Although Cadillac’s entry-level Series Sixty-Two was manufactured for many years – from 1941 until 1958 – 1948 saw a distinct change of style for third generation Sixty-Twos, with the long wheelbase enjoyed by previous generations reduced to a shorter model that was virtually identical to that of the junior Series Sixty-One.
This heralded the forthcoming demise of the latter (in 1951) and the consequent emergence of the Sixty-Two as Cadillac’s sole ‘budget’ model. Budget or not, it was still an awful lot of motor for the money – and late 1940s examples are keenly sought as drivable classics.
There was little to distinguish the merging Sixty-One and Sixty-Two lines visually, though the Sixty-Two sported more chrome and ‘as offered in convertible form (an option the Sixty-One lacked) as well as in two-door club coupe and four-door sedan style. This was the year that marked the start of Cadillac’s inexorable drift towards the pronounced stylistic features that became the hallmark of late 1940s to late 1950s American cars — including huge tailfins and wrap-around windscreens. Cadillac brought the craze to a soaring climax in 1959 with a tailfin display that was never bettered, but initially 1948 models acquired more modest fins (albeit ambitiously inspired by the twin-boom tail assembly of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter-bomber aircraft).
Just two years on, Sixty-Twos from General Motors’ Fisher body shop got back a longer wheelbase and acquired the much-hyped new Cadillac OHV V8 engine and a more luxurious interior. New body options that year included a Coupe De Ville ‘convertible hardtop’, and soon there would be a top-of-the-line Eldorado luxury convertible, too. The fourth generation appeared in 1954, and in 1959 (though the cars remained the same) the designation changed to Series 6200, marking the end of the Sixty-Two, one of Cadillac’s most successful lines.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1941 (until 1958)
5.7 l (346 cid) sidevalve V8 or 5.4 I (331cid) OHV V8
PERFORMANCE: Top speed was up to 95 mph (153 km/h), depending on model
YOU SHOULD KNOW: During 1948 two fabulous custom-built Saoutchik Cadillac Sixty-Two drophead coupes were created in Paris costing $70,000 apiece (when the standard model sold for $2,837) – a black-and-violet beauty for a New York furrier and a glitzy white-and-violet number for Hollywood star Dolores del Rio.