Archive for the Grande Marque Category

Custom Continental MK II: Mark of Excellence

Posted in Classic American Marques, Grande Marque, Lincoln, Notoriously Outrageous, The Bold and the Beautiful Lincolns, The Continental Life with tags , , , , , , , on July 4, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

Custom Continental MK II 1

The Continental Life continues –

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Growing up there were cars I dubbed as favorites…when they would appear, they made me smile. Those were such happy times, so long ago…how I wondered where they’d gone. But they’re back again…just like a long-lost friend – all the cars I loved so well. It’s yesterday once more with John Torrie’s custom 1957 Continental MK II. The formidable Continental MK II is my all-time favorite classic car.

The Continental MK II is a timeless beauty that was built for only two models years exclusively by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company. No, the MK II is NOT a Lincoln – it’s a “Continental” – I thought I would throw this in to dispel ambiguity. Here’s a dream with a little bit of fantasy. This custom 1957 Continental MK II is a contemporary rendition of a time-honored classic. Now this is what I call NotoriousLuxury…

Custom Continental MK II 4

The classic 1956-1957 Continental MK II

Custom Continental MK II 2

Rod & Custom 1

The “Mark of Excellence” is handcrafted by John Torrie Jr. and John Torrie Sr. They built the classic custom in a single car garage…no, this isn’t a typo. This one-of-a-kind beauty was featured in “Rod & Custom” Magazine as the spotlight vehicle. It began its life as a stock 1957 Continental MK II. The car retains its basic silhouette and flowing lines…capturing a rare serendipitous eloquence.

After being sliced, diced, chopped, and lowered, the MK II takes on a totally unique appearance. The custom Continental MK II is absolutely stunning from any angle. The amazing aspect of this beautiful car is the fact that it is as modern as it is classic. Look deep into its timeless styling and you can see the original design. From the aggressive front end cosmetic ensemble to the dramatic signature Continental rear deck lid, the Torries synthesized the best of both worlds seamlessly…in a rudely-elegant manner –

Rod & Custom 2

Custom Continental MK II 7

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The custom Continental MK II is finished in flawless “Corvette Atomic Orange” base coats. It’s the clear coats that adds depth to all of the contours and sweeping lines which forces the eyes to roam the entire car in a single appraisal.  The startling contrast between the shocking orange finish and the classic wide whitewall tires is highlighted by the outrageous 100-spoke chrome aluminum wheels. The custom Continental MK II is a successful confluence of old world charm and contemporary panache –

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Custom Continental MK II 12

Custom Continental MK II 8

The car’s avant-garde transformation is augmented by a lower profile. The roof is chopped 2” which makes the body appear even larger than it is. A modest height correction to the stock platform gives it dynamic road-hugging appeal. The car is lowered using Fatman Fabrications 2 ½” dropped spindles with Firestone dampers to replace the coil springs to the front suspension.

This swap allows disc brakes to replace the drum type. The rear suspension is altered using de-arched leaves.  The rear drum brakes are retained.  Monroe gas shock absorbers assist ride height at all four wheels allowing it to be adjusted for driving or lowered to “strike a pose” when she just sits and wants to look pretty!

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There is no unnecessary bling to discount its luxurious beauty. The restrained use of ornamentation is tasteful and sophisticated. Most of the stock MK II accents are shaved away…including the door handles. The front end styling boasts Frenched-in headlamps, custom grille, and lower bumper roll pan finished to match the body color. The upper portion of the bumper retains a stock appearance sans bumper guards. The blacked-out grille work is highlighted by a single chrome horizontal bar.

Custom Continental MK II 5

The startling transformation to the rear of the custom Continental MK II is built upon the “ghost” of the stock version. The Torries kept the basic overall design in mind filling in the taillamps and transferring them to the former exhaust ports in the rear bumper…sweet huh? The iconic ersatz Continental spare tire design remains intact less ornamentation.

The rear bumper was redesigned with a body color roll pan to offset the chromed upper portion tastefully. The custom Continental MK II has all of the elegance of the original presented in sheer understatement that oozes class. Too bad the minimalist approach wasn’t used back in the 1950s when garish styling and strange protuberances ruled. The 1956-1957 Continental MK II is one of the few exceptions to the rule with its classic Euro-inspired simplicity.

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The custom Continental MK II’s old world charm influences its resto-mod interior. Sumptuous white leather covers the sofa-like seating. The classic simplicity of the sew style ends the center seams with single button tufting. It’s just as tastefully crafted as the original version. A unique center console design continues up into the rear seats, in a contrasting orange to compliment the exterior. The understated elegance is what captures the attention…everything flows in sync with the rest of the cabin – the car is very luxurious…

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Opulent luxury exudes from the original

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The Torries captured tasteful contemporary elegance

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Under its massive 70” long hood lurks a re-built stock version of Lincoln’s V8 engine. It’s a potent 6.0 litre 368 CID 16-valve naturally aspirated OHV V8 equipped with a 4-bbl carburetor. The Torries sound-tuned the engine to a sexy baritone by using a custom exhaust system with Cherry Bombs. The mighty 6.0 litre “Y-block” V8 for the original 1956 version produces 285 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 545 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm.  Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11 seconds with a top speed in the 120 mph range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 18 seconds.

The 1957 version is a tad bit more powerful with the same 6.0 litre V8 which now produces 300 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 563 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration for this version is rated as 0-60 mph in 10.3 seconds with a top speed in the 119 mph range, completing the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 17.5 seconds. Both engines are mated to Lincoln’s 3-speed automatic Turbo-Drive Cruise-O-Matic transmission.

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The opulent Continental MK II was a trend-setter with its classic elegance…the $10,000 price tag gave it pre-eminence few automobiles could achieve. The 1956-1957 original was designed to be one of the finest handcrafted automobiles in the world. Quality, fit, and finish were paramount. The exclusive Continental Division crafted the car with a rigid 7-point quality control regimen.

Custom Continental MK II 15

The Continental was to Ford as Lexus is to Toyota. The stunning land yacht was one of the heaviest automobiles built for the day at 4,825 pounds. It was so comprehensively equipped, the only option available at the time was air conditioning which added another 365 pounds. The Continental MK II has the luxury length of 218.5”, rides upon a long 126” wheelbase and is a massive 77.5” wide.

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The classic 1956-1957 Continental MK II was built completely by hand exclusively by the now defunct Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company. Again…it’s not a Lincoln, it’s a Continental. This supreme achievement in motoring was built for only two years. The Continental Division existed only two years as well.

The elite Continental MK II was the image car for the Ford Motor Company. They actually lost money on each car produced because of the MK II’s extensive handcrafting. The classic simplicity and understated elegance was far ahead of its time when the other luxury cars from this genre were sporting gaudy designs with tons of chrome and towering tailfins.

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Custom cars are the ultimate expression of individuality. Anything from mild to wild takes the onlooker on a visual journey escaping the mass-production status quo. This type of automotive abstract art was popular for vintage vehicles from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s…when cars were real! The designers had something to work with. The most eminent custom car designers include Gene Winfield, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, George Barris, Thom Taylor, and Boyd Coddington.

1979 Continental MK V custom 1

I don’t have any information regarding this radical contemporary custom. This is a 1979 Lincoln Continental MK V. Look closely at the front end ensemble, the custom grille and modified bumper. “Bumperettes” were popular in custom cars from the 1940s & 1950s. Every customizer has a style, it all starts as an idea…look at the results. If anyone knows anything about this stunning custom Continental MK V PLEASE let me know. I am dedicated to bring you anything that is notoriously outrageous. This is the NotoriousLuxury mission…

1979 Continental MK V custom 4

1979 Continental MK V custom 6

This custom 1979 Continental MK V is rudely elegant

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…slammed right into the ground with authority

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Finale 1

…Notoriously outrageous

Finale 2

…a slammed, down-right nasty Series Sixty-Two ragtop

Finale 3

Here’s the 4th of July in a custom F-100 pickup

Finale 4

This custom “Big-M” leaves ya weak in the knees…

Finale 5

Here’s a mild custom 1955 Crown Victoria

Finale 7

1979 Coupe deVille custom “LeCabriolet” ragtop

ultra rare

An ultra-rare Continental MK II convertible

Finale 6

Contemporary automobiles are designed to cleave the air efficiently. Altering today’s cars could create potentially dangerous situations. These wedge-shaped designs are specifically created to battle turbulence and cross winds. The front end styling includes features to enhance stability and reduce uplift. The rear of the car utilizes diffuser assemblies designed to create downforce. Removal of these essential design features could render today’s cars airborne at certain high speeds with the right combination of wind shear and loss of downforce.

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Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt at: http://www.schmitt.com

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I grew up admiring custom cars especially when Detroit, Michigan was “The Motor City!” The one of a kind automotive masterpieces are abstract art in motion. The custom 1957 Continental MK II handcrafted by the Torries, John Jr. and John Sr. is a “Mark of Excellence.” Frenched-in headlamps, chopped roofline, custom roll pans and valances replacing chrome bumper assemblies gives the car its own unique persona. The overall silhouette is lower augmenting the rogue character of the rudely-elegant design.

The 1956 and 1957 Continental MK II were handcrafted to be among the world’s finest luxury automobiles. These eminent Flagships are built by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company which was only in existence for the 1956 and 1957 model years. The Continental MK II is a classic example of American automotive history. It’s yesterday once more, thanks to the Torries! From its aggressive front end ensemble to the ersatz spare tire design…the custom Continental MK II is an exemplary contemporary rendition of a time-honored classic. NotoriousLuxury salutes the Torries, John Jr, and John Sr. for their “Mark of Excellence.”

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NotoriousLuxury

Welcome to Greg’s World…

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Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury…

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The Ferocious 1960 Chrysler 300F

Posted in Chrysler, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Grande Marque, Luxury Sport Cars with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

The ferocious Chrysler 300 Letter Series continues

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In style…grace…performance…and beauty, the 1960 Chrysler 300F is another ferocious contender in the formidable 300 Letter Series limited edition muscle cars. This is another of my all-time favorites. These high-performance behemoths are some of the most powerful and exclusive automobiles ever built in America. They left an indelible impression in the automotive industry.

