By Bobby Webb
1959 Cadillac. The 1959 Cadillac was a car that practically had it all: performance, comfort, and best of all it was a great looking automobile. The Cadillac was a symbol of success and to own one of these babies meant you “had arrived”. With their flamboyantly high tailfins and jet pod taillights, you either fell in love with this car or you hated it. To describe any car in a single word is difficult but for the 1959 Cadillac, one word definitely comes to mind – excellence.
Monster Tailfins and Chrome Grille Teeth
Besides the style and glitz of the “monster” tailfins, the grille work in the front of the 1959 Cadillac was a glittering eye-catching set of chrome teeth. As if that wasn’t enough grille, even the rear sported a smaller toothy chrome grille. You could also describe the 1959 Cadillac with the word “massive”. The new front bumper on the 1959 Cadillac was massive. It probably had to be since it housed the parking and turn signal lights as a pair in pods on its outer ends. The Cadillac also had a new rear bumper and like the front, it too was massive. The rear bumper had chrome outer pods which housed the backup lights.
Everything Falls Into Place
For the 1959 Cadillac, everything seemed to fall into place. In 1959, General Motors was working to produce all-new vehicles. This meant a major re-design effort for the 1959 Cadillac. Second, although a lesser known fact, the 1959 Cadillac’s design revolved around a Buick door. As this was the case, the Buick’s door had a taper which dictated the Cadillac’s rearward taper. Finally, the head of design at Cadillac, Ed Glowacke, wanted the 1959 Cadillac to have a new design that was innovative and state-of-the-art. The work to design the 1959 Cadillac officially began in mid-1956.
We all know about the distinctive tailfins. To make the car look more expensive, twin taillights were added. The 1959 Cadillac also had a very striking feeling of openness about it. This is because 1959 was a “greenhouse year” for GM and their full lineup of cars boasted a number of visibility compliments. When sitting in a ’59 Cadillac, a driver could enjoy an unobstructed view in all directions. Buyers also had the ability to choose from two roof designs; a traditional curved roof or a “blade-upper” flat roof that was more radical in design. Either would create a fully lavish and open view.
Other notables about the 1959 Cadillac include:
· Cadillac shared parts from other GM cars (mainly structural pieces hidden from view)
· The windshield was extremely curved (caused GM to rethink the placement of controls and switches)
· Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes were standard
· The ’59 Cadillac came with many options: cruise control, air suspension, electric door locks, and a power trunk are a few.
The 1959 Cadillac, also known as a ’59 Caddy, was 225 inches from bumper to bumper and had a wheelbase that was 130 inches. The 1959 Cadillac also used the exceptionally strong tubular-center X-frame which allowed the vehicle to sit lower which improved its handling and its appearance. The ’59 Caddy’s engine was a 390 cid V-8 that produced 325 horsepower and it was equipped with a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts.
In 1959, Cadillac had six series available:
Sixty Special Fleetwood
6700 Fleetwood 7
The 1959 Cadillac is a classic and today it is a highly appreciated and sought-after car. No other vehicle design better characterizes the auto industry during the late 1950’s than the flamboyant 1959 Cadillac.