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1962 Cadillac - any driving experiences out there?



  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    To get a great buy on a convertable. In the dead of winter it's more of a buyer's market.

    Some guy at the old car meet was trying to sell a 1970 Karmann Ghia convertable.

    Are you ready for this...?

    It was in about a Number 4 condition. Had a cheap repaint, dark green, had a raggy interior and a top that needed to be replaced etc.

    I don't know how it ran.

    Asking price...10,500 !!!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    that was 10,500 dimes, right?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Another guy had a pretty nice '66 Fairlane 2 door hardtop. Yellow with black vinyl top.

    Looked pretty nice, about a Number 3 car.

    Interior needed some attention etc.

    For Sale - 16,500 !!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, you have as much legal right to ask $16.5K for a Fairlaine hardtop as you do to give a lecture on your recent alien abduction, but whether anybody shows up is another matter.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Isell is right, this isn't the best time of year to be looking at convertibles.

    I'd guess that prices for all collectible cars, not just convertibles, go up in the spring and decline in the winter. Spring is prime driving weather in most of the country and that gets buyers off their couches and out kicking tires.

    Convertible prices must be the most consistently volatile, taking off in Spring and tanking in Winter. I wonder if anyone's charted the seasonal price differential for convertibles? I'll take a wild guess and say at least 10%, maybe 20%.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    10% might be closer, but of course for some cars that are very desirable, the season doesn't matter.
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    I agree that under an ideal situation that it'd be nice to buy a convertible in the Winter/Fall and I was trying to buy one at that time.

    However, for what I'm looking for, you pretty much have to go after it whenever one comes on the market - regardless of what the calendar says.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Sure, people buy when they can, not necessarily when they "should". I'll spare you and not relate this pearl of wisdom to the residential real estate market :-).
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    I tried to buy a very nice 1962 Series 62 Cadillac convertible back in February/March, but couldn't agree on a price with the owner at that time. This car eventually sold for $18,500 which I thought was outrageously high.

    Well now the current owner has offered the car for sale. He placed it on Ebay with a reserve and the auction closed a few days ago with a high bid of $14,600 (I was at $14,500). Not surprisingly, this did not meet his reserve - which I'm guessing was around $20K.

    Anyway, the $14,600 value it garnered on Ebay soundly verifies my assertion that $18,500 was too high. Actually, the bidding on this car jumped up about $4,000 in the last couple of hours. Me and another guy bid it up. I foolishly was trying to be the top bidder knowing all along it didn't matter as we were well under the reserve. Thus, anything over $13K was kind of stupid on my part. Still, I wanted the seller to know I was serious.

    The payoff is that in my own mind I knew $18,500 was too high. So you can call me analytical. But, you can't call me wrong. The market has spoken and it agrees with me!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Or we could be kind and say the buyer "bought ahead of the market".
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Take the emotion out of a market, in this case a spring buying frenzy, and the analytical types do just fine.

    I work with a guy who's been looking for a 442 convertible since February. This afternoon I caught him surfing car sites and he told me cars are starting to hang around longer.

    Parm, this is your time to shine!
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    Given that he recently bought it for $18,500, I sincerely doubt he'll want to part with it for anything less. Personally, I think he's on more of a fishing expedition than he is wanting to sell. Perhaps someone will come along willing to pay $18,500+ for this car. But it won't be me.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Sounds like maybe he bought too late in the hot market and missed the tail end of it. Can't blame him for fishing but he might have to wait til next spring to reel one in. At least he's got a nice car to drive, if he dares. I'd be more inclined to hermetically seal it.
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    When was the last time the market was hot? I'm not trying to be a smart aleck. I honestly don't know, but would like to.

    This guy bought this Cadillac in March of this year.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    By "hot" I mean spring when convertible prices peak. Their prices are seasonal.

    Per my post #262 the convertible market seems to have slowed within the last few weeks. Admittedly this is based on just one person's observation, but since this guy spends a lot of time looking at convertibles for sale on the net there's a good chance his experience is representative.

    And it makes sense. At this time of year people are focusing on the end of school and graduation. After that it's peak vacation season so both buyers and sellers are out of town and therefore out of the market.

    I don't know this for a fact but my guess is that convertible prices ramp up really quickly in spring when buyers are getting ready for summer cruising. By Memorial Day enough of them have either bought or gotten distracted (see above) to take some of the steam out of the market. Demand tapers off and prices start to soften.

