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Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car?



  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Well, I'm not sure if "in love" would be the right term. However, I would fully admit that a polygraph test would reveal I'm rather "infatuated". They say you shouldn't totally fall "in love" with a collector car until AFTER you buy it. LOL!

    In any event, I can't argue with the fact that the market is a lot deeper for a convertible than for a 2-dr hardtop coupe. On the other hand, the price for a pretty nice convertible is considerably more than a coupe in similar condition - which is what makes the Coupe Deville appealing. In that, I could get into coupe for a lot less money. While I can't say it wouldn't be nice to be noticed in a convertible, that's not my reason for wanting a collector car. So, that weakens the convertible argument somewhat. Plus, the first time someone pulls up next to me in a car with a ear-thumping stereo while I have the top down, I think the convertible would lose some of its luster where there's no place to escape. At least a coupe with its windows up would provide some bearer - (if only partially). Yeah, OK. I know I'm being picky here.

    My motivation for wanting a collector car is for the driving "experience" (yes, I'm in therapy over this) and to be proud of what I have. For the price of a nice Coupe Deville, I think I can have both.
  • I'd encourage you to look for a Sedan de Ville in this model, because it is such a large car. A gigantic 2-dr coupe is pretty useless, but in a 4-door hardtop you can comfortably carry lots of people with you. Also the 4-door hardtop deVilles are just as handsome as the two-doors, if not in fact better looking.

    AND you can find one for less money! What's not to like about the SdV?


  • parmparm Posts: 723
    I can honestly say I'd not given even the slightest thought to owning a Sedan Deville. However, you make a good argument . . . . I guess. While I know a '64 Cadillac doesn't conjure up visions of unbridled youth, the 4-door Sedan Deville variation just seems so stodgy. I mean, my grandparents drove Sedan Devilles for god sakes! LOL! I will say that the Sedan Deville does wear the 19 feet of car quite well. When I consulted my "text", I was startled to learn that the convertible, coupe and sedan Deville were identical in length. And, it would be much easier to take another couple out to dinner in a Sedan Deville. But, at 47, I'm a little young to apply for my AARP card. Yeah, yeah. I know where talking about a 43-44 year old car here. I just don't think of myself as a Sedan Deville guy. Then again, I love the DTS. Go figure.

    So, if a nice Coupe Deville could be had for around $10K, any "realistic" thoughts as to what the owner of a very nice Sedan Deville would be willing to accept?
  • I did some research on your question and I would think $8,500 could buy you a killer '64 SdV.

    I hear what you're saying about the "stodgy" image, but really, you think the coupe makes you a 25 year old playboy? :P

    I always see these big coupes as sporting steer horns for some reason ;)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,575
    I'd encourage you to look for a Sedan de Ville in this model, because it is such a large car. A gigantic 2-dr coupe is pretty useless, but in a 4-door hardtop you can comfortably carry lots of people with you. Also the 4-door hardtop deVilles are just as handsome as the two-doors, if not in fact better looking.

    About the only thing I'd argue with a 2-door versus a 4-door, is that I find the 2-doors easier to get into. While the doors are longer, which is going to cause a problem in tight spaces, the doors on cars from that era really aren't THAT long. That trend really didn't catch on until the 1970's. 4-door cars can be kind of hard to get into if you're tall and have the seat all the way back. Usually putting the seat all the way back puts it between the B-pillars. That always gave me a problem with visibility to the side, but with a 4-door hardtop that would be negated.

    Most 2-doors from that era still had the seatbacks that were hinged at an angle, which helped entry/exit to the back seat immensely...just as long as you didn't try to push both seatbacks forward at the same time!

    I think with some of the immensely huge cars, the 4-door hardtops do look better than the 2-doors, but I don't think that '63-64 style is one of them. I'd say they're about equal in looks, although I do like the way the A-pillar seems to curve more smoothly into the top of the roof on the 4-door, whereas it seems more angular on the 2-door. Both good looking cars in my opinion, and I'd be proud to own either one.

    With some of the mammoth 70's cars, I think the 4-door hardtops look better, but that's mainly because in that era, they were trying to make just about every coupe out there look like a personal luxury coupe, with the massive C-pillar, small rear window, and rear roll-down side windows that were reduced to mere slits, or replaced by stationary opera windows.

