1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
Styling and horsepower sold cars in the Fifties, and nobody knew that better than Cadillac. Stylewise, its famous tailfins debuted on the 1948 models, a design hallmark that was destined to last nearly two decades. A year later the trend-setting Series 62 Coupe de Ville hardtop bowed. Although styling changed from year to year, Cadillac carefully maintained a continuity of design so that even though the car always looked "new," there could never be any mistake that it was indeed "The Standard of the World."
1953 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan
In 1949, Cadillac and Olds were the first to market new lightweight, high-compression, overhead-valve V-8s, which marked the beginning of the horsepower race. Caddy's version churned out 160 horses, 18.5 percent more than Olds, even though its 331-cid engine was only 10 percent bigger. It thus became one of the fastest cars of its time.
1953 Cadillac fin
Cadillac also enhanced its image with some of the classiest advertising of the day. In the early '50s it ran a series of ads with the car displayed above a necklace of diamonds, emeralds, or rubies, with simple, direct, and devastating mini-stories underneath. For example, one of them told of the paperboy who had admired Cadillacs 31 years earlier, and now was an industrialist about to purchase his first one: "No compromise this time!" the ad declared.
Three GM divisions had 50th anniversaries in 1953, and celebrated by issuing expensive, flashy limited editions, all big convertibles with Motorama-inspired styling features. Buick offered the Skylark and Oldsmobile the 98 Fiesta. Cadillac's birthday model appeared in the Series 62 as the Eldorado. Only 532 were built that year, largely because of a towering $7750 price. Among its attractions: custom interior, special cut-down "Panoramic" wraparound windshield, sporty "notched" beltline, and a metal lid instead of a canvas boot to cover the lowered top. A striking piece, it was a preview of Cadillacs to come-and, of course, the start of a now long-famous line. Incidentally, some '53 Cadillacs were built with Buick Dynaflow after a fire in the Hydra-Matic plant at Livonia, Michigan reduced available transmission supplies, though this situation lasted only a few months.
1953 Cadillac Fin
George M. "Rick" Shahovskoy, who worked at the Hartford Fire Insurance Company for a few decades wrote to correct my statement that the fire was at Willow Run. It was at Livonia. He says, "The insurance industry calls the fast spread of the fire due to the infamous 'Livonia Roof' which all insurance inspectors must be on the lookout for whenever inspecting commercial buildings."
1953 Cadillac Notes
1953 Cadillac Series 62