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1962 Cadillac - any driving experiences out there?

parmparm Posts: 723
edited June 1 in Cadillac
Anyone have ownership &/or driving experience with a '62 Cadillac? I've always liked these cars and would consider owning a '62 Caddy convertible. I'd like to hear comments (good & bad) with regard to how well (or poorly) these cars drive/perform, maintenance experiences, parts availability, etc. What are the major advantages (if any) between a convertible Coupe and an Eldorado Biarritz convertible?

As always, I look forward to the comments from this forum's participants.
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Comments

  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Parm I was afraid we'd lost you to a Camry ;-). I know nothing about '62 Cadillacs except that way in the back of my mind I seem to recall that the 390 was highly regarded as a very durable and efficient engine. Apparently the 429 that came out in '64 had a few problems, at least initially. I like the '61-2 "downsized" Cads and the '63-64 looks nice too.

    A friend of a friend had either a '63 or '64 briefly until he took out a fire hydrant and the one time I was in it I was really impressed with how smooth, quiet and quick it was. It was a low mileage LOL car so I don't know how a more typical example with lots of miles would drive.

    Come to think of it, I have a Brooklands book called "Cadillac Automobiles 1960-1969" that you might want to pick up. Quite a few tests of the '61-2 Cad. "Handles like an oversized sportscar."
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    It's nice to be missed.

    I've not yet given up my search to own a nice cruiser with some style. I've eliminated a 64-65 T-Bird as the seats are too uncomfortable. A first or second generation Mustang GT convertible would be very nice, but are rather pricey - at least one worth having. Same argument is true for a 65-67 GTO convertible.

    For the longest time, I swore a Cadillac would be way too big (its inconvenient to radio air traffic control for landing clearance!), but I don't live in a big city so finding a parking space is not as difficult as it may be for some. Thus, a '62 Caddy is on my list now. My quest continues . . . . . . .
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    If I was forced to choose any single generation of Cadillac model as my favorite, I'd have to say it was the '61-62. They were so much more elegant and understated than their gaudy, high-flying, overblown ancestors, but they still had a more creased, aggressive look to them than the more formal '63-64 models.

    As for build quality and longevity, well, I don't know if this is the most scientific way to go about checking it, but there's a really big junkyard about 2 hours away from me that seems to have a disproportionate amount of this generation Caddy. But the weird thing is, most of 'em looked like they could almost be made roadworthy again without too much fuss. Not so with the older or slightly newer models...most of them had serious rust damage by now. This junkyard has been around since 1961 and very rarely crushed a car, at least not until fairly recently when the bank started threatening to forclose and he needed money. It's been about 4 years since I've been down there, and things may have changed a bit, but it's quite possible some of these cars have been in there 20-30 years or more.

    Is there something about the '61-62 Cadillac that makes them less desireable among collectors? I know the overblown 59-60 models are sought after as symbols of Detroit's glory days, and the '63 and later models seem to epitomize the more formal luxury that Cadillac is known for. I'm just wondering if the '61-62 just wasn't as popular back when they were newer, so people just junked 'em when they got tired of 'em, as opposed to when they broke down or got wrecked.

    Of course, as with any old car, the convertible is the way to go if you can afford it, but for some reason, I like the 4-door hardtop better than the hardtop coupe. It's hard to explain why...maybe it's because the coupe bears a strong resemblance to a '61 Chevy, while the 4-door just looks more expensive to me. Call me morbid if you want, but I think the hearses they used to build on '61-62 Cadillac platforms are some of the most beautiful cars ever built!

    Anyway Parm, good luck on your quest. Let us know if you pick up one of these beauties and, if not, what your next object of desire is!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,946
    At least in my opinion. I especially like the 62 2 door hardtops. Elegant, and a very nice sized car. The tailights and grilles on the 62's are nicer looking than the 61's.

    Wouldn't mind having one myself!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    I think Cadillac still had some quality left in it in 1962. I had a '64 that I drove for quite some time in Colorado, and it soldiered through some very nasty conditions.

    Probably the biggest problems you'd encounter with a '62 is the tremendous appetite for high test fuel and the sheer size of the thing. If you get a convertible, then you also have to deal with the typical chassis-flex on old American convertibles, so you need to drive conservatively.

