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1963-1964 Cadillacs



  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Earlier, I mentioned that Cadillac redesigned the 390 motor for 1963. But, my explanation was pretty lame. So, in case anyone is interested (and I know you ALL are :P ), here's a more complete description of the 1963 390 motor.

    The 1963 390 was a totally redesigned engine compared to the 62 and earlier 390's. It was 50+ lbs lighter, engine accessories including the distributor was moved to the front and used a new aluminum engine cover that incorporated the oil pump, the length and height were both shortened, they switched to a hollow-cast crank and switched to an alternator-rectifier charging system. The bore, stroke and horsepower (325) were the same as the 62 390 however this was a lighter, more agile 390 than the old design.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Makes one wonder why they would bother redesigning an engine and only using it for one year? Also have to wonder why they would have used two different engines in the '64's?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,848
    This is just a guess, but the decision to redesign the 390 was probably made a couple years before, when the industry was still recovering from a recession, and there was a momentary shift towards smaller, lighter cars. At the time, they probably thought it good enough to just improve the design of the engine, rather than come out with a bigger one. However, by 1964, size and power were all the rage again, so they reacted by boring and stroking it. In 1964 Lincoln came standard with a 430, with a 450 optional (I forget when the 462 came out), and Imperial had a 413. Even lesser cars like a Chrysler New Yorker, Olds 98, or Buick Electra were trotting around with engines bigger than the 390.

    So, even if the 390 was a great engine and could outperform those other cars, often the only thing the public looked at were the cubic inches and the advertised hp, so Cadillac probably HAD to make the engine bigger!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    That's probably a accurate portrayal of what happened.

    Then Cadillac REALLY went overboard with the 500 Cubic Inch engines they put in the Eldorados!

    The days of excess that saw a extreme reversal in the years to come.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Except that that 500 cid engine was a cow on tranquilizers. :P


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    And things went downhill from that point.

    The newly imposed emission requirements that hit in about 1971 forced Cadillac (and everyone else) into choking down their engines to point they would barely run.

    Things got a bit better in th mid-seventies when catalytic convertors eased a bit of the pressure. Then cars had to get better gas mileage.

    Cadillac did some strange things such as putting gutless V-6's into big sedans.

    The wonderful 4-6-8 engine used for only one year, 1981 was a nightmare.

    Even worse was the introduction of the trashy 4100 engines that came out in 1982.

    Cadillac's reputation suffered horribly as a result and many loyal customers jumped ship.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,848
    There might have been a momentary bright spot in there, from say 1977-79. When the DeVille and Fleetwood were downsized in '77, they probably lost about 800-1000 lb. The engine was downsized as well, from a 500 CID to a 425, but still had something like 180-195 hp, depending on the year (and if it was 4-bbl or fuel injection), so they probably weren't too bad. I imagine with something like a '77-78 Eldorado though, the engine was a bit overmatched.

    In 1979 the Eldorado was downsized and got a 350 V-8 as standard. I always thought it was an Oldsmobile 350, same as the Seville, but I've heard other sources say it was a Buick 350. And I'm also unsure as to whether it was fuel injected like the Seville, or 4-bbl carb. But either way it had 170 hp, and C&D or MT or somebody got 0-60 in 9.8 seconds out of one. Just for comparison, the 1970 Eldorado, with its big 500, only clocked 0-60 in 9.6. 1/4 mile was a different story though, with the '70 doing it in 16.3, while the '79 took 17.9 seconds.

    One of those rags also tested a 1980 Seville, which had a 368 V-8 and something like 140-150 hp. They managed to get a 10.6 second 0-60 time out of it, and 1/4 mile in 17.9 seconds.

    I've heard that the 1981 V-8-6-4 isn't TOO horrible, if you disconnect the brain of the thing and just make it run on all 8 cylinders all the time. Supposedly, it was fine on 8, fine, if underpowered, on 4, but making the jump to 6-cyl is what messed it up. But in 1981 GM was introducing something called the "CCC"..."Computer Command System" or something like that, a crude computer that was mounted down in the kick panel in the passenger side footwell. It was fine, if when it worked. But, often it didn't. My grandparents had a 1982 Malibu wagon, and that thing failed twice on them. Out of warranty, naturally.

    By 1983, GM was starting to sort of get a handle on making the cars run right. Even if the hp wasn't going up, they were starting easier, stalling and stuttering less often, and running like they should, so they were beginning to make the most use of what little hp they had. Alas, by then, Cadillac had its aluminum 4.1 engine, which was good for 125hp initially, although at some point they were getting 135 out of it, as my 1985 Consumer Guide has a test of a Brougham with a 135 hp 4.1.

