Cadillac Sixty Special Fleetwood: Caddy on the rocks

Hardy Mutschler
Cadillac Sixty Special Fleetwood
Subscriptions & booklets

S black, pink or a light beige? What color looks best on a Cadillac sedan from the late 1950s? Black is out because it makes a big tailfin American with double headlights immediately look like a gangster car or - almost the same - like a Zil in which high-ranking USSR officials once rolled through Moscow. But a Cadillac is basically a nice, honest and at the same time bright fellow with its deep camshaft. Pink doesn't work either, because now our eyes hurt when we come across an Eldorado or Fleetwood in piggy pink, which in their old days transport bridal couples to the altar or advertise water beds.

Pink only works with Elvis ’mother

There was never an original Pink Cadillac from Detroit. The pink '55 Fleetwood that Elvis gave his mother Gladys as a present was gray and was specially repainted. Clint Eastwood's Pink Cadillac in the 1989 movie of the same name - a 59 Series 62 convertible - also appeared in front of the camera in a second or even third livery. A '58 Sixty Special comes into its own in light, original beige, plus a fresh, cool turquoise for the roof and interior. The 5.7-meter-long and a good two-meter-wide hardtop sedan looks light and airy like a foam cake or a cloud in the autumnal evening sky. The generously distributed chrome jewelry merges with the body like subtle make-up. The elongated rear end, the towering tail units and the lack of roof posts make the four-door castle in the air look almost fragile.

Under the cheerfully to cloudy sheet metal dress, however, there is a hard high-tech core, for which Cadillac was even more popular at the time than for the extravagant body, which even differs from other US sedans of the same year didn't even stand out that much. The Buick 75 Roadmaster looked pretty much like the Sixty Special. Only the more discreet tail fins, the radiator grille with bumpers and, above all, the flanks with different decorative light edges made the difference. And of course the technology, so that Cadillac could proudly claim in a magazine ad from 1958: “The decision that needs no explanation.” Anyone who had opted for a Sixty Special first got it from the V8 specialist - Cadillac built the first US in 1914 -V8 engine - a particularly powerful six-liter machine withhydraulic valve lifters, high compression, quadruple carburetor and 310 SAEPS at 4800 rpm. Buick drivers had to live with 60 less SAE horsepower.

The top series Eldorado Brougham, introduced in 1957 and later assembled by Pininfarina in Italy, even achieved 355 SAE horsepower thanks to three double carburettors. Since 1957, all Cadillac have also had a stable, X-shaped tubular frame weighing 186 kilograms and, if desired, air suspension. Our Sixty Special, left in its original paintwork, also runs like a cloud in the air and also shines with the following, fully functional comfort equipment: tube radio with station buttons and electrically extendable antenna, four electric windows, central locking, electrically adjustable front bench seat, automatic heating and air conditioning, fog lamps , the Autotronic Eye for automatic dimming in oncoming traffic and a trunk lid that can be opened from the inside. But not only the on-board electrical system seems to be built to last, but also the body resting on the tubular frame and especially the legendary grill.

Feeling like in a 50-year-old ice cream parlor

The intersections of the longitudinal and transverse strips made of aluminum are fixed by 144 projectile-shaped metal bolts (“clothes pins”) from which Cadillac assembled more than 50,000 pieces a day. Even with clothespins on the front of the car, the journey in a 58 Sixty Special Fleetwood Four Door Hardtop Sedan is a very special, incomparable experience. But first we admire the perfectly preserved gap dimensions - also on the two sweeping rear doors, which, due to the lack of a B-pillar, each have their own post and yet fall deeply into the lock without being raised. Then we open the front door and slide under the curved panoramic window onto the wide front sofa.

Close the door and we're not in a car, but in a pretty ice cream parlor from 1958, where we don't actually drive, but prefer to eat a banana split - so cool, so shiny, so fresh, so wonderful The light green Cadillac interior looks little like a car. No question about it, the Sixty Special also tries to disguise inside that it is actually a car - at least in direct comparison with today's luxury cars, in which countless round instruments, switches and displays dominate. Not in the caddy, where we just encounter a belt speedometer, a temperature display and a fuel and time clock. Most of the metal switches for the air conditioning and windows are kept quite small, with the exception of the radio knobs.

2.2 tons are pushed by 250 HP

The two lavishly upholstered sofas, over which a soft, quilted fabric canopy stretches, as if you were sitting in a closed one, are quite different Convertible. Because there are no headrests and the backrests of the front sofa are not very high, every passenger can chat with or with everyoneEven cuddle if necessary. And from all places you can look outside almost without posts. Oh, we want to go too! The engine is already running, at least you can hear a quiet babble from behind. Move the steering wheel selector to D - and off you go. Even the dainty steering wheel made of hard plastic that Pling makes when you snap on it with your fingernail cleverly denies that a good 250 hp set around 2.2 tons in motion here. In curves, the big car leans to the side with dignity and slightly understeer. So that we don't slip off the sofa, the steering wheel and upper body turn together in the same direction. At highway speed 100 we only hear a soothing murmur of the V8 engine sunk deep in the bow.

The four-speed automatic shifts gently and without interruption of tractive power, so that we are amazingly confident and even brisk. The car accelerates sharply and brakes steadfastly, rocking a bit along its longitudinal axis, which we don't want to exaggerate, because otherwise our imaginary banana split will tip over from the bar onto the fluffy carpet on the floor. 'Magnificent beyond all expectations' was another Cadillac slogan from that time. This is exactly how the encounter with an original, unrestored Sixty Special can be outlined 50 years later. The only condition: Please take the black or - even better - the pink cliché glasses off your nose beforehand.


Leave a reply

Name *