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1962 Cadillac - any driving experiences out there?

parmparm Posts: 723
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.


  • 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: 21,578
    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: 17,347
    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!
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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: 21,578
    ...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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Yeah, but the 62 convert is the wiser choice, since you get the same basic car for a lot less money.
  • 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: 21,578
    ...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: 1,270
    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"
  • 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.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,578
    ...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 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.
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