Cheapest Cadillac? 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood

If you sit and compile a list of the most iconic American cars from the 1950s, then those distinctive fins and bullet tail-lights belong to a vehicle which simply had to make that list. The 1959 Cadillac was bold, it was brash, and it made a statement about the success of the owner. This 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood hasn’t seen a lot of recent success, but it is a complete car that would either be suitable for a restoration project, or possibly a parts car. Barn Finder Paul Z referred the classic Cadillac through to us, so thank you so much for that Paul. Located in Reading, Pennsylvania, you will find the Cadillac listed for sale here on Craigslist. The price for this sad but complete icon has been set at $2,250.

There was really nothing subtle about a 1959 Cadillac, and even in a more subdued shade such as Dover White, the cars had a presence. This Fleetwood is on its 3rd owner, who has now owned the car for more than 30-years. The Cadillac was in good condition up until the 2nd owner was forced to park it outside for around a year due to the loss of an undercover parking space. That was all that it took for the rust to get started, and there is plenty of it that would need to be addressed if this car were ever to grace our roads once again. It seems to have attacked many of the lower extremities of the body, including the lower quarter panels and rockers. The owner makes no mention of the state of the floors or frame, but it might be best to brace for the worst. The fact that the car appears to be wearing snow tires is something that does send a shiver through me. Does that mean that it has been exposed to snow, and possibly salt? Having said that, there is a shot of the inside of the trunk, and while it couldn’t be classed as conclusive, it doesn’t look like anything is about to fall through the floor. You never know, but maybe luck will be on the buyer’s side on that. All of the external trim and those distinctive bullet tail-lights are present, while the E-Z-Eye tinted glass also looks to be in good condition.

When I looked at the inside of the Fleetwood, I have to say that I was more than a little surprised. There is no doubt that the front seat will need a new cover, but the rest of the interior trim actually looks surprisingly good if you subtract that significant layer of dirt. The rear seat is in good condition, as is the dash and the door trims. I think that a good clean would make the world of difference to the appearance of the Cadillac’s interior, and that would be my starting point. The dash pad has lifted on one edge, but I think that this could be repaired. Being a car of unbridled luxury, the interior of the Fleetwood is always going to be nicely loaded with creature comforts. In this case, the next owner will find themselves with air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a six-way power front seat, an Autronic Eye, cruise control, and a radio with the optional rear speaker.

The 390ci engine that graces the engine bay of a Fleetwood produces 325hp in standard form, which is sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed Hydramatic transmission. In keeping with the luxurious overtones of a car like this, steering and braking are made effortless by the inclusion of power assistance for both. The engine doesn’t run, although it was fired-up about 10-years-ago. This is where things start to get quite interesting with this Fleetwood. The original owner only kept the vehicle for a short time. The reason? It wouldn’t fit into his garage. He then parted with the car when it only had about 1,000 miles on the odometer, and the second owner retained it from around 1960 until he passed away in the mid-1980s. He must have been a man of some style and taste because he actually owned a pair of 1959 models. There was this one, along with a black one. The black vehicle was his daily driver, while this one was retained for special occasions only. As a result of this limited use, and the fact that the car last saw the road in 1988, it has managed to accumulate a mere 61,000 miles on its odometer. In addition, everything that came with the car when it left the factory is included in the sale, including the Owner’s Manual.

I really don’t know what the ultimate fate of this 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood is going to be, and only a personal inspection will determine whether it is a viable restoration project, or whether its destiny rests as being a parts car. One thing is for certain: I doubt that you will have many opportunities to buy a 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood for such a low price in the coming years. That alone makes it a car worth considering.


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  1. Chebby Staff

    Wow. Looks like the setting and condition that Steven King’s Arnie Cunningham found Christine in.

    It’s a six-window sedan and I think those are the lowest on the totem pole, but it’s got to be worth it for parts, or for someone who will cut it up and turn the seats into sofas and the rear clip into man-cave bar.

    Or you could drive it around dilapidated, it has the grace of a decaying old Southern antebellum mansion.