    On the subject of 60's Caddies, what would a decent '61-62 4-door hardtop go for these days? I always liked those. Isn't the 4-window style supposed to be worth more than the 6-window? Personally, I don't have a preference.
  • Believe me Andre, you can WALK into a Sedan de Ville. :P

    The 61s-62s seem to be only about $1,000 more or so (10%?) more than a '64. A coupe is more valuable but not by a lot. In most Cadillacs, the difference between 2DHT and 4DHT is not nearly as great as it is with the lower line GM cars. I think this is because a huge 2 DR coupe doesn't look right to the modern eye anymore.

    As evidence of my theory, you will note that large coupes such as the BMW 8 series was a flop and that the large Mercedes coupes never sold very well either.

    It's also ironic that the only large 80s--90s Chevrolet sedan worth more than used car money these days is the Impala SS from the mid 90s, another 4 door.

    Also the Jaguar XJ6C was a failure and the XJS is dirt cheap in today's market.

    So I think my theory of the "handsome 4 door", while EXCEPTIONALLY RARE, has some credence.

    I predict (place turban on head) that in a short time the Cadillac Sedan de Ville of the 60s and 70s will exceed the coupe equivalent in value, based on modern tastes.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,575
    I predict (place turban on head) that in a short time the Cadillac Sedan de Ville of the 60s and 70s will exceed the coupe equivalent in value, based on modern tastes.

    Actually, I could see that. Seems like as the 60's wore on, the big 4-door hardtops got better looking compared to the 2-door hardtops. I'd say by 1969-70, the Sedan DeVille was a better looking car than the Coupe DeVille. I still think the coupe is good looking, but just don't care for the styling around the rear quarter window and C-pillar area
    , as shown on this 1970 Coupe DeVille

    Another thing I really hated, once they started going to fixed windows on coupes, how the rear side windows wouldn't always line up with the windows in the doors. Kinda like in this Buick Electra ad. It has a clumsy look to me, around the B-pillar area, almost as if one committee designed the front part, one designed the back part, but they didn't agree on how to make them line up! In this case, I think the 4-door hardtop, which is in the background, is a much better looking car.

    Now when they were still making C-body hardtop coupes, I thought it was still an attractive style. But I think I still prefer the 4-door hardtop, even here. Here's a '73 Electra 2-door hardtop:
  • I agree. The rear roofline and monstrous trunk lids on the coupes look very awkward. They're starting to look like pickup trucks.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Coupe Deville vs. a Sedan Deville. Which is the better way to go? Based on our discussion here, the whole issue is about as clear as mud to me now. LOL! Value-wise, it sounds like they're worth about same. Personally, I don't ever see the value of a Sedan Deville being significantly more than the Coupe. So, I guess it gets down to: 1) personal preference; 2) condition/quality of the car in question, and; 3) price. I think a very nice Coupe would still be better than a rather "needy" Sedan. I will say that with the 4-window Sedan, once you have all of the windows down, it'd be darn near like driving a convertible in terms of the amount of open air space - of course, a similar argument can be made with the Coupe since its windows are pretty big. And, with the Sedan, if you needed more interior room, you wouldn't need to see a car dealer, you'd need to see a real estate agent. So, on a $/sqft basis, perhaps the Sedan is the way to go?

    The 4-window Sedan doesn't have a fixed B-pillar so I don't think there would be a blind spot even with the driver's seat all the way back. Getting into the back seat of a Sedan would be easier than a Coupe - unless the average age of the rear seat passengers is under 25, at which point it's a toss-up.

    While I admit the Coupe wouldn't win me many (any?) "come hither" smiles from a co-ed, a 4-door just seems like I should be driving in a funeral procession.
  • Well just a suggestion. There's no clear winner here. I think color would be important. For a coupe I'd pick a flashier color and for a 4 door I think black would look great if the paint was good. I like the coupes in two-tone paint myself and I don't like gold cadillacs. I think they made a nice blue metallic and with a white type that would be nice.

