Archive for Greg’s World

Lotus Legends: The Formidable Elan

Posted in Legendary Lotus Series, Lotus with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

The Lotus Elan  is timeless in every respect…

One of the most prolific English roadsters ever to scorch the pavement is the insuperable first generation Lotus Elan. The British have always had a certain je ne sais quoi with their bold and unconventional approach to extremely quick two-seat sports cars. The Lotus Elan exhibits daring innovation for its day with its chic fibreglass monocoque bodyshell. Besides…there’s more than enough power beneath its bonnet to huff & puff & blow the doors off the competitors should they not get out of its way quickly. The Lotus Elan is most definitely a wolf clothed in sheep’s attire. Naturally…when the name “Lotus” is spoken – it conjures up racing legends.

The Elan goes way past “serious.” In fact, it was such a hot and unconventional sports car for the 1960s, it forced cars in its class into an existential identity crisis – immediately. The first generation Lotus Elan had a very successful production run from 1962 – 1973. It was no surprise when the Lotus Elan was chosen to be driven by the quintessential British ministry sleuth…the indomitable Emma Peel, John Steed’s counterpart in the 1960s cult classic detective TV series “The Avengers.” The producers wanted an automobile of irreverent maverick…one to suit an unconventional femme fatale – Mrs. Emma Peel was far ahead of her time – so is the first generation Lotus Elan…

1957 Lotus Elite

Lotus evolution…

The Elan replaced the Lotus Elite. Indeed, it was time for something new. The Elite was breaking the bank draining financial resources without a significant gain in profit. In 1957, The Lotus Company owned by Chapman was on the verge of bankruptcy. Colin Chapman had a really expensive racing habit. The Lotus Elite was very expensive to build. The custom crafted all-aluminium engine built by Coventry Climax was one of the largest expenses. The all-fibreglass construction was also expensive to build.

The Elite boasts unique fibreglass reinforced plastic monocoque construction which replaced the previous separate body/chassis components. It used this unique composite material for the entire load-bearing structure. The front end used a steel sub frame to support the engine and front suspension. There is also a metal fitting at the windscreen for mounting door hinges and a provision for jacking the car off the ground.

Take into consideration, this was before composite body structures were perfected. There were also the issues of the suspension attachment components pulling out of the composite structures. The first 250 bodies caused major grief and production was switched to a different manufacturer. Despite the Elite’s idiosyncratic attributes the body design is very aesthetically appealing. In my opinion, it is one of the world’s most beautiful classic sports cars. One could say, lessons learned from the Elite helped to perfect the Elan series.

Lotus Elan

The world’s finest wine…in a plastic bottle –

The Lotus Elan sports architecture which rivals that of 21st century sports cars.  The Elan proves “beauty is not only skin deep.” It has a mere drag co-efficient of 0.45 making it a sleek aerodynamic envelope of technology. The Elan is the first production automobile to feature minor impact-resistant, foam-filled fibreglass bumpers. The curvaceous bodyshell is “Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic” or FRP…sound familiar? Lambo, Ferrari, and Aston Martin are just a few of the contemporary sports cars which use an updated version of FRP technology.

Lotus is one of the pioneers to use this method; it was not an industry-wide utility at the time. This is a composite material consisting of a polymer matrix reinforced with glass, carbon, aramid, or basalt. The Elan is the first road-going Lotus to be built using a fibreglass bodyshell with a steel backbone chassis. Colin Chapman called this a “Fold on the dotted line” steel chassis. This type of construction strengthens the load-bearing structure of the car to support the engine and suspension components. The lightweight bodyshell fitted to the rugged steel backbone chassis enhances overall performance while it optimizes the car’s handling attributes.

1962 Lotus Elan…a bold & beautiful brute

The iconic symbol of success…

To quote an advertisement from 1970: “Who made it before the others? Who got here quicker than most? Who arrived ahead of the crowd? Who has asserted himself all the way making the others content to follow? Answer – The man in the Elan…” Impressive? Very. The Lotus Elan is an adrenalin inducing sports car that is the perfect synthesis of a racing-inspired heritage combined with sheer elegance. It is for the enthusiast who wants to be in total control of his car with precise handling and blistering performance. Because of this car’s technical sophistication, the Elan became Lotus Cars’ first commercial success.

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman (1928-1982) aka Colin Chapman was a British mastermind in every respect. He was an astute design engineer associated with prodigious innovation in the automotive industry. He founded Lotus Cars in 1952. His knowledge of aeronautical engineering influenced his automotive technical advances. He had a fascinating view on horsepower vs lightweight construction: “Adding power makes you faster on the straights – subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.”

The Elan conforms to Colin Chapman’s technical philosophy: lightweight design, aerodynamically enhanced architecture, with racing-inspired brakes, transmission, and suspension. Ron Hickman designed this car as the “Type 26 Elan” in the late 1950s. This legendary sports car was introduced at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1962. Some of the first Elans were available as kits to be assembled by the owner.

Colin Chapman was active in all aspects of the Lotus Group. He worked throughout the factory as well as with the administrative demands. Chapman was seen looking over the design of a new car, running a board room meeting, as well as watching dials in the engine test house. His decisions were quick and decisive. No aspect of the Lotus Group from complicated designs to the colors for the next year’s motor show escaped his attention. He was known for his “natural smile” and was quick to praise – but poor workmanship transformed him immediately!

 Ferocious Lotus…élan

Automotive aficionados consider the Elan as the most prolific Lotus of all time. The Elan is the benchmark for modern sports car design. A “real” sports car doesn’t have to prove the point with massive engine displacement and numerous cylinders. A total of 12,224 were built from its inception in 1962 until the final Sprint exited the assembly hall in 1973. The Elan’s spirited performance and exquisite handling attributes maintains its popularity today. And the best part of all…Lotus Elan ownership requires no outrageous maintenance or restoration eccentricities. The Lotus Elan was far ahead of its time. It bristles with technology.

The robust 1558cc in-line 4-cylinder Lotus Twin Cam is inherently a very reliable engine if properly maintained. Its two valves per cylinder are positioned within hemispherical combustion chambers. The cast iron 116E Ford Cortina block has a light alloy cylinder head bolted on. The intake manifold is cast as an integral part of the cylinder head. The water pump is integral with the timing chain cover. Contrary to popular belief, the water pump is virtually trouble-free providing the “V-belt” that also runs the dynamo has proper tensioning.

