Parked For 41 Years: 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville

Seeing a classic car that has fallen on hard times is never a pleasant experience, but sometimes there is a sliver of hope that helps us to think that maybe that car can be returned to its former glory. This 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville has been sitting in a barn for 41-years. It will need plenty of work before it graces our roads once again, but the owner includes some of the parts to help the buyer get the ball rolling. Located in Ellensburg, Washington, you will find the Cadillac listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $10,199 in this No Reserve auction. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Boot for spotting the Caddy for us.

When you look back across automotive history, there are certain cars whose styling or even a single feature makes them instantly recognizable. The original Mini and VW Beetle spring to mind, along with the C3 Corvette. These are cars where their overall styling makes them hard to mistake. The grilles of both the Rolls-Royce and the 1958 Edsel stand out as single features that define their respective models. For the 1959 Cadillac, it was the enormous fins and the bullet taillights. That makes this car both instantly identifiable and one of the most desirable American luxury cars of the 1950s. This one has deteriorated markedly during its time in hibernation, but it doesn’t appear that it has gone beyond the point of no return. There is some surface corrosion visible, but penetrating rust in the panels seems to be minimal. Any that is present should be able to be addressed with patches rather than panel replacement. The news initially isn’t quite as good when we climb under the Caddy for a bit of a look. The frame is structurally sound, and there is some minor rust in the trunk pan, but the floors are said to be pretty bad. However, the owner has sourced a replacement set of floors and will be including these in the sale. Some of the removed trim is in the trunk, but the buyer will probably have to go shopping for some replacement parts. The windshield is badly broken, but a date-code correct replacement has been sourced. The remaining tinted glass is in good order, with no evidence of chips or other problems.

At 4,890lbs, there was no hiding the fact that the 1959 Coupe de Ville was a big and heavy beast. That meant that Cadillac needed to give it a good engine to get it up and moving. In this case, the company slipped a 390ci V8 under the hood that produced 325hp. The Caddy also features a 4-speed Hydramatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes in keeping with its luxury credentials. Despite its considerable weight, this luxurious classic should still cover the ¼ mile in 17.5 seconds when in good health. Give it enough room to wind itself up, and the needle should nudge 125mph. This gentle giant has been sitting for 41-years, and it appears that it hasn’t coughed into life in all of those years. The owner feels that it wouldn’t take much effort to get that mighty V8 roaring again, suggesting that the V8 turns freely. If the buyer is considering a high-level restoration, they will probably pull the engine so that everything can be appropriately detailed. That would be an opportunity to replace any gaskets or seals that are suspect. It would be better to do it then than be forced to because the car develops a fluid leak shortly after returning to the road.

The de Ville’s interior is essentially complete, but there will be some work required before it meets its original high standard of presentation. Most of the upholstery is past its use-by date, as is the carpet. The dash needs work, and the wheel sports some significant cracks. Many small plated pieces look okay, but the list of parts is going to be long. It’s also worth noting that finding a trim kit to whip this interior into shape is virtually impossible, so the buyer will need to source their parts individually. On a positive note, I can’t see any evidence of moisture damage, so there’s a chance that the electrical system might be in good order. This is something work considering when you look at the array of luxury features on this car. The list includes power windows, a power front seat, auto-dimming headlamps, cruise, and an AM radio.

After sitting unloved and largely forgotten for four decades, this 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville has earned the right to be restored and returned to active duty. It might initially look daunting, but we have seen our share of more complex project cars over the years here at Barn Finds. That leads us to the million-dollar question of whether it is worth the cost and effort. In reality, the buyer would need to perform a frame-off restoration to do the Coupe justice. Its external rust is an easy fix, while the seller supplies the parts required to repair the floors. If the buyer has solid welding skills, the rust problems could be addressed without spending a fortune. Values on the 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville have ridden a rollercoaster in recent years, but a good one can easily fetch $50,000 in the current market. If the bidding on this one remains around its current level, that leaves a lot of room to move before the financial viability comes into question. That makes it well worth a closer look.


  1. Dave Peterson

    Wasn’t the auto dimmer called Autronic Eye?

    Like 8
  2. Chris

    That’s a sad sight , but to the right person they can return to its former glory . To much for my budget.

    Like 4
  3. Ben T. Spanner

    My Uncle always got the first new Cadillac in his hometown. His standing order was an off white Coupe DeVille with alternating green or brown cloth. No AC’
    I believe the pictures of the 1959 hastened his demise at 86. His widow kept the 1958 until she learned to drive , and bought a new 1965 Coupe, (Off white, brown cloth, no AC)

    Like 5
  4. MikeB

    When I think of vintage Cadillac this is the one I visualize. Not sure this one would be viable money wise though. Tough call.

    Like 0
  5. Alexander KRESS Member

    What year did AC come as standard?

    Like 0
    • Bill McCoskey

      First Caddy to have A/C standard throughout the entire model line was 1968, This was due in part to AMC making A/C standard on the Ambassador and touting ads where it mentioned not even Cadillacs had A/C as standard equipment!

      Like 0
  6. Miguel - Mexican Spec

    Wow, $500 cars have become really expensive.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.