    Oh, and another nasty little secret...Buick's 4.1 V-6, no paragon of reliability itself, had the same 125 hp, but actually had more torque...something like 205-210 ft-lb for the Buick versus 195 or so for the Caddy. So I wonder if that would mean the Buick V-6 might actually be a bit faster? The additional torque would certainly help. And you'd think with a light V-6 in there, that would take some weight off the car, but then the Caddy V-8 was aluminum, so the weight difference might have been negligible.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    I agree. The 1977-1979 Cadillacs wre pretty good and not really gutless.

    The 4-6-8 problems as you mentioned wer mostly doe to the primative electronic controls. In time there was a wire that was clipped which put them in 8 cyl mode all of the time.

    It was in these years when the domestics were scrambling and stumbling that the Japanese cars gained huge market share.

    It didn't have to happen that way.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,330
    Cadillac did some strange things such as putting gutless V-6's into big sedans.

    The wonderful 4-6-8 engine used for only one year, 1981 was a nightmare.

    Even worse was the introduction of the trashy 4100 engines that came out in 1982.

    You didn't mention the famous GM 350 diesel. They put that in some Cadillacs too. A guy I knew had one (a Sedan de Ville). It was probably too square to be used as a suppository, but if he had met up with a Cadillac executive I think he would have tried.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,848
    It was probably too square to be used as a suppository, but if he had met up with a Cadillac executive I think he would have tried.

    Actually it would work with a 1980-85 Seville, if you back in, instead of going in forward. :shades:
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Oh yeah, the diesels were something else. Just a major mistake for GM.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,626
    My folks had a '62 white one then a '64 blue with blue vinyl top...both sweet rides. The '60 4 door model they had was just a huge brute and had those fins that could be lethal! Throw in a '64 Lincoln, a '68 Eldorado & a '70 convertible, a great decade for cars in our family. Wish I had any of them today!

    The Sandman :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    The V-8-6-4 engine also had these weird tall valve covers that housed the solenoid that were supposed to enable the car to go from 8 to 6 to 4 cylinders. I recall these cars when they were new thinking they were technological marvels until I learned otherwise.

    The alternate engine in 1981 was a gutless diesel based on the 350. The car was slower than molasses in January in the antarctic region of Pluto and sounded like a city bus.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    As *ideas* none of these things were bad---in execution, they became Frankencads.

    All GM had to do was buy a dozen Mercedes diesels, reverse engineer the engines, and figure out how to make them cheaper--which Americans are very good at. I mean, the stamped rocker arm was a brilliant invention, and does a Chevy V-8 rocker arm fail any sooner than a beautifully machined or cast one? Probably not.

    Cadillac used to make a GOOD CAR---especially in the early 1960s.


  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    Heck, GM's Guide Division figured out how to make a pretty reliable .45 caliber submachine gun for $15 that was made out of stamped metal.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    And, no doubt, few complaints about a defective product!


  • I was clearing out a non-paying renter for my closest friend. When what do I see, under a tree, windows down, dog-gone-it, but a 1964 Sedan De Ville. White exterior, fintails, grill all good with original blake/yellow plates. Red interior, wish widows weren't all down. Not in terrible shape considering.
    that renter took my friend for thousands of dollars, broke her mother 87 year old heart before she died in 2009. Property taxes must be paid soon. This might just pay them.
    I am getting older, I like the styling ride of the sedan, but thats just some of us getting older I guess.
    Looking to find its worth!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,506
    Hard to tell what it is worth without pics, but windows down doesn't bode well. Sounds like a classy old beast, but unless it somehow really isn't that bad, it sound like it might have passed on to parts car territory, so maybe not enough to pay those taxes, sorry.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    edited February 2012
    Yeah, I'm with fintail on this. Parts car pricing. You could buy one of these all pretty and shiny and running great for $15,000, and you know you can't get from where this poor car is to that $15K car for less than triple that amount.

    So really, take what you can get---you could advertise on craigslist and ask for offers, and let buyers do your appraisal for you. I'd guess $500 to $1500, but really I'd have to see it. The condition of the fenders and chrome and dashboard bits would be very important. No one will ever want to restore it, so forget that.


  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,848
    Hard to tell what it is worth without pics, but windows down doesn't bode well.

    I always hated seeing old cars in the junkyard with their windows rolled down. I always went over to the car and, if I could, roll the windows back up! Unfortunately, not so easy to do with a power window car. :(
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