This type of component consolidation was expedited to comply with Colin Chapman’s philosophy of using one mechanical part for as many purposes possible. A single roller chain positioned at the front of the engine drives the double overhead camshafts. A cast iron crankshaft runs in five main bearings. The four bolt crankshaft on S1 & S2 models incorporate a rope seal between the sump and the block. This seal requires service intervals at 15,000 miles. The later S3, S4, and Sprint models with the six bolt crankshaft utilizes an oil-tight rubber lip seal which seals against leakage.

It moves with tremendous verve and élan…

Lotus is synonymous with legendary performance. The Lotus Twin Cam is a naturally aspirated engine. The Elan used three different carburetion variations from the factory during its production. The S1, S2, and S3 models were factory equipped with Twin Weber 40DCOE carburetors. This fuel system produces 105 hp @ 5,500 rpm with 146 Nm of peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22.6 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 113-115 mph range. It does the ¼ mile @ 88 mph in just 16.1 seconds. The engine Redlines @ 6,300 rpm. (S1 1962-1964), (S2 1964 -1966) & (S3 1966 -1968).

The launch of the Elan is one of the biggest projects ever for Lotus. The sales division wanted to upstage the Elan to broaden its appeal even further. They wanted to offer a fixed head coupé with creature comforts inside and highly styled lines outside to join the roadster. It was to be a cross between elegance and of course sport. Designer John Frayling was summoned for the project. The Elan Coupé version began in October 1963.

This new car was to include a fancy upscale elegantly styled interior, power window lifts, suspended headlining, and an excellent heating/ventilation system – in est – a luxury sport touring coupé. The Lotus Elan Coupé was unveiled at Earls Court in September of 1965. This is the first Lotus to benefit from careful market research. The Elan Coupé is a bona fide luxury sport car with poise as well as fierce Lotus performance.

The svelte Elan SE (Special Equipment) was introduced for some late S2 models and available for all S3 models forward. The Twin Weber 40DCOE carburetors produced 115 hp @ 6,000 rpm with 150 Nm of peak torque @ 4,500 rpm. The engine Redlines @ 6,750 rpm. The SE package included a higher lift “C” camshaft and a new cast iron exhaust manifold with a double down pipe. This version’s longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 21.8 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 120-123 mph range. It does the ¼ mile @ 89 mph in 15.5 seconds. This Special Edition also included servo-assisted brakes, special “Knock-Off” wheels, and SP tires. 

The Elan S4 came factory equipped with Twin Zenith-Stromberg 175CD carburetion. This unit used a different cylinder head and is not interchangeable with Weber or Dell ‘Orto carburetors. It produces 105 hp @ 5,500 rpm with 146 Nm of peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. Its longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds, 0-100 mph in 23.8 seconds with an ungoverned top speed of 114 mph. It can do the ¼ mile @ 86 mph in 15.8 seconds. (S4 1968-1971)

The Zenith-Stromberg units were documented with a few eccentricities. These units are prone to icing when ambient temps plummet to the freezing point. Air leakage thru the spindles will be indicated by overheating, pinking, and engine run-on. They also cause the engine to run around five degrees hotter than the Weber units. The Zenith-Stromberg units require maintenance intervals every 12 months. I have heard my cousin grumbling about the idiosyncratic behavior of his S4 with this carb. The Engine used a different cylinder head which is not interchangeable with the Weber nor the Dell’ Orto DHLA40. Some have experienced plug electrode failure with this unit which burns pistons. Lotus reverted back to the Weber units in October of 1970.

The S4 with the SE package produces 118 hp @ 6,000 rpm with 152 Nm of peak torque @ 4,600 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 21.1 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 122-125 mph range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 90 mph in 15.4 seconds.

Lotus Elan S4

1964 Elan 26R (competition version 97 built)

The Lotus Elan was homogulated in 1964 as the formidable 26R. Racing champions such as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, and Sir John Whitmore had successful competition wins in 1964. John Miles won 15 races and the Autosport Championship in 1966. They continued in competition for around 10 years. The lightweight design simplicity combined with its slippery aerodynamics makes it a viable contender in classic motorsport competitions today.

Elan Sprint (1970-1973)

The most impressive of all Elan models is the performance behemoth, Elan Sprint. Tony Rudd joined Lotus from BRM. He had been involved with Twin Cam development for the racing Lotus Cortinas and the Mike Spence Elan BRM project. His “Big Valve” modification combined the “D” camshaft with two fabricated tubular exhaust manifolds in place of the cast iron units. The mighty “Big-Valve” version of the 1558cc in-line 4-cylinder is the most powerful of this first generation series.

There are two factory fuel systems: Twin Weber 40DCOE units or Twin Dell’ Orto DHLA40 carburetors. The compression ratio increased from 9.5:1 to 10.3:1. The inlet valves were enlarged to 1.6” as well. The Elan Sprint’s power output is 126 hp @ 6,500 rpm with 153 Nm of peak torque @ 5,500 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 18.1 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 124 mph range. (With 5-speed gear box 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds with a top speed in the ungoverned range of 130 mph)  It does the 1.4 mile @ 93 mph in just 14.8 seconds. The Elan Sprint embodies all that makes a Lotus…a Lotus!

The Elan Sprint has a hood with perfect fit

The Lotus Elan is beautiful coming or going

Technological élan…

First generation Elan models includes technology that out-shined the competition at the time. The Lotus Twin Cam engine is equipped with a 4-speed manual gear box. A  few later model year Elan Sprints were badged as “Sprint 5”  and are equipped with a 5-speed manual gear box. A unique 4-wheel independent back bone suspension is simple and highly effective. The front suspension is based upon the Triumph Herald with double wishbones of unequal length, coil springs, telescopic dampers, and anti-roll stabilizer bars. Chapman struts, triangulated lower wishbones, coil springs, and telescopic dampers make up the rear network. The Elan Sprint has a strengthening bridge over the differential. The driveshaft incorporates Rotoflex rubber doughnut U-joints which protects the differential by absorbing road shock.

