Vintage Cadillacs are to cars what Jayne Mansfield was to women: big, flamboyant, brazen and extreme, which mean vintage Cadillacs are sex symbols and investments.
Elvis Presley drove them and gave them away like peanuts.
Remember when contestants passed into the big-money range on “The $64,000 Question,” and their reward was a Cadillac?
Blues singers cry for them; lottery winners run out to buy them.
“Cadillac” conjures images of rowdy Texas millionaires who used to mount steer horns on the hoods; cruising city pimps like “Super Fly” who put black-out film on the windows.
They were painted pink, white, baby blue, solid gold, or covered with fish scales and diamond dust.
A Cadillac has never been simply a car.
There was a time long ago to call anything “the Cadillac of its class” meant that it was the best.
That cachet shifted in the fifties, when Cadillac, long known for big price and snob appeal, blossomed as not only the most expensive car, but the most vulgar.
Today, it is regarded as the quintessential gas-guzzling road hog.
Cadillac began its long road to the heights of gaudiness in 1948 when the once tasteful car first sprouted tail fins on its rear fenders.
Vintage Cadillacs were the fin leaders of the fifties.
Other cars initiated the idea, notably Chrysler Corporation models designed by Virgil Exner.
However, it was the beloved “Caddy” that made fins a symbol of automotive styling at its most monstrosity.
Tail fins were the brainchild of General Motors Design Chief, Harley Earl who began his career by inventing two-toned cars in the thirties.
Earl patterned Cadillac fins after the P-38 fighter plane.
Harley Earl understood that people buy cars for reasons other than to get from one place to another.
That knowledge helped to fashion modern Cadillacs as the personal possession that most aggressively broadcast how much money it cost.
At the time, they cost even more than jewelry and furs.
In keeping with this theme, Cadillacs of the mid-sixties had to pass what advertisements referred to as “the mink test.”
For example, girls wearing mink coats got into the cars, rolled around on the seats, squirmed and lay down, then got out.
At that point, lab technicians checked the minks to make certain that all that romping inside the Caddy had caused no abrasions or discolorations in the fur!
By 1959, the Cadillac had grown into such a monstrosity that awestruck critics called it “the bat mobile,” which bullied everything in its path coming out of the bat cave.
It had a menacing front end that seemed to disappear in the night.
Unlike the bat mobile, the 1959 Sedan de Ville’s two and a half ton body was draped with chrome, and full fender skirts that made it glide mean and low on the road.
It had a huge menacing grille with heavy-lidded dual, glaring headlights.
The rear end was terrifying with twin bullet taillights mounted on colossal pointed fins; although its fins grew smaller after 1959 and eventually disappeared.
Even when Cadillac had competition on the road, it responded to the trend by introducing a “personal size” Eldorado that weighed a mere 4,590 pounds.
That was the question in 1974 as gas supplies dwindled.
Yet, in the Cadillac design department, there has always been room for full-size cars.
So although power was cut and the carburetor choked to the point that the big iron boats could only wheeze down the road, the vintage Cadillacs of ever increasing personal luxury never wavered.
In 1974, when an entire Chevy Vega cost $2,788, the same amount of money bought you a Talisman option package for your Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance (base price: $9,537).
Even without the Talisman package, the Brougham d’Elegance was an astounding mass of car, including:
The Talisman option improved upon this perfection by replacing the ordinary car seats with four separate reclining armchairs covered in a fuzzy synthetic plush cloth Cadillac named “Medici crushed velour.”
Today’s Cadillacs are still glutted with elegant doodads, expensive sounding materials, and doughy padded roofs named to bring to mind the noble coach builders of yesteryear.
In vintage Cadillacs, there is a black, rubbery “phaeton roof, for the Cadillac Seville; there are lighted “opera lamps” for the C-pillars of the Eldorado; and there are electroluminescent Cadillac wreath and crest ornaments embedded in the sponge-soft roof of your Fleetwood.
For those who demanded maximum ostentation, Cadillac made a Brougham d’ Elegance.
The last model was the longest car manufactured in America and had the biggest engine Cadillac ever built.
It weighs over two tons and accelerates only a little faster than a dump truck.
This vintage Cadillac comes with a trumpet horn, carpeted litter receptacle, and gold-plated ignition key (standard features).
It is also available with such impressive options as a Llama-grain formal padded roof, 24K gold Cadillac wreath and crest on trunk and wheels.
#Vintage Cadillac Investment