Cadmino Conversion: 1961 Cadillac Pickup!

I am sure you’ve heard that old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” Yeah, well not in this case; someone took idle hands and went hard to work to create this outrageous 1961 Cadillac “Cadmino”, located in Chicago and for sale here on craigslist for $12,500. Thanks to Matt R for the tip!

The second I saw this fantastic creation and realized it’s in Chicago and I immediately thought of the scene in the movie The Blues Brothers where Cab Calloway is driving around in a funeral “flower car” handing out concert posters to children promoting Jake & Elwood’s big gig at the Palace Hotel. This Cadmino is too cool for school. I have seen Cadillac conversion station wagons before; I remember when I was in high school one of my classmates from the real right side of the tracks had one in their family fleet but I have never seen an El Camino conversion version. Let’s take a closer look.

Under the hood, it’s straight-up Caddy power, a 390 CI V8, good for 325 HP – a very common and successful Cadillac power plant. Other than the replacement Edelbrock open-element air cleaner, the motor appears to be stock. The listing is totally light. There is very little said about this combo-car and nothing about how it runs so I’ll fill in the blanks as best I can. Being an automatic transmission, of course, leads me to believe it is the standard GM Hydramatic.

The interior shows well, what little there is. The bench front seat is covered in either red leather or Naugahyde, don’t know for sure. There is what appears to be a red vinyl separator between the backrest of the seat and the rear portion of the cab – not sure if that is covering up access to a rear compartment like that found in an El Camino. The door cards are a work of art.

Speaking of works of art, GM cars of the late ’50s and early ‘60s, much like Virgil Exner’s excesses at ChryCo, were works of art in metal. Take a close look at the metal bending necessary to form these Cadillac fins and then realize that the creator of this 2-in-1 vehicle had to incorporate the truck bed seamlessly into all of that existing curvaceous metal. I’d say he nailed it.

No discussion regarding body/frame/floor pan integrity. I always zero in on that aspect of all the old cars that I review because that’s where there are frequently some pretty serious problems harbored. I see no evidence of trouble here and, again, the seller is silent on that matter.

Unique builds are sometimes problematic for many reasons, not the least of which are mechanical. I see no concerns here on that front as this Cadmino is mechanically a 1961 Cadillac, probably a former Coupe de Ville. Bodywork is bodywork, dents etc. aren’t a problem; a complete Kapow would be but then it would be an issue with any 58-year-old car. I wish there were more details with this listing. This is not an everyday old car sale item; some description around how the bed was constructed and incorporated would be really helpful. Also, I would like to see some better and complete photographic images. I’ve been halfheartedly looking at El Caminos but I don’t think I’m ready yet to consider a Cadmino even though this car is a first-rate creation in my book. How about you, any consideration ever for a one-off?

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Comments

  1. Chris Hahn

    Very good chance it’s a flower car, nothing wrong with that, they were plenty of them in the Chicago area funeral business in the 50’s,60’s

    Like 7
    • dave brennan

      My main problem with all of these is that there is always the ugly look of a shortened 4 dr. The doors are too short and the rear roof is almost always at an odd angle not found in nature. On the other hand, it does look like time and effort went into it.

      Like 15
      • canadainmarkseh Member

        I agree the roof angles are all wrong and they make the whole car look awkward. To make it look right the sail panel and back window need to be more up right to follow the same line as the back of the side window. I’d have looked for a donor truck cab to grab the back wall and fab it in. Ultimately I think it’s a whole bag of ugly the way it sits.

        Like 6
  2. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I’d say it started life as a Sedan de Ville. The doors are too short for a coupe.
    Also, I really wish when they do these custom conversions they’d put a real tailgate on the car.

    Like 12
  3. Vin_in_NJ

    I hate to nit pick, but I hate when the seller lists photos of the car taken at different times. At some point, the tires and wire wheel hubcaps were changed.
    Quite a few Cadillacs seen in the background on one pic.

    Like 1
  4. CCFisher

    Style and workmanship are consistent with flower cars done by Hess & Eisenhardt or Superior Coach.

    Like 5
  5. Sam61

    Think of it as a $12000 Yeti cooler you can drive…you could ice down 50 cases of Old Style!

    Like 3
  6. Del

    I like it.

    Like 2
  7. moosie moosie

    As stated earlier, the whole roof, door glass area looks off, as well as the rear glass, someone invested a whole lot of time & it seems to me that a bit more was needed for a more fluid roof line. I don’t really see a need for a working tailgate on these conversions.

  8. Rampone Grampercy

    I think it was done by George in Phoenix.

    Like 1
  9. Rob Bruining

    It should be left in the barn where it belongs.

    Like 1
  10. Del

    I am surprised that no one has said that if it had a floor shift 4 speed that they would buy it ?

    Like 1
  11. Stevieg

    Not a flower car, no practical use for it other than to haul groceries when not raining out. Yet I like it.
    The seller is a dealer who specializes in vintage Cadillacs. He usually has quality inventory. This is probably a very nice car in person. He has been trying to sell it for a very long time though.

    Like 2
  12. Bob McK Member

    This will be a tough sale. Interesting car, but it really isn’t a pickup with no tailgate. I think it would look better if they left the lid on the trunk. But who am I to say.

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