To maintain optimum control under all driving situations, it incorporates a network as a true sports car without compromising speed or safety. The Elan has superb Alford and Adler rack & pinion steering. This type of system was standard on racing cars and sports cars for the day making it the first choice for Lotus. A modified Herald rack incorporates a lock stop to guard against high-speed rollovers while negotiating turns. The steering column also comes from the Herald.

Standard 4-wheel disc brakes brings the Elan to a safe, fade-free halt which is vital for a car of such torque-thrust. Girling discs are fitted all the way around with 9.5” fitted to the front axle and 10” fitted to the rear. Very few cars for the day had disc brakes installed on the rear axle. The rear calipers has a hand brake mechanical mechanism with a special pair of pads with one fitted to each side of the disc. Servo assistance is part of the SE and Sprint packages.

From The Avengers episode “Mission…Highly Improbable”

This very fast roadster began life very popular. When Diana Rigg, as the famous Mrs. Emma Peel character drove her Lotus Elan in “The Avengers” it raised interest even more so. There were magazine articles about it. The Elan 26R was winning competitions. Sales began soaring setting new sales records. Those who saw it for the first time wanted to know more about it. Americans were a bit restrained at first but by the time the S3 drop head was released, sales went beyond expectation and actually created shortages in the U.K.

From The Avengers episode “Epic”

Here’s Emma Peel’s first Lotus Elan featured in “Man-Eater of Surrey Green.” This episode is from the early B&W  segments introducing Diana Rigg as the indomitable Emma Peel who succeeded Mrs. Catherine Gale played by Honor Blackman. Notice the Elan’s lack of permanent window frames which makes it look a lot sleeker.

“Mrs. Peel, we’re needed…”

There are now tools available to properly remove and torque on your Elan wheels properly. If you have ever tried to remove an over-torqued spinner…you have learned exciting new ways to use expletives. A hammer, and a block of wood used to be the only way to remove an improperly torqued wheel. Check out this unique Knock-off spinner removal kit: http://knockoffspinnertool.com/lotus_elan_spinner_instructions if you value your Elan’s fibreglass bodywork and its beautiful wheels…

The #4 factory 300 yards from the main factory at Cheshunt Hertfordshire, 50 Lotus Elan bodies were produced and painted each week. After an essential period of curing in the open air, they are taken to the Elan shop where the backbone chassis is fitted with the gearbox and suspension. 

The body/chassis unit moved down the production line passing numbered work stations where separate operations were expedited under the careful scrutiny of the quality inspection staff. At the end of the production line all adjustments were checked and the car is started for the first time. After the final safety inspection, the Elan leaves for a 30 mile sprint on a road test by one of two inspectors who had tested over 1,600 Elans. On its return, the car is carefully checked again and then prepped for delivery to dealers.

Behind the Elan Shop is the Lotus Cortina Division, Spares, and service department with a “secret area” by Lotus Developments Limited. In another building Lotus Components Limited made 10 different types of racing cars from the Indianapolis 4.2 litre to the latest racing Elan. In a section no bigger than four lock-up garages, Team Lotus prepared their cars for the many races of the year.

The Lotus Elan is an exquisite hand-built, low volume sports car. Its one-piece fibreglass body shell fits over the backbone chassis attaching at 16 points. This type of construction makes the Elan exceptionally rigid with a lower center of gravity which is imperative to a high-speed sporting vehicle such as this. The other advantages to its torsional rigidity of the chassis and body construction are lack of rattles, harshness, and vibration – with low-cost production.

Today, the Lotus Elan is one of the most coveted classic sports cars. Its avant-garde glamour is timeless…it has challenged the years gracefully. It is one of a few cars that if in tip-top condition can take on the contemporary muscle cars without skipping a beat. Unlike most sports cars from this genre, the architecture is pure and unpretentious escaping status-quo. From the vacuum operated hide away headlamps to the stylish Lotus 3-eared knock-on spinner steel wheels, the Elan takes its place in automotive history.

Epilogue…

To drive the Elan is what true sports car performance is all about. This car was far ahead of its time. Its ferocious 1558cc Twin Cam in-line 4-cylinder engine with twin Weber or even twin Dell’ Orto carburetors, a close-ratio manual gearbox, and its sleek aerodynamic architecture enables it to achieve 105 to 130 mph without even working up a sweat. It will go down in automotive history as one of the world’s most significant sports car designs of all time. The Lotus Elan proves the point that a sports car doesn’t need humongous engine displacement or numerous cylinders to be a potent performer…

This is the 1960s genre and the Elan sported onto the automotive scene with a handcrafted fibreglass one-piece body shell with a rigid steel backbone chassis, independent 4-wheel suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, and one of the world’s finest rack & pinion steering systems. To quote Graham Arnold former sales director for Lotus: “The Elan is a car for dreamers but when the owner wakes up…the pleasure remains – “ The first generation Lotus Elan saved the company from financial ruin getting the business out of the red and back to black which the contemporary Lotus models owe it a debt of eternal gratitude…the success of the Elan is a primary factor of Lotus’ commercial success to this day.

Special thanks to all of the Lotus Elan owners I talked to, Lotus historians, Graham Arnold’s book “Lotus Elan Super Profile” and Mark Hughes book “Classic and Sportscar – Lotus File”  for the specifications and general information to make this tribute to the formidable first generation Lotus Elan possible.

Welcome to Greg’s World…

Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury © 2017

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The Elite 1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

Posted in Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Editorials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

The formidable Eldorado legend continues…

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

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Once upon a time in America there was a thing called the luxury automobile. These fabulous cars are a city block long and half a city block wide. They float along the road like a big ‘ole rollin’ Barco lounger. The elegance and prestige lineages evolved through impeccable craftsmanship, America was renowned for such. The Cadillac motorcar became the most enviable of all automotive legacies. The Cadillac name was a byword for superlative in any field of endeavor…

The Fleetwood division meticulously handcrafted the finest automobiles to motor out of Detroit, Michigan. The most eminent and revered models were Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. They are the last of the hand-built motorcars. The Brougham augmented the Fleetwood model hierarchy as the epitome of elegance. They were the most luxurious owner-driven sedans from the brand. The 1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham is the last of this distinguished coachbuilt series. NotoriousLuxury presents an encore performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Eldorado Broughams are among the rarest of all Cadillac motorcars. They were coachbuilt by Fleetwood for the 1957 through the 1958 model years in Detroit. These luxury sedans required countless hours of manpower while in theatre, because of the extensive handcrafting that was involved in order to build them. They slowed the Fleetwood assembly line tremendously. These magnificent Broughams sold for an ostentatious $13,074. Due to the nature of their build, Cadillac didn’t make a profit.

