8-Cylinder

1939 Cadillac

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1939 Cadillac Sixty-One Special

Although the economy experienced a gradual increase from 1936 to 1937, it took a slight dive in 1938. However, the economy bounced back in 1939, which meant higher sales throughout the industry. Pointed fronts reappeared on most of this year's GM cars, and the Sixty-Special was no exception.

Cadillac's new ensemble was a three-element affair consisting of a slightly raked, prow-shaped vertical radiator flanked by grilles in the "catwalk" area between the front fenders and the main nose section. Above the catwalks were headlamps repositioned higher and closer to the central grille.

The Series 60 was replaced by the 3200mm-wheelbase Series 61, offering the same body types and many of the Sixty-Special's appearance features. Common to all 1939 Cadillacs were a

1939 Cadillac

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1939 Cadillac Sixty-Special

Aside from this, the Sixty-Special was largely unchanged, presumably on the grounds that it didn't pay to fool around with a winner. The policy paid off, and once again it was Cadillac's single best-selling model line. However, the series was expanded for '39 with two variations of the basic four-door: a sunroof sedan with a sliding section above the front seat area, and a limousine-like Imperial Sedan with division window as well as the sunroof.

A gorgeous Sixty-Special coupe had been built as a one-off for GM president William S. Knudsen and four convertible sedans were built experimentally for the use of other high-level executives, but neither model reached production. Chairman Sloan may have hinted at the rationale for only one basic body style when he noted that the Sixty-Special was "well received in the market and demonstrated the dollars-and-cents value of styling, for customers were ready to take smaller trade-ins [dollar amounts] on old cars to acquire it."

1939 Cadillac

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1939 Cadillac

Cadillac had settled on the 5.678 Liter version of the monobloc V-8 for all its eight-cylinder models except LaSalle beginning in 1937. Rated at 135 horsepower at 3400 rpm, the 5.678 Liter had five more horses than the 1935 V-8 and 10 more than the one-year-only 5295mm monobloc. The Sixty-Special arrived weighing only some 105 kg more than a comparable 1938 Series 60 sedan, so its power-to-weight ratio was less than 14 kg per horsepower, quite good for the period. By contrast, that year's Packard Super Eight -- which, incidentally, cost $700 more than the Special -- carried nearly 16 kg per horsepower.

1939 Cadillac

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1939 Cadillac Sixty-One

For 1939, Series 61 replaced Series 60 and 65 of 1938. All V-8's had new grille styling; similar in appearance but different in detail dimensions on each series. The pointed center grille and the functional side grilles were diecast, with fine-pitch bars. A single diecast louver was positioned to the rear of each hood side panel. Headlights were once again attached to the radiator casing.

Sixty Special, now bodied by Fleetwood, was offered with optional Sunshine Turret Top or center division. These options were also available on the Series 61 Sedan. Series 61 was available with or without running boards; had concealed door hinges except for the lower front hinge; and had chrome reveals on all windows.

1939 Cadillac

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1939 Cadillac Sixty-One

Chassis changes included:

I. D. DATA

Serial numbers were located on the left frame side bar, opposite the steering gear.
Starting: Same as engine number.
Ending: Same as engine number.
Engine numbers were on the crankcase, just behind the left cylinder block, parallel to the dash.
 Series 39-60SSeries 39-61Series 39-75
Starting Engine Number629000182900013290001
Ending Engine Number629551382959133292069

STYLE

Series 39-60S, 127 in. Wheelbase
Style NumberStyleSeatingPriceWeightProduction
39-6019SSpecial Sedan5$21951868 kg5,135
39-6019SSpecial Sedan, CKD5$21951868 kg84
39-6019S-ASunroof Special Sedan5$2245 225
39-6019S-AFSpecial Imperial Sedan, Sunroof5  55
39-60Chassis   7

STYLE

Fisher Series 39-61, 128 in. Wheelbase
Style NumberStyleSeatingPriceWeightProduction
39-6119Sedan5$17651714 kg3955
39-6119Sedan, CKD5$17651714 kg96
39-6119-ASedan, sunroof5$1805 43
39-6119-FImperial Sedan5  30
39-6127Coupe2$16951675 kg1023
39-6129Convertible Sedan5$22651732 kg140
39-6167Convertible Coupe2$18551711 kg350
39-61Commercial Chassis   237

STYLE

Fleetwood Series 39-75, 141 in. Wheelbase
Style NumberStyleSeatingPriceWeightProduction
39-7519Sedan5$31002175 kg543
39-7519-FImperial Sedan 5$32652202 kg53
39-7523Sedan7$33252211 kg412
39-7523-LBusiness Transformable Sedan8$32152211 kg33
39-7529Convertible Sedan 5$40652286 kg36
39-7533Imperial Sedan 7$34752284 kg638
39-7533Imperial Sedan, CKD7$34752284 kg60
39-7533-FFormal Sedan 7$41152284 kg44
39-7533-LBusiness Transformable Imperial8$33702284 kg2
39-7539Town Sedan 5$37502191 kg51
39-7553Town Car7$52452316 kg13
39-7557Coupe2$33952089 kg36
39-7557-BCoupe5$34952134 kg23
39-7559Formal Sedan 5$41152175 kg53
39-7567Convertible Coupe2$34952125 kg27
39-75Chassis   13
39-75Commercial Chassis   28

ENGINE

TypeNinety degree - L-Head
CylindersEight Cylinders
BlockCast iron block (blocks cast enbloc with crankcase)
Bore & Stroke88.9mm x 114.3mm
Displacement5.678 Liters
Model 60S Compression Ratio6.25:1
Model 61 Compression Ratio6.25:1
Model 75 Compression Ratio6.70:1
Brake Horsepower135 hp (140 hp on 75) @ 3400 rpm
Power101 kW (101 kW on 75) @ 3400 rpm
SAE/Taxable Horsepower39.20
Main bearingsThree
Valve liftersHydraulic
CarburetorStromberg AAV-26.

CHASSIS

ModelWheelbaseOverall lengthFront TreadRear TreadTires
Series 39-60S3226mm5442mm1473mm1549mm7.00 x 16
Series 39-613200mm5264mm1473mm1499mm7.00 x 16
Series 39-753581mm5718mm1537mm1588mm7.50 x 16
Series 39-61
Commercial Chassis
4121mm6185mm -7.00 x 16
Series 39-75
Commercial Chassis
4099mm6233mm -7.50 x 16

DRIVETRAIN

TransmissionSelective synchro manual transmission.
Speeds3 Forward, 1 Reverse
ControlsLeft Hand Drive; gearshift on column; handbrake at left (rhd opt)
ClutchSingle disc clutch
DriveShaft drive, Hotchkiss
AxleSemifloating rear axle
GearsHypoid gears
Overall Ratio
  • 60S & 61 = 3.92:1
  • 75 = 4.58:1
BrakesHydraulic brakes on four wheels
WheelsSlotted disc wheels
Wheel size16 in.

OPTIONS

1939 Cadillac

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1939 Cadillac

Radio$69.50
Heater$31.50
Seat covers$8.25 per seat
Spotlight$18.50
Windshield washer$5.75
Automatic battery filler$7.50
Fog lights$14.50/pair

HISTORICAL NOTES

1939 Cadillac

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1939 Cadillac

1939 Cadillac Notes