Cadillac history 1959

12 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Cadillac history 1959 отключены
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The ’59 Caddy had it all — performance, and comfort. It stood as the symbol of success, impressive and yes — controversial. The outrageous fins and jet pod taillights evoked a love it or leave it attitude the public. It is interesting to note Maurice D. Hendry, author of Standard of the World, The Complete History . refused to include a of the regular production ’59 in his book. He said that, year saw the tail fins a literally ridiculous height.

The had plenty of critics including writer. Nevertheless, the 1959s were excellent. As cars rocket fins or not — were undeniably excellent.

M. P. McCall, in 80 Years of Cadillac-LaSalle commenting that the 1948 soon became Cadillac’s famous styling feature, but each successive series of new these rear fender grew higher and more By the late 1950s they had ludicrous proportions and were of taste. He called them spectacular ‘zap’ fins! Up McCall observed that The new was a glittering cliff of chrome. And as if one grille wasn’t enough was even a dummy grille the lower rear deck of models.

A thin, horizontal divided the jewelled front into upper and lower Parking and turn signal were paired in pods at the ends of the massive new front The new rear bumper had huge, outer pods with lights recessed in their

Of course, just about knows about the monster on the ’59 Cadillac. But how many ever heard about the designed around a Buick The 1959 Cadillac was. Motors had gone through expensive years of tooling up for new and the head honchos wanted to costs.

They decided to make the Buick front door a interchangeable element throughout the GM line. This was a tough because the door tapered but an order was an order and the Cadillac team worked around it, out an unforgettable product in the process.

Hols, now Director of Design the General Motors Design was a designer at the Cadillac styling in 1956. He remembers the Buick challenge quite well. did you guys see those ’57s down at the end of Mound Road.

recalls one designer asking as he into the studio one morning. The was referring to the befinned 1957 cars. Actually, Cadillac had the great automotive fins in 1948 after styling Harley Earl had sent a of designers out to Selfridge Field Detroit to study a Lockheed P-38, particularly its rear

Now, almost a decade Chrysler’s cars were Cadillac — and in a bold way at In point of fact, Chrysler had wrested design leadership GM, and that could not be tolerated.

Chrysler’s challenge set the Cadillac team’s creative course the ’59 Cadillac was going to flamboyant fins. All the designers disenchanted (some to the point of with the ’58 Caddy and were going to abandon of its design themes. And just as the Lincoln and Continental Mark III set out to Cadillac in 1958, Cadillac itself in the curious situation of to out-Chrysler Chrysler in 1959!

Vice-President of Design, Bill remembers the battle with I think what happened is at the time [Virgil] Exner at and we at GM tried to out-fin each I think the worst year we had was when we were putting on with a trowel.

We had chrome on everything, and in ’59 we to out-fin Exner. You know, we on to ’60 and ’61 and brought the down and made them a more sane — a more ‘sanitary.’

The head of GM at the time was Harley Earl, the of modern automotive design. But he was in Europe when this came to the Cadillac design When the cat’s away.

designer on the project was enamored of jet It was nothing to see a stack of books on the on their desks. This was an time in aviation and the designers awed by the shapes of the latest True, the P-38 influence on the ’59 Cadillac with the lines. As Mitchell said, the P-38, you saw how you could go from the straight back to the tailfin in one

But, as Hols puts it, By the jet aircraft were the thing. If you at the rear of the ’59 Caddy, it like the exhaust ports of a It’s no wonder the ’59 looks like it’s moving even when just sitting in the driveway.

All the ingredients came together for the of the ’59 Cadillac. First, GM was all-new vehicles for 1959. the taper in the Buick door Cadillac’s rearward taper. Ed Glowacke, head of design at wanted a new, innovative, design.

Cadillac could do less than Chrysler and be competitive, Glowacke thought. So he put his on a rush schedule to get the 1959 completed. Work began October 1956, with the car set for an 1958 introduction.

Compared to GM design time-tables, that was fast and meant many hours in the studio.

Dave Hols, working Glowacke and crew, developed the tailfin design. Twin were used because as many looked more Thus, nacelles were into the tailfins to allow for Chuck Puhlman and Roy Hill worked on the design. In the end, use of the door cost more originally projected, mainly of the taper and drop in height.

that taper, however, the lines wouldn’t have the characteristic sweep of motion became such a distinctive of the car’s design — and we would not have seen huge fins.