    The 4 doors look good in black IMO and darker non-metallics.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,575
    I'd say in the long run, just go with whatever one makes YOU, the buyer, happy. You're the one who has to live with it, so get something that you're going to enjoy.

    I imagine come resale time, if you get bored with it, the coupe would be easier to sell than the sedan.

    The sedan will be cheaper to buy, and possibly cheaper to insure since one component of your insurance will be agreed-upon value. However, it's going to be just as expensive to drive, maintain, repair, and might actually be harder to find some of the more unique replacement parts that differ between a 2- and 4-door. Since 2-doors are more popular, it tends to be easier to track down those types of parts, and it's more likely that aftermarket suppliers might make repro stuff, etc.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    You don't like gold Cadillacs? Oh noooooooooooo! LOL! Actually, I think that color (Sierra Gold in '64) looks pretty sharp. But, hey, that's me. A black 4-door Sedan would definitely fit right in at a funeral parlor. Actually, the guy selling the '64 Coupe Deville (in Sierra Gold btw) also has a 1966 Sixty-Special 4-door sedan that he'd like to sell too. I know less about this car, but I've seen photos. Ironically, it's black with black leather interior. And, he's done a fair amount of work to it. Looks pretty decent - even the wood door panels (similar to the Eldorado of that year). He's asking $11.500. The back seat has the flip-down foot rests and the pull-down tabletops on the back of the front seat.

    With regard to production, in 1964 Cadillac produced about the number of hardtop Coupes (38,195) as they did 4-window Sedans (30,579). For the record, they also made 15,146 six-window Sedan Devilles. And, in case you're keeping score at home, they made 17,900 convertibles. All of these figures are per the book "Cadillacs of the Sixties" by Roy Schneider.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I'm going to argue for the coupe. The doors and windows on the sedan look like the right size for a '64 Chevelle or something, nowhere near big enough for a pontoon barge Caddy. The longer coupe doors and windows are closer to being in good proportion to the long, fat front and rear fenders.
  • I think one would have to live with the coupe vs. the sedan for a few days before deciding. The coupe has a back seat that you have to crawl into, after doing the limbo under the roof, and yet has a trunk that could easily fit 4 dead bodies without anyone having to tuck in. It's an attractive car but very irrational "in the flesh", IMO.

    Besides no one will ride with you in the back seat of a coupe. It's like you are trapped in a cave back there. So I'd go for the car with room for the family and you can still fit 3 dead bodies in the back, should the in-laws give you any trouble.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,305
    When in USARPAC, I sold other servicemen's cars after they left the Rock which enabled them to drive their car until they left. I sold softops, hardtops, sedans, & even an old Packard. When driving the MGA around with a "For Sale" sign, it was pure pleasure and it brought the best price. An Admiral bought a Chev Bel Air convertible for his wife & it was difficult to get past the SP's at the gate with that story.

    It seemed that the locals put a higher value on cars that came from the mainland so if the car had a heater, it was from the mainland and worth more.

    In later years I purchased a '63 Fiat Spyder as a second car, but driven to work.
    I fought invading water & even bought a used factory hardtop, but that didn't help.
    It was replaced by a '66 Mustang GT Coupe & it has been dry ever since.

    When showing the Mustang, the other participants appreciate the car, but when a convertible in equal condition is in the show, it is the convertible that gets the admiration of the other entries.

    Because the Coupe is now a garage queen trophy car that hasn't been wet since 1995 - a convertible 66 Stang would be desired if the coupe were to be replaced.

    Condition, condition, condition is most important - especially at the shows.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Right now, I drive a 2000 Eldorado which is a 2-door coupe. The whole rear seat entry/exit thing isn't an issue because I don't ride back there. And, rarely, do I have the need to carry anyone back there who's not a teenager (ie., my kids) on a daily basis. So, having only two doors wouldn't be much of an adjustment for me. However, a '64 Cadillac would be a toy, naturally. And, thus, would be used as such. Consequently, I would envision there might be a few more opportunities to haul more than one other adult from time to time which would make the 4-door more convenient from that standpoint.

