Cheap With Patina: 1963 Cadillac DeVille

1963-cadillac-deville-barn-find

Fifties and early-sixties Cadillacs were special cars and subsequently are sought after by people who appreciate the big cars of that era. I’m not going to be buying a mint ’59 Caddy, the tail fin king of motordom, anytime soon, but maybe a later model… still with decent size fins… might be within reach. This ’63 DeVille isn’t in the best condition, and it’s a 4-door, not a coupe or convertible. But on the other hand, according to the seller it runs and sounds healthy and even the power windows work. Find it here on craigslist for only $3,750 in Bellingham, Washington.

1963-cadillac-deville-patina

Of course there are going to be limitations to a complete early-’60s Caddy that’s offered at an affordable price. The seller says it has good patina, but in this condition maybe that’s going a bit far since few people who would want to drive this car would call all that dirt and missing paint “patina”. “Good potential” might be a better way to describe it since there’s no obvious rust perforation and the seller’s claim that it has a straight body seems reasonable.

1963-cadillac-deville-interior

If the seller’s claims are true this Caddy could be worth the effort to clean up, go through the systems to be sure they function safely and reliably, then throw on a coat of paint. But it’s best not to assume too much with a neglected car like this. Better to budget for some serious work on the brakes, steering, and other power systems, and maybe the transmission too.

1963-cadillac-deville

It’s probably too much to hope for that the mileage is anywhere near the 9200 indicated on the ODO. It’s more likely that it’s been around once or maybe even twice. The good news is that there are documents and history for the car since new, plus a clean title. And the asking price is lower than a lot that we’ve seen here on Barn Finds lately, so it could be worth checking this Caddy out if you’re in the Pacific Northwest. If you do, let us know what you find out about this big boy.

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Comments

  1. Mark E

    One warning: it appears to be equipped with the autotemp AC (where you set the thermostat to the desired temp). Having owned a ’64 Fleetwood, I found out the head units are year specific and replacements are NOT available. If it’s bad you send it in to be rebuilt at the cost of $1k plus! I was able to gimik the vacuum hoses on mine so I had a choice of either freezing my feet or cooling the windshield to the point that I couldn’t see through the condensation on the outside. -_-;

  2. sunbeadon

    This one is due north and 65 minutes from bein’ in my backyard; before I make an offer, do any of our BFFs know a good divorce lawyer? I’d at least have place to call my home!

    Clear-coat it, get it running, buy an oil pipe line and you are ready to roll!

  3. paul

    Go for the bus, move in, then go for the Caddy. Just think you’ll have the Taj Mahal & a land yacht.

  4. Carl Beck

    Hopes, Dreams, Wishes… a spider web of self woven financial destruction. A money pit of “what ifs” and “should haves”. All compounded by “while I was at it, I thought I might as well…”

    Now may be if it was a 61/62…

  5. sunbeamdon

    or maybe a Convert?

    We are all subject to “just wtf was I thinking?”; i.e.: 1941 Lincoln Continental Convert, classic lead-sled with “see-through” floors, trunk pan and frame. Seems like Ford filled the sills with foam – good idea (to trap water)! Although I did dump it on some enthusiast for a modest profit (little did he know)

  6. John E.

    Any serious buyers (in my opinion) ought to prepare, budget and have a place they can do a complete frame off restoration for this caddy, but would the cost of doing so out weigh its end-result value? Possibly. For me, to clear coat and get the thing road legal is a waste; they can be made/restored into very nice looking cars, why let it ride as is? Kids who are not aware of our era with these older cars, will think we all drove around in crap, nothing could be further from the truth.

  7. Carl Beck

    How About This?
    A serious Automotive Enthusiast – with sufficient taxable income – could step up and purchase this Caddy. Then donate it one of the local High School Automotive Classes, or to one of the Universities what now have Classic Car Restoration Degree Programs. Take the Tax Deduction… and feel like you’ve given something back to the hobby and to the younger auto enthusiasts that follow.

    Any of them could learn a lot by taking this Caddy apart – and putting it back together.

  8. sunbeamdon

    Easy there John – my comment was in jest to point out the folly of over-restoring a boat like this Caddy – no possible “up-side”. It deserves to be used and abused! The story telling alone would be worth the cost of (minimal) upkeep.

    Carl – there is some merit to your donation idea; however a word of caution – the IRS would, more likely than not, allow only the auction/purchase price as a contribution deduction unless substantial work was done by the donor to increase value beyond the purchase price {don’t you love weasel words from CPAs, I know ’cause I are one}.

    To all our BFFers – keep on finding, commenting and challenging – knowledge is king

    ps: I’ve decided its cheaper to keep the old gal than risk divorce (oops she’s looking over my shoulder) hit send, send, send, sen, se, s, gone!

  9. Thayer Hills

    @ Mark E.

    I’m fairly sure that the autotemp was introduced in ’64. I had a ’63 convertible, with ‘regular’ temp controls. Loved that car, it’s like driving a sofa.

  10. Denny

    I agree, lot’s of what ifs. For me that’s what makes this hobby fun. My first car was a ’66 Chevy Belair that hade been in my grandpa’s cinder block basement garage for years. I would do the same things with this Caddy on a 50 year old budget instead of a 17 year old. Make it mechanically sound enough to drive anywhere with every switch/bulb/knob/gauge working; knowing the unexpected can happen with any car and accepting that it probably will with this car. Polish the hell out of the chrome and clean/restore the interior. Drive it, enjoy it and probably sell it before painting. I’ve done the same with a ’66 Chevy step side, ’70 Torino GT, and ’71 Torino GT Convertible. I’d love to still have all three and be happy to just have one. I’m looking for my next car rescue and maybe I’ll get this one painted….or maybe not.

  11. Mya

    Interior doesn’t look too bad! It very much looks like it could be cleaned up easily…I’m shocked that the dash and seats are still actually solidly blue instead of yellowed to that terrible green like you sometimes see. Gosh you pnw folk are lucky. Anything like this would be totally destroyed by road salt here in NYC. I’d drive this as is and just clean the piss out of it.

  12. sunbeamdon

    Mya: Agreed – but, do you know something about this car we don’t?? i.e.: previous inhabitants of this car????

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