A decision was made to farm out their production to Pininfarina of Italy who are prominent coachbuilders specializing in the world of bespoke craftsmanship. This decision by GM freed the Fleetwood assembly hall to build more of the top-selling Fleetwood models such as the Series Sixty-Special. It was more cost efficient for Cadillac. Pininfarina handbuilt the Brougham for the 1959 and 1960 model years.

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Very little has ever been written about the 1960 Eldorado Brougham. Many automotive enthusiasts have never even seen one. They are elegantly exotic in appearance. It takes the eagle eye to discern them from the standard Cadillac models for 1960. These were the most opulent custom crafted models in the Cadillac model range. The Eldorado Brougham was so swank, it was only briefly mentioned in the sales brochure. Interested clients were advised to contact a Cadillac dealer for details because the car was so highly bespoke –

It’s the Cadillac of Cadillacs and the finest expression of the new era in automotive design. The 1957-1958 Detroit-built Series 70 Eldorado Broughams were totally exclusive from other Cadillac models sharing no sheet metal or trim. The 1959-1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Broughams shared mechanical components, floor platforms, dash panels, wheels, bumpers, fender skirts, and headlamp bezels with other Fleetwood models.

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1957-1958 Cadillac Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

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1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

Pininfarina hand-built the custom bodyshells. This added a romantic aura to this ultra-exclusive model…what could be more alluring than an Italian hand-built Cadillac? None of the standard Cadillac sheet metal was integrated into the Brougham. The roofline and glass are totally unique to the glamorous Italian-built Broughams.

The 1960 Brougham is the styling-lead to the 1961 Cadillac model design. This is apparent in the windshield, roof design, and lower overall silhouette. The Brougham’s sleek pillarless design is highlighted by smaller power rear quarter windows that automatically open when the coordinating rear door opens for ease of entry and exit. The Broughams are crafted a tad bit lower than standard Cadillac models. 

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1960 Cadillac Series 6400 Eldorado Seville hardtop coupé

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1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

There’s very little to distinguish the Brougham from a head-on view. Many dispute the fact the 1960 Eldorado Brougham isn’t totally unique from the rest of the standard Cadillac and Eldorado models. Due to the fact that the Broughams were not top-selling models, it wasn’t feasible to make them as exclusive as the 1957-1958 Detroit-built models. They had their own separate set of production tooling and dies than the standard 1957-1958 Cadillac models. The proof is in the photos, YOU be the judge.

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The custom crafted 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham has an intriguing rear end design. It has tail lamps that are modified slightly and built into the bumper nacelles elegantly. The upper slim recessed taillamps from the standard models are eliminated. The Brougham’s tail fins are trimmed lower. It introduced lower body fins called “Skegs” which would be featured on all Cadillac models for 1961 and 1962. The Eldorado has always featured styling that would eventually be found on other Cadillac motorcars.

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Cadillac featured a gracious styling continuity when it reigned as the “Standard of the World.” The 1961 Cadillac Series 6300 Sedan deVille shown displays the 1960 Eldorado Brougham inspired roofline and glass.

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The lower fins aka “kegs” balanced the styling theme gracefully

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The Brougham’s expanse of glass influenced the 1961 Cadillacs

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The tail fin design of the 1960 Eldorado Brougham isn’t as radical as the standard Cadillac models. The iconic tail fins were starting to disappear. The Eldorado Brougham has an overall lower profile.

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The Eldorado Brougham is almost verbatim up front

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The Eldorado Brougham has a customized appearance

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1960 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

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The 1960 Eldorado Brougham is built as body on frame construction. Cadillac’s rugged tubular-center X-frame permits a lower body design for improved appearance, and enhanced stability with a lower center of gravity. The majestic Eldorado Brougham has the same dimensions as the Eldorado Biarritz and Eldorado Seville except for its height. It has the luxury length of 225” with a low 55” height and is 79.9” wide. It rides upon a long 130” wheelbase. Model #60-69 body style #6929P 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham four-door hardtop sedan had a base price of $13,075 and only 101 were built.

The 1960 Eldorado Brougham was the most expensive American automobile for the day. There was no better symbol of one’s success than to view the world from behind the wheel of an Eldorado Brougham. This was a supreme achievement in motoring. Bigger is better was the premise behind these luxury land yachts. It was all about those “Car wars” – every American automobile manufacturer stretched the limits in design. Luxury was the theme. No one really cared about fuel economy because the cost of a gallon of petrol was insignificant.

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Cadillac was the undisputed luxury leader. Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, chief designers for GM, created automotive masterpieces for the 1950s – 1960s. The Eldorado Brougham epitomized the Cadillac brand with an eloquence no other motorcar could replicate. These handcrafted beauties command top dollar, many of which fetch at least six figures today. They will never be forgotten. Cadillac at the time, was considered as prolific opulence…the envy of the driveway…the “Standard of the World” was the most desired luxury automobile in the entire world.

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These magnificent motorcars were decadently luxurious. The custom tailored interiors were completely in character with Cadillac. This is eloquence in the grand Cadillac tradition. There were two sumptuous broadcloth styles and all leather trim available. Deep plush nylon or mouton carpets were available to lavishly complete the experience tastefully. As far as appointments and amenities – it was a luxury car complete.

Virtually every comfort and luxury feature was provided in the grand Cadillac manner. Standard equipment includes: a heating and air conditioning system, electric door locks, power trunk release, signal-seeking radio with power antenna, two electric clocks (one for front seat passengers and another for the rear compartment), remote control outside rearview mirror, power windows, power vent windows, cruise control, power 6-way front seat, automatic parking brake release, Guidematic headlamp dimmer, power steering & brakes, and air suspension.

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The Eldorado Brougham epitomized the Cadillac brand…

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The Brougham was the most luxurious owner-driven model 

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The 1960 Eldorado Brougham is powered by the Cadillac 6.4 litre 16-valve 390 CID V8 engine. This naturally aspirated powerplant is equipped with three Rochester 2-bbl carburetors in the formidable Eldorado tradition with equalized manifolding, mechanical fuel pump, dry-pack type air cleaner, overhead valves, hydraulic lifters, intake silencer and automatic choke. The engine is mounted at three points in rubber.