    Naturally, you'd want to find a car where all the electrical systems are in good order, and where the heater/ac system is functioning well. Being a big car, doing any major work can be a bit of a hassle, and I'm sure working under the dash or digging out a heater core is no fun whatsoever.

    So I'd say save up your money and buy the best possible example you can find. I would absolutely not get into a restoration on a car like this, as it will eat money faster than a whale eats krill.

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  • Shifty!

    Yup, Buy one that's already nice!

    Me? I think its a nice looking car. And I'm sure it drives like a bit of a boat, but it sure is beautiful IMO.

    Bill
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    The 61-62 Cadillacs were two of my favorite years. I liked that crisp, angular look better than the ones before and after. And, I remember reading roadtests from the time, and hearing from friends who owned both 61s and 62s, that the gas mileage was amazingly good compared to other large cars of the time. [I used to hear high teens on the road]. I saw a gorgeous all original 62 at a recent swap meet-I almost considered it myself. It was a buttercream Coupe DeVille with matching leather interior, and under 60,000 original miles. No wear showing anywhere-a really nice pampered original-and I thought a good deal-for $12,000. So, I think you might have a good idea, and could find a really good one for a decent price. But Shifty's right about one needing work can be a money pit. Look for a nice one and go for it.They had a reputation for being comfortable, well-built, good riding, and fairly economical [for their size] cars.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    ...didn't Cadillacs in general tend to get good fuel mileage? I vaguely remember an old Consumer Reports issue where they tested a '57 Cadillac and a '57 Imperial. They mentioned that Cadillac ads claimed that it could actually be cheaper to own a Cadillc than a Ford, Plymouth, or other lesser car because they depreciated less and got better fuel economy. I remember them commenting that the Caddy did get better mileage than the Imperial (not sure about a Ford or Chevy though!) but it wasn't better enough to offset the cost of the higher-octane fuel it needed!

    Also, didn't Cadillacs come in several sizes back then? For some reason, I remember a model called a "short deck" and one called a "long deck".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    I think that was all myth. I mean, how could 400+ cubic inches pushing a 5,000 lb brick down the road possibly get good fuel mileage? Maybe some of the smaller 50s Caddies (which probably had way better CD numbers) with smaller engines could put up respectable fuel economy if driven prudently. I'd buy that...but a '62. No way that car is going to sip fuel.

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  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    According to a (TOO exhaustive) book on Cadillacs I have, the shortened-trunk Cadillac sedans were referred to follows:

    1961 Town Sedan, model 6399 (DeVille)-3756 made
    1962 Town Sedan, model 6289 (series 62) and 1962 Park Avenue, model 6389 (DeVille), total 2600 made, no breakdown by which series.
    1963 Park Avenue, model 6389, 1575 produced.

    There is no breakdown as to whether these cars were sold in the 'four-window' or 'six-window' style, or maybe a bit of both. Apparently this style was dropped for 1964.

    Cadillac also sold regular (model 6239, production 13,335) and 'extended deck' (model 6239E, 20,952 made) sedans in 1958. As the Sedan deVille of that year is model 6239EDX (23,989 made), I have to assume that was 'extended deck' as well. I think the 1958 regular deck models are now referred to as 'shortened', since they're more rare and were offered as one model, to the extended's two models.

    As for gas mileage: I think the reason Cadillacs of this era may have achieved decent HIGHWAY mileage is because they had four-speed automatics (until 1964 when the turbo-hydramatic debuted). This was a relative rarity at the time. I don't think this would have made around-town mileage any better, though.

    I love Cadillacs of the 60s, though I have to say the 1966 will always be my favorite. This is the last year of the traditional RWD Eldorado as well.

    For 1962, from what I've read, the differences between the series 62 and Eldorado convertibles were different trim inside and out, power vent windows and standard six-way power seat (choice of buckets or bench). There was no 'special Eldorado engine' as was the case in the late 50s. Of course, now the fact that only 1450 Eldos were made compared to 16,800 series 62 makes the Eldos more desirable and expensive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    Yeah, but the 62 convert is the wiser choice, since you get the same basic car for a lot less money.

