drive were three engineering achievements that made the 1952 Golden Anniversary Cadillac a car among the greats. These attributes made the 1952 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special a spirited performer.
Cadillac had officially been the “Standard of the World” for 50 years in 1952. To celebrate this milestone occasion, the illustrious Golden Anniversary Cadillacs were created. This was the dawn of a new and exciting era in motoring elegance. The distinctive 1952 Series Sixty-Special as with all Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs hit the world with a dramatic step forward in contemporary motorcar design, and built at a restricted pace by virtue. That was what made the Fleetwood so charismatic in the world of luxury cars. A Cadillac Fleetwood was special even among Cadillacs.
The 1952 Golden Anniversary Edition was worthy heir bearing the Cadillac Couronne entitling it admission into the legend….a more spirited V8 engine mated to refined Hydra-Matic Drive made the Sixty-Special more rewarding to drive and more rewarding to ride in. Its classic profile and restrained use of chrome was crafted by Fleetwood with such elegance, such magnificence as only Cadillac could create. The 1952 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five was indeed motordom’s masterpiece for the Golden Anniversary celebration….in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
Just more superlative-superlatives…. in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”