One of the most impressions one receives from the ’59 Cadillac is a marvelous of openness. That’s because was also the greenhouse year at GM. The lineup boasted unexcelled compliments of the thin pillars and sail panel (really a pillar itself). Sitting in the the driver could easily see all corners and enjoy an almost view in all directions.

Part of the in visibility had to do with the design of the In fact, the buyer could from two distinctive roof the first a more traditional roof, the second a radical flat roof. Both themselves to creating lavish of visibility.

Interior planning for the Cadillac, including the Eldorado and limos, was directed by Bob Scheelk, of Cadillac interior design. He the project as a rush program; he was to have the instrument panel in — with working lights — for the GM Board of at the Tech Center in the spring of a monumental task. As it turned the executives approved the instrument for production pretty much as

It was quite deep because of the of the cowl and the rake of the wraparound which resulted in an extended Also working on the interior Sue Vanderbilt (who had worked on exteriors earlier); Russ a studio engineer; and two clay

Of course, Cadillac shared a of parts with other GM mainly the structural pieces from view. Cadillac’s also shared components its GM siblings — items door moldings and openings, surrounds, and seat frames. But of what the buyer saw, the seat cushions and fabrics, was

The extreme curvature of the windshield some rethinking regarding of controls and switches. For example, the of the dash which curved on the driver’s side to the door was large enough that the referred to it as the horn. On it, they the windshield-wiper controls and the power switches.

Originally, the cruise was located there, too, but it had to be because it conflicted with the controls.

Because so many were new, even the opening mechanism for example, care had to be taken to maintain reputation for high quality. One in this regard was the metallic used on the Fleetwood Sixty it trapped the guard-hairs of women’s coats when they sat and hung onto the hairs they got up. This textile was rapidly addressed and solved.

came up with the colors, had cars painted, and hosted an color show for management at engineering on Clark Street. a vote was taken. Only the formulas for the selected colors developed and the problems worked out did the receive final approval.

often boasted about its acrylic lacquer finish.

All Cadillacs came with power steering, and power as standard. They also a new direct-acting power brake and automatic-release parking brake. Of there was a long list of cruise control, air suspension shocks now contained plastic of inert Freon-12 so that the gas not mix with the shock absorber electric door locks, Eye headlight dimmer, power and seat, air, E-Z Eye glass, trunk with pull-down, and

The ’59 Caddy rode a wheelbase and stretched 225 inches bumper to bumper. At 54.8 the two-door hardtop stood inches lower than it had the year. Cadillac used a X-frame, not only for its exceptional but also because it allowed for a low to improve appearance and enhance stability.

The V-8 was bored for 1959, the displacement from 365 to 390 cid and the horsepower 310 to 325. A four-barrel carb and exhausts were standard. the car’s rear end, with four ratios 2.94:1 to 3.77:1, had been but mainly for a quieter ride.

now became a distinct series, hardtop sedans with four-window styling and a curvier roofline, plus a hardtop The Series 62 duplicated these, and a convertible. Still pillarless (as it had been since ’57), the Sixty Special now shared a new wheelbase with all other models, including the line-topping trio of Seville, Biarritz, and

Prices were generally than before, with 62s at around $5000 and Eldos for $7400 and up. Still, Cadillac over 142,000 of its ’59s, a gain on its 1958 showing. not appreciated then, these are now sought-after as the epitome of Fifties with their massive sparkling trim, and, those overblown fins.

a few lapses, the Fifties had been a 10 years for Cadillac — the ever in terms of expansion. A car for the wealthy in 1950, Cadillac was entrenched by decade’s end among buyers on the way up.

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In 1959, Cadillac fielded six Series 6200, 6300 6400 6900 Eldorados, Special Fleetwood, and 6700 75.


No single design better characterizes the late Fifties flamboyance the 1959 Cadillac, which totally new styling:


twin bullet taillamps

two rooflines and roof pillar

new jewel-like grille patterns

deck latch lid beauty The former 62 line was now commonly the 6200 Series and was actually of three sub-series all with wheelbases and lengths. Each be treated individually here.

The base models were by their straight body rub running from front openings to back bumpers crest medallions below the tip of the A one-deck jeweled rear insert was seen. Standard included

power brakes


automatic transmission

backup lamps

windshield and two-speed wipers


outside rear view

vanity mirror

oil filter

The also had power windows and power seat. Plain skirts covered rear and sedans were available in window (4W) and six-window configurations.

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