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Peak Tailfin: 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan

If you want a piece of rolling nostalgia, it would be hard to top this 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan. This Caddy is located in Long Island, NY, and is listed here on craigslist for $39,495. Of the four body styles available for 1959, this is undoubtedly a six-window hardtop based on the curved rear roof. There are only 20,900 indicated miles and the London Gray paint is claimed to be original. While the seller describes this Series 62 as a Sedan DeVille, that model split off into the Series 63 for 1959. The lack of script nameplates on the rear fenders indicates that this is the more affordable Series 62.

Cadillac designer Harley Earl kicked off the tailfin era in 1948 and the trend lasted about a decade. Bill Mitchell cranked it up to 11 in 1959 before the tailfins were dialed back in 1960. This Series 62 was designed to command a presence and turn heads. Not a single component was an afterthought, including the concealment of the gas cap within the decorative rear panel. This was one of many methods used by manufacturers to leave the sheet metal undisturbed. I hope the future owner doesn’t mind some attention. There is zero chance of blending in at the local Starbucks drive-through.

The presence of this car is confidently backed up by a 390 cubic inch V8 and 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. The 325 horsepower mill should be adequate for cruising along in this 5,000-pound behemoth. Cadillac’s slogan back then was “The New Standard of the World” and the interior, claimed to be original, certainly lives up to that notion. The cheap plastic in the GM interiors I grew up with is nowhere to be found. Interested buyers should be aware that this Series 62 appears to lack air conditioning. The panel to the left of the steering column displays ventilator controls only.

While many over-styled cars became running jokes, the 1959 Cadillacs became the symbol of an entire era. In fact, Life Magazine put these tailfins on their issue of “100 Years of the Automobile in America”. Several decades later, this vehicle remains a masterpiece of automotive sculpture (to steal some language from period marketing literature). Higher-trimmed siblings of the Series 62 have fetched over double the asking price in the listing. This looks like a great opportunity to get into a 1959 Cadillac without completely breaking the bank.


  1. Avatar photo phil1


    Like 12
  2. Avatar photo Bob McK

    This is a stunning car. Not too many options, but really low miles. I would be proud to park her in my garage.

    Like 12
  3. Avatar photo Will Fox

    Beautiful, and looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor. Another easy way to tell `59 Series 62 models is their lack of power windows/seat. As said above, this lower content of luxuries allowed people to get into a Cadillac without breaking the bank. In the sixties, Cadillac’s “Calais” model filled this niche, offering Cadillac prestige in a not-so-loaded package.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Bob McK

      My 59 Series 62, has every option offered by Cadillac that year.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo John

        So did mine, power everything and the autronic eye- you could order ‘em however you wanted. The series 62 had different door and seat upholstery and the exterior wore a Cadillac badge on the front quarter. This is a nice one- good price and a horn ring that hasn’t snapped off.

        Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Bob McK

    The seat fabric and stitching pattern will also give you a strong clue.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Chuck Dickinson

      The lack of PW (& seats?) is one clue it’s a Ser.62, but the easiest way for someone to tell at a glance is by looking at the front seat. DeVilles have armrests in both the front and rear seats. Ser. 62 only in the rear. Ser. 62 converts are really trimmed as a DV, so that doesn’t apply to converts.

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo MattR

    I would give up square feet in the house to give to the garage for this beauty.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo phil1

      I would live in the garage and put this in the house!!

      Like 12
  6. Avatar photo Jcs

    Great photos of a gorgeous Cadillac, especially for a Craigslist ad.

    Like 2
  7. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    While driving home a while back I saw one of these
    in metallic red.Impressive looking car (as a Cadillac should be).
    These make a Suburban look small.
    This is the kind of car you want your Uncle to own.That way,
    you can borrow it & return it when you’re done,not worrying about
    where to keep it,etc.

    Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    Dan, very good writing.

    You brought up a curious point which I had never really thought through. Why did this Cadillac, with its over-the-top styling, become the well-respected “symbol of an entire era,” while cars of the era with similar outrageous styling (think Virgil Exner efforts) are much less respected? Is it because it is a Cadillac?

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo HC Member

    Beautifully maintained Cadillac. But for that price, and in a luxury car like this I would have expected AC.

    Like 5
  10. Avatar photo Greg B Member

    Great find! This one is a time capsule that someone will really appreciate owning. I have owned my share of early Cadillacs and the problem for me is that they are so long that it takes up most of my garage or shop space.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Steve Clinton

    I always think about the urban tale of the pedestrian who was impaled on the fin of a ’59 Caddy!

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Malcolm Boyes

    Every time I see a 50’s Caddy it makes me miss my 56 Coupe De Ville “Maybelline”. I owned that car for 20 years and cruised the length of California and back in it many times. That car was so comfortable and happy at 85 mph plus. It also cornered surprisingly well on new 225 radials. It always got pole position at the finest restaurants, and Beverly Hills Hotel , too…in front of the Rolls and Bentleys!I hope she is happy in her new home in Henderson, Nevada. These are truly terrific cars, lovely to look at and very high quality..something that dissapeared in the next couple of decades. Good luck with the sale..wish I could grab this beauty.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

    It’s Got Gorgeous Phins!!!

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Sunshine

    Gasp! A Cadillac with Manual windows. Oh the horror. Oh the inhumanity.

    Like 10
  15. Avatar photo David Miraglia

    Wow! Not far from were I live in Brooklyn,wish I had the time to check it out.

    Like 0
  16. Avatar photo E.L. Puko

    The coolest thing I ever saw on a ’59 was looking in the driver’s window and seeing a knob marked “PULL TO CRUISE”.

    Like 1
  17. Avatar photo Ken Goetz

    My bet to all…. I want to watch you parallel park this boat in downtown Manhattan…. and remember to disregard all of the notes left under your wiper blade that you “took up two parking spaces for your long vehicle, how inconsiderate can you be”…!

    Like 1
  18. Avatar photo Jim Muise

    This beauty will not fit in many regular 18 foot garages being just shy of 19 feet but hey leave it outside to be admired by all who pass by. A rear end collision would require a second mortgage !

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Chuck Dickinson

      I had one, and it just fit in my garage (house built in 52). It had to be up against the back wall, and the door would just miss the front bumper. Also had an Electra 225 which was a hair longer (.4″), according to the stats.

      Like 0

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