Only 964 hardtop coupés and 248 convertible coupés were built making them highly collectible among connoisseurs world-wide. The 1960 300F is the first 300 to be built with Unibody Construction which made it tighter and rattle-free. NotoriousLuxury celebrates the fabulous Chrysler 300 Letter Series to bring these invincible muscle cars into the spotlight once again. The Chrysler 300 Letter Series automobiles scorched the tracks from 1955-1965 in a fashion no other car could come close to in its class –

1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop coupé 1

1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop coupé 2

The mighty 1960 Chrysler 300F garnered the first six places at Daytona Beach in the Flying Mile Competition. It was 8 short ram cars that were built for this grueling competition dubbed as Gran Turismos with speeds from 140-145 mph. Performance was no big thing for Chrysler…it was simply understood.

The Hemi and the Max Wedge are two of the most ferocious engines ever put into American automobiles. The 1960 Chrysler 300F is another fire-breathing luxury performance car the competition’s only view of was…the rear bumper – remember…the ferocious Chrysler 300 Letter Series invented the “bitch-slap” which sent the entire industry into subservience –

1960 Chrysler 300F convertible coupé 2

1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop coupé 8

The Luxury

The Chrysler 300 Letter Series were the brand’s most exclusive production cars and the 300F is no exception. The interior was refined to be a thing of beauty. It seats four…and only four in Tan leather upholstered bucket seats front and rear. This four seat concept is the first of its kind for American luxury cars and put the 300F in a class all by itself. It is as sporty as it is elegant. A long center console spans from the dash all the back through the rear seats featuring large, comfortable arm rests with storage compartments.

A tachometer was installed to the front of the console for the driver. It also accommodates the power window switches for convenience. The front seats swivel for easy entry and exit. The convertible’s power, fully automatic inward folding fabric roof provides a larger rear passenger compartment than other convertible coupés for the day. Chrysler products were outrageously luxurious in the 1950s and 1960s…the very name “Chrysler” was synonymous with luxury.

1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop coupé 9

1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop coupé 10

The exclusive four seat interior is built with a futuristic look. The dash reminds me of “The Jetsons.” It features the exclusive to the industry “Panelescent Lighting System” which back-lit the controls creating a floating effect. This was Chrysler’s new breakthrough in automotive lighting eliminating the conventional incandescent bulbs. It was introduced by Sylvania Lighting Products on September 8, 1959. It gave the instruments a soft glow.

Today’s electroluminescent systems are a contemporary version of this and can be found on Lexus motorcars. It is ten times greater than conventional bulbs with a longer life. This system never burns out suddenly…it simply declines in intensity. It was first introduced on the Imperial by Chrysler. This system reduces eye strain for night-time driving. The dash also features the “Astra-Dome” 3-D speedometer that reads up to 150 mph. This semi-circular unit makes the numbers very easy on the eye. The Chrysler Corporation rocked the entire automotive industry with engineering prowess.

Panelescent Lighting

Panelescent Lighting 2

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The Logistics

Model # PC3-300, style code # 842/2 1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop coupé had a base price of $5,411, a base shipping weight of 4,270 pounds, and only 964 were built.

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1960 Chrysler 300F convertible coupé17

Model # PC3-300, style code # 845/2 1960 Chrysler 300F convertible coupé had a base price of $5,841, a base shipping weight of 4,310 pounds, and only 248 were built.

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Either version is a highly desirable investment quality vehicle which will appreciate favorably. The 300F is a large front engine, rear-wheel drive automobile. It has the luxury length of 219.6” and rides upon a long 126” wheelbase with a hefty 79.5” width.

With its seamless Unibody Construction, it drives with a solid feeling sans squeaks and rattles. Its excellent weight distribution makes it sure-footed under all driving conditions – wet or dry. Boulevard travel intrusion is negligible. No wonder Chryslers were eminent vehicles both on and off the tracks –

1960 Chrysler 300F convertible coupé 5

1960 Chrysler 300F hardtop coupé 3

 

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Prodigious power…and then some –

In the ferocious Chrysler fire-breathing dragon tradition, the 300F continues the formidable reputation with the indomitable “Wedge-head” V8. It is powered by the Chrysler RB series 6.8 litre 16-valve 413 CID Golden Lion V8 engine. The Wedge-head gets its name from the wedge-shaped combustion chamber’s characteristic design.

The RB, or “Raised-Block” engines are the taller versions of the Chrysler “B” performance engines. All RB engines have a 3.75” stroke with a 4.18” bore center distance. The RB engines are oversquare, or short-stroke in design. This type of engine allows larger valves in the head of the cylinders. (Like the larger valves in the ferocious Hemi-head…this was a Chrysler signature) Oversquare engines are tuned to develop peak torque at higher speeds.

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The 6.8 litre Wedge-head V8 has 17 capscrews per cylinder head, a cylinder block extending 3” below the crankshaft centerline, a cross-ram intake manifold, stamped-steel shaft-mounted rocker arms (race versions uses forged-steel rockers), and a front mounted external oil pump driven by the camshaft. It is built with a Super-Micro Babbitt crankshaft, main and connecting rod bearings. The ferocious cross-ram intake has two pairs of 30” long tuned pipes that are “criss-crossed” so that each set feeds the opposite side of the engine. The tubes are calibrated to deliver forced air into the cylinders.

This is actually a primitive version of supercharging. The engine is equipped with overhead in-line hydraulic valves. The 2-4bbl Carter AFB downdraft velocity type carburetors have a secondary system with automatic choke, they are hung off to the sides of the engines over the inner fenders under the hood…ferociously! The carbs have dual paper element air cleaners. The engine is mated to the Chrysler TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission with torque converter and planetary gears.

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The 6.8 litre Golden Lion V8 cranks 375 hp @ 5,000 rpm packing a prolific punch with 671 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. It has a top speed in the 125 mph range…but tweaked, it can easily hit 145-150 mph. My cousins were MOPAR enthusiasts, this is how I found out first hand!

Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22 seconds, 0-110 mph in 30.9 seconds, and 0-120 mph in 87.6 seconds. It does the ¼ mile @ 89 mph in just 15.6 seconds. The 1960 300F ushered in the third generation of the mighty 300 Letter Series muscle cars. It is even more beautiful than the 1957-1959 models. If you have never driven a Chrysler 300…you missed out on a real high-performance experience.

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If you wanted more bang for your buck, there was the Chrysler 300F Special Gran Turismo. The 6.8 litre short-ram Wedge-head V8 is tweaked and tuned to crank 400 hp @ 5,200 rpm with 631 Nm of peak torque @ 3,600 rpm. It has a top speed in the 131+ mph range. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 18.2 seconds, 0-110 mph in 25.2 seconds, and 0-120 mph in just 38 Seconds.

It can do the ¼ mile @ 93 mph in 15.1 seconds. This version of the 6.8 litre V8 is mated to the French Pont-à-Mousson 4-speed manual gearbox (boo-hiss…I did NOT like this transmission at all, they were extremely trouble proned). The Gran Turismos are the rarest of the post-war collectible cars. Four of the 8 short ram cars built still exist.

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The beauty –

The 1960 Chrysler 300F sports all-new architecture covering its Unibody Construction. It’s a beautiful symphony of sweeping lines from the modified trapezoid trademark 300 Series grille back to the upswept tailfins. This is the last year for the Virgil Exner tailfins. The “toilet seat” rear deck lid was frowned upon by many but I think it adds character to the curves of the rear end ensemble.

The sculpted taillamps set off the chiseled tailfins. Both front and rear bumper ends are kicked-up providing extraordinary protection. The over-sized greenhouse lends a light airy appeal to the luxuriously sporty interior. Popular options for the 1960 300F includes air conditioning, remote control outside rearview mirror, six-way power front seats, power door locks, and Sure-Grip rear differential.

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This is one of Chrysler’s most beautiful designs. The long front fenders and hood houses one of the most powerful engines in the industry. Its extra-wide front end ensemble is an exercise in luxury and high performance. The front suspension is independent with lateral non-paralleled control arms with torsion bar springs. The spring rate is 40% stiffer.

The rear suspension uses parallel longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs. Direct acting Oriflow heavy-duty shock absorbers are fitted all the way around. The 1960 Chrysler 300F remains highly desirable today as it did when it rolled off the assembly line – its design is timeless and will challenge the years gracefully. Chrysler engineers had once again beat the entire industry in style and performance.

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Special thanks to Wallpaperup and Nick’s Chrysler 300F page for insight and the use of the photos of these rare collectible automobiles from the Chrysler Corporation. MOPAR Lives!!! MOPAR RULES!!!

Here’s some MOPAR history…

1931 Chrysler Imperial sedan 1

1931 Chrysler Imperial sedan

1931 Chrysler Imperial sedan 2

1933 Chrysler Imperial Custom LeBaron

1933 Chrysler Imperial Custom LeBaron

1956 Chrysler 300B hardtop coupé 1

1956 Chrysler 300B hardtop coupé 

1956 Chrysler 300B hardtop coupé 2

1956 Chrysler 300B hardtop coupé 3

1956 Chrysler 300B hardtop coupé 4

1956 Chrysler 300B hardtop coupé 5

1956 Chrysler 300B in track form 1

1956 Chrysler 300B in track form 

1956 Chrysler 300B in track form 2

1956 Chrysler 300B racing 1

1958 Chrysler 300 convertible coupé 1

1958 Chrysler 300D convertible coupé

1958 Chrysler 300 convertible coupé 2

1958 Chrysler 300 convertible coupé 4

1958 Chrysler 300 FirePower Hemi-head V8

1958 Chrysler 300 convertible coupé 3

1958 Chrysler 300D hardtop coupé

1958 Chrysler 300D hardtop coupé

1959 Plymouth Fury convertible

1959 Plymouth Fury convertible

1966 Dodge Coronet 500 440 Magnum 1

1966 Dodge Coronet 500 440 Magnum 

1966 Dodge Coronet 500 440 Magnum 2

1966 Dodge Coronet 500 440 Magnum 3

1968 Plymouth GTX

1968 Plymouth GTX

2000 Chrysler 300C concept 1

2000 Chrysler 300C concept

2000 Chrysler 300C concept 2

2000 Chrysler 300C concept 3

2000 Chrysler 300C concept 4

2000 Chrysler 300C concept 5

2000 Chrysler 300C concept 6

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 1

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 2

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 3

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 4

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 5

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 6

2003 Chrysler 300C concept 7

2015 Chrysler 300C

2015 Chrysler 300C

2015 Chrysler 300 SRT 1

2015 Chrysler 300 SRT 

2015 Chrysler 300 SRT 2

2015 Chrysler 300 SRT 3

2015 Chrysler 300 SRT 4

2015 Chrysler 300 SRT 5

Chrysler 300 Tuner 3

Chrysler 300 Tuner 

Chrysler 300 Tuner 1

Chrysler 300 modified

Chrysler 300 Tuner 2

Remember the classic Mag wheels

Remember the classic Mag wheels?