    If I'm right then the long term trend in convertible prices is up, but within that trend prices can go up and down depending on the season.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I guess the reason I look at the market like that is that I'm used to an extremely fluid market. And when you work in an extremely fluid market you spend a lot of time trying to understand the market so it doesn't keep blindsiding you.

    Going back yet again to the residential real estate market, prices usually take off like a rocket after Super Bowl Sunday. Buyers are suddenly back in the market, wanting to get settled into their new house by summer, but inventory is just starting to trickle on. With way more demand than supply prices shoot up.

    But by Memorial Day more inventory is starting to come on the market just as buyers are temporarily leaving it for other things. With supply and demand more in equilibrium prices flatten and decline.

    After Labor Day people are back from vacation, the kids are settled into school and buyers re-enter the market. This is the second big selling season and prices go up again but it's short, tapering off near Thanksgiving when the market goes into hibernation and prices flatten and decline again.

    So at least one market has cycles during the year, but with the long term trend usually up. And while markets differ, it's possible to draw analogies between them.

    My guess is that convertibles differ in that they don't have that second season after Labor Day. My idea of their price curve would be a sharp spike in spring followed by a gradual but steepening decline starting about the time school gets out and continuing through summer. From Labor Day to Super Bowl Sunday the price premium for convertibles is probably at its lowest. There's still a premium but if the top can't go down the price can't go up.
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    In 1964, introduced Turbo Hydra-Matic on DeVilles/Eldorados/Fleetwoods. The older Hydra-Matic was available on the Series 62 and 75.

    Was there much difference between these two transmissions? 1964 was also the first year for the 429 motor. Perhaps this had something to do with the unveiling of the Turbo H-M?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,676
    ...the older Hydramatic was still that big 4-speed unit that they'd been using for years, while the newer one was the TH-400?

    In addition to the older one having 4 forward gears and the newer one only having 3, I'd guess the only other differences are that the newer one is lighter and smaller, which saves weight and allows for a smaller transmission hump. Also, didn't the older tranny have the pump in the back? I think if the pump's in the back of the transmission, you can push-start it if the battery's dead, just like with a manual-shift.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    The one thing I remember between the two was a change in the shift quadrant.
    The Hydra-Matic went P-N-D-S-L-R, while the Turbo Hydramatic went P-R-N-D-S-L.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Is a MUCH better transmission. The earlier versions while not *bad* just weren't nearly as troublefree.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,676
    ...where does that Roto-Hydramatic fit into the grand scheme of things, compared to the older 4-speed Hydra and the more modern TH-350 and TH-400? I've also heard you guys mention something called a "slim-jim"...was that another word for the Roto?
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I think the Roto-hydramatic was a 3 speed version of the old Hydramatic. I also think it was cheapened in other ways. I've also heard it called a "slim jim", but don't know why.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    or "slim jim" as it was called was a lighter, cheapened version of the older 4spd hydramatic.
    It used a torque converter, whereas the older Hydro used a fluid coupling, that acted more like direct drive. The thinking was to cut down on bulk and weight by eliminating the first gear and substituting the torque converter to make up for the first gear. In reality, though, it didn't work. They should have just started over from scratch, which they did with the TH350 and TH400. My grandparents had a 64 Pontiac Grand Prix with the Rotohydramatic. My grandmother used to say "it zooms!" What she meant was the way it sounded when it took off-seemed forever before it shifted into second, then a big let down. A lousy transmission overall. The worst thing about 61-64 fullsize Oldsmobiles and Pontiac Catalinas is that Rotohydramatic. But the later TH400, from everything I know, is bulletproof.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    The slim jim would cause a class action suit if it showed up today (and I wouldn't put it past GM). As carnut says it was similar to the Hydro but had a very small torque converter. First was low, about 2.94 IIRC. On take off the engine would rev like the tranny was slipping, then it would lurch into second which was a normal ratio of around 1.5:1. The huge gap between first and second caused the engine to lug, and unless you backed off the timing it would detonate too. If you floored it from rest it would stall--at least the 98 a guy I knew owned would do that.

    The four speed hydro was the standard of excellence for automatics in its time, from the late '40s to maybe the early '60s. I don't think it had an equal until the Torqueflite showed up late in the '56 model year. Up until '56 the Hydro shifted pretty hard but GM smoothed it out that year. I had one in a '61 Bonneville and it had good performance, although the two-three shift was a little firm.