This superb Cadillac V8 cranked 345 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 590 Nm of peak torque @ 3,400 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 10.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 29.7 seconds with a top speed in the 124 mph ungoverned range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 82 mph in just 17.9 seconds. Remember, this is a 5,420 pound all-iron land yacht with NO aerodynamics. Eldorado models were always tuned to be the most spirited performers of all Cadillacs. 

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The engine is mated to GM’s Jetaway/Flashaway Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission without torque converter. Hydra-Matic Drive is the step-gear type with controlled fluid coupling on the forward gear-set which delivers nearly imperceptible shifting. These transmissions provided two drive ranges – the left hand position reduces engine speed to increase economy.

For more efficient hill climbing and descending, the right hand position is used to improve acceleration with the first, second, and third gears available. This selection is used to increase the engine braking effort when descending grades. Lo-range is available for driving in deep sand, mud, or snow. This range is also useful for very steep inclines where only first and second gears are required. The famous Hydra-Matic Drive is a highly efficient and reliable transmission…in fact, this was so reliable and efficient that Rolls Royce adapted it into their automobiles back in the day –

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The famous Cadillac Red-Carpet ride was also the envy of the industry. The front suspension uses the traditional upper and lower control arms with spherical joints and helical coil springs. The rear suspension is the Cadillac 4-link drive with helical coil springs. The Eldorado Brougham came standard with air suspension. It is set up with individual air springs in rubber bags at each wheel that would automatically maintain the correct ride height for optimum performance and perfect poise regardless of load or road conditions.

The rubber bags were pressurized by an electric motor regulated by leveling valves. It also had manual height control to adjust for steep sloping driveways and inclines. Sadly, this idealistic system was unreliable and prone to fail at embarrassing times forcing the driver to “limp” into the dealership for repairs that did not last. The 1960 model year was the last time Cadillac used air suspensions.

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The Eldorado Broughams were more of an “image car” for General Motors. They are among the few Cadillac models that did not make a profit for the division. They are also the rarest of the rare Cadillac models with 400 built for the 1957 model year, 304 for 1958, 99 built for 1959, and 101 built for 1960. The 1957-1958 Detroit-built Eldorado Broughams are certified milestone vehicles by the Milestone Car Society which is dedicated to distinctive domestic and foreign motorcars built during the first two post-war decades.

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1957-1958 Cadillac Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

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1959 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

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Special thanks to Jim Hailey & Daniel Schmitt & Bob Adams

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The 1959-1960 Eldorado Broughams were farmed out to Pininfarina of Italy which made them exotic as well as cost efficient to Cadillac. This move freed the Fleetwood assembly hall to build more of the Series Sixty-Special, Eldorado Biarritz, and Eldorado Seville models which outsold the Broughams. The 1959-1960 Italian-built models did not have the superior build quality of the Detroit-built models. They required a lot of extra hand finishing and electrical work by the Fleetwood division once the cars were returned to the USA.

They were more of a liability than an asset at the time. These cars have a charisma among collectors despite the issues they had. Ultra-luxury cars such as these are examples of American extravagance for the day. They epitomized the Cadillac brand with their coachbuilt enigma. The 1960 Eldorado Brougham leaves its indelible impression…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury © 2017

It’s Yesterday Once More: The Incomparable 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Notorious Retrospect with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

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

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Cadillac Style – “The only way to travel…is Cadillac Style.” What is Cadillac Style? A Cadillac Fleetwood is Cadillac Style. This is Cadillac in its most eminent form. Fleetwood used to do all upholstery work for every Cadillac model…but a Cadillac Fleetwood is a very very special version of the epochal “Standard of the World.” Fleetwood crafted the entire car. It was so special during its heyday, it had its own dedicated assembly line.  A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac was crafted by talented artisans to be not only the finest automobile in the world…but it was also the paradigm of all luxury sedans.

The only two-door Fleetwood model ever, is the magnificent Fleetwood Eldorado. (Excluding the mid-1980s Fleetwood Brougham two-door coupé as it is merely a Coupe deVille with a custom padded roof and Brougham-style interior…it was not an exclusive Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac) The most notable are the 1967 – 1970 Fleetwood Eldorado model years. They are the pioneers for Cadillac’s front-wheel drive models. The 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado makes a cameo appearance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The majestic Fleetwood series catapulted Cadillac to “Standard of the World” status. These ultra-luxurious motorcars were crafted mostly by hand and augmented the Cadillac model hierarchy annually. For the 1968 model year, the fabulous Fleetwood Eldorado was in its second production year as the world’s foremost personal luxury car.

It was the only automobile in its class to offer the impressive traction of front wheel drive…Automatic Level Control to maintain its poise regardless of load or road conditions…and the maneuverability of Variable Ratio Power Steering – all as standard amenities. Model #68-693 Body Style #69347H 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado two-door coupé had a base price of $6,605. It debuted September 21, 1967 and a total of 24,528 were built for the model year. The Fleetwood Eldorado is a unique expression of Cadillac excellence.

Timeless in styling, superb Cadillac engineering, and impeccable craftsmanship…to put it simply – the Fleetwood Eldorado was designed to be one of the finest production automobiles in the world. It introduced a completely new concept which placed it in a class no other motorcar could match. GM is the purveyor of the personal luxury automobile.

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GM was the first American automobile manufacturer to offer front-wheel drive since the 1936-1937 Cord 810/812 series. It was the Oldsmobile Toronado that started the dance. It used the GM “E” platform from the 1963 Buick Riviera. The Oldsmobile Toronado was introduced in 1965 as a 1966 model. One year later the 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado was introduced. The Eldorado, Toronado, and Riviera all shared the same platform; however, the Buick Riviera didn’t adopt front-wheel drive until the 1979 model year. Cadillac fine-tuned the Eldorado to suit the most demanding connoisseur.

