Although Cadillac styling ultimately drifted to chrome-laden glitter, reaching a low point with the 1958-59 models, the basic 1948 tailfinned design, inspired by wartime aircraft and originated by Franklin Q. Hershey under the watchful eye of GM design director Harley Earl, was good enough to remain largely intact through 1953. This was no real surprise. As Cadillac styling chief Bill Mitchell noted: "A traditional look is always preserved. If a grille is changed, the tail end is left alone; if a fin is changed, the grille is not monkeyed with."
And so it was: a new one-piece windshield, revamped grille, and a somewhat bulkier lower-body look for '50; small auxiliary grilles under the headlamps for '51; a winged badge in that spot for '52; one-piece rear windows and suggestive "Dagmar" bumper bullets for '53.
Otherwise, the Cadillac lineup didn't change much in this period. Still accounting for most sales, the Series 62 offered four-door sedan, pillared coupe, pillarless Coupe de Ville, and convertible, all on the usual 3200mm wheelbase. The familiar Sixty Special continued as a solitary super-luxury sedan on its own 3302mm platform (versus 3378mm in the Forties), while the Series 75 continued its traditional array of limousines and long owner-driver sedans on a 3729mm chassis. The Series 61, still the "entry-level" Caddy, was demoted to a 3099mm wheelbase (from 3200mm), but again offered a sedan plus newly styled de Ville-inspired pillared coupe. Manual shift was standard on 61s, which were otherwise identical to 62s except for chrome rocker moldings and slightly plainer interiors. Cadillac also continued supplying chassis for various coachbuilders, averaging about 2000 units per year through 1959.
The division really didn't need a "price leader" anymore, so the 61s were dropped after 1951, never to return. Rival Packard, meantime, was still pushing cars priced up to $750 less than the Series 61s, a mistake that Packard didn't fully realize until too late.
1951 Cadillac Notes