Dynamic Diversion: Personalized Cadillac Style

IMG_5178Sometimes you just change your life in a drastic way. Sometimes you do so with a supporting cast of characters. Fiction or life, who can really tell.

You may be wondering why Dynamic Drive has been rather dormant in the last 2 months. Truth is, before even losing a job, and escalating housing costs, I had already been pre-planning my trajectory out of the Bay Area for months. This meant that there had been a general slowdown in posting, less hunting for new vehicles to find and share with you in the San Francisco Bay Area, and trying to plan out where I was headed.
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(Found In) Uptown (Oakland, California): 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Two Door Hardtop Coupe

img_6866Cadillac seemed more than likely a place for a closed coupled, personalized touring coupe to flourish. It may seem a bit surprising that Cadillac, given its success in the post war era and bountiful resources sitting on top of the General Motors throne, waited until 1967 to field one. Granted the financial losses on the Eldorado Brougham of the late 1950’s informed the decision to make the risk a cautiously executed once there had been a market determined.

Cadillac got a season and a half jump on Lincoln making a similar decision to re-enter this segment of the market with the personalized Mark Series Continental. The front wheel drive Eldorado ditched the premise of being the most deluxe of Cadillac convertibles in 1967. For the second full year jostling for King of The Road status, how did the ’68 Eldorado shape up against the pending Continental Mark III, and its lesser siblings the Riviera and Toronado for that matter?

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(Found In) The Tenderloin (San Francisco, California): 1959 Cadillac Series 62 4 Window Hardtop Sedan

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Whether you consider the 1959 Cadillac a zeitgeist or stereotype on wheels; you’re right. No other car sums up the last theatrical breath of the middle decade of the last century to so many eyes like the cream crop cars from General Motors that paraded their proud feathers worldwide starting in the fall of 1958.

What they held, what they hid, was confidence and charisma in the absolutely ordinary. Beyond the wildness that might have been expected, they didn’t take as much of a risk as rivals that survived the decade did.

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(Found In) Downtown Oakland (Oakland, California): 1964 Cadillac Sedan DeVille

13840661_10153649486877201_544268345_oFinned and Fancy, Cadillac seemingly could do little wrong in the early 1960’s. Recognizing continuity as a cash cow and cementing a legacy, Cadillac style and substance found itself setting in stone a luxury legacy that still stands 50 years later.

Improvements under the skin, the best that General Motors would offer buyers, gave many luxury buyers possibly the best bargain on the globe. Effortless, peerless performance, seductive silence and still swanky style kept these jewel boxes on 4 wheels interstate royalty envied globally.

 

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(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1966 Cadillac DeVille Convertible Coupe

image (5)As the 2nd half of the 1960’s got underway, Cadillac found itself not doing much wrong. The most premium General Motors offering had long banished American luxury rivals to the lower rungs of the sales charts, if not into the grave. However, this swagger combined with swelling size would eventually be the sword The Standard of The World would nearly mortally wound itself on.

The 1966 Model year represented perhaps the pinnacle of substance, style and snob appeal that would be eventually whittled away from copious Caddies for more than 2 decades. This knight in shining white armor droptop tells a rather peculiar tale of being laurel crowded, yet resting on said laurels at the same time.
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(Found In) Arcata Plaza (Arcata, California): 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

12319528_10153166517092201_1413808044_nCadillac, for better or worse, really knew how to do things “big.” By 1976, they were the last Domestic US brand standing with an in house convertible on the sales floor. Following the departure of the slightly smaller General Motors B-body convertibles in Chevy through Buick flavors at the end of 1975, Cadillac had the market all its own.

Equipped with an 8.2 Litre/500 Cubic Inch V8 and spanning more than 18 and 1/2 feet long, the last* Cadillac Eldorado Convertible would kiss the convertible market farewell by exiting the market being among one of the most leviathan open air lounges ever to grace America’s interstates.

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(Found In) Bayview-Hunters Point (San Francisco, California): 1960 Cadillac Series 62 Six Window Four Door Hardtop Sedan

12212196_10153135151467201_1693632014_nAll American Automakers were faced with the daunting task of what to do next as the 1950’s gave way to the 1960’s. If one is to take a meter of aggregate automotive flamboyance, 1959 ranks as the equivalent of Liberace, Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly hosting a Christmas party. Befinned and bejeweled, Offerings from Rambler to Imperial maximized access to costume jewelry like no year before or since.

The splurge on baubles pushed Cadillac in particular to have a full Breakfast At Tiffany’s moment for 1959. In the hangover year that was 1960, a lot of those jewels were sent to the pawn shop. With the same basic body shell, a remarkable sense of restraint and modesty was applied to the variety of 1960 Cadillacs, as respectability replaced rambunctious as the value people coveted in their luxury machines.

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(Found In) Visitacion Valley (San Francisco) – 1954 Cadillac Series 62 4 Door Sedan

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Perhaps a Solid Gold Cadillac is a bit of a cliché. But by 1954, Cadillac was pretty much the solid gold standard in American Luxury cars. Their value outweighed and outlasted previous prestige players. Lincoln had migrated into being the darling of road races and Ed Sullivan but no necessarily showroom sales.

Packard found itself in a marriage of desperation to Studebaker and the desired feast for more finned beasts that soon would eventually take their Clippers and other confections to an untimely grave. All the while, Imperials were still technically top rung Chryslers, more image aligned with Buick Roadmasters and Limiteds than Cadillacs.
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