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  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    After about 1960 (and arguments could be made for 1958) there aren't enough differences to the average person to justify prices 30-100% higher for the Eldorado compared to the 62.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    ...tested a Cadillac, either a '61 or '62. I remember reading it back in college, when I used to look through their old road tests at the library. I don't remember much about it, except that they showed a picture of a guy trying to get into the back seat of the Caddy, and a guy trying to get into the back seat of a full-size Ford of the same year, and commenting that the Ford actually gave you better room and ease-of-entry back there.

    With those old 4-speed Hydramatics, was top gear an overdrive or just a direct 1:1 ratio? Either way, since the thing had more gears to begin with, they might've given it taller highway gearing. I'm not sure what Ford had back in the 50's, but a lot of Chevies and Plymouths only had 2-speed automatics. The standard rear-end for 2-speed Mopars was something like 3.54:1, which I'd imagine didn't give very good highway mileage. In contrast, by the '60's, they were putting 2.56:1 rear-ends in a lot of GM cars, so out on the highway, those engines were often lugging along at lower RPMs than a lot of modern cars with overdrive trannys. Consumer Reports used to get over 20 mpg out of the Pontiac Catalinas it tested, running 389's or 400's and 2.56 rear ends. They'd not only smoke the Fords, Chevies, and Plymouths they compared them to, but they'd also return better economy!

    Not sure about 1962, but just for some trivia, I remember reading somewhere that the longest standard (non-limo) car in 1957 was the Lincoln...something like 225 or 227" long. Kinda strange too, because they don't look that big from the pictures...a Caddy or Imperial looks bigger.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,406
    The real giant Lincolns were the '58-'60. In some states they had to be licensed as trucks. Ugly as sin, too, with their canted headlights and huge butts. Then, starting in '61, Lincoln built that sublime job with the suicide rear doors.

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

  • I don't know if anyone on here ever heard of a television 1 hour car show called "Automobiles" which shows a history from the very beginning of how the automaker got started to present about cars and the automaker but they had a special about the Cadillac and I was somewhat shock that the post war Cadillacs sold way better than Lincoln and said that Lincoln was no comparison with Cadillac in terms of engineering, styling and sales as far I know.

    One point in time Cadillac sold a little over 100,000+ Caddys to new homes while Lincoln sold 30,000+ cars. The post war Lincolns were no match compared to the Cadillacs back then.

    J "CaddyLac"
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    I don't think Lincoln really built a "great" car after the KBs in the 30s. I think Ford just grabbed hold of them too tightly and strangled their creativity. Cadillac absolutely dominated the luxury car field in the 1950s. Mercedes was hardly on its feet in this country, Lincoln was a distant second, and Packard just about out of business. Chrysler was a notch or two down in prestige.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    ...were pretty hideous, although for some reason I kinda like the '60. I thought it was interesting though, that as nasty as they were, Chrysler and DeSoto decided to ape those canted headlights for '61. The Chrysler wasn't too bad, but the DeSoto actually makes me think of a '60 Lincoln (which may explain why I like the '60)

    Imperials were pretty cool cars, but I think they just had too much of a problem distinguishing them from Chryslers. Usually an Imperial had the same engine as a New Yorker, but they weighed a lot more, so that had to hurt their performance. Imperial's one year to shine, though, was 1957, when it beat out Lincoln. I think they beat Lincoln too in '58, but both makes were on seriously reduced volume. Imperials for a few years did have the distinction of being one of the only cars ever banned from demolition derbies, though!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    There was a '57 Cadillac Sedan de Ville parked in front of my office a few weeks ago, just a fairly clean original like you saw all the time up until about 1970. That beater was more of a deja vu experience for me than if it had been restored. Either they sold a ton of '50s Cadillacs or people kept them on the road longer than usual, probably because they were fast cars with lots of prestige. Our neighbor bought a '57 around 1963 and even as a kid I could tell how much that car meant to him.

    We had a '57 Chrysler Saratoga so I was partial to '57 Imperials up until about the age of reason. Then it dawned on me that they were really ugly cars.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    In my never ending pursuit to further my education of '62 Cadillac convertibles, I just ordered a book from Amazaon.com entitled "Cadillacs of the Sixties".

    One you guys must have perused this at one time or another. Is is a pretty good read?

