Nothing was more elegant than a Cadillac convertible….
The 1963 model year for Cadillac witnessed innovation with a dramatic new silhouette. The 1963 Cadillacs were the most glamorous ever built. This iconic model year was featured in countless movie and TV appearances when opulence and stature was key. The most glamorous of all Cadillacs was the elegant convertible. The 1963 Series Sixty-Two convertible was the pinnacle of luxury with its stunning new bodywork.
The bold front end styling complete with the trademark Cadillac “sneer” was authoritative with its massive grille work. The bodylines were striking with their chiseled trail leading back to the Cadillac tail fins which were re-styled once again. The legendary 390 CID V8 was completely re-designed with smoother and even quieter performance. This new powerplant was 82 lbs. lighter through the use of aluminum parts. Neither displacement nor output were compromised. The Series Sixty-Two convertible was another dramatic episode….in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
A Cadillac open tourer was motoring on the grand Cadillac scale. The 1963 Series Sixty-Two convertible had a unique demeanor all its own. It retained that poised dignity that was the hallmark of every Cadillac but added a superlative with refinement. No tribute to Cadillac could be complete without mention of the extremely popular 1963 model year.
The new bodywork was longer, lower, with a statelier chiseled look. The architecture was only 1” longer than the 1962, however with its lower more sweeping bodylines it appeared a lot larger than it really was. The front end styling theme used separate hood and fender design. Cadillac architecture always ran past the car making it longer still, the 1963 front and rear fenders both ran the gamut Cadillac-style of course.
The door handles were tastefully re-designed with a slim grip and rectangular push button….the rest of the auto industry copied this feature, remember, Cadillac had it first! The 1963 Cadillacs displayed an organized symmetry of design. They had more substance with their refined new silhouette.
The traditional trademark tail fins were neatly tailored into the architecture once more. Cadillac was most glamorous for both 1963 and 1964 model years, they had a world-wide appeal then and are still extremely popular among collectors all over the world. The 1963 Cadillac will always be a prized collectible as will the 1964.
Cadillac re-designed the 390 CID V8 for the 1963 model year. The legendary 390 was smoother and quieter and its dependability and long life were further exemplified. Its highly advanced engineering used new engine sealing methods providing a tighter sealed and cleaner performing engine. The new design shed 82 lbs. from the former 390 CID V8. It used a lighter, shorter crankshaft, pistons, and connecting rods.
This reduction in overall weight reduced starting inertia from reciprocating parts which contributed to faster starting and greater response during acceleration. For the 1963 model year Cadillac improved the waterproof ignition system and added a new crankcase ventilation valve to redirect unburned air/fuel mixture from the crankcase to intake manifold for re-burning.
The 390 CID V8 16-valve OHV V8 engine was equipped with a Rochester 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet with equalized manifold. This unit utilized two smaller barrels during idle and cruising speeds, then engaged the two larger barrels when sudden acceleration was required. The engine was fitted with a mechanical fuel pump, polyurethane air filter, and automatic choke. The engine had a cast iron block and heads, hydraulic valve lifters, and five main bearings, with larger bearings for increased durability.
Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 10.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 28.3 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 85 mph in 17.4 seconds. The engine produced 325 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 583 Nm of peak torque @ 3,100 rpm. This highly refined V8 engine was mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic (Jet-away) 4-speed automatic transmission.
The 1963 Cadillacs were built as body on frame construction upon the rugged tubular center X-frame. This type of construction provided a lower front interior floor contributing to increased seat height and headroom. The front suspension used upper and lower control arms, spherical joint, independent helical coil springs and front stabilizer torsion rod. New for the 1963 model year were rubber mounted strut rods with thick rubber bushings to absorb impact and isolate road noise.
These rods hold the wheels in position in a firm fore/aft alignment during normal driving, when uneven pavement is encountered they allow a rear-ward deflection of the wheel thus cushioning the impact. Wedge shaped rubber limit bumpers permitted increased vertical travel and an extra cushion when bottoming out situations occurred. Cadillac’s exceptional riding comfort was achieved through the exclusive design of its suspension system.
The rear suspension held the axle in alignment with two lower control arms and an upper yoke to prevent side horizontal motion. The way this yoke was mounted at high points of the frame and top of rear axle housing resulted in more weight below these points contributing to a more level ride with less ‘lean’ on curves. The rear suspension also included the four-link drive, 2-piece Saginaw prop shaft, helical coil springs, and large rubber bushings to isolate road noise and absorb impact between suspension members and frame.
New rubber wedge-shaped limit bumpers increased vertical wheel travel and cushioned bottoming out situations. New for the 1963 model year was a lower rear spring rate which contributed to a softer ride. Cadillac’s exclusive gas-filled shock absorbers assured consistent ride quality on any surface. The 1963 Series Sixty-Two convertible rode on a long 129.5” wheelbase, had the luxury length of 223” with a wide 79.7” stance.
Standard was a fully leather upholstered interior by Fleetwood
Power windows and seat were standard equipment
Cadillac power steering was so effortless that only the lightest touch was required to steer the car. It provided a smooth self-recovery to the straight ahead position. A flexible rubber coupling was installed into the steering shaft to absorb the transmission of vibration or road shocks to the steering wheel. Power steering was a standard feature on all 1963 Cadillac models.
Also standard was Cadillac’s triple braking system. A dual hydraulic reservoir used separate pistons and lines for front and rear providing independent operation. The parking brake had an automatic release and could be used as a true auxiliary brake since it would not lock with the engine running and in gear.
New for the 1963 model year were new long-life pistons in the wheel brake cylinders made of iron alloy. The brakes were finned drum type with the self-adjusting feature front and rear. Also new, were the front brake splash guards with a flange that was designed to keep water away from the brake linings. Cadillac’s hydraulic power brake system provided smooth fade-free operation every time with less effort on the brake pedal.
Another fine collectible from Bob Adams Classic Cars
The 1963 Cadillacs were one the most glamorous models ever built. Their completely re-designed 390 CID V8 was lighter, smoother, and quieter. The 1963 Series Sixty-Two convertible wore the stunning new bodywork well. The new design was longer and lower completely different in character yet unmistakably Cadillac. Its aesthetic qualities combined with refined engineering was out of the Cadillac tradition of excellence. After 61 years the leader was still out front.
Cadillac was a legend of automotive superiority. And, there was nothing more elegant than a Cadillac convertible. The 1963 Series Sixty-Two convertible was the quintessential symbol of prestige and the epitome of Cadillac luxury. Its youthful silhouette exuded a legacy of automotive greatness.
It was both dramatically beautiful and remarkably responsive. One look tells you that it was the world’s most elegant open tourer. The 1963 Series Sixty-Two convertible was motoring on the grand Cadillac scale…it was another dramatically spirited performance in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
The 1963 Cadillac Series Sixty-Two convertible
There was nothing quite like a Cadillac convertible….