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Big news for Cadillac’s 1968 model year is the introduction of an all-new powerplant. Cadillac V8 engines were legendary and this one is no exception. It is the largest engine to power a passenger production automobile for the 1968 model year – 

The spirited 7.7 litre 16-valve 472 CID V8 cranks an impressive 375 hp @ 4,400 rpm packing a prolific punch with 712 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Cadillac’s unsurpassed craftsmanship was never more evident. It is equipped with a Rochester 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet carburetor with equalized manifold, mechanical fuel pump, dry-type air filter, and a new automatic choke. An Air Injection Reactor system was introduced to reduce hydrocarbons in the exhaust. The engine is built with a cast iron block and cylinder heads, overhead valves, and hydraulic lifters.

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Cadillac engineers spent many years developing this powerful new V8 engine. It underwent over half a million miles of lab testing to study performance and fatigue life of engine components. This rigorous fatigue testing was far more punishment than would be experienced during the life of the car. Radioactive isotopes determined oil consumption. It was not only lab tested, it was taken out into the real world for over two million miles of road testing on every type of road in all-weather conditions. To date, this was only the fourth time Cadillac designed completely new engine architecture.

The first Cadillac V8 engine was designed in 1914, the second in 1936, and the third is the monumental 1949 version with an overhead valve design that utilized wedge-shaped combustion chambers for higher compression ratios. Cadillac is the first automobile manufacturer in the USA to build a production V-type water-cooled 8 cylinder engine by the way. Cadillac received accolades for the 1914 V8 instantly for its quiet, efficient operation, and notorious dependability. The 472 CID V8 shows the same dedication to quality. For example, every crankshaft in a Cadillac engine was dynamically balanced which means it is balanced while rotating. This is done to cancel vibration for enhanced overall operation.

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The 472 CID V8 aggrandized the 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado’s performance. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22.4 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 128 mph range. The engine is mated to the GM Turbo Hydra-Matic THM 425 3-speed automatic front-wheel drive transmission. Cadillac adopted the Olds Toronado’s “Unified Powerplant Package”(UPP). This technical engineering was a unique manner of transferring the engine’s power directly to the front wheels. The longitudinal mounted engine/transmission configuration is driven by a silent chain that changed the direction of power by 180 degrees.

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Body by Fleetwood

A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac is unequalled in all of motordom. Uncompromised luxury and elegance with impeccable fit and finish highlighted the majestic Fleetwood series. It’s preeminence in the luxury car segment is without conjecture the finest expression of automotive excellence. The Fleetwood Eldorado’s long, low architecture was like nothing else on the road at the time. Cadillac had once again created an automotive masterpiece.

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Its stunning front end ensemble is augmented by hidden headlamps. The outer ends of the wide egg crate grille work opens downward to expose the twin headlamp clusters. The parking lamps are relocated from the bumper to the fenders. Those prominent knife-blade fenders run the entire length of the car’s architecture separate from the body ending at the rear with sharp, angular end caps housing the taillamps. Both hood and rear deck lid are sculpted to compliment the Fleetwood Eldorado’s dramatic design. The rear end styling is equally intriguing. The shark fin design with a deeply contoured bumper gives the car a futuristic flair.

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The Fleetwood Eldorado’s avant-garde silhouette retains the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac of the genre. The hood is one of the longest in the industry, it had been lengthened to provide a cove to hide the windshield wipers cleverly. Cars from this period are styled with a long nose and short rear deck. The Fleetwood Eldorado sports this design well.

The long low roofline with wide rear sail panels uses small rear quarter windows for privacy. A contoured back glass completed the look of luxury tastefully. The Cadillac Eldorado has always been the styling predictor which showcased designs that would eventually find their way to other Cadillac models. It is the 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado that highly influenced the styling for the 1969-1970 Cadillac Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood models.

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1970 Coupe deVille and the 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado

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1967 Fleetwood Eldorado

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The comfort zone…

Welcome to the inner world of Fleetwood Eldorado. It’s luxury on the grand Cadillac scale in the gracious Fleetwood manner. This is elegance modern cars cannot replicate. The comfort of the wide notchback front seat rivals that of your living room sofa. Have a seat…pull down the padded standard front seat center armrest. Adjust the optional 6-way power seat. Relax in traditional Cadillac luxury.

One of the benefits of front-wheel drive is the absence of the transmission tunnel hump which equates to more legroom for passengers to stretch out. Activate the optional Automatic Climate Control – set the temperature – no further intervention is necessary. Automatically lock both doors with one touch from the optional power door lock button for added security and peace of mind. The instrument panel has been revised with more padding for safety.

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There are two cloth styles for 1968 available for Fleetwood Eldorado. Deauville and Diamond cloth with vinyl bolsters adds character. The optional full leather trim provides not only a regal touch of distinction but also adds longevity to the interior. The optional Strato bucket seats lends a unique sporting appeal to Fleetwood Eldorado’s demeanor. The bucket seat style interior comes with head restraints and a locking center console. The passenger seat has an optional recliner. All interior knobs and switches have been redesigned to be safer to lessen injury.

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Structural logistics

The 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado is a large, comfortable automobile unlike the dinky under-embellished puddle jumpers with front-wheel drive made today. It’s built as body on frame construction. The fully boxed perimeter frame has hidden bulkheads for safety and is specially designed for front-wheel drive. These cars float along; boulevard travel is negligible.

Its torsion bar front suspension has upper and lower control arms with rubber bushings to absorb road shock and cancels vibration before it reaches the cabin. The rear suspension is equipped with single-leaf springs, two horizontal and two vertical shock absorbers. Cadillac’s exclusive Automatic level Control was standard on all Fleetwood models to maintain vehicle poise under any load or road conditions. The Fleetwood Eldorado has the luxury length of 221”, is 80” wide, 53” in height, and rides upon a long 120” wheelbase.   

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The luxury leader – Cadillac Style

Cadillac’s engineering prowess was never more evident. Apart from the all-new V8 engine, the Fleetwood Eldorado for 1968 is bristling with bravado. Cadillac’s triple braking system highlights its safety features. The power braking system is equipped with unique self-adjusting shoes and heat dissipating drums. The brakes automatically calibrate themselves each time the car is driven in reverse and the brakes applied.

The sophisticated hydraulic master cylinder uses two separate reservoirs to provide independent operation of the front and rear brakes. In the event one system fails, the other will bring the car safely to a halt. The parking brake is a true auxiliary brake. Its automatic power vacuum release will not lock in position with the engine running and the vehicle in gear. Front disc brakes were optional. Cadillac led the industry with innovation and technology that took the competition years to catch up.