    The Turbo 400 is just about bulletproof, and probably easier to find parts for.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    My only concern about the Turbo 400 in a '64 Cadillac is that it was the first year of production and there may have been some bugs, although I'm not aware of any.

    I have heard that the 429, new in '64, did have some teething problems but don't know the specifics.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I'm confused...I know Cadillac didn't use the Slim Jims but what did they use?

    I know Oldsmobile used the bulletproof (and HEAVY)cast iron Hydramatics until mid 1956. Then they went to a different (and inferior)unit. I think Cadillac used the same transmission. In 1961 they did even worse when they went to the Roto-Hydramatic also known as a Slim Jim.

    What did they call that other transmission between the cast iron units and the Slim Jims?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I'm 99% sure that Pontiac, Olds and Cadillac (and GMC) used the second version of the four speed Hydramatic from '56-up, and that it was still called Hydramatic.

    Pontiac's junior cars went to Roto-Hydramatic (slim jim) in '61 while the Bonneville and Star Chief kept the four speed Hydro. The entire Olds line went to the slim jim in '61 but still called it Hydramatic. As for Cadillac I thought they had used the Hydro through '63 but apparently the commercial chassis used it through '64.

    Cadillac and Buick got the Turbo-Hydramatic (Turbo 400) in '64, Pontiac and Olds (and Chevy) in '65.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Buick didn't get the 400 until '65. The '64's still used a Dynaflow variation.

    I know 63-64 and 65 Rivieras all used a different transmission...strange.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I had a '64 Riviera with what I think was the Turbo--it had three speeds. The only time I drove a Dynaflow it didn't have any speeds IIRC. The engine revved but there weren't any perceptable shifts.

    I vaguely remember that Buick went from a Twin Turbine Dynaflow to a Triple Turbine sometime in the '60s but the Buick I drove was a '62 so probably had the final version. I think the only time you felt a Dynaflow shift was when it kicked down into passing gear.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    You are correct...the '63's had Dynaflow. The 64 Rivs had a one year only transmission. I forget what it was called...Super Turbine or something?

    Great cars!
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    for what it's worth, I looked up some stuff on the old 4spd hydros.
    In 1956, Pontiac offered the newer version only in Starchiefs, and called it "Strato-flight hydramatic." It had a larger fluid coupling with an extra turbine to smooth out the shifts. All other Pontiacs used the older version. Pontiac used the newer hydro, like speedshoft says, in the Starchiefs and Bonnevilles through 1964.
    Olds offerd the newer hydro in 1956, but only in 98s. Olds called it the "Jetaway Hydramatic" [not to be confused with the later "Jetaway" from the sixties.] Olds only used this 4spd hydro through 1960, after which they stuck you with the slim-jim "Rotohydramatic."
    Cadillac offered the newer 4spd hydro in all its 56 cars, and used it through 1963 in its passenger cars.
    There were a few early bugs in that "Strato-flight" hydro. My Dad had one in his 57 Pontiac, and it went south on us-twice-in 74,000 miles. But, the kickdown passing gear was fun. I learned to drive [and burn rubber] in that car.
    Now, I get a little nostalgia taking my 55 Starchief out for a cruise, floor it around 50mph, kick in to passing gear, and listen to that 4barrel and dual glasspacks wind out through the old hydramatic. Not all that fast, but the old sights and sounds are there!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Except I thought the 56 Olds Super 88's went to that transmission in mid '56 too. Maybe not.

    I do know that early 56 Oldsmobiles used the heavy cast iron Hydramatics. Great transmissions, but when they changed gears, you knew it!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    This great old geezer down the street from my house, when I was a kid, offered to teach me to drive. So I learned on a 1941 Oldsmobile with Hydramatic. I thought even then that the car was an old lump of a thing, but I did learn to drive on it. I remember that when you put it in Low you could actually hear gears grind. Probably one of the first automatic cars in the US, although I think 1939 is the actual date.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    They taught us a lot, didn't they...?

    There was the old geezer down the street from my parents who had a 55 Buick Century. He would wash it, without fail, twice a week. This was in So. Calif where cars really didn't get that dirty.

    One day, as a 11 year old (?) I asked him why he washed it so often. His reply?

    " Son...let me tell you something...driving a dirty car is the same thing as wearing dirty clothes!"