    Like 14
    • Steve

      There is no way that rust was caused by sitting outside for a year. It was driven on the salt and parked. That’s what caused the rust

      Like 2
      • bone

        Must have been some really hard acid rain to look this bad ! LOL

    • Poncho

      Hmmm. Going to be 30 minutes from there this coming weekend. I was thinking the sofa route would be cool, but price to purchase this ‘4 door’ behemoth is getting a little to tall. Would probably have to part some of it out to recover purchase price. I know…hacking a piece of history rubs me wrong too. Someone else may do it though.

      Like 2
  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    Maybe it needs to into dry storage for another ten years when it will be even more rare. Frankly if I had this car I’d be slowly restoring it and in ten years it would emerge from my garage restored. And it would be very rare indeed.

    Like 12
  3. ccrvtt

    Same year and color as my grandfather’s, but his was the base model. The 4 window was sharper, but the 6 window actually has a subtle elegance to it.

    Suitable for grandfathers.

    Somebody please take this for the incredibly cheap price and restore it. It’s a Fleetwood, fer chrissakes!

    Like 12
    • Miguel

      ccrvtt, did they make a 4 window Fleetwood?

      • Bill McCoskey


        No, the 1959/60 Cadillac 4 door hardtops were all of the “Pancake” roof design, that version is easy to spot because the roof metal actually extends over the rear window glass for a couple of inches. The Fleetwood 60 Special was the only Cadillac of those years to have the 6 window design [6-window means it has another side window between the rear door and the rear window].

  4. Bultaco

    If the frame is solid, make it roadworthy, clean it up and drive as is. Stabilize the rust….it might be worth restoring eventually.

    Like 3
  5. John Haelig

    Hmmm….forlorn ’59 Caddy in Pennsylvania.

    Kinda makes me want to become a Deer Hunter

    Like 5
    • Poncho

      You could probably throw a herd of dead deer into the trunk if you took it hunting.

      Like 5
  6. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Every time I see a 59 Caddy I remember an instance I ran into as a kid. A distant relative was at my Aunt and Uncles one evening driving a new 59. We were playing ball in the yard and getting near the car it started moving. Turned out they’d been out west and had pulled the rear seat and put a crated burrow in there and were taking it back to their home with them (don’t ask about the waste and smell – it did it’s thing in the car). They wanted the burrow and had shipped the rear seat home so they could bring the burrow.
    They never answered the question of the burrow pee and crap in the car but when I asked him how much gas mileage it got, his response was “If you have to ask you can’t afford it”. Top it off that this was back in the days of 30 cent premium gas.

    Like 8
    • Gary S.

      Must be a PA thing….. I have a 49 Packard Eight Station Sedan that i worked on for a friend and the story with it was it belonged to a local politician lady somewhere in PA and she used to carry around her miniature pony in the back…needless to say it needed floorpans and trunk pan due to “fluids”.. But other than that body was in good shape it was garage kept until sold at estate auction. Still has all the original wood! Tryin to get him to list it on Barn Finds because he wants to sell it!

  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    Memory bank low on info on these cars but my Dad’s ’60 Olds 98 4 door didn’t have a B pillar. This car looks the same. Anyone know for sure?

    Like 1
    • Will Fox

      Bob, both your Dad’s `60 Olds 98 4dr., and this Fleetwood were GM’s C-body design. However, your dad’s Olds 98 was a flat-roof design shared with all 5 divisions of GM; this rounded-roof pillarless 4dr. design was used only for Olds, Buick, and Cadillac. Chevy, Pontiac used this design, but it was a sedan with a B-pillar. Hope this helps.

      Like 5
  8. Jay E.

    Put a Mopar emblem on it and it will go for $12.5.

    • bone

      Is that you, Keith ?

      Like 1
      • theGasHole

        Good one Bone

        Like 1
  9. Pete in PA

    The Series Sixty Special Fleetwood was only available in 1 body style and you’re looking at it. Only 2250 built.
    I’ve long been fascinated with 59 Cadillacs but who hasn’t? American excess at it’s finest.
    I had a chance to thoroughly examine one of these in a salvage yard north of Reading, PA in the early 80s. IIRC it was silver with a blue interior. Never seen so much brightwork (inside or out) on any car. Unbelievable. I took some pics of that one but can’t post them here anymore.
    If I was 20 years younger and had a bunch more zeros at the end of my bank account balance I’d go take a look at this one. Best to look away though…

    Like 4
    • Will Fox

      Pete, IMHO the only other car with as much glitz & chrome of the day was the `58 Buick Series 75 Limited. A fortune to re-plate on anyone’s wallet!

