Classic Car History – The 1959 Cadillac Series 62

The 1959 Cadillac was the brainchild of Designer Harley Earl, who drew on the inspiration of American space travel and rockets for his design. The 59 Cadillac was the pinnacle of the American auto design excess. With tail fins that rose a full 42 inches off the ground, rocket flare tail lights, quad headlights and massive chrome bumpers, a body length of over 20 ft, this was the ultimate Cadillac for grabbing attention. The ’59’s outrageous fins are accentuated by its very low profile, which is 3 inches lower that the ’58 model’s already low profile.

Harley Earl was directly responsible for the design of 50 million vehicles and completely changed the face of the American automobile in the 1950’s. No single man has had such an impact on the shape of American auto design and no one man has been guilty of so many design excesses. Included in his space-themed design were other images such as chrome denture like grilles, dashboards that looked like they belonged to jet fighters with dozens of switches and controls, bumpers protrusions known as “Dagmars”, hood ornaments which looked like missile launchers.

The 1959 Cadillac is an American icon. You will see this year model displayed in many 50’s styled diners and restaurants. Hard Rock cafe always has either a 1959 or 1960 Cadillac displayed in their restaurants. The 59 also starred in many films, like in the Clint Eastwood movie “Pink Cadillac”. The 59 Cadillac was a monument to American optimism in the 1950’s; it was in fact the “American Dream”. Who wouldn’t love to drive one of these today? Today you will be hard pressed to find a restored 59 convertible for less that $70,000 with many of them selling for well over 100K.

Some of the features of the 59 Series 62 Cadillac included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, central locking, tinted glass, and some options include headlight dimmers (autronic eye), electrically operated windows, seat adjust, and trunk. Some of the other models available included the 8 seater Fleetwood Limo, and the Eldorado Biarritz which is the most valuable ’59 Cadillac model.

Specs for 1959 Cadillac Series 62

Engine: 390 c.i. V8, cast iron head and block

Compression ratio: 10.5:1

Induction: Carter 4-barrel carburetor

Maximum Power: 325 bhp at 4800 rpm

Maximum torque: 435 lb-ft at 3400 rpm

Top Speed: 121 mph

0-60 mph: 11 sec

Transmission: GM TurboHydramatic Automatic

Body/Chassis: Steel body on steel X-frame chassis

Steering: Recirculating ball

Wheels and Tires: Steel discs, 15 inch diameter

Brakes: Drums, 12 inch dia. (front and rear)

Front Suspension: Wishbones with coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers

Rear Suspension: Live axle with coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers

Wheelbase: 130 inches

Height: 55.9 inches

Weight: 4885 lbs

Quarter Mile Performance: who cares?

Production: 11,130

Price: $5000 for Series 62, $7400 for Eldorado