Remember the classic Dodge Polara knock-off wheels

Remember the Dodge Polara knock-off hubcaps?

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A Chrysler 300 Letter Series performance car is the ultimate from the brand in exclusivity. They were among the finest automobiles made in America. From 1955 until 1965 these performance behemoths scorched the tracks at Daytona Beach and also were NASCAR champs. They are the grandfathers to American muscle cars…the difference being the 300’s delivered raw, unadulterated torque thrust whereas today’s make believe muscle cars rely on wedge shapes, wind-cheating designs, and power-to-weight ratios.

Be it Hemi or Wedge-head V8, the Chrysler 300 delivered power first class. The 1960 300F is the first of this elite series to be built as Unibody Construction. Either 375 or 400 hp…they were true track stars in street clothes. These luxury sport cars will live on in the hearts of enthusiasts world-wide. NotoriousLuxury pays tribute to the brute force of the Chrysler 300 Letter Series –

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The 1960 Chrysler 300F is NotoriousLuxury

The Magnificent Series 70 Eldorado Brougham by Cadillac

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

A Rhapsody in motion

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…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Cadillac is the most famous luxury brand of all the classic American Grand Marques. The brand is underrated because there are so many on the highways all over the world. Cadillac introduced so much throughout its tenure that it has been taken for granted by the entire automotive industry. Cadillac has built luxury cars in such high numbers; it makes the competition green with envy. The brand is currently undergoing an existential identity crisis – it is trying to be too many things in too many classes where it should not belong. Cadillac should realize its commercial importance in the luxury car class – and leave it as such.

The brand is an ultra-luxury icon that became a legend…unfortunately; its contemporary plebian approach has diluted its illustrious image tarnishing the heritage its magnificent predecessors set into place. The absolute last word in Cadillac luxury, elegance, and pre-eminence was the fabulous Series 70 Eldorado Brougham. This highly coveted classic was the most expensive domestic automobile during its tenure from 1957 until 1958. NotoriousLuxury takes you down memory lane with the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham introduced a new realm in motoring majesty. These resplendent automobiles are the logical successors to the illustrious Cadillacs that preceded them.  The fabulous Eldorado Brougham has all the virtues that made Cadillac the “Standard of the World.” They satisfied the most discerning luxury car buyers. And…who would have thought such awesome jaw-dropping power would come from a luxury sedan?

The Cadillac…the TRADITIONAL Cadillac didn’t stint on luxury or performance. It is truly a masterpiece from the master craftsmen – a masterpiece that could only come from the undisputed “Standard of the World.” Whatever the occasion, there was no more gracious manner to arrive…than in a Fleetwood crafted Cadillac. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is NotoriousLuxury in every respect.

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These elegant ultra-luxury four-door hardtop sedans remain popular with fine automobile connoisseurs world-wide. The 1957-1958 Detroit-built versions have become the most desired of all post-war Cadillacs. Prices for these classics demand six figures and there is always a long line of enthusiasts waiting to purchase them.

The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was built at a highly restricted pace which makes the survivors command top dollar on the auction block. A Cadillac Brougham has always retained the attribute of being the most luxurious owner-driven luxury sedan throughout the different model series configurations; with the ultimate versions built as the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham.

1965 Fleetwood Brougham

1965 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1970 Fleetwood Brougham

1970 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1976 Fleetwood Brougham

1976 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

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1957 Series 70 1

Model #57-70 style code #7059X 1957 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham four-door hardtop sedan had a base price of $13,074 with a base shipping weight of 5,315 pounds and only 400 were built. Model #58P-70 style code #7059X 1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham four-door hardtop sedan had a base price of $13,074 with a base shipping weight of 5,315 pounds and only 304 were built.

With a total production of only 704; the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is a highly coveted collectible automobile. Cadillac opulence made the other luxury brands blush from sheer embarrassment. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham gangster-slapped the automotive industry with power, presence, performance, and prestige – This was the counter to Lincoln’s Continental MK II which had a base price of $10,000 built in 1956-1957.

Continental MK II

1956-1957 Continental MK II

Continental MK II 2

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Arrogance but not conceit…as luxury cars they are complete – they epitomize the Cadillac brand in its most magnificent form. These limited edition Flagships were modern in every aspect for the day. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is highlighted by a sleek pillarless design with elegant forward-opening rear coach doors. The extremely low overall height is just 55.5” high. Its low-slung silhouette is augmented by a brushed stainless-steel roof. They shared sheet metal with no other Cadillac; the design features a customized appearance.

In the Fabulous Fifties…cars were lowered with chopped tops, frenched headlamps, unique tail lamp treatments, and futuristic bumperettes…the 1957-1958 Detroit-built versions had all of these unique styling tricks – and engineering features that were never before incorporated into any automobile at the time. The “Standard of the World” was synonymous with the word “first.” The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham marks one of the most important “firsts” in automotive history. The impeccable custom, hand-crafting by Fleetwood made it the finest luxury automobile in its class. This is one of the last hand-built Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. This is the first luxury sedan with virtually every feature and accessory offered as standard equipment.

1957 Series 70 5

The chic brushed stainless-steel roof was a favorite of Harley Earl

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Series 70 7

The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was described as being symbolic of Cadillac’s leadership in the fine automobile segment. There was nothing else on the road like it. Cadillac engineering prowess is what made it exclusively the “Standard of the World.”

The fabulous Series 70 Eldorado Brougham embodies styling features and accessories that had never been offered before in the automotive industry. The Eldorado Brougham’s customized body is designed specifically for this model. The driver may open and close the trunk lid without leaving the seat by a master switch located in the glove box. All doors can be locked and unlocked by controls in the front passenger compartment.

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The six-way power seat has a memory control; the front seat automatically moves forward to aid access to the spacious rear passenger compartment when either rear door is opened – the front seat automatically positions itself down and back for front seat passengers when either front door is opened…when all doors are closed; the front seat automatically returns to the driver’s pre-set favorite position. The antenna automatically rises when the radio is turned on. Beneath the all-new quad headlamp system is a sound wave opening for the triple note horn. The standard air conditioning system includes two rear under seat heaters that can be operated individually by the rear seat passengers.

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Series 70 8

The interior is every inch a Cadillac. The Brougham came equipped with distinctive mouton carpets or deep pile Karakul. There was a choice of over 45 interior trim combinations. Upholstery trim was available as glove soft leather or luxurious high-quality broadcloth. The rear armrest has a storage compartment for a note pad, pen, a portable vanity mirror, and perfume atomizer.

The front compartment’s glove compartment contains gold finished magnetized tumblers, an Arpege or Lanvin perfume atomizer, a vanity mirror, powder puff, cigarette case, and tissue dispenser. The Brougham pampered its occupants with luxury that includes an electric clock and polarized sun visors. Everything was power from the windows, seats, to door locks. Automatic transmission, power steering and brakes added to the Brougham’s long list of standard equipment. Exclusivity and supremacy in a motorcar is exemplified with the 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham.

Series 70 12

1957 Series 70 6

1957 Series 70 7

1957 Series 70 9

1957 Series 70 10

1957 Series 70 4

Another industry first by the “Standard of the World” is the four headlamp lighting system. This headlamp system was pioneered by Cadillac for the Series 70. The low beams provide greater wattage than traditional single beam headlamp systems for the day. The high beams produce an accurately aimed bright spot light. The combined wattage of all four headlamps was greater than the wattage for single high beam headlamps of the traditional incandescent bulbs.

The lights are designed to project light for maximum vision at night without dazzling the eyes of drivers of on-coming vehicles. The four headlamp system was illegal in some states in 1957; they were legalized in 1958. Legislative action passed and it was the last time a law was passed to accommodate an automobile manufacturer. The rest of the automotive industry scrambled to catch up with this ingenious design.

Series 70 13

The most important innovation of the Series 70 is its air suspension leveling system. This is the first time a system such as this was used for automobile adaptation. It uses an individual air spring (air bag) unit at each wheel. This is a primitive version of the independent suspension of later model years. The air is supplied by a compressor through leveling valves to maintain optimum poise under any road or load condition. This not only contributes to a consistently luxurious ride quality but also aids the Brougham’s overall appearance to keep its luxurious poise at all times.

The down side to this technology is the fact that the system was unreliable and the air bags were proned to blow-out at embarrassing moments. This issue led Cadillac engineers to introduce a coil spring override system which most Series 70 owners switched to. Many Eldorado Brougham owners have presently restored their cars’ air suspension regardless of the problems; many of which have been eliminated through modern technology. A Series 70 Eldorado Brougham with an operating air suspension system commands a higher price on the auction block than a converted coil spring version.