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For the 1968 model year Cadillac further enhanced its reputation as the “Standard of the World.” The 1967-1970 Fleetwood Eldorado is a milestone vehicle. It was created by Bill Mitchell chief designer for General Motors. The Eldorados from this genre were unlike any Cadillac that preceded them. The personal luxury car had been under research and tested as early as 1961. It was designed to be a large and luxurious Cadillac with traditional virtues yet contemporary acclaim…Cadillac Style – 

The Fleetwood Eldorado is tomorrow’s classic today.  With its Cadillac Style and gracious appointments, the 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado in my opinion is one of the foremost motorcars to bear the charismatic “Standard of the World” title. It retains the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. This is what made the brand the most desired luxury car in the entire world – it’s a shame the brand sank into obscurity. It’s going to take a miracle for the brand to return to its exponential integrity to save it from the mediocrity it currently resides. So, after DTS…CTS…ATS…XTS…and CT6, what’s next – the OMG?

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This editorial is dedicated to “That Hartford Guy!”                                                This one’s for you…kid –  

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Here’s your baby immortalized for prosperity!

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The formidable 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

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The 1967 Eldorado-inspired 1970 Cadillac Coupe deVille

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There’s no more deep-seated luxury like this

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1968 Fleetwood Eldorado custom convertible

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Here’s a dream with a little bit of fantasy from the creative master Casey Art & Colour http://artandcolourcars.blogspot.com/

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This is his Eldorado to counter Lincoln’s Continental

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

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“As the Standard of the World Turns” is Greg’s World

1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

An American standard for the world

1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille 1

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

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Superlative reputation in any field of endeavor is historically slow in the making. At the summit of the automaker’s craft was the undisputed “Standard of the World.” Cadillac made the competition appear as a mere “pied-à-terre” in the luxury car arena. Exquisite craftsmanship, attention to detail, elegance second to none…with a poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac, made it the most desired dream car in the entire world.

Cadillac established its identity within the 1954 through 1956 model years. Introduced in 1949 as an exclusive limited edition trim option for the Series 62…the Coupe deVille made its grand entrance into the world of luxury automobiles creating its own niche. NotoriousLuxury presents an encore performance for the 1955 Series 62 Coupe deVille…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The luxury car segment for the 1950s was composed of Packard, Lincoln, the Imperial, and of course…Cadillac. The “Standard of the World” dominated the 1950s with style and grace which forced the competition into subservience. Packard disappeared after 1958. Chrysler revised the Imperial in 1957. It wasn’t until the 1961 model year that Lincoln’s Continental established its identity thanks to Elwood Engel. The Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille was the luxury leader.

 Priced at $3,496 the 1949 Coupe deVille trim option sold 2,150 units which was great for its introductory year. The 1950 model year sold 4,507 units. Luxury car buyers loved it. For the 1951 model year, Series 62 Coupe deVille sales were up to 10,241 units built topping sales for the popular Series 62 Club Coupe. The “Coupe deVille” Tiffany-style script appeared for the first time for the 1951 model year further distinguishing it from the Series 62 Club Coupe.

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1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille

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Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Coupe deVille concept

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The Coupe deVille was introduced as a prototype for the 1949 Motorama. This was the very first show of its kind known at the time as “The Transportation Unlimited Autorama” and was held at the ultra-exclusive Waldorf Astoria Hotel in January 1949. The Coupe deVille prototype was built on the long wheelbase Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special platform.

Some enthusiasts refer to it as the “Fleetwood Coupe deVille.” This one-off prototype was fitted with a dashing pillarless two-door body shell with a one-piece windscreen and intricate back glass. The two-toned black and grey leather interior was fitted with exclusive trim and features. There was a secretarial set-up in the rear armrest, a telephone in the glove box, a vanity case, and power windows. The Series 62 Coupe deVille was introduced in its production form late in the 1949 model year.

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General Motors is the first American automaker to offer a pillarless hardtop coupé. The series 62 Coupe deVille was introduced along with Buick’s Roadmaster Riviera and Oldsmobile’s 98 Holiday coupé all of which are pillarless hardtops. The entire automotive industry was aghast with the unique pillarless design…every automobile back then whether a coupé or sedan had fixed “B” pillars.

The new hardtop coupé styling mocked a convertible with its roof raised. The headlining used chrome bows to simulate the ribs of an authentic ragtop. These resplendent automobiles took the world by storm. Every automaker eventually offered the pillarless hardtop look. The exclusive Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille led the pack as the “Standard of the World”…eminently of course –

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1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille

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The DeVille series ultimately became America’s favorite luxury car. By the 1955 model year it had established itself prominently. Model #55-62 style code #6237DX 1955 Series 62 Coupe deVille had a base price of $4,305 with a base shipping weight of 4,428 pounds, and 33,300 were built for the model year once again beating the Series 62 Club Coupe in sales with 27,879 units built.

Harley Earl’s tail fin had become a Cadillac trademark. The Coupe deVille’s pillarless roofline added a svelte sweeping look and the towering tail fins made the car look longer and more elegant.  The 1955 model year yielded 140,777 in total production which set a sales record at the time.

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Cadillac declared “Banco” with the introduction of the Coupe deVille. It is one of the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. This model was built from 1949 until 1993. The 1993 Coupe deVille is Cadillac’s last six passenger two-door coupé.

The 1954 through 1956 Cadillacs gave the brand an exclusive identity. From the dazzling chrome “Dagmars” back to the kicked-up tail fins, this genre epitomized the Cadillac brand eminently. The two-door Series 62 Coupe deVille was a luxury ride like no other. It had all the sophistication of an elegant coupé with the spacious six passenger comfort of a luxury sedan.

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1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille 10

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The 1955 Series 62 Coupe deVille is powered by Cadillac’s 5.4 litre 16-valve 331 CID V8 engine. Among its highlights is a new combustion chamber, a higher 9.0:1 compression ratio, new valve linkage which improves breathing efficiency, and increased torque-thrust. The engine is built with a cast iron block and cylinder heads, and it runs in five main bearings. Two 4-bbl carburetors were available: a Carter WCFB 2185S and a Rochester 4GC 7007970 (7007971 w/air conditioning).