    On the other hand, the main reason for owning one of these cars is for its "style" - which is obviously in the eye of the beholder. And, to "this" beholder, the coupe wins the battle on style. And, while I doubt Steve McQueen would've wanted to have been buried in one, the Coupe Deville just seems more "cool" than the Sedan Deville. Furthermore, since a '64 Coupe Deville wouldn't be my daily driver, the convenience factor of having four doors might be moot. Hard to tell. Perhaps with a collector car, I'd want 4-doors a greater percentage every time I turned the key. But, I don't think my requirement to haul around more than other person at a time would increase dramatically with a collector car. Truth be known, I would suspect I'd be flying solo a great deal of the time anyway (the whole "collector car" euphoria only goes so far with my soon-to-be wife - LOL!) which tends to sway the decision toward a coupe.

    I will say this, once you get into the back seat of a Coupe Deville (albeit, with some coaxing), you sure could do a lot worse in terms of comfort. While the lack of rear doors might technically qualify as being in a cave, it's a pretty nice cave - leather upholstery and all - and pretty roomy, especially compared to a Chevelle, Camaro, Mustang or any other collector car with a bit more "muscle", so to speak.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,575
    Consequently, I would envision there might be a few more opportunities to haul more than one other adult from time to time which would make the 4-door more convenient from that standpoint.

    My '57 DeSoto and '67 Catalina are both 2-doors, and there have been plenty of times when I've had people pile in the back seat, and nobody's ever complained about the room. Well, except for their hair, in the Catalina, when I'd put the top down. Despite being 2-doors, they're probably still bigger in the back seat than most modern 4-door cars. I'm sure a '63-64 Coupe DeVille would be similar.

    For the most part, I don't think 2-door cars started being a pain to get into the back until the 1970's designs came out. And smaller cars are going to be more difficult. My '68 and '69 Dart hardtops weren't really that hard to get into the back seat of, but my '76 LeMans is horrible. Part of the problem is that the LeMans has a B-pillar that slants forward, making entry/exit more difficult. And once they made the sides of cars start curving in more, I think that made it more difficult.

    I saw a '63-64 Caddy last nite, on tv. One of my friends gave me the first season of "CHiPs" on DVD, and there was one in the pilot episode, a nice looking 6-window 4-door hardtop. I'm not gonna say what happened to it though, because it's too awful to repeat here. :cry:
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    To add one picky point, the issue of getting in and out of the back seat of a '64 Coupe Deville would be a lot easier (compared to a more modern car) given this car's lack of ceiling/pillar mounted seat belts. Plus, there's no inconveniently placed lever to manipulate to unlock the seat. Just a matter of flipping the front seat forward and stepping into a pretty big opening. Go to any cruise-in or car show and I'll bet the ratio of 2-door coupes to 4-door sedans is easily a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio - which should provide some indication as to the appeal of coupes over sedans which, in turn, would contribute/translate to a somewhat greater value compared to a sedan.

    Anyone care to disagree?
  • Yeah disagree--not on your arguments about the coupe rear seat room (after all, it's no big deal) but about value. The coupe and 4DHT values are very very close on Cadillacs. Neither one is a "hot" seller. The convertibles grab all the glory in Cadillac, the coupes and 4DHTs are also-rans for some reason....unlike say a Chevy or Pontiac, where the two doors outpace the 4DHTs by a pretty good margin.

    But the Buicks also have a close ratio between 2DHT and 4DHT.

    I think the less "performance" oriented a car is, and the larger it is, the more the values of coupes and 4DHTs merge.

    Right now, they look to be within 10% of each other---that's a lot closer than one might have thought. I was a bit surprised myself.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,575
    Right now, they look to be within 10% of each other---that's a lot closer than one might have thought. I was a bit surprised myself.

    Hmmm, that is surprising. As a general rule of thumb, I used to figure a 2-door hardtop was worth about twice as much as an equivalent 4-door pillared sedan, and then a convertible would be worth about twice as much as the 2-door hardtop (or 4x the 4-door pillared sedan) For models like 2-door sedans and 4-door hardtops, I figured they were usually worth more than a 4-door pillared sedan, but still nowhere near 2-door hardtop territory.

    But nowadays, if I want to know the value of something, I'll just ask Shifty! :shades:
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