    Wish I had never asked...now, every time my car is dirty which is pretty often, I can hear his words!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,676
    ...so how long did it take him to rub the paint off that Century? ;-) There's a guy like that in my condo community, who washes his gold Solara maybe twice a week. I think he also bumps it into his garage trying to park it just about as often!
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    is certainly different than So Cal as far as keeping a clean car! Just because of the weather, you can't wash as often, yet the car needs it even more often than SoCal. That's why you go down there and see all these shiny cars, and up here all the mud [at least in winter]. I always washed my cars once a week down there-here-well-who knows? Every time I wash, it rains.
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    In 1963, Cadillac used a "smaller" (or, at least reworked) version of the 390 motor that they'd used for several years. However, given that Cadillac unveiled the 429 in '64, this reworked 390 was in use for only one year. I'm assuming the 429 was in development for a few years prior to its release, so it's not like nobody knew it was coming.

    My question is, why would Cadillac spend the resources to rework the 390 for a production run of only one year when they knew they had the 429 warming up in the ball pen?

    The 1964/63 was a new body style. Was the old 390 such a behemoth that it wouldn't fit in the new model? - thus, necessitating the need for the rework job?

    Gee, maybe I just answered my own question.

    In any event, comments on this orphan 390 (ie., the 1963 version) would be appreciated in terms of their overall reliability and appeal.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    the reworked 390 was considerably changed and upgraded in many ways from the old 390, and became the base for the later 429. I believe the newer 390 and 429 were basically the same engine, with different bore and stroke. The later 472 was also basically the same engine. Don't know about reliability issues with the newer engine, but Cadillac in those days was pretty well known for good reliability and quality control.
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    I know of a 1962 Cadillac convertible (Series 62) for sale with an unusual feature. In addition to the regular convertible top, the seller says he has a hardtop that fastens to the car when the convertible top is down (ie., like a Corvette or T-Bird). The seller is not the original owner, but feels confident it was purchased directly from Cadillac when the car was new.

    I have quite a bit of documentation on 1962 Cadillacs (including a brochure specifically for available accessories) and have NEVER seen anything that suggests a hardtop accessory was available from the factory.

    Anyone ever seen or heard of another 1962 Caddy convertible with a hardtop???
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Such things are called "parade boots" and I've seen them on Cadillacs but not that far back.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Maybe someone made their own removable hardtop with a bit of fiberglas and a free week-end :-).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That would not be easy.

    We could research this I bet.
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    What I'm talking about is not a boot or a tonneau cover. My definition of a parade boot is a hard plastic piece that lays flat over the top when it's folded down.

    What I'm talking about is a full-blown hard top.

    Personally, I couldn't care less about this extra top as the whole point of buying a classic convertible is to drive it with the top down (usually) in nice weather. Having a hardtop implies one could drive it in inclement weather which goes against the grain of owning one of these. Perhaps in 1962 it made sense but not today.

    On the other hand, if this top is the "real McCoy" and somehow a factory piece, I suppose one could argue that it is a novelty item and thus would have some value. But, in my mind, it would be limited.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,676
    ...the factory offering a removeable hard top for something that big. IIRC, when the original Chevy Bel Air and the other first hardtop coupes came out, there was a plan to initially make them with a removable hard top. That is, until they realized how heavy and bulky something like that would be. Not to mention that you'd have to find some place to store it while it wasn't on the car!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, a whole hardtop....nah, I never saw or heard about anything like that. Probably aftermarket. I remember one piece hardtops made aftermarket for the strangest cars. One for the MGTC made of wood and fiberglas and canvas (!!). Old bathtub Porsches had them (even factory I think). So the IDEA was around in 1962 but I simply cannot recall any domestic manufacturer offering such a thing.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    And I can't imagine how much work it would take to make one in the first place!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Let's see...there was a T-Bird hardtop 55-57 and a Corvette hardtop in the very early years.
  • parmparm Member Posts: 724
    Attached is a website link that highlights permutations of Cadillacs from the early 1960's. About 1/2 way down on this page, it references and shows the Esquire removal hardtop manufactured by Rivera (a U.S. company). This company made removal hardtops for all 1961, 1962 and 1963 GM convertibles and were available in black, white, gold and silver.


    Pretty good sleuthing, eh?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yeah, nice piece of work. So that certainly makes it even more plausible that what he saw was an aftermarket roof, not like T-Bird and Corvette and Porsche roofs of the time.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Sure have to wonder how many of these were actually sold?

    Ah...the power of the internet!
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