We just encountered a very “original” (meaning unrestored, unfettered and unmonkeyed with) ’69 Cadillac Hardtop Sedan de Ville that we find to be a fitting Memorial Day cover car. It couldn’t be more American and more worth fighting for. The Vietnam War was raging and Dick Nixon’s mailing address was about to change from Palookaville to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when this big, bad Cad was introduced. There are 472 cubic inches of good old pushrod V8 under that front hood-cum aircraft carrier deck with 375 horses of ‘go power’ providing convincing locomotive force for all 4660 pounds of cushioned luxury. All told, this is almost 19 linear feet of muffled rolling thunder that floats — on land.
We really have a soft spot for veteran Cads still in service, their faded elegance is, perhaps, a reflection of our appreciation for Gloria Swanson’s performance in Sunset Boulevard. Here’s an “as is” ’63 Sedan de Ville sweating it out on a Noe Valley street in San Francisco. Sorry about the parking ticket — no respect for the elders!
This ’64 Coupe de Ville is noteworthy for the fact that it doesn’t have a vinyl-clad top. That rear deck lid looks like it could accommodate a small helicopter, doesn’t it? This was the last model year that Cadillac fins were distinct from the rear fenders, the end of an era that had begun in 1948 and reached its apogee in 1959.
And weren’t we lucky to get a view of this ’64 Sedan de Ville as it shot past on the freeway? The red wheels add some nice counterpoint to the Bahamaha Sand body color and we’re digging the intact rear fender skirts.
Here are the hind quarters of an ’82 Fleetwood Brougham, a latter day behemoth in the same larger-than-life Caddy tradition. This full size Cad had it all, including the much cherchezed optional “d’Elegance” package that included button-tufted seating and rear-seat reading lamps. Missing in action are the plastic inserts between the end of the rear fenders and start of the rear bumper which, typically, age at a more accelerated rate than the metal parts to which they were formerly juxtaposed.
We admit a fascination with rolling ruins and offer these images of Cadillac badging, distressed yet enduring.
We’re over the moon about this ’63 Cadillac TV spot. The announcer proclaims, in tones most stentorian, “These are extraordinary Cadillacs, Cadillacs that can do things that no other motor car ever did.” Not sure what that those things are but we’re pretty thrilled that they’ve been doing them for more than 50 years.. and counting.
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