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#1 of 82 1950's Cadillacs
May 03, 2010 (5:09 pm)
I have an inane question thatís been bugging me for a while about 1950ís GM body styles Ė specifically Cadillacís. Not sure how to ask this, but Iíll try to be as succinct as I can.
Using Chevrolet as the baseline, we all know of the famous tri-year models in 1955-57. 1958 was a one-year only body style and the 1959-60 models started the low and wide styling cue. As far as I can tell, Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile followed the same suit. But, Cadillac was a bit different. Not sure about the differences in Cadillacís 1950-53 line up because these cars arenít quite as interesting to me. But, Cadillacís tri-year period was 1954-1956. The 1957 Cadillac represented a model change which carried over to 1958. Then, for 1959-60, Cadillac fell in line with the rest of the GM family.
So, hereís my question. Did the 1954-56 Cadillacís use the same platform as the tri-year (55-57) Chevyís? Given it was clearly GMís flagship line, Cadillac tended to get the new innovations first. Then, said innovations would trickle down to the rest of the GM family the following years. Having said that, it would also appear Cadillac again got a one year jump in 1957 Ė with the rest of the GM family having to wait until 1958 for this body style.
Hereís another way to look at it. Comparing a í57 Chevy to a í57 Buick/Olds/Pontiac is pretty much an apples-to-apples comparison (aside from engine differences). But, comparing a í57 Chevy to a í57 Cadillac is like comparing an apple to an orange. Correct?
#2 of 82 Re: 1950's Cadillacs [parm]
May 03, 2010 (6:45 pm)
Speaking from not much knowledge on this, I don't think Caddy used any Chevy-related platforms until decades later. So apples and oranges.
#3 of 82 Re: 1950's Cadillacs [parm]
May 03, 2010 (6:43 pm)
As for as the 1950 Cadillac goes. My father took factory delivery of a Series 61 four door sedan. It was two tone; light green over dark green metallic. 331 ci V8 with a 4 speed Hydramatic. My impression was standard Cadillac from the dash forward, interior was of Chevrolet quality and all incorporated in a Buick Special body.
The Series 62 was definitely a Cadillac with a longer body and wheelbase.
Power steering was not available until 1952.
#4 of 82 Re: 1950's Cadillacs [parm]
May 05, 2010 (9:32 am)
Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile were all-new for 1954. They used the same basic body shell, with regular facelifts, through the 1956 model year.
Chevrolet and Pontiac got all-new bodies for 1955, and used those bodies through the 1957 model year.
Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile were again all-new for 1957. Those bodies were heavily facelifted for 1958, when Chevrolet and Pontiac were also given all-new bodies.
The all-new bodies for 1957 were supposed to last through the 1959 model year for Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile. But Chrysler's all-new 1957 line shocked GM, and forced it to scrap its plans beyond 1958. GM's planned 1959 lines looked out-of-date compared to the 1957 Mopars.
As a result, GM brought out all-new bodies for ALL of its divisions for 1959, and the 1958 Chevrolets and Pontiacs had the dubious distinction of being one-year-only bodies.
#5 of 82 Re: 1950's Cadillacs [grbeck]
May 05, 2010 (10:46 am)
the 1958 Chevrolets and Pontiacs had the dubious distinction of being one-year-only bodies.
Too bad that can't be said about the '98 Town Car!
#6 of 82 Re: 1950's Cadillacs [grbeck]
May 05, 2010 (11:17 am)
OK, yes that makes sense. I now seem to recall an auction where a Cadillac, Olds and Buick of the same year (1953? 54?) were being sold. The auction company made a big production about how they were essentially sister cars. So, I can see where some of my assumptions were wrong. But, my gut inclination that a '57 Cadillac and a '57 Chevy are different animals was correct.
Seems like every time a '57 Bonneville rolls across the auction block, the commentators always make a connection to the '57 Chevy. I guess I just kind of assumed the family tree also extended to Buick and Olds too. Thanks for clarifying that for me. Mystery solved!
Yes, I too had heard that Chrysler's long and low design basically ate GM's lunch at the styling table and made The General call an audible resulting in some one-year orphan body styles. I remember seeing an interview with Dave Hollis (?) - who I believe was generally regarded as the chief stylist for the '59 Cadillac. He talked about how he and some fellow GM designers had sneaked around a Chrysler facility to catch a peek at Virgil Exner's new designs and were pretty much blown away by what they saw. Talk about sophisticated corporate spying. Too bad those days are gone. My wife and I are talking about getting a new car and I honestly can't get terribly excited anymore. Never thought I'd EVER say that. But, cars today are such well-engineered applicances and designed to look like everyone else's that it kind of sucks the passion out of the new car buying experience.