These sophisticated carburetors operate with their two primary barrels under normal driving situations; the secondary barrels kick in when extra power is required such as merging into traffic or when the passing gear is engaged. GM has always synchronized the carburetor with the transmission for optimum performance. The engine is equipped with equalized manifolding, hydraulic valve lifters, a mechanical fuel pump, intake silencer, automatic choke, and a dual exhaust system.

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The 331 CID V8 engine produces 250 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 468 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 12.1 seconds, 0-100 mph in 47.1 seconds with a top speed in the 108 mph range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 76 mph in 18.8 seconds.

These figures may not seem to be impressive when compared to today’s make-believe performance cars; but consider the fact that these older Cadillacs are heavier with NO aerodynamics. This 5.4 litre 331 CID V8 got 12.9 mpg, which is impressive. The 270 hp Eldorado engine was available as a $161 option.

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The 1955 Cadillacs are built as body on frame construction. A rigid ring of steel surrounds the passenger compartment. The steel floor is reinforced by sturdy ribbed sections and is welded to box-girder rocker panels and vertical body pillars.

The all-steel turret top is reinforced by double-ribbed steel bows and box-girder roof rails. Even its windscreen frame is rugged; it is framed by steel box-type members at each side and by steel box members across the top. The body is married to a rugged I-beam X-member chassis for strength and rigidity.

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The 1955 Cadillacs are as rugged as they are rewarding. The front cross member provides exceptional strength and sturdy support for the engine, steering, and front suspension components. All 1955 Cadillacs are built with a lower center of gravity.

The Series 62 Coupe deVille is an extremely large front engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle. It rides upon a long 129” wheelbase, has the luxury length of 223.3”, and is an impressive 79.6” wide. Tubeless tires were introduced for all Cadillac models for the 1955 model year.

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Beauty is more than skin deep for the 1955 Series 62 Coupe deVille. Superb Cadillac engineering is the primary factor which catapulted the brand to “Standard of the World” exclusivity. Double-end valving in shock absorbers and air craft-type shock absorber fluid added to its wide range of overall operational efficiency.

The Hotchkiss Drive cushions the driving force thru the rear springs for that famous Cadillac “Magic Carpet” ride. The X-frame design permits lower body mounts for added stability and that Cadillac beauty in its design. The engine mounts are lower into the frame eliminating vibration. The long wheelbase further refines the ride. The excellent 50/50 weight distribution contributes to its amazing handling attributes.

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The platform is also a network of automotive excellence. The front suspension uses the traditional upper and lower control arm with independent helical coil springs. The use of longer and wider rear springs with fewer leaves enables the springs to flex easier absorbing road imperfections stabilizing the ride. The springs are mounted in a toe-in design to enhance stability even further. The Hotchkiss Drive transfers the thrust of the rear wheels through the rear springs reducing the car’s unsprung weight making acceleration and braking almost imperceptible.

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The 1955 Series 62 Coupe deVille presented a personal luxury realm of motoring majesty. The exclusive world of the DeVille made other luxury cars pale by comparison. The Coupe deVille is a serious luxury sedan sans the rear doors. It is every luxury car…all in one. It cast a magic spell on the American automobile industry, which no other manufacturer could replicate. Its unique design sent the competitors back to the drawing board.

With Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell heading the design division for the “Standard of the World” it was impossible for the rest of the industry to catch up! These men MADE Cadillac. The Series 62 Coupe deVille’s long, low, and distinctive silhouette made it unique in all of motordom. Cadillac’s articulacy in the world of luxury was exemplified by the Coupe deVille…it was the essence of the brand. The Coupe deVille was joined by the introduction of the hardtop Sedan deVille in 1956. They were both so popular; they became their own exclusive series beginning the 1959 model year.

1959 Coupe deVille

…lest we forget the tallest tail fins in the industry for 1959

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1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille 13

The Series 62 Coupe deVille didn’t stint on Cadillac luxury. Standard features includes power windows, power horizontally adjustable front seats, rear seat arm rest, power steering, Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, dual back-up lamps, electric clock, front and rear cigarette lighters, outside rearview mirror, robe cords on front seat backs, glare-proof inside rearview mirror, interior courtesy lighting, and windscreen washers. The list seems primitive…but this was 1955, the automobile was undergoing a startling metamorphosis with the “Standard of the World” leading the industry with engineering innovation and excellence.

Popular options for the Series 62 Coupe deVille include radio and antenna $132, heating and ventilation system $129, power hydraulic braking system $48, 4-way power front seat $70…with vertical adjustment an additional $54, and air conditioning $620. Also available was E-Z Eye tinted glass, fog lamps, Autronic Eye which automatically dips the high beam headlamps when oncoming vehicles approach at night, whitewall tires, and Sabre-Spoke wheels.

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The Series 62 Coupe deVille offered a closed car and the spirit of a convertible with its pillarless design. A light airy atmosphere revealed the full scope of Cadillac’s styling artistry which had never been incorporated in automotive design. The glamour is augmented by highly styled metallic nylon fabric with leather bolsters. This dramatic concept made the “Standard of the World” the luxury leader in its class.

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Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Conceptcarz, and Wallpaperup for the use of the beautiful photographs of these rare automobiles.

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The 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille was the luxury leader. It put the entire automotive industry on notice. Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell created automotive works of art. The Cadillac name was synonymous with luxury and elegance all over the world. Cadillac was the purveyor of the luxury automobile. In refinement…in craftsmanship…and overall opulence – the 1955 Series 62 Coupe deVille retained the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac.

The 1954 through 1956 Cadillacs advanced the tradition of excellence to an extraordinary degree. Then there was Cadillac’s exemplary fit & finish with attention to the tiniest details which made the brand a legend in its own time. The Cadillac DeVille series is one of the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. Will there ever be another real Cadillac…in stature…in luxury…and in exemplary craftsmanship? The 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille is another highly successful automotive legend…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Here’s a slammed 1949 Series 62 convertible called “The Golden Empress” and it is absolutely gorgeous!

The Golden Empress 2

The Golden Empress 3

Welcome to Greg’s World…NotoriousLuxury

The Golden Empress 4

Isn’t this drop-dead gorgeous?

The Golden Empress 5

The Golden Empress 6

It’s Notoriously outrageous

The Golden Empress 7

The Golden Empress 8

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1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille