California Barn Find: 1956 Cadillac Coupe de Ville

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There once was a 1956 Cadillac Coupe de Ville that sat in a large building near Petaluma, California. It was surrounded by other classic cars and parts. It has now been pulled out and can be found for sale here on Craigslist with an asking price of $12,500. With 2-door classics like this one getting harder and harder to find, the asking price seems pretty reasonable to me. Let’s take a closer look at this classic Caddy. On a side note, wouldn’t you love to know what else was pulled out of this building? There are at least ten classic cars surrounding this Cadillac. What do you see?

As you can see, the driver’s side fender has been impacted. If that damage wasn’t there, this side looks pretty darn clean. For some reason, the passenger side surface is in much worse condition. I would say it was exposed to the weather, but based on the rust and discoloration, it may have been something like chemical exposure.

The seller says they have rebuilt the carburetor and generator. The car also has a new gas tank, exhaust, and tires, which should make it a pretty good driver. They said they have gone through the wiring, but the fuel gauge “needs repair.” The ad also says that there is a lifter noise, so hopefully, there isn’t too much else that needs to be addressed. It is nice to see the original Cadillac air cleaner still present since they are super popular for hot rodders.

There are only a few photos of the interior, so it is a little hard to tell exactly what condition it is in. As you can see, the steering wheel is severely cracked and will probably need to be replaced. Although the steering wheel is rough, surprisingly the dash doesn’t seem too bad.

Overall, these are very handsome cars. While they resemble their tri-five Chevy cousins, the styling is more elevated and luxurious. The large dagmar-style front bumper and the rest of the trim would be a huge cost to have re-chromed. This car certainly looks like a good candidate for a restoration. What do you think?

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  1. Denver Lee

    I lived in Petaluma in the late 80’s…as a “minority”, I was definitely not welcome there..

    Like 4
    • 62Linc

      That is a shame. Nobody should ever feel that way in a community that they live. Hope you found a more inviting place

      Like 16
  2. Harry Allen

    Very much a candidate for restoration!! We had a neighbor in New Orleans who owned one of these and what a treat it was to ride in it.

    Like 6
  3. mike

    Nice project for some one.I also see a 1958 Ford retractable..

    Like 4
  4. Stan

    🎹 🎶 And there ain’t no Coup DeVille hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box 🎶 🎤

    Like 8
    • Steve

      Love that Meatloaf song.

      Like 4
    • Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

      Pink Cadillac by Aretha Franklin

      Like 2
      • CaCarDude

        If it’s a Pink Cadillac is has to be by Sammy Masters.

        Like 1
  5. Tommy T-Tops

    Wow what this must have looked like new.

    Like 8
  6. Jack Quantrill

    Last of the “ Jungle Cruisers”!

    Like 1
  7. Kenneth Carney

    My father had one just like this in the
    early ’60s and man it was sharp! I was about 10 years old back then and
    couldn’t wait for him to come by and
    see us. From the first time he dated
    my Mom, I hoped and prayed that she’d marry him. Well, she did and I
    felt 10 feet tall riding around town
    with my family in that big old Caddy.
    He traded it for another ’56 Caddy
    only this one was a pea green ragtop
    with wire wheels and a Connie kit out
    back. We raised a lot of eyebrows
    when we’d arrive at church those warm Sunday mornings when Dad would pull in with top down and WLS
    playing on the radio. Both Mom and
    Dad are gone now, but the memories
    live forever.

    Like 24
  8. Troy

    Buy it send it to Earl Shibe for the pink $400 paint job then double your purchase price and sell it with the Bruce Springsteen song playing in the background?

    Like 2
  9. Mountainwoodie

    What a beautiful design.

    If it was mine I wouldn’t be able to resist the impulse to take a grinder and sander to the rust. That kind of thing drives me nuts :)

    Interesting it was in a warehouse as it looks like either a flood survivor or was stored somewhere where the humidity was off the charts, like New Orleans. I don’t know that Petaluma has that kind of climate but maybe it does.

    In the ad, is that a ’53 Ford hardtop ( cant remember what they were called, kind of like an Olds Holiday roofline) with its rear end perpendicular to the right side of the Caddy in the warehouse pix?

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      I suspect this car was left outside in the hot California sun, causing the original paint to craze, thus allowing moisture to enter with the resulting situation seen here. In looking a little closer, the entire right side paint appears to be a slightly lighter shade, and I think the side was repainted, but the primer was not sprayed correctly, so the paint eventually began flaking off right down to the bare metal.

      Like 3
    • CaCarDude

      Petaluma is in the SF north bay area, and not far from Mare Island. Salt air is present and could explain why some of the exterior is in the condition it is. It has mild temps thru the year and humidity is not an issue with this old girl. It probably spent a lot of its life outdoors and ended up in this warehouse not too many years ago. Sunshine and very damp fog are the norm in this area.

      Like 1
      • Steve R

        The vast majority of the Bay Area is not subject do ground fog, it typically only effects areas within a mile or two of the coast or some areas directly across from the Golden Gate Bridge. I live three miles from the bay on the flats, before you reach the hills that ring the bay. We only get ground fog a few of days a year. What we do have is a low overcast that never reaches the ground and morning dew, which isn’t salty. Petaluma is about 10-15 miles north of the northern most part of the bay, the river that runs through and to the bay it is subject to the change in tides, but that’s about it. Any rust cars have from Petaluma is not from fog, but the typical neglect any other car stored outside is subject too.

        I sent a link to a friend from that area. He was friends with the owner, who passed away about two years ago. He had a wrecking yard and gravitated towards “luxury” cars. My friend said you rarely saw a Chevrolet on his premises.

        Steve R

        Like 0
      • Kenneth Carney

        Do they still have the arm wrestling championships there?
        Used to watch them on Wide World Of Sports in the ’60s and ’70s. I remember Jim McCay
        covering the championship match in which one the competitors broke his wrist
        vying for the top spot.

        Like 0
  10. Bob

    My neighbor Mr. Wilson bought a new one and had it parked next to house and looked out his window to see a buck trathing his passenger side windows. This was in January so he had a cold ride home. I asked what he did and he said he stopped for hot coffee.

    Like 2
  11. Gary Chittenden

    58 Ford Hideaway beside it and a 63 Ford behind it.

    Like 0
  12. HCMember

    Great year and model Cadillac Coupe Deville, and to have it starting running and stopping is a bonus. Very fair price for this girl in its condition and it’s probably already gone. Good to see it out of all that clutter.

    Like 0
  13. Richard Kirschenbaum

    Give me a ’55 Imperial coupe any day, This car is the definition of bloated. Only the ’54 Buick carries off this body this with any success.

    Like 0
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      Richard K,

      I agree, I’ve had both ’55 and ’56 examples of the Cadillac, Packard & Imperial 2-door hardtops, and I rate them as Imperial-#1, Packard-#2, then Cadillac -#3.

      Like 2
      • Richard Kirschenbaum

        Yeah Bill, the Imperial has that lean mean muscular no nonsense look. How about the ’56 Lincoln Coupe? Really looks like a concept car,

        Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember


        Yes, I also like the Lincoln’s looks for 1956, but not ’55 or ’57-’60. I’ve had a Premier sedan, but not the 2-door hardtop. But my absolute favorite 4-door hardtop was my 1961 Facel Vega Excellence. It didn’t even have a center post at all, the doors locking into the floor.

        Like 1
  14. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

    I’m going to spare yall my Caddy story as I’ve told it a dozen times already. Every time I see a ’56 Caddy on here I think if it. Good memories.

    Like 2
  15. Jon Patrick Leary

    Isn’t this town where graffiti was shot??

    Like 1
    • angliagt angliagtMember

      Some parts of it were.

      Like 0
  16. John C.

    Cool car and I like that “indoor junkyard” where it was found, looks like there are plenty of other finds in there. Anybody know this warehouse?

    Like 0
  17. HCMember

    Good Lord now people want to argue and nitpick about if there’s really fog in the San Francisco area. Where this car is located. Really? Can’t you just enjoy the car that’s listed and enjoy it year make and model? Geez

    Like 1
  18. Arizona car guy

    I say they’re clarifying, discussing and sharing a part of their personal lives, experiences, cars, hometowns and history as they motor together with us down life’s road.

    Like 2
  19. Mountainwoodie

    It’s the internet. Relax. Lol.

    Pretend you’re at a bar looking at pictures of the Caddie and one of your pals says ” Geez, thats a lot of rust”. Another pipes up ” Why dont you just look at the picture and enjoy what you see!”

    Who would you rather continue the conversation with?

    I know. Never end a sentence with a preposition. I’m weak minded.

    Like 1
  20. Clark

    This was Paul’s place, big estate sale after he passed… I bought four Cadillacs and three Thunderbirds out of there, there were probably 30 cars in the big barn and 180+ parked outdoors. Almost all vintage American cars, lots of Cadillacs, a few late model cars, but not a single Chevy in the yard. Maybe a third of the yard cars were savable, the rest crushed.

    Like 1

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