    If anyone has any other book suggestions relative to early 60's Caddys, I'm all ears, er, eyes!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The only book on Cadillacs I have is "Cadillac Automobiles 1960-1969" by Brooklands Books. It's a collection of contemporary tests. I like this format better than the coffee table books because I think you get a more complete picture, although often you have to read between the lines.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    It's occurred to me the trouble with limiting my fancy to an exact year and model of Cadillacs (ie., '62 convertible) is that it's difficult to get decent books, etc. that are specific to that model and year.

    However, you might be interested to know that for $10 I just purchased on eBay a 1962 promo booklet (probably for sales staff) with photos of Cadillacs showing the various colors that were available that year.

    I can think of worse ways to spend $10.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    That's a great purchase. It's the sort of detailed information you won't find in most books. However, sometimes even the manufacturer's promotional material can be wrong, showing options that never made it into production. So it always helps to double check.
  • impeimpe Posts: 33
    Glad to see this particular forum.

    My first car was a 49 Caddy convertible, and I have loved them ever since. I currently have a 71 Jaguar E-Type Coupe (4.2 litre 6cyl), which is really neat, but it is no Caddy. SO! I am in the process of buying a 69 DeVille convertible that I found on eBay - if all works out, I should own the car by next tuesday. Only problem is that it is in Florida and I am in north Georgia. A friend who lives in FL will inspect it and if all is okay, give the man the check.

    My favorite years are 65 through 68 with the verticle headlights but this 69 looked just too good. I would have considered any from 57 through 76 but the 57 -60s are way to high.

    Good luck on your quest for the 62. I will be back here for updates, especially from folks like Shifty who know more than I do.

    Talk soon,

    Impe
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Nice to have you aboard! I can very much picture a '69 Cadillac in that when I was about 10-11, my folks bought a new '70 Cadillac Coupe DeVille - well, it was a nearly new GM executive car. The major difference I can remember between a '69 and a '70 was in the rear tail light. The '70 had a reflector strip/signal on the rear fin (such as it was). There was probably some subtle differences in the grill treatment as well.

    I hear your part of the country got hit with some snow. Hope it melts before your car arrives.

    By the way, would you mind sharing what you paid for this car?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    ...the people that lived behind my grandmother had a '69-70 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. I remember it was a 4-door hardtop, blue with a white top. First car I remember with power windows. I got to ride in it a few times, and thought it was the coolest thing! I think the '69-70 models were the last of the truly beautiful Cadillacs. The '71-76 models were cool in their own right, but just didn't look quite as "classic".

    I remember when the gas crisis hit in 1980, they sold it and bought a Citation. Man, that was the end of an era!
  • impeimpe Posts: 33
    The snow is gone from the roads but continues to linger on the fields. I live down on a river bottom, and even though I have an old Isuzu 4x4 I don't go up the hill until it is pretty clear - the drive in from the main road is about 1/8 of a mile.

    Subject to passing my friend's inspection, I will give $9750. plus tax because the seller has a FL dealer lic. That price is a bit higher than what I wanted but if the car is as billed, it may be worth it. As billed, it has new paint in original color, no rust repair no bondo, clean no rust bottom, original floor pan. New leather and rugs, and top, good chrome, detailed engine bay - it has a complete mechanical and cosmetic restoration (a relative term, of course). The way I figure, I should be able to enjoy the car with no expensive hassles.

    My friend is going to store it till I can get down there (Clearwater) and drive it back.

    Andre, where in MD do you live? I am a native Virginian but was held against my will in MD (Crofton) by a blond lady.

    Talk soon,

    Impe
  • impeimpe Posts: 33
    Andre,

    Your comment re. the power windows on that 69-70 DeVille reminded me that my 49 had power windows and top. Immediately after I bought it, me and my buddies jumped in, put down the top at a stop light, (had always wanted to do that since I saw a guy do it when I was about 6 years old), and drove up and down Columbia Pike in Arlington cruising for girls (Chicks, back then). The first sign of a problem was when the sky in back of us turned almost black with cloud and a single raindrop the size of NY City hit the wind shield.

    Then many more all the same size. Not a problem - I just put the top back up at which time we got the overwhelming smell of Hydrallic fluid. What is that smell??

