Home » Cold Start: So Long, Cadillac

Cold Start: So Long, Cadillac

Cs Longcaddy

Car proportions are fluid things. They seem to change roughly in tandem with decades, and currently we’re in a tall phase, with SUV and crossovers dominant, cars that emphasize height. That, of course, wasn’t always the case, and I think the most diametrically opposed period had to be the early 1960s, when cars were long, long, long. Like snake long, boring lecture long, country highway long. Just look at this 1962 Cadillac Sixty-Two Coupe up there.

That thing is a two door. You could land a fighter jet on the hood or trunk. I’m not even sure if it makes sense to drive it on short trips because the distance between the front and rear bumpers is probably the same distance between wherever you’re coming and going.


Aside from the absurd length, the big news with this, the cheapest Caddy of the time, was that it had cornering lights, one of the most under-appreciated lights of the modern era. They’re like what superheroes would be if side marker lamps were society.

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32 Responses

  1. Sometimes I forget how big cars used to be. And then I see a profile shot of one and my mind yells out holy shit!

    According to the internet (which is never wrong) this beauty was 222″ long. That’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s 40 inches longer than my sedan.

    1. As a kid in the 70’s, I can remember having family picnics – inside our car. The bench seats were so wide my dad could lie down and take a nap. If you wanted to roll down the manual windows on the opposite side, you had to scoot, scoot, and scoot again to reach it. It could tow a boat or camper and still deliver an impressive 8 mpg.

  2. That ad is definitive proof that MBAs and marketers didn’t run GM in the early 1960s.

    No one in their right mind would take a even the lowliest offering from a brand still acknowledged as “Standard of the World” and highlight how it was *modestly priced* or *priced lower than competitors*.

    It would be as jarring as seeing Mercedes advertise the S class on price, or Porsche do the same with the 911. Never going to happen.

  3. I’m just now realizing how utterly generic and pedestrian the front end was on these. It wouldn’t look out of place on an Impala. It reminds me of the time I saw a Catera with most of its badging gone AWOL, and I was trying to decide if it was a Beretta.

    1. In person it’s much more complex and intricate. Caddy grilles were assembled from hundreds of chromed die-cast pieces. Chevy grilles at the time were polished pressed aluminum with much fewer pieces. Later on, going into the ’70s, injection-molded plastic simulated the intricacy and depth of the diecast grilles and were used both on cheaper cars to give them a more luxurious air and on luxury cars to cut the manufacturers’ cost.

  4. I had a ’73 Coupe DeVille that was over 230″. The two doors were massive; about the length of the Smart FourTwo. The cornering lights were great, as were the four cigarette lighters.

    1. The multiple cigarette lighters transitioned well into the modern era. A few years ago my family and I road-tripped half-way across the country in an ’88 Brougham and having all of those power outlets for the various electronic gadgetry was great.

  5. I had a ’90 Fleetwood Brougham (221 inches, for those who like to measure…) and the cornering lights were outstanding. They spread an even light far and wide.

    That was a great car.

  6. My DTS is 17.3 Feet long and a blast to drive. Not as difficult to park as you would think. Just make sure the spot can accommodate it. I have found a few where there ends up being a couple of feet sticking out.

    As far a parallel parking. I do what 90% of the folks do, start about 3 spaces back and pull forward until in a spot. I am not a NYC bump parker.

  7. Dear Jason and David: Is there a way to knock out the spam posts- annasmith seems to be the current leader in that area.

    On another note, I passed up on buying a 1970’s bright red with white interior Cadillac convertible when I worked for Benson Mercedes for a Volkswagen Rabbit. Still kick myself to this day on passing up on it, but Annapolis, MD was not the place to street park one of those monsters.

    1. EVERYWHERE is the place to park a Cadillac convertible. It would just be slightly more difficult in Annapolis. I grew up in Pasadena, and know Annapolis very well.

  8. Recently sold my ’71 Coupe deVille. Definitely has all the length. It’s roughly the same as an extended cab pick-up. Big difference is the ride height. When parked in the garage, it sat lower than my wife’s Taurus SHO, and short of seeing the nose poke out, you wouldn’t know it’s there.
    Parking isn’t that bad, as you have one pinky boosted power steering, and visibility is great. Trunk storage is ludicrous. Estimates are three bodies easy. Five or six depending on original mass, and creative dissection.
    Best thing about the car, and the one thing I miss, is the genuine love it created. Mine was Duchess Gold/White top and no-one disliked it. Nothing but thumbs up and joy wherever it rolled.

    1. “Nothing but thumbs up and joy wherever it rolled.”
      Well said! I have a ’71 Sedan de Ville in triple black and those words describe the experience perfectly.

  9. Eh, 222″ long is the same as my Suburban and I parallel park that thing just fine. But those dimensions are a bit insane for a 2-door hardtop.

    Didn’t Don Draper drive something similar to this in Mad Men?

  10. I remember discovering the cornering lights in my ’68 Coupe de Ville for the first time and becoming a little obsessed for a short while. It was fun to just light up the ditch just for the hell of it driving down the road (for the record, I’m pretty easily entertained).

    As to the sheer size of these old tuna boats, they seem huge at first, but parked next to a modern day crew cab or an Escalade, they’re not really that huge. They look so much better though – the longer lower proportions of a big sedan are in short supply these days.

    They’re not all that bad to park either. The various 80’s Broughams I’ve driven over the years were much easier than most modern cars (well, modernish: pre-backup camera) to parallel park because you could actually see where the edges of the car were located given that nice angular body. Turn around, look over your shoulder, and way back there was the helpful top edge of a fin indicating the back-right corner of the car. Of course at night it was easy as well since the cornering lights would flood the area with the finest wash of 12 volt luminescence those old 1156 bulbs could offer.

    1. That’s why Mercedes-Benz installed the small guide poles at the corners of the boot on W140 S-Class. They extend up when the motorist selected reverse gear. Very useful device before the sonic sensors started to appear on 1994 S-Class.

      Now, it’s the rear-view cameras that don’t always work accurately.

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  11. My ’65 Fleetwood Brougham was just shy of 19 feet long.
    In the late 70’s you could live with that out on the general population.
    Today you’d have a hard time parking that outside of Home Depot where they are set up for Crew Cab pickups.

  12. This Cadillac has a dead body limit of 6 or 7 in the trunk. An you still have room for your golf clubs and Bocce Ball set! Yet only one person usually sits in the back seat.

    1. Not sure about dead bodies, especially if both they and the loader(s) have been diligent about bringing the cannoli, but 6 or 7 live teenagers could easily get in the trunk to sneak into a drive-in movie.

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