1959 was a big year for car design, and we mean “big” in every sense of the word. Styling and design departments for the Big Three had grown to new levels of prominence, and a stylistic war between America’s car manufacturers had been simmering for the last decade. As a result, cars grew ever larger and more extravagant at the top end of the market with new models coming at a furious pace. GM’s Harley Earl and his talented staff that consisting of such greats as Bill Mitchell and Chuck Jordan worked to out-style their rivals John Najjar at Lincoln and Virgil Exner at Chrysler. Every year, a new or heavily reworked design was rolled out at great expense, with each team fighting to stay at the cutting edge of design. 1959 was a banner year for American styling excess, and at its pinnacle was the Cadillac Series 62. The last project to be overseen by Harley Earl before his retirement, the Series 62 and its Eldorado siblings marked the beginning of the end of the design war with a final, victorious sweep of the pen. Controversial in its day for the over-the-top tail fins, complete with rocket-inspired quad tail lamps, the Series 62 has since become an American icon, not only within the motoring community, but in popular culture as well. It is a massive, nineteen-foot long, chrome and leather laden symbol of American excess in the 1950s.
Finished in beautiful lipstick-red over a red and white interior, and riding on a set of chrome wire wheels, this 1959 Series 62 Convertible packs a huge visual punch and is a gorgeous example of this American icon. This gorgeous Cadillac has been treated to a comprehensive body-off restoration and it presents in fantastic condition throughout. These are very complex and costly cars to restore, and as a result it is rare to find one restored to this high standard. Since the restoration was completed, it has seen only light use, presenting in very attractive, yet still quite usable condition.
As with any car of this size, the paintwork is only as good as preparation beneath, and thankfully this example does not disappoint, showing straight, clean reflections and excellent panel alignment. The 1959 Cadillac was the king of chrome, with chrome or polished stainless gracing virtually every panel, inside and out. The extensive polishing and plating is in excellent condition, beautifully finished and expertly fitted. The spacious cabin is nearly as flamboyant as the exterior, with big bench seats trimmed in buttoned red leather with white accents, along with two-tone red and white door panels and dash. The upholstery and carpets are in excellent condition, showing only very light use. The Series 62 was second only to the Eldorado in terms of equipment, so it is of course loaded with features such as a radio, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power top and power windows.
Beneath the vast hood is the original matching number 390 cubic inch V8 which breathes through a single four-barrel carburetor. The engine is beautifully detailed, finished in correct Cadillac blue with correct fittings and satin-black finishes found on the accessories and underhood panels. It still retains the original style A/C compressor and correct glass washer bottle. The engine runs strong and propels this big Caddy along at a surprisingly brisk pace. Even with the top town, occupants can enjoy a conversation at 70mph without having to shout, thanks to the massive length that limits wind buffeting. Some period road testers remarked at how composed the Series 62 remained, even when traveling at 100 mph! Quite simply, there is nothing quite like the driving experience of a 1959 Cadillac.
The uninitiated may dismiss the 1959 Cadillac as simply an extravagant style piece with little substance, when it fact it is an automobile that was built to a very high standard of quality. These were highly expensive cars in their day, and as such are very well-built, strong performing and surprisingly fun to drive. This particular example has been restored to gorgeous condition and remains thoroughly usable and ready for casual show, club events and tours.