Series 70 14

Series 70 15

Series 70 16

Through consistent research and development, this primitive air suspension evolved into Cadillac’s exclusive Automatic Level Control in 1965 standard on all Fleetwood models, optional at extra cost for the other models. Automatic Level Control evolved into Electronic Level Control for later model years as cars became computerized. The electronic systems weighed less than the hydraulic leveling system with their bulky components. (Poor Lincoln never should have adopted this for their contemporary luxurious Town Cars…as they became “unexpected low-riders” at inopportune moments…)

The 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is built as body on frame construction using Cadillac’s rugged tubular X-frame, one of the results of the car’s extensive research advancements. With this type of construction, the body is married to outrigger mountings as compared to previous designs where the body was mounted to side rails. The X-frame is stronger because its rigid backbone includes “V” type arms fore and aft. The outrigger mounts have brackets that protrude from the box-type beams. This is Cadillac engineering at its finest. The Series 70 rides upon a long 126” wheelbase with the luxury length of 216” and is 78.5” in width…Cadillac-style. It came equipped with an early version of the wide oval low-profile tires with narrow 1” white walls.

Series 70 17

General Motors announced the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham in December of 1956 as a limited edition luxury sedan. It went on sale March 1957. It is based upon the 1953 Orleans and 1954 Park Avenue concept cars introduced at GM’s Motoramas. The Eldorado Brougham concept car was introduced at the 1955 Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It is the first American completely pillarless four-door hardtop sedan.

The brochure that was handed out at the presentation read: “The Eldorado Brougham has been created with the intent of capturing the appeal of those who demand the finest…a compact, personalized automobile, easy to operate, and employing our latest knowledge of styling and engineering. Only 54 inches in height and 210 inches in length, it features low sweeping lines…graceful contours of roof and hood, a unique pillarless design…and great areas of vision. Among its interior innovations are specially designed lounge seats, a distinctive vanity case and a unique instrument panel. Its performance is highlighted by a special high-powered Cadillac engine.”

1953 Orleans at the Waldorf Astoria GM Motorama

1953 Cadillac “Orleans” Show Car with a pillarless hardtop design

1955 Eldorado Brougham concept 1

1955 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Show Car Concept

Eldorado Brougham 2

Cadillac was the only luxury brand famous for engines that produced prodigious power. Cadillac was also the master builder of the V8 engine. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is no exception.  Its power is derived from a 5.9 litre 16-valve V8 engine. The engine is equipped with equalized manifolding, mechanical fuel pump, intake silencer, overhead valves, modified intake manifold, and automatic choke. The engine is mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic (Jetaway/Flashaway) 4-speed automatic transmission without torque converter.

For the 1957 model year it was equipped with two Carter (WCFB 2583 & WCFB 2584) 4-bbl carburetors which generates 325 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 542 Nm of peak torque @ 3,300 rpm. Cadillac Eldorados were always the “wild and turbulent ones.” They were renowned for their spirited performance. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 32.6 seconds with a top speed in the 121 mph range. It does the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in just 18.3 seconds.

Eldorado Brougham 1

For the 1958 model year the two 4-bbl set-up was replaced by three Rochester #7015801 2-bbl carburetors some refer to as a triple deuce, Pontiac called it Tri-Power. This set-up produced 335 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 542 Nm of peak torque @ 3,200 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 31.8 seconds with a top speed in the 122 mph range.

It does the ¼ mile @ 81 mph in just 18.2 seconds. The triple deuce was a tad bit less fuel thirsty than the dual quad carburetor set-up…but who cared about the cost of petrol when it was far less than a buck per gallon? Cadillac had such a formidable reputation among luxury automobiles that just the mere mention of the “Standard of the World” had the competition limping home on one axle!

Eldorado Brougham 3

1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 1

1959 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 2

The Series 6900 Eldorado Broughams built from 1959 until 1960 were hand-built in Italy by Pininfarina and lacked the Cadillac quality as the Detroit-built Fleetwood hand-crafted 1957-1958 versions. Production was farmed out to Italy to be more cost efficient. This move freed the Fleetwood assembly line. The Series 70 was built completely by hand and slowed the processing of the other Fleetwood models. They could build the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special a lot faster, it outsold the Series 70.

There were issues with the 1959 & 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Broughams which required a lot of post-build hand finishing once they arrived back to Detroit from Italy. The lacquer paint cracked in spots where lead was used as a filler. Their overall styling wasn’t as exquisite as the Detroit-built Broughams. The Detroit-built Series 70 Eldorado Broughams are Certified Milestone Vehicles. The Milestone Car Society is dedicated to the distinctive domestic and foreign motorcars built during the first two post-war decades.

1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 3

1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 4

1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 5

The 1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham was really a hodge-podge of remnants from the standard Cadillacs. They were nowhere near as exclusive as the Series 70 Eldorado Broughams. The styling is rather nondescript. It took the eagle-eye to denote the difference between The Broughams and the standard Cadillac models. Only 99 were built for the 1959 model year.

1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 6

1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 7

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 1

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 2

See how hard it is to tell the difference between the 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham and the standard models? There were only 101 sold for the 1960 model year. This was the last year for the Eldorado Brougham.

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 3

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 4

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 5

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 7

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 8

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 9

Cadillac Eldorado Broughams are among the rarest of all Cadillac models. Either Series 70 or Series 6900 are excellent collectibles; however, the Series 70 Eldorado Broughams being Certified Milestone Vehicles, command top dollar on the auction block and are highly sought among connoisseurs of fine automobiles world-wide.

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 10

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 11

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 14

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 6

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 13

1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 12

 

 

Series 70 24

The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham introduced many features and accessories to the industry that had never before been integrated into automobiles. Cadillac was the innovator, the luxury leader in the high-end automobile segment. The competition was not only green with envy but paled by comparison with the “Standard of the World.” The opulent Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was the most expensive domestic automobile for its day at $13,074.

Only 704 were built during its tenure from 1957-1958 which makes it a highly desirable collectible for the Cadillac connoisseur. With all of its “firsts” to the automobile industry, the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham became a Certified Milestone Vehicle. If Cadillac could decide upon a luxury concept; it can shed its existential identity crisis and once again become the pride of the U.S. and the envy of the world. The magnificent Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is another highly successful chapter…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

Series 70 25

Series 70 23

1956 Eldorado Brougham Town Car 1

This is the 1956 Eldorado Brougham Town Car. It is a one-off fibre glass bodied concept car that never went into production. Its classic lines and authoritative demeanor epitomized luxury cars from the 1950’s. Will there ever be another “Standard of the World?”

1956 Eldorado Brougham Town Car 2

1956 Eldorado Brougham Town Car 3

1956 Eldorado Brougham Town Car 4

1990-1992 Brougham 2

1990-1992 Brougham 1The 1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham

1993-1996 Fleetwood Brougham

The 1993-1996 Fleetwood Brougham is the last of the breed…

Cadillac Style

Cadillac Style…

1957 Series 70 13

“As the Standard of the World Turns”

1957 Series 70 11

GM Heritage Center

Series 70 28

finale

Series 70 29

Eldorado Brougham 4

Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Bob Adams Classic Cars, Sarasota Classic car Museum, Wikipedia, Fav Cars.com, and the GM Heritage Center for the use of the lovely photographs of these rare and beautiful automobiles.

Eldorado Brougham ad

Series 70 18

The End

NotoriousLuxury is Greg’s World…

 

Cadillac: The Standard of the Entire World

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Notorious Retrospect, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

…Automotive milestones

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…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Theodore MacManus wrote in his famous “The Penalty of Leadership” advertisement: “That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial.” Cadillac prowess in the luxury car arena made headlines all over the world. From the massive V16 and V12 powerplants to the modern V8 engines…Cadillac was the master builder of the luxury automobile.

Fisher Body, Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell, and a host of other talent made the brand the undisputed “Standard of the World”…in the entire world. Will the brand ever stop chasing everything that moves in Europe…and return to being the pride of the USA and the envy of the world? NotoriousLuxury retros back to the days when Cadillac reigned supreme…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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There was a time when Cadillac had no product recalls…they even sold without advertising. Cadillac was recognized as the luxury leader world-wide. The mere mention of “Cadillac” had the competition in a nervous frenzy. The brand had absolutely no interest comparing itself to European brands simply because the European brands were taking notes from Cadillac success!

The “Standard of the World” was the innovator displaying engineering prowess with outstanding fit & finish. Cadillac couldn’t have cared less about achieving 0-60 mph in a nanosecond, nor was it trying to compete in every automotive class – a Cadillac was a luxury car…period. Cadillac has since forgotten all of its loyal following that made it the “Standard of the World.”

1976 Coupe deVille 1

1976 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1976 Coupe deVille 2

The Cadillac name was synonymous with luxury, prestige, and quality. The association was that of superlative status such as the Cadillac of appliances…the Cadillac of electronics; this meant the product or service was the best in its industry. And of course…the Cadillac of automobiles was the one and only “Standard of the World.” It was everyone’s dream car…the envy of the driveway.

The mere sight of a big, shiny, classy Cadillac sent shock waves throughout the entire automotive industry. The exclusivity and supremacy made quite a statement about its owner. A Cadillac was a supreme achievement in motoring…I used to polish mine for hours upon end to a glassy mirror-like reflection that was so shiny, my girlfriends used to apply their make-up using my Cadillacs as a mirror! Those were the good old days.

1976 Coupe deVille 3

1976 Coupe deVille 4

Once seated behind the wheel…a turn of the ignition key brought the powerful V8 engine to life…it didn’t roar its existence – it whispered its presence. The transmission engaged imperceptibly…the steering was light as a feather…I could turn the steering wheel with one finger action.

Once the ride was under way, boulevard travel intrusion was negligible…a Cadillac managed the roughest pavement with ease. There was nothing else on the road quite like it. In fact, there was no more magnificent manner in which to view the world than from behind the wheel of the “Standard of the World.” Its presence enhanced any occasion…its eminence never went unnoticed –

1970

Not many truly understand this automobile’s illustrious heritage. Let’s take a look into the history of the “Standard of the World.” The brand was established in 1899 as The Detroit Auto Company. It was the first venture of its type in Detroit. It was struggling to survive; the company floundered and was dissolved in January 1901 after only 20 vehicles were built.

The company was reorganized on November 20, 1901 as The Henry Ford Company. Henry ran the company for three weeks then resigned to move on to other endeavors. Henry Martyn Leland, a reserved traditional entrepreneur, reorganized the venture and the company was renamed after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. The Cadillac Model A was introduced in 1903.

The brand did not spring forth as the “Standard of the World.” This formidable title was garnered through evolution and dedication to quality. It’s an American success story that unfortunately has a not so happy ending. To regain the illustrious title the brand must cease and desist with the kitschy-faux, make-believe unreasonable facsimiles and build real luxury automobiles once again –

1904 Model B Touring 1

1904 Cadillac Model B Touring

1908 Model S

1908 Cadillac Model S

Model 30 1913 2

1913 Cadillac Model 30

Model 30 1913 1

1918 Model 57 Raceabout

1918 Cadillac Model 57 Raceabout

Fisher Body, the coachbuilder for GM was founded in 1908 by Fred and Charles Fisher of the famous Fisher brothers in Detroit, Michigan. It all began here in Ohio in the beautiful area of Norwalk in the late 1800s building horse-drawn carriages. The transition became necessary because the internal combustion engine and its torque created way too much vibration and the bodies of the horse-drawn units couldn’t withstand the forces.

1929 Cadillac V-8 Dual Cowl Phaeton

Before Fisher Body became a company, the Fisher brothers built bodies for Cadillac. By 1910, Fisher Body became the supplier of all closed bodies for Cadillac. They also built bodies for Buick, Abbot, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Packard, Studebaker…even Ford. By 1913 Fisher Body had the capacity to build 100,000 bodies per year. This success caused the company to expand into Canada right across the lake from Detroit. By 1914 they grew becoming the world’s largest manufacturer of automobile bodies.

In 1916 Larry Fisher joined the company placing emphasis on the Cadillac brand. He wanted exclusivity for the brand. Fisher Body developed the art of interchangeability of wood body parts. They created precision wood working tools, thus, increasing production output. The company became The Fisher Body Corporation in 1916 with the capacity to build 370,000 bodies per year. Larry Fisher became general manager from 1925 until 1934. He oversaw the purchase of The Fleetwood Metal Body Company of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania in 1925.

V16 1

Cadillac was the first American car in 1914 to introduce a V-type water-cooled 8 cylinder engine and was also the first to use a thermostatic controlled cooling system. In 1920 the Clark Avenue plant was built in Detroit, Michigan and was the most modern facility in the entire industry. In 1922 Cadillac introduced a thermostatic carburetor control for efficiency. For the 1923 model year Cadillac was the first in the industry to build the inherently balanced V8 engine with a compensated crankshaft…and a four-wheel braking system.

Cadillac was the first in the industry in 1926 to offer a comprehensive service policy on a nationwide basis. In 1928 Cadillac developed the clashless synchromesh transmission that eliminated the chafing noise and friction of gear shifting, thus, laying the foundation for the first fully automatic transmission called the Hydra-Matic in 1941 which eliminated the clutch and manual shifting. In 1929 chrome plated accessories were standard.

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 V16 convertible

1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster

1930 V16 Roadsters were the world’s most luxurious cars

1930 V16 Phaeton 1

1930 Cadillac V16 Phaeton

1930 V16 Phaeton 2

1930 V16 Phaeton 3

After the stock market crash in the 1920s with The Great Depression, GM never lost money due to its diversity under the leadership of Larry Fisher. Fisher Body was an innovator in the industry. They introduced car window regulators to raise and lower windows, closed bodies offering year round comfort wet or dry…rain or snow, and many other features automakers take for granted today. The Fishers turned a $1,000 investment from Fred’s sister into a multi-million dollar company a few years later. In 1919 General Motors paid $27.6 Million USD for 60 percent of Fisher Body, and in 1926 GM paid another $208 Million USD for the remaining 40 percent of Fisher Body.

And in case you didn’t know…Cadillac was a pioneer in the automotive industry. Cadillac luxury and elegance are prominent attributes but innovation and engineering prowess were paramount. Cadillac introduced many firsts to the automotive industry. It is the only ‘foreign’ automobile to win the coveted Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain…not once…but twice. In 1908 Cadillac won for introducing standardization and interchangeability of parts. In 1912 it won for introducing the Delco electric lighting and ignition system. In 1905 Cadillac was the first to offer a multi-cylinder engine. In 1910 it was the first auto manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment. For the 1911 model year the illustrious Fleetwood hand-crafted coachwork made its grand entrance.

1930-1932

This is one of Cadillac’s coupé body designs from 1930-1932

1931 Cadillac V12

1931 Cadillac V12

1933 Cadillac V16

1933 Fleetwood-bodied V16

1936 Series 90

1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 90

Next…enter Harley Earl. He created Cadillac works of art. Harley Earl initiated the process of freeform sketching and hand sculpture techniques. His “concept car” theory is still used today for the design process. He was discovered by Larry Fisher who was intrigued by Earl’s concept car and clay model processes. Harley Earl’s methodology was far ahead of its time. The comradery began in 1927 when Fisher commissioned Harley Earl to design the 1927 LaSalle which was to be a companion entry-level car for Cadillac.

Harley Earl was named the first director of GM’s Art & Colour Section which was an in-house design studio and is an industry first, established December 15, 1935. Earl’s legendary techniques were a shock to conservatives at General Motors. He brought luxurious style to Cadillac…just what Larry Fisher wanted.  Before the Art & Colour Section, there really wasn’t a great importance to how an auto body looked. By 1937 The Art & Colour Section was renamed “The Styling Section” and Harley Earl was named vice president. This is the first time in automotive history that a designer became a VP of a large corporation.

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

The big news was the ultimate automobile powerplants introduced in 1930. The massive 16 and 12 cylinder engines, both V-types…made Cadillac the first auto manufacturer to offer a complete line of multi-cylinder automobiles. Cadillac introduced the hydraulic valve silencers the same year; Cadillac was the master builder for multi-cylinder engines.

This made the competition appear dated – placing the competitors even further behind…for the 1932 model year Cadillac introduced safety headlamps, an air-cooled generator, a completely silent transmission, and full-range ride regulator. And you thought Cadillac was merely a luxury car…Cadillac was the engineering leader…it “started the dance” the rest of the auto industry followed in subservience…especially European luxury “wannabes.” 

V16 2

1936 Series 70 V8 coupe

1936 Cadillac Series 70 V8 coupé

1936 V16 convertible

1936 Cadillac V16 Convertible coupé

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 1

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special with body by Derham

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 2

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 1

1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 5

The glamour of a Cadillac was second to none. There was style…grace…and the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. It used to be the luxury car enjoyed by more luxury car buyers than any other brand. These resplendent automobiles were an ultra-exclusive realm of motoring majesty. Now…enter Bill Mitchell, a bright and talented advertising illustrator.

Harley Earl recruited him to join the GM Art & Colour Section in 1935. Bill Mitchell designed the fabulous Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special. He influenced the design of over 72.5 million GM automobiles. Some of his monumental designs include the 1955-1957 Chevy Bel Air, the 1961-1976 Corvette Stingray, the 1963 Buick Riviera, and the 1975-1979 Cadillac Seville. Bill Mitchell eventually became the VP of Design for GM.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 6

Beginning the 1934 model year, Cadillac was the first to begin stream lining the coachwork…the spare tire was now concealed within the body. The 1936 model year is another important milestone year. Bill Mitchell designed the Fleetwood-bodied Series Sixty-Special. This car revolutionized luxury automobiles. It was the first car to use fender mounted headlamps when everyone else attached them to the hood.

The elegant Series Sixty-Special was sans running boards which was shocking at the time. It had a faired-in rear deck lid, thin door posts, and chrome banded window frames which became Fleetwood signature features for many years. A hydraulic braking system was also introduced by Cadillac in 1936 as a first to the industry. The Sixty-Special was released for the 1938 model year; its design was copied by the rest of the auto industry. This milestone vehicle made everything on the road appear outmoded. This car influenced automotive design for an entire generation.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 2

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 4

1940 Series 72

For the 1940 model year, Cadillac was the first to introduce an ultra-modern large, luxurious motorcar to the industry known as the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two. It was similar to the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five but is 3″ shorter. It rides upon a long 138″ wheelbase. The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two is powered by a 346 CID V8 engine that produces 140 hp.

The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two uses a 3-speed manual transmission and is equipped with a four-wheel hydraulic braking system. This is the only year it was produced and only 18 were built. 1940 introduced the first ball bearing steering system making these large vehicles easier to maneuver.

1941 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Sixty-two Coupe

1941 Cadillac Series 62 coupé

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible coupé

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 5

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 

Harley Earl’s first monumental design is the 1948 Cadillac. This is the birth of the iconic Cadillac tail fin. The Lockheed P-38 was the inspiration. During this genre, air craft and space rockets dominated the designers’ imagination for automotive design. The tail fin wars of the 1950s were instigated by Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner. Tail fin mania spread like wildfire throughout the industry. The greatest engineering achievement in 45 years was Cadillac’s new compact…more economical and smoother operating overhead valve V8 engine for the 1948 model year. 

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 1

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 2

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 4

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 3

Harley Earl and Alfred P. Sloan, GM’s president at the time developed the annual model change implemented as “Dynamic Obsolescence.” This associated model identity to a specific year for product success. This principle is used in the marketing strategies today. Harley Earl is the pioneer of using clay models to evolve various body components. He is the first designer to create complete automobiles; blending the main body structure with hoods, fenders, lights, and trim to enhance styling continuity. The rest of the auto industry scrambled to adopt this theory.

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 2

1949 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 4

Public acceptance was important to Harley Earl. It was his fabulous idea that led to the formidable GM Motoramas. Between 1949 and 1961 these glitzy, glamorous extravaganzas showcased notorious conceptual designs aimed at public reaction. Comments were taken seriously and used towards production models. Harley Earl designed the pillarless hardtop design which was the first of its kind in the automotive industry.

He ordered the two-door hardtop design into production as the very first Coupe deVille for the 1949 model year. Earl visited Italy and after seeing a Lancia sedan sans “B” pillars…he introduced the hardtop Sedan deVille for the 1956 model year for luxury car buyers that wanted a pillarless four-door configuration. The Orleans four-door hardtop sedan was a concept car that debuted at the 1953 Motorama which appealed to customers and spawned the Sedan deVille. The DeVille series is among the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. They earned the title as “America’s favorite luxury cars.”

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 7

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 3

The Coupe deVille mocked a convertible with chrome roof bows

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 5

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 6

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 8

1949 Series Sixty-Special 2

1949 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1949 Series 62 convertible

1949 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1950 Cadillac Sixty-two Convertible

1950 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 4

1953 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

Cadillac even outdid itself for the 1953 model year slapping the competition with the highest horsepower V8 engine to power a domestic production vehicle with an astounding 220 hp in the magnificent limited edition Series 62 Eldorado convertible…a Harley Earl masterwork! The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado is an exclusive trim option package for the Series 62 and the image car for General Motors. It was also the most expensive model at $7,750…you could have purchased two Cadillacs for this price.

Distinctive signature features which set it apart from the stock convertible are a wrap-around panoramic windscreen, a sculpted beltline that incorporates a cupid’s bow in its design, a sleek metal parade boot, and Kelsey-Hayes genuine wire-laced wheels. Only 532 were built making it highly sought by collectors world-wide today. They now sell for six figures…that is if you can find one for sale – Harley Earl’s legend will live on forever. He and Bill Mitchell made Cadillac the quintessential luxury icon.

1955 Cadillac for racing 1

Cadillac was into stock car racing, 1955 Series 62 coupé shown

1955 Cadillac for racing 2

1955 Eldorado

1955 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

1956 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 1

1956 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan deVille

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 2

The pillarless hardtop Sedan deVille became an instant success

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 3

1958 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 1

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 3

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The last of Harley Earl’s masterpiece designs is the magnificent 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Broughams. This is the most spectacular Cadillac motorcar of the 1950s. Its sheet metal wasn’t shared with any other Cadillac. The Eldorado Brougham was one of the world’s most expensive cars at the time selling at $13,074. Understated luxury from bumper to bumper with a custom appearance makes this automobile totally unique for the genre. Harley Earl designed some of the most significant Cadillacs of all time. He retired at age 65 in 1958 shortly after directing the design of the iconic 1959 Cadillacs. By this time, General Motors had become the largest corporation in the world.

The end 1

The 1959 tail fin

The iconic tail fin from the 1959 Cadillac

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 1

1959 Cadillac Series 62 “Flat Top” hardtop sedan

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 2

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 3

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 6

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 5

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 4

1959 Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 2

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 3

For the 1960s, Bill Mitchell promoted what he called the “Sheer Look.” It was an aerodynamic design that is sleeker and more contemporary. He broke away from the designs of Harley Earl with his own interpretations of what a luxury car should be. The designs under his direction are noted as the “Bill Mitchell Era.”

He gave GM vehicles a more conservative, streamlined look. His restrained use of ornamentation, less chrome, and the elimination of tail fins instituted an understatement which made these automobiles timeless challenging the years gracefully. Mitchell’s last accomplishments are the radically down-sized Cadillacs for the 1977 model year. Both Bill Mitchell and Harley Earl left an indelible impression on the automotive industry.

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1960 Series 62 convertible 2

1960 Series 62 convertible 3

Cadillac was still a heart-throb with its “Sheer Look”

1960 Series 62 convertible 4

1960 Series 62 convertible 6

1960 Series 62 convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 7

1967 Fleetwood Eldorado

The 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado with front-wheel drive is the world’s finest personal luxury automobile. It successfully combined the traction of front-wheel drive, maintained perfect poise with Automatic Level Control, and the maneuverability of Variable Ratio Power Steering…all as standard equipment. This car gangster-slapped the industry big-time!

1971 Coupe deVille 1

1971 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1971 Coupe deVille 2

The Bill Mitchell Era exemplified Cadillac luxury and distinction to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy. This elegant era in luxury motoring was augmented by “Cadillac-Style!” Bill Mitchell had the entire industry “nervous.” Each time the competition ‘thought’ they had caught up with Cadillac-Style…Bill Mitchell bitch-slapped them with something more intriguing…with an attitude –

1971 Coupe deVille 3

1971 Coupe deVille 4

1971 Coupe deVille 5

1972 Fleetwood Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 2

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 6

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 3

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 4

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 7

Cadillac pioneered many features and accessories the auto industry takes for granted. I could go on and on with praise for the brand’s outstanding automotive achievement. The 1960s and 1970s were equally as innovative…but something happened during the mid to late 1970s. The music stopped for Cadillac in the 1980s – it became adulterated with so many generic shortcuts which made it a mere hodgepodge of GM parts adorned with Cadillac nomenclature. Quality, fit & finish came to an abrupt halt. Its styling became nondescript and austere.

And as the years went by, it began chasing/emulating anything that moved from Europe. It has become too many things: a jack of all trades and a master of none. Its luxurious demeanor has become diluted to the point of kitsch. All models are recalled annually because of defects and short-sighted engineering. It is no longer a real luxury car…it masquerades as everything. In order to regain its stature, it must cease and desist with the intent of trying to be all things competing in areas which it should not.

Cadillac was snob wagon supreme…formidable in its existence, causing the competition to take note. The entire world waits with bated-breath for the supremacy and exclusivity once presented by Cadillac to dominate the industry and once again become the pride of the USA and the envy of the world. This is another NOTORIOUS flashback…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1973 Coupe deVille 1

1973 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1973 Coupe deVille 2

1973 Coupe deVille 3

1973 Coupe deVille 4

1973 Coupe deVille 5

Fisher Body Logo

“GM mark of excellence…”

1975 Fleetwood Brougham

1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 2

1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 1

1990-1992 Brougham 3

1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham 

1990-1992 Brougham 2

1990-1992 Brougham 1

1990-1992 Brougham 4

Brougham d’Elegance interior

1990-1992 Brougham 5

Special thanks to the best caretakers in the classic car business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic cars, Matt Garrett/GM Classics, MJC Classic Cars, Liberty Old Timers, Bob Adams Classic Cars, and Park Ward Motors Museum.

3

Will there ever be another “Standard of the World” creation?

Cadillac Wreath and Crest

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“As the Standard of the World Turns”

Cadillac: The Standard of Excellence

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

A tribute to the traditional Cadillac

Lead photo

…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

Tradition

Cadillac was once a formidable brand in the automotive industry. It was the standard of excellence in every aspect…superb fit & finish, remarkable engineering, absolute power…and prestige beyond belief world-wide. No automobile in the world achieved the admiration and respect as a Cadillac. Whatever one desired in a high-end luxury automobile…Cadillac either offered it or was in the process of building it. Always the innovator…always the epitome of luxury…and always the leader!

Fleetwood-bodied, hand-crafted automobiles catapulted the brand to an even higher standard of automotive excellence. The Cadillac DeVilles were and remain America’s favorite luxury cars. The formidable Eldorado had the entire industry in awe…with its poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. Whether one chose the elegant open tourer, a spacious four-door sedan, the personal luxury of a two-door hardtop coupé, or a luxurious limousine…Cadillac designed and built the industry’s finest. NotoriousLuxury rekindles the passion of this lost art… in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

Crest 1

The Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963 B

1963 Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963

The famous insignia that adorns the legend is a coat of arms from the French de la Mothe Cadillac family. It was registered as an American trademark on August 6, 1906. In the language of ancient heraldry it’s described as: “Quarterly, the first and fourth gold…a fess sable between three Merlettes of the same – posed two in chief and one in base. Second and third gules quartering argent…three bars azure.”

What does this mean? Translated, it describes a quartered shield with the uppermost left and lower right corners gold containing black bands with two legless birds above and one below the band. The uppermost right and lower left corners contain two red quarters, and two silver quarters with blue bars. The “couronne” or coronet is for the six counts of France. For symmetry, the original de la Mothe Cadillac family arms and the trademark of 1906 contain seven round pearls. Evolution of the crest through the years has displayed as many as 18 but no less than seven.

Crest 2 1941 B

1941 Cadillac crest

Crest 2 1941

Crest 3 1955 B

1955 Cadillac crest

Crest 3 1955

The first and fourth quarters represent the de la Mothe arms. The Merlettes are ancient heraldic adaptations of the Martin and are shown without beaks and legs. The Merlettes are given for a difference to young brothers to signify, in order to raise themselves they are to look to the wings of virtue and merit; and not to rely on the legs having but little land to set their feet upon. The second and third quarters were added to the de la Mothe arms to signify the favorable marriage which increased their estates. The red stands for prowess and boldness in action…the silver for purity, charity, virtue, and plenty. The azure blue signifies knightly valor – 

Fleetwood crest B

Fleetwood laurel wreath and Cadillac crest

Fleetwood crest

The laurel wreath augmenting the crest was used for Fleetwood…the senior most models in the hierarchy. DeVilles, Calais, and Series 62 models used a prominent “V” under the crest in either gold or silver. Contemporary Cadillac models use an abstract interpretation of this legendary design. Some agree this new design separates the make-believe Cadillacs from the genuine “Standard of the World” editions…

Crest 5 1965 B

1965 Cadillac crest

Crest 5 1965

Crest 6 1974 B

1974 Cadillac DeVille crest

Crest 6 1974

1959B tail fin

The formidable fins – 

1948 tail fin

1948

1949 tail fin

1949

Cadillac’s chief designer Harley Earl “started the dance” of which the entire automotive industry followed suit. This man designed Cadillac masterworks. It was his 1948 Cadillac creation that started it all – he designed the 1948-1949 Cadillacs patterned after the Lockheed P-38 war-time aircraft.

The beautifully tailored fins are artfully integrated into the rear fenders. These are separate bolt-on features which flow gracefully into the doors. Within a few years, tail fins sprouted in every division at GM…not to mention how the rest of the industry emulated but could not replicate the design. Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner instigated the “Tail Fin Wars” of the 1950s.

1952 tail fin

1952

1953 tail fin

1953

The next tail fin design appeared on the 1950-1953 Cadillacs. They have the same basic style only a bit more elegant and refined. Back-up lamps were moved from below the rear deck lid and repositioned beneath the taillamps for the 1951 model. Cadillac is one of the early pioneers of back-up lamps. The basic theme of the taillamp/back-up lamp combo ran through the 1956 model year designs.

1954 tail fin

1954

1955 tail fin

1955

1956 tail fin

1956

The 1954 model year introduced a higher tail fin to offset the overall lower silhouette. Cadillacs were redesigned to be longer, lower, and wider than previous models. The fins are more “kicked-up.” This is the most remembered style establishing Cadillac as the tail fin leader. This design went basically unchanged from 1954 until 1956. Cadillac didn’t redesign their offerings from a blinding flash of inspiration…change was evolutionary. The 1955 Eldorado sported its own unique shark-fin design which inspired the next model year for the standard Cadillac.

1956 Eldorado tail fin

1955-1956 Eldorado

1957 tail fin

1957

1957-1958 Eldorado tail fin

1957-1958 Eldorado “Chipmunk-Cheeks”

For the 1957 model year the tail fins were completely redesigned for the standard Cadillac models. They are a modified version from the 1955 Eldorado. The fins are lower and tapered into the architecture fashionably. The 1957 Eldorados received their own distinctive tail fin redesign. They are a bit sharper and more prominent than the previous version.

Rounded faired-in fenders received the nickname “Chipmunk-Cheeks” because of the appearance for the rear-end design of the Eldorados. The 1957-1958 Eldorado Seville and Biarritz used their new design; however, this was not inherited by any other Cadillac models. The 1957-1958 Cadillacs sported an even lower silhouette than previous designs. Automobiles were becoming more streamlined…Cadillac led the way in the entire industry with elegant designs, impeccable craftsmanship, and that poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac.

1958 tail fin

1958

1958 Eldorado Brougham tail fin

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

1959 tail fin

1959

Tail fin drama continued. The tail fin shocker came with the 1959 redesign. The iconic 1959 Cadillac tail fins are the tallest and the largest in the industry. All Cadillac models shared the same design. They represent American excess to the hilt. Either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em…there is no in-between. Some say they are the summit of gaudiness…some say they are elegant, and then there are some who are undecided. Because of this controversy – 1959 Cadillacs especially Eldorados, fetch six figures easily on the auction block.

1960 tail fin

1960

1961 tail fin

1961

1962 tail fin

1962

Refinement for the mighty tail fin began the 1960 model year. The designers knocked them down a notch planing them into the architecture for a cleaner look. The restrained use of ornamentation also provided an understatement of Cadillac elegance. From 1960 onward, the tail fin began to disappear into oblivion. The 1961 model trimmed the fins tastefully and added lower fins called “Skegs” to the redesign. They were trimmed again for the 1962 model year. The finale for the beloved fins is the 1963-1964 model years. They disappeared completely for the all-new 1965 redesign. Cadillac will always be remembered for luxury, opulence, and tail fins!

1963 tail fin

1963

1964 tail fin

1964

1965 tail fin

1965…tail fins are banished into history

1966 tail fin

1966

1967 tail fin

1967 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1967-1969 Eldorado tail fin

1967-1969 Fleetwood Eldorado

1968 tail fin

1968 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1969 tail fin

1969 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 tail fin

1970 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 Eldorado tail fin

1970 Fleetwood Eldorado

1971 tail fin

1971-1972 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1971-1972 Eldorado tail fin

1971-1972 Fleetwood Eldorado

1973 tail fin

1973 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1973 Eldorado tail fin

1973 Eldorado

1974-1976 tail fin

1974-1976 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1974-1976 Eldorado tail fin

1974-1976 Eldorado

1977-78 Eldorado

1977-1978 Eldorado

Pink Cadillac 3

The luxury of choice

Pink Cadillac 1

The traditional Cadillac offered more body styles than any other luxury car manufacturer. There is no more romantic architecture than a Cadillac convertible. They are the glamour cars of the stars. The elegant open tourers are still the most desired convertibles in the entire world. These elegant Cadillac creations have inspired music by Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley with “Pink Cadillac.” They have inspired movies such as “The Solid Gold Cadillac” with Judy Holiday in 1954. They were also used in parades such as the very first Cadillac Eldorado of 1953 driven in the inaugural parade for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And we cannot forget the 1973 Eldorado convertible pace car for the 57th 500 Mile International Sweepstakes held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday May 30, 1973. There is no more dramatic manner in which to travel Cadillac-style than open air motoring in an elegant Cadillac convertible coupé. Whether it be the classic Series 62…the classic DeVille…or the “Gilded One” it is the ONLY way to travel…Cadillac-style – 

Pink Cadillac 2

1959 Series 62 convertible

Pink Cadillac 4

Pink Cadillac 5

1957 Fleetwood 1

1957 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1957 Fleetwood 2

The most distinguished automobiles in all of motordom are the impeccably hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. This is luxury on the grand Cadillac scale…in the grand Cadillac manner. These most revered models are more than austere, ostentatious bling as today’s kitschy-faux make-believe luxury cars. The Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs are the most luxurious owner and chauffeur-driven models in the history of the brand. All Fleetwood crafted cars were built on their own dedicated assembly lines. Their individually longer wheelbases provide more rear seat passenger room.

The magnificent Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Broughams are decadently luxurious with ultra-exclusive accommodations that offer limousine-style luxury in an owner-driven sedan. It is the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special that reinforced the “Standard of the World” title. Unfortunately…there will never, ever, be another hand-crafted Cadillac Fleetwood…they epitomized the brand’s integrity as the finest automobiles on the planet. No car in the luxury automobile arena could have been made more personally yours than a Cadillac Fleetwood. Will there ever be another LUXURIOUS Cadillac to be the pride of the US…and the envy of the world?

1957 Fleetwood 4

1957 Fleetwood 5

1957 Fleetwood 3

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

The most eloquent sedans in the world are the Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five nine-passenger sedan and Imperial formal limousine. Executive-style grace with spacious accommodations is expedited in a refined and most dignified manner. This is the ultimate expression of the “Standard of the World.” These opulent sedans are still seen at foreign embassies, palaces, and in the driveways of luxurious estates. Some things are just too good to be forgotten.

These hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied masterpieces will still be in service…when today’s make-believe luxury cars are rusting in peace at the local scrap yard. Cadillac commercial chassis were popular as ambulances during the 1950s throughout the 1970s because of their notorious reliability and high-speed capabilities. They were also built as hearses of the utmost dignity. Some mortuaries still have them in service just because…there is nothing in today’s market that even comes close to the poised dignity that was the hallmark of every traditional Cadillac Fleetwood –

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 7

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

Good taste never goes out of style…

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 8

1970 Coupe deVille 1

1970 Coupe deVille

1970 Coupe deVille 4

America’s sweethearts –

The Cadillac DeVille remains America’s favorite luxury car. They are available as the Coupe deVille, Sedan deVille, and the DeVille convertible. They enjoyed the highest resale value and repeat ownership of any American-built luxury car. The elegant Coupe deVille and Sedan deVille sold more automobiles than the combined aggregate totals of the competitors.

The Cadillac DeVille ruled the industry from 1949 until the 2004 model year when it became the DTS; maintaining the poised dignity Cadillac invented. The Cadillac DeVilles are among the most successful and longest production runs in the history of the brand. Their preeminence in the luxury car arena is achieved through years of growth and innovation. These elegant motorcars stole the hearts of enthusiasts world-wide in one svelte swoop.

1970 Coupe deVille 5

1970 Coupe deVille 6

1970 Coupe deVille 10

1976 Sedan deVille 1

1976 Sedan deVille

1976 Sedan deVille 5

1976 Sedan deVille 2

1976 Sedan deVille 4

1976 Sedan deVille 3

1976 Sedan deVille 8

Their six-passenger roominess combined with legendary Cadillac comfort and conveniences are what retained their following annually. They are smooth, responsive, and quiet beyond belief. The Coupe deVille is the only two-door luxury car that offers as much interior room as the competitor’s four-door sedan. It was the primary choice among the ladies with its intimate personal luxury and high style. Features and accessories were available to make it as unique as its driver.

The Sedan deVille is the luxury sedan that doubles as a family sedan. With its four-door convenience, it is like your own personal limousine. It was the perennial favorite among luxury car buyers. The Sedan deVille offered more comfort and convenience features and accessories as standard equipment than its competition. Open air touring with a youthful zest makes the DeVille convertible the number one choice among convertible lovers. Its fully automatic, power folding fabric roof disappeared at the touch of a button. The DeVille is the grandest of all open tourers…Cadillac-style. Its luxury has no peer. The Cadillac DeVille was the only luxury convertible built in the land at the time. It is one of the world’s most dramatic automobiles.

1970 DeVille 3

1970 DeVille convertible

1970 DeVille 5

1970 DeVille 6

1970 DeVille 7

1976 Eldo convt 4

1976 Eldorado convertible

1976 Eldo convt 2

No story regarding Cadillac could be complete without mention of “The Gilded One.” The totally avant-garde Eldorado was the Flagship from Cadillac the entire world will never forget. They became the most dramatic models in the history of the brand. Elegance, innovation, and engineering excellence made them one of the world’s most desired dream cars. The Eldorado introduced styling, features, and accessories that eventually found their way to other future models.