However, the prospect of buying a collector car? Now THAT gets my adrenaline pumping!
#7 of 82 1950 Series 62 at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas 2010
Sep 21, 2010 (7:50 pm)
1950 Series 62 Coupe
These have always reminded of an upside down bathtub and they have a front end in desperate need of Nutri-System, but this one really looks good to my eye. Has this been chopped or lowered? Love the color combination and the interior looks very nice too. Almost looks like the top has been slightly chopped. Interesting that the photos don't show a head-on shot, which I think is the worst angle on these.
I won't even hazard a guess as to how much this will sell for, because common sense out there is as rare as a sober bidder. It goes across the auction block on Friday almost half-way thru the day, so it may be on TV. B-J tends to give their better cars TV coverage.
#8 of 82 Re: 1950 Series 62 at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas 2010 [parm]
Sep 21, 2010 (7:59 pm)
Series 61 is what it is for two reasons.
Series 62 had a chrome piece just behind the front wheel well. (pants)
Series 62 had a more luxurious interior.
Neither had Power Steering, but still a great road car back then.
#9 of 82 Re: 1950 Series 62 at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas 2010 [euphonium]
Sep 22, 2010 (3:28 am)
You're kidding me? A Cadillac in 1950 did not have power steering?
#10 of 82 Re: 1950's Cadillacs [parm]
Sep 22, 2010 (4:35 am)
1959 was the year that GM really started aligning their bodies, so that they could share as much roofline as possible. In 1958, there was still a distinct A (Chevy/Pontiac), B (Olds, Buick Special/Century) and C (bigger Buicks and Cadillacs) body hierarchy. However, just to add to the confusion, the frames were different! Chevy, Pontiac, and Cadillac used that dangerous wasp-waisted "X-frame", while Buick and Olds used a much sturdier setup that was a combination of X-frame and perimeter frame. So, a C-body Buick would actually use a DIFFERENT frame from a C-body Cadillac! Now, I'm not sure if the Cadillac X-frame was exactly the same as the Chevy/Pontiac frame. I'd hope that in addition to being longer, it was also beefier.
For 1959, I don't know if they still used the A-body designation, but by that time the Chevies, Pontiacs, smaller Buicks, and smaller Oldsmobiles were all the same basic body, although they might have still called one A- and the other B-), while the Buick Electra, Olds 98, and Cadillacs were on the C-body. Again though, the frames were different. This time, Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac used an X-frame, while Pontiac and Olds used a perimeter frame. It wouldn't be until 1965 that all the big cars went to a perimeter frame, although the old Caddy 75 stuck it out on the X-frame for 1965.
At a car show last year, I remember seeing a '59 Cadillac and a '59 Pontiac Catalina, both 4-door hardtops, parked side-by-side, and I'll be damned if I could tell a difference in the passenger cabin area. The Caddy was longer, to be sure, but all that extra length seemed to be in back of the rear window, and maybe a little bit in front. All the glass though, and door openings, seemed identical, and as far as interior room goes, I don't think the Caddy was any bigger inside than the Pontiac.
I guess it could be an optical illusion. It's not easy to just look at the interior of a car and guess how big it is, without actually sitting in it. But, I do remember an issue of Consumer Reports, from around 1961 or 1962, where they were griping that a Ford Galaxie had more legroom in back than a Cadillac! So I guess it's possible that by the 1959-64 era, Cadillac was sharing a bit too much with Chevy, and that made the big cars a bit inadequate with interior room? Or, maybe a '60-64 Ford was just a BIG, roomy car!
Chrysler had pulled a similar stunt in 1957, where all the cars except Imperial shared the same basic body. It wasn't as noticeable with the coupes, but with the 4-door sedans and hardtops, you could really tell. The Plymouths, Dodges, DeSotos, and Chryslers were all the same size inside. All they did was start off with the Plymouth, on a 118" wheelbase. To make a Dodge, they stuck 4" in wheelbase at the back, giving you a longer trunk, but no extra interior room. Then to make a DeSoto or Chrysler, they stuck an extra 4" in front, giving you a longer hood and fenders, perhaps making the engine bay a little less crammed, and giving a better ride, but again, no extra interior room. The Dodge/DeSoto/Chrysler did have a bigger trunk than the Plymouth, though.
And, one good thing about the way Chrysler did it, is that instead of having Chryslers and DeSotos that were small for their class, you ended up having Plymouths that were big for theirs. The down side though, is that it still ended up giving less incentive to move up to a pricier brand.