    The power windows and top on the 49 were all hydrallic (sic) supplied by a big tank on the firewall. When I lowered the top and put it back up, the leaking top cylinders ran the tank nearly empty and as a result, I could not get the windows up. We ended up looking like the stupid kids that we were!

    I have never trusted power windows since.

    Impe
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    ...what a coincidence, I'm living in Crofton right now! What neighborhood did you live in when you were up here? I'm in a community called Crofton Meadows, that we call "Crofton Ghettos"!

    I'm just curious...about this '69 you found on E-bay. You mentioned Clearwater, FL and a guy with a dealer's license. That car isn't owned by PJ's Auto World down there, is it? If it is, I'd inspect it with a microscope and a fine tooth comb. I have a friend who bought a '66 Charger from them and had it trucked up here. I thought he was dumb in the first place to buy something sight-unseen that was 1000 miles away. They did send him a video tape though, and it looked pretty good in that. But the car ended up being a rat trap...rusted out floorboards with sheet metal just sitting in, an aftermarket 318 that was silted up from running straight water through it, and tons of other problems. I think he paid about $9000 for the car, and the repair shop he took it to found about $3000 worth of problems, not counting replacing the engine. And it was presented as mint-condition. He did get them to take it back, at least. But he also bought a '73 Benz 450SL contvertible from them, at the same time, and it turned out fine. He bought 'em both at the same time, and I think the Benz was shipped first.

    About 7 years ago, I saw a '69 DeVille convertible for sale at a small car lot in Baltimore. They also had a '75 Grand Ville, a 2nd gen Corvair, and a '67 Catalina, all convertibles. I've always had a thing for '67 Pontiacs, so it followed me home ;-) That Caddy was tempting though...dark blue with a white top and white leather interior. I think they wanted about $7000 for it at the time. Supposedly everything worked on it too, A/C, top, all the windows, etc.

    Anyway, good luck with your '69, hope it turns out to be as good in person as it sounds on Ebay! And Parm, good luck to you too, on whatever car you end up deciding on!
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    It'll probably awhile though. In reviewing my budget, along with the fact that I don't have the garage space for a third car (means renting a U-Store-It unit), I don't foresee doing anything in the near future.

    But, in the mean time, it's fun to look. And, talking about classics with knowledge folks such as yourself is very affordable too! ;-)

    I've been through the mill in terms of wanting everything from a '66 Mustang (preferably a GT) to a '64 Thunderbird to a '67 GTO and now a '62 Cadillac (all convertibles) - though I'd probably also be happy with a '61, '63 or '64 Caddy.

    I'm looking for a nice driving car (with plenty of style) to tool around town and to the occasional cruise in. My purpose is not a car with neck-snapping acceleration or one that'll hug the corners like its on rails. If it were, I'd go buy a nice, late-model Ram Air Firebird or Camaro SS - both of which would have the reliability to let me drive them year-round thereby allowing me to keep my fleet down to two cars.

    It appears to me that by going with a Cadillac, you'd get more car for the money. Plus, I'm thinking (perhaps falsely) I could find a decent Cadillac for a lower price than any of the others I've mentioned of comparable condition (oh, did I mention I'd prefer an Eldorado? - yeah, I know . . I'm dream'n).

    That's what I do best.
  • impeimpe Posts: 33
    We lived in Crofton Mews just off of Rt3. That was in 78-81; I remember because I had a 78 T-bird w/ T-tops at the time. Do you find that you remember things based on the car(s) that you owned at the time. My wife, the lovely Miss Linda, (TLML) and I both worked for the Federal Gument.

    The guy that I am buying the car from is named Mark Doyne, and in one of the references by a previous buyer on eBay, there is mention of a "Fisher Motor Inc." but I have not seen anything re. a "P J's Auto World".

    But I will let my friend know about what you said and ask him to be on the lookout.

    Concerning your friend who bought the cars, is there any way that you can get in touch with him? If possible, I would like to talk to him and maybe ask him questions on names and/or locations. Neither I nor my friend have ever been to this place but we have the directions, and that might ring a bell with your friend who bought the cars. I have until tomorrow because that is when the transaction is supposed to take place.

    Thanks,

    Impe

    P.S. You can Email me directly at impellitteri@rabun.net
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