      Like 5
      • Sunshine

        “A ’58 Buick Limited carries what, 700 lbs of chrome?” I don’t remember the source of this quote or the accuracy, but I alway think of it when I see a ’58 Buick!

        Like 1
  10. Ben T Spanner

    Do snow tires in Reading PA mean it has been exposed to road salt? That would be a yes; many times over.

    Like 4
  11. Jim in FL

    I think there’s a niche for this. The cost gamble is pretty low. You could probably part it out and get even if it’s too far gone. Otherwise, clean repair and drive, or restore. I’ve seen similar cars used as “wedding cars” for the bride and groom. Four doors with AC, lovely color. You could make some money back in the summers.

    Like 4
    • CaCarDude

      These were the King of Bling for sure. And they were the real popular wedding car back in the day, and still are to this day as we saw and pictured one this past weekend in Rio Nido, CA . Returning from a family (Russian River) outing there it was in all it’s glory a dark green 4dr hardtop dragging tin cans and all.
      Hope this listed ’59 is saved and once again graces the open highway.

      Like 1
  12. Del

    Doubt this will ever be restored. To much rust.

    Great parts car tho. Trim, lights and bumpers could bring good cash

    Like 1
  13. bobhess bobhess Member

    Thanks Will.

  14. Terry Furness

    If this Caddy was in any other country i.e. Australia, New Zealand, England, ETC it would be classed as “Great all round condition ” And never be classed as a parts car. Easy restoration.

    Like 1
  15. Bob McK Member

    I am too late… Posting is gone. I would have bought this for parts for my 59 and sold the rest. Bummer!

    Like 1
  16. Bill McCoskey

    One of the best things about this car is that while it’s a top of the line Fleetwood 60 special, and it’s loaded with options, the original owner was smart enough not to order it with air suspension. Many of the Fleetwood 60s cars had air ride, and all the Eldorados did as well. Very trouble-prone. I disconnected my ’59 Eldo Biarritz Convertible’s air ride and converted it to standard suspension, but made it look under the hood. as if it worked.

    Like 2
  17. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    So many of you are discussing “parting out” this car! Don’t you realize how rare this car is? It’s not a Series 62, or a Sedan de Ville. It’s not even a convertible or almost as rare Eldorado. It’s a FLEETWOOD!!!
    Look at that Fleetwood trim on the side, the chrome “Spears” from the bullit taillights. Fleetwood only came in a 6 window 4 door model.
    Screw the rust. I’ve lived in the Northeast . It’s not so bad. Ya’ll make it sound like if it has road salt rust, scrap (or part out) the car. This car still has life to it.
    I swear, even though I don’t have room for it, at this price, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. IF I had the money. Anyone want to lend me a couple thou?
    But, please, stop the parting out talk.

    Like 6
  18. TimM

    Great find in my opinion and since it was a low production year it should be saved if the rust isn’t so bad as to warrant years of restoration or a new frame!!! Those tail lights are timeless and there’s enough chrome to take your eyes away from the rust!!! Drive it like you stole it!!!!

    Like 2
  19. Mountainwoodie

    Finally a price I think commensurate with the car. Someone
    obviously agreed.

    Oh for the old days, at least with respect to the sales price. This is a hard to find Fleetwood……..and someday somebody will restore it.

    Love the greenhouse.

  20. Bob McK Member

    Bill, the 59 and 60 hardtops were not all flat tops. I own a 59 4 door that has a top like my 60 coupe. Personally, I do not like the flattops.

  21. Bill McCoskey

    Bob McK.
    You are correct. I had forgotten that both the 6-window bodies and the 4-window bodies were available in all of the Cadillac series except for the Eldorado and limo.

  22. Bob McK Member

    Hey Bill, if that is all you have forgotten, you are doing better than I. LOL

  23. coskun bicer

    I would like to buy the car for 2000-2250 USD if every thing is in check. All the papers and reregistration papers are ready and clean.

    • Bob McK Member

      Good luck! A 1959 Cadillac steering wheel with the horn ring would cost you 2600 USD. So if you can buy this car for 2250 you can make a fortune selling parts.

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