The superb Cadillac engineering, advanced design and dedication to excellence spawned the formidable 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado. It is the ultimate personal luxury automobile. The Fleetwood Eldorado is the only car in the world to successfully combine the positive traction of front-wheel drive, the agility of Variable Ratio Power Steering, and the perfect balance of Automatic Level Control. During its tenure, the Cadillac Eldorado was available as a convertible coupé, a two-door hardtop coupé, and an ultra-luxurious four-door hardtop sedan. They were the glamour cars of the 1950s through the 1970s…and remain so –

1976 Eldo convt 3

1976 Eldo convt 6

1976 Eldo convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 1

1956 Series 62 convertible

1956 Series 62 convt 4

The traditional Cadillac was the most desired automobile in the entire world. It was the standard of excellence and second to none in the manufacture of luxury motorcars. It is a legend, and an American institution. A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac is a hand-crafted masterpiece from the master craftsmen that garnered the title of the “Standard of the World.” The DeVilles remain America’s favorite luxury cars in every respect. The Eldorado began as the Flagship and evolved into the finest personal luxury car in the world. Cadillac had a luxury car for every luxury car buyer…whether coupé, convertible coupé, sedan, or an opulent limousine – the only way to travel…was Cadillac-style. NotoriousLuxury salutes the traditional Cadillac…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1956 Series 62 convt 3

Special thanks to the finest classic automobile dealers in the business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Bob Adams Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic Cars, MJC Classic Cars, Park Ward Motors Museum, and Matt Garrett & GM Classics. You are the best in the industry!

1956 Series 62 convt 5

1956 Series 62 convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 6

“As the Standard of the World Turns”

Greg's World

NotoriousLuxury IS Greg’s World…

Cadillac Eldorado: The Legend Lives

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

…the iconic and unforgettable legend lives on in

1960 Series 6400 Eldorado Seville 1

…the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1978 Eldorado Custom Biarritz 7

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 1

The Cadillac Eldorado is the glamour car of the 1950s through the 1970s. It was once the Flagship in Cadillac’s model hierarchy and one of the world’s most desired dream cars. The Eldorado began as an elite trim level option for the Cadillac Series 62 convertible and was an instant success. It became its own exclusive model the next model year. Eldorado…or “The Gilded One” has been the envy of the driveway in America throughout its tenure.

The Eldorado was the styling predictor…the innovator…as well as the epitome of Cadillac luxury and elegance. It was also the most powerful of all Cadillac models. The Eldorado Custom Biarritz was created as a tribute to the last of the full-size models…and the end of an illustrious era in motoring luxury. It is dripping with luxury and elegance with a unique style all its own. NotoriousLuxury salutes the full-size Cadillac Eldorado…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1977 Eldorado Custom Biarritz 5

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 4

The Cadillac Eldorado began as an exclusive trim level option for the Series 62 convertible for the 1953 model year. Chief stylist Harley Earl created this masterpiece as GM’s image car. This was the most expensive Cadillac in the model hierarchy at $7,750 which could have purchased a home back then.

Distinctive signature features which set it apart from the stock convertible are a wrap-around panoramic windscreen, a sculpted beltline that incorporates a cupid’s bow in its design, a sleek metal parade boot, and Kelsey-Hayes genuine wire-laced wheels. Only 532 were built making it highly sought by collectors world-wide.

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 5

1953

This top of the line limited edition convertible was available in four exclusive to Eldorado colors: Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue, and Artisan Ochre. Leather upholstery of the finest grain, power windows, Signal-Seeking radio, heater/defroster, and windscreen washers were all standard.

It was among the first convertibles to offer air conditioning as an option. This car created such interest among automobile enthusiasts; it became a stand-alone model for the 1954 model year. Today, the 1953 Series 62 Eldorado convertible commands six figures on the auction block.

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 2

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 3

1954 Series 62 Eldorado 1

The 1954 Series 62 Eldorado is the first full production version

1954 Series 62 Eldorado 2

1954 Series 62 Eldorado 3

1954 Series 62 Eldorado 4

1954 Series 62 Eldorado 5

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz 1

The glamour continued for the Eldorado. In 1956 it was now available as the Biarritz convertible coupé and the Seville hardtop coupé. The Eldorado remained true to form with exclusive styling shared by no other Cadillac model…this became an Eldorado signature. Its distinctive rear end ensemble is designed with pointed shark-fins, uniquely styled taillamps & back-up lamps, and a tailored bumper with exhaust ports.

An Eldorado always predicted styling features that would eventually find their way on future Cadillac models. The Eldorado Seville has a luxurious Vicodec roof covering as its signature styling feature to highlight its pillarless hardtop design. This was the beginning of the vinyl roof treatments that became so popular in the 1970s.

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz 2

The 1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz convertible coupé

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz 3

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz 4

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz 5

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz 6

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz 7

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Seville 1

The 1956 Series 62 Eldorado Seville hardtop coupé

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Seville 2

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Seville 3

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Seville 4

1956 Series 62 Eldorado Seville 5

1956

A notable signature feature for Cadillac Eldorados from the 1950s is their stealth power reserves. They are tuned to produce high performance that was not usually associated with luxury cars from this genre. Cadillac was the master builder of the V8 engine. There are two versions that were available for this generation. A 5.4 litre 331 CID V8 producing 200–270 hp between 4,400 & 4,600 rpm powers the 1953-1955 models.

A 6.0 litre 365 CID V8 producing 305-345 hp between 4,700 & 4,800 rpm powers the 1956-1959 models. These luxury behemoths are equipped with two 4-bbl carburetors from 1955 through 1957 Eldorados; and three 2-bbl carburetors for 1958 & 1959 Eldorados. Power, performance, and prestige are all-inclusive attributes of the magnificent Cadillac Eldorado.

Engine 1954

The 5.4 litre 331 CID V8

Engine 1956

The 6.0 litre 365 CID V8

Engine 1957 Eldorado Brougham

 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 6.0 litre V8 with 2 4-bbl carburetors

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 1

And…lest we forget, the ultra-luxurious hand-built Cadillac Series 70 Eldorado Brougham. They are crafted by Fleetwood but do not wear the nomenclature. Its romantic architecture is augmented by elegant forward opening rear coach doors and a stainless-steel roof. The decadently luxurious Eldorado Brougham has pillarless hardtop styling. The silhouette is lower than that of the standard bodied Cadillacs giving the appearance of a custom car. When either rear door is opened the front seat automatically moves forward making entry and exits easier.

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 2

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 4

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 5

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 16

The sweeping design includes chrome from bumper to bumper. The elegant front end ensemble has quad headlamps (which were illegal in some US states at the time), custom bumpers with rubber tipped Dagmars and unique grille work. This distinctive design influenced the look for Cadillac’s 1958 model year. The rear end design was shared with no other Cadillac.

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 6B

The unique tail fins have a slim contoured look with thin taillamps integrated. Asymmetric highly polished bumperettes feature another set of taillamps and back-up lamps, bullet-style guards and exhaust ports. Its price made it one of the world’s most expensive automobiles at a whopping $13,074…twice the price of the standard Eldorado models – even higher than a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud!

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 6

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 3

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 17

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 8

The luxury continued into the interior. There were 44 leather and trim combinations available with the choice of Mouton, Karakul, or Lambskin carpet. Every exclusive Cadillac feature and accessory came standard: two position memory seats, power windows and door locks, Delco Signal-Seeking transistor radio with power antenna, dual heating system, air conditioning, cruise control, power trunk release, Autronic Eye, and thin line white wall tires. Technical features include a two 4-bbl carburetor system and air suspension.

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 10

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 18

The magnificent Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was built at a highly restricted pace to retain its exclusivity. Only 400 were built for the 1957 model year; and 304 built for the 1958 model year. Production for the 1959-1960 Eldorado Broughams were farmed out to Pininfarina of Italy because of the extensive hand-crafting involved.

The reason they were shipped to Italy was due to the fact that the added hand-crafting slowed the Fleetwood assembly line, affecting factory burden raising costs which cut into the profit margin. Fleetwood could build the standard models which sold in higher numbers faster than the Eldorado Brougham. The Italian built Broughams were not as nice as the Detroit versions. Extensive re-working had to be done when they arrived here in the USA. A major defect is through the use of lead used to fill low spots in the metal…it cracked horrendously.

1959 Series 6400 Eldorado 1

The “Notorious” 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Series 6400 Biarritz 

1959 Series 6400 Eldorado 2

1960 Series 6400 Eldorado Seville 6

During the early to mid-1960s, Eldorado grandeur was diluted and the identity that had become so formidable in the 1950s was lost. The Flagship position it held was assumed by the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special. The Eldorado Seville hardtop coupé was dropped from the model lineup for 1961. It was only available as the Biarritz convertible which was merely an over embellished Series 62/DeVille convertible.

1960 Series 6400 Eldorado Seville 2

The 1960 Eldorado Series 6400 Seville hardtop coupé

1960 Series 6400 Eldorado Seville 3

1960 Series 6400 Eldorado Seville 4

1960 Series 6400 Eldorado Seville 5

1964 Series 6400 Eldorado Biarritz 1

The 1964 Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1964 Series 6400 Eldorado Biarritz 2

1964 Series 6400 Eldorado Biarritz 3

The 1964 Eldorados have genuine walnut trim

1964 Series 6400 Eldorado Biarritz 6

1964 Series 6400 Eldorado Biarritz 4

1964 Series 6400 Eldorado Biarritz 5

1966 Eldorado 1

The 1966 Eldorado convertible

1966 Eldorado 2

1967 Fleetwood Edlorado 1

The expanding personal luxury niche of the 1960s spawn the birth of the front-wheel drive Eldorado. For the 1967 model year, the fabulous Fleetwood Eldorado made its debut. It was an Eldorado unlike its finny, gas-guzzling namesakes. This all-new Eldorado is longer, lower, and wider than its predecessors. Sharp knife blade fenders extended beyond the architecture in the front and rear. The long hood, low-slung roofline, and short rear deck is distinctive and unique…it was copied by the entire industry.

Once again, the Eldorado introduced a new style. This design heavily influenced the 1969-1970 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood models. The 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado was no longer a dressed-up version of something pre-existing. Its design by Bill Mitchell, chief designer for GM, is magnificent and is still quite popular with connoisseurs world-wide. From the striking front end ensemble augmented by hidden headlamps to the sharp angular rear end design, the 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado is the world’s finest personal luxury automobile. It is a dramatic departure from the past –

1967 Fleetwood Edlorado 2