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Never Again: Nineteen-Sixty Cadillac 6339 four-window Sedan de Ville at the GM Technical Center

VIA Shorpy Historical Picture Archive :: Standard of the World

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  • Rick Darby November 14, 2020, 9:53 AM

    With her dress and hat the woman model in the top photo seems like an example of a long-gone social formality. Most people today can’t even remember such style as the norm among the middle and upper classes. And the Cadillac, as long and trim as a fighter aircraft — was this machine actually seen on our Eisenhighways, not just in period movies?

    What makes the picture passing strange is the background: glass-walled architecture, plastic chairs. Symbols of the modernism still inflicted on us! A jarring contrast, to our eyes even a conflict. How could such traditional conservatism of clothing coexist with the angular, featureless design we now take for granted? The contemporary look of built and manufactured surroundings triumphed while the quiet taste in clothing almost vanished within 10 years after the ad.

  • mmack November 14, 2020, 9:59 AM

    One of my father’s friends had a 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with the flat roof and wrap around “Vista Vue” rear window like the car in the ad copy. He kept it as a second car / knock around car at his vacation home. I got to ride in it in the early 1980s when we visited him. Even twenty plus years old and with dents and scratches and some rust that was one heck of a car.

    Notice that the fins on the 1960 (1959 was a restyle / re-engineering across the board at GM, the 1960 models were updated 1959s) Cadillac are subdued compared to the GIANT fins on the 1959. Turns out GM was caught completely unaware by Virgil Exner’s beautiful tail-finned “Forward Look” restyle for the entire 1957 Chrysler Corporation line of cars and absolutely would not let a pipsqueak like Chrysler dictate styling trends. So they canceled across the board the 1959 models they were planning, which would have been on updated 1957 and 1958 bodies, and drew up brand new designs that basically shouted “Ya want fins Chrysler, GET A GANDER AT THESE BABIES!!!!!”.

    And then they got customer feedback. 😕 Turns out not everyone loved giant cars with huge tail fins.

    In the early 1990s my brother helped a friend of his restore a 1961 Coupe de Ville, which was a replacement for the 1959-60 designs pictured. I got to ride in it when he got it running. Still had fins (although subdued) and real chrome and steel. And a soft upholstered interior worthy of a luxury car.

    Today, what’s a Cadillac? We lost something when we lost that swagger that could redesign a car line in less than two years. Oh yes, cars are safer, more efficient, and reliable, but so is my refrigerator.

  • ghostsniper November 14, 2020, 11:52 AM

    The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado cost about $7400 brand new.

  • ambiguousfrog November 14, 2020, 12:07 PM

    What a land yacht. Probably has an anchor in the trunk to be able to stop. It’s big enough to have two zip codes. My buddy from high-school would call that a “Jew Canoe”.

  • Terry November 14, 2020, 12:30 PM

    Wow! My grandfather bought a brand new 1960 Coupe de Ville. Beautiful car. It replaced the 1949 Cadillac that he had also purchased new. My father ended up with the ’49 and my ex-wife got the ’60.

  • John Venlet November 14, 2020, 1:38 PM

    I’d drive that. What a cruiser!

  • Leaver of Comments November 14, 2020, 1:52 PM

    Could the legislatures of Trump-won red states try to lead by example and pass a generically worded resolution like:

    “Due to the nationwide concert about overwhelming fraud, this legislature is exercising its Constitutional authority to directly select a slate of electors.”

    This would not change the electoral votes of a state that Trump already won, but if a cascade of identical resolutions like this happened, it could help motivate the legislatures of critical swing states to do the same

  • Jewel November 14, 2020, 5:53 PM


    This is the car my father bought a year after my mother died. It fit 5 kids, one dog, an ice cooler, had fold down upholstered seats, and a partition window that my father would tell us to put up when it got too raucous. Our car was also bulletproof. (My father had many questionable friends) On Halloween we would drive mannequins around that looked like dead bodies.
    Sometimes he would drive around with a chauffeurs hat and people thought he was driving a governor or some high muckety muck around.
    Very good times.