Displaying all 2 1959 Cadillac DeVille reviews.
1959 Cadillac DeVille Review
The 1959 Cadillac! — When it was new, it was THE futuristic car tog get! The huge fins evoked the excitement of the Space Age. As far as luxury and performance, it was and still is a terrific car. Great horsepower, smooth 4 speed transmisson. Power windows, steering, seat, antenna and a WonderBar radio! Air-Conditioning too!
Cons: Gas mileage
1959 Cadillac DeVille Review
The Fifties Epitomized — The '59 Cadillac I drove for a couple of days was not mine, but a test car supplied to the automotive publication I worked for 20 years ago. It was an experience to be remembered, not least because the owner of the car was a dealer specializing in selling and restoring classic Cadillacs. The guy just gave me the keys and said "Have fun". Well, he asked for it. By the way, it was not a DeVille, but a rather mundane Series 62 Coupe, a bread-and-butter Caddy, in a manner of speaking. Still, it had an automatic transmission (the tried-and-true HydraMatic four-speed with fluid coupling), power steering and power brakes. No power windows or power door locks and no air conditioning, either. It's hard to believe that Cadillac ever marketed a car without such goodies as standard equipment, but back then they did. The 62 I drove was a very well-maintained vehicle in unrestored original condition. There was no discernible rust or leakage. The interior was not as sumptuous as one would expect from a Caddy, but in excellent shape, no tears in the upholstery, no spots, no cigarette burns, no nothing. Not bad for a car with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. As usual with pre-1980s American cars, interior space was nowhere near as generous as the huge outside dimensions of the Caddy promised. Mind you, this battleship was a mind-boggling 225 inches long and 80.2 inches wide. Still, there was adequate space behind the steering wheel and the one-piece front bench seat felt quite comfortable. Back in '59, the tilt-and-telescope steering column had not yet been invented, but the fixed angle of the steering wheel suited me fine. The Cad's 390 CID V8 with 325 gross horsepower would always fire up at the first try and run gently after that. Power delivery was very smooth, with the big engine pulling willingly and strongly all the time. Putting the pedal to the metal set the big Caddy in motion so violently that the softly sprung front end would rise alarmingly, the long, long hood pointing upwards to the sky. The first test drive took place under less than ideal conditions as it was raining quite heavily that day. The wet asphalt and resultant wheelspin notwithstanding, the 62 took off in what felt like a catapult start, accelerating with contemptuous ease. No performace data were recorded, but the results from contemporary road tests (0-60 in approx. 10 seconds, top speed 115-120 mph) seemed correct to me. The big V8 under the hood sure made itself felt - and heard. Even with the windows up, there was significant engine noise, but oh, what a wonderful noise that was. There's nothing like the sound of an old, pre-emission control, American carbureted V8. It's music to the ears of an enthusiast, this growling and hammering of sheer big-displacement engine power. Needless to say, I rolled down the driver's side window in spite of the incessant rain because I just couldn't get enough of that sound. On the other hand, that very experience shows how much automakers have learned about sound insulation in the last 50 years. Modern automobiles, even run-of-the-mill four-cylinder Japanese or European family cars, are much quieter than luxury vehicles of the past, including such prestigious brands like Cadillac and Lincoln. Once underway, the '59 Caddy handled surprisingly well for such a huge car with a very conventional suspension designed for maximum comfort. I had completed a test of a '56 Cadillac Series 62 convertible a few days earlier and the difference between the two cars was simply astounding. While the '56 had driven and felt like an old car, the '59 had all the ingredients of a much more modern car. In fact, it compared favorably to my personal ride at the time, a 1973 Chevrolet Impala. Whether Cadillac was really "Standard of the World" I can't say, but they sure were many years ahead of their time. Handling, braking, ride and comfort easily matched those of my Impala (and of quite a few other later-model cars I had driven). Very impressive. After two days, I reluctantly returned the car, knowing that this would be the closest I'd ever get to a '59 Cadillac. Even back in 1992, such vehicles were collector's items and prohibitively expensive. The dealer's asking price was a cool 30,000 deutschmarks, a truckload of money back then. I couldn't even afford the down payment on the down payment, so the Cad and I went our separate ways, never to meet again. Now and then, I re-read the article I wrote about it in that long-forgotten old car magazine and look at the pictures my photographer took on the occasion to bring back the fond memory of the '59 Caddy and me tearing up the German countryside for a few days.
Primary Use: Sport/fun (spirited driving, track racing, off-roading, etc.)
Pros: '59 styling, build quality, handling
Displaying all 2 1959 Cadillac DeVille reviews.
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