Restore or Rat Rod? 1958 Cadillac Coupe de Ville

This 1958 Cadillac Coupe de Ville was driven into a shed 20-years-ago, and it has only recently emerged back out into the light of day. The owner has decided that the time has come for the Cadillac to head off to a new home, so has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. Barn Finder Ikey H spotted the Cadillac for us, so thank you so much for that Ikey. It is located in Vista, California, and can be yours for $9,500.

The black paint that the Coupe de Ville wears is said to be original. It is showing its age a bit but is in surprisingly good condition. Rust issues appear to be limited to spots in the bottoms of both fenders, and some small spots beginning to appear under the rear window trim. The floors are said to be in nice condition, and the body itself does appear to be nice and straight. As you look around the car you will notice that it appears that there are a few minor external trim pieces missing. These are actually present and are just not fitted to the car.

If the next owner really wants to return the Cadillac to its best, then they will need to do some work inside the car. It is certainly serviceable as it stands, but a complete restoration would be the best choice for a car like this. The dash pad is particularly bad, while the upper rear seat is also quite badly sun-rotted. The door trims might be able to be salvaged and restored, but new carpet and new covers for the seats will definitely be on the shopping list. Looking around the interior, I’m slightly surprised that the car doesn’t feature power windows, but it does have air conditioning.

I said that the Cadillac was driven into the shed 20-years-ago, and this is actually true. The 365ci V8 did run, but the owner has not attempted to start the car since it came out of storage. The Cadillac also features a 4-speed Hydramatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The 310hp engine is a bit of an unknown quantity because while the owner mentions the fact that he hasn’t attempted to fire the car up, he doesn’t indicate whether the engine turns freely. One observation that I will make is that the car gives every indication that its storage location has been fairly dry, so hopefully, that will translate into an engine that has stayed dry inside and hasn’t locked.

Given how solid this Coupe de Ville appears to be, it really does seem to be a prime candidate for a restoration project. The owner also does float the idea of it being a great base for a rat rod project. While that isn’t an idea that I actually find to be thrilling, I have to admit that it would definitely have all the makings of being a distinctive vehicle if that was the path that the next owner chose to follow. The one thing that I will say is that while nicely restored examples are currently fetching prices in excess of $45,000, values have softened markedly over the past 12 months by nearly 15%. If this is restored now and values begin to increase again, it might be a vehicle that makes good financial sense.

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  1. Gary S.

    I vote restore.. If the car was missing the original drivetrain then maybe rat rod. I guess I’m a purist most of the time prefer my cars original condition instead of modified.

  2. Scot Carr

    ~ That seems to me to be one hell of a bargain, if it’s half as nice as it looks !

  3. SMS

    These are gorgeous when fully restored well. Problem is for me I would be afraid to drive it then. If it were mine I would do a rolling refurbishment. Keep it as stock as possible with minor improvements such as a newer AC compressor, seat belts, electronic ignition and fuel injection.

    Just imagine what you could do with this car over the next couple of years.

    Man, picture yourself, arm out the window cruising down the road to go out to dinner with that special someone in this

  4. Vudutu

    Moody blues said it best, it’s a question of balance.
    Restro, total restore, just drive it, I don’t know. But what I do know is.

    This is one HOT use of fin metal.
    Am I wrong here?

    These fins are amazing, a defining point of our culture in time, lots of fins of the period are more curved but this example invokes an Egyptian hard line feel. Interesting the period connection.

    Interesting post.


    Rat Rod…NEVER.

  6. Don Page

    If the chrome could be saved it might be worth restoring. Otherwise it would take a truck of money to have it redone.

  7. Chris In Australia

    Too good to rat rod.

  8. Rube Goldberg

    Bruce Springsteen, “Cadillac, Cadillac, long and dark, shiny and black”,,,

  9. HydTech

    The engine is an unknown quantity. WHAT? Who knows, maybe there’s four of them in there! It’s a complete mystery! If you’re going to try your hand at being an automotive enthusiast, you may want to brush up on some things. It will improve the credibility.

    • Angel Cadillac Diva

      Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m sure there are very knowledgeable people here who will, but isn’t that an aftermarket a/c?
      I was always under the impression that the Cadillacs of the 50s had the a/c unit in the trunk, with outside intake vents just behind the back glass, with clear tubes transporting the cold air into vents above the doors in the roof.
      At least, that’s what my 56 Fleetwood had. And I’m sure I’ve seen other Cadillac’s on Barn Finds that had that configuration also, including the 58. Or was that just the Fleetwoods and limosines?
      Anyone know anything about this?

      • Mountainwoodie

        I’d agree with you. Looks like an add on……btw, love the a/c clear vent tubes on the package shelf of the factory air.

  10. local_sheriff

    This Caddy isn’t in a worse condition other than that it can be used as is for a few years more. Fix its mechanicals and enjoy it a couple years as is while you save up the $ to restore it.
    I’m not the biggest fan of Caddys in general but I’ve always liked the 58. Probably because its face and greenhouse reminds me of two other great 1958 cars; Chevy and Pontiac

  11. Todd

    Really? Turn it into a Rat Rod? The only reason guys turn perfectly fine cars into Rat Rods is because they don’t have the talent to do it right, which is why a lot of guys I know refer to them as R. A. T. Rods – Ridiculously Amateur Talent Rods.

  12. ccrvtt

    Grandpa was a Cadillac man. He had a gray 4-door in 1950, a two-tone dark green over light green in 1955, a pure white 1959, a solid gold 1965 that he wrecked and replaced with a baby blue 1966, and finally a 1972 in gold. That white ’59 stands out in my memory because he kept it so long. Here was this stodgy, arch conservative Swedish immigrant who had trouble parting with a penny let alone a dollar (except when it came to his children and grandchildren) – and he drove this outrageously flamboyant land yacht.

    Cadillacs of the ’50’s were substantial chunks of elaborate sculpture. This ’58 is gorgeous, no question about it. Too bad about the power windows. Grandpa’s ’59 was the first he had with power windows (so frivolous!), but after he got a car with them he loved playing with those 4 switches on the driver’s door. When the window motors engaged there was a purposeful hum and by God those windows were going down! That ’59 was a 4-door hardtop so the windows were framed in a thickly chromed channel of steel. You don’t see that anymore.

    People are basically conservative and these Caddys remind us of a time when substance and longevity were important. This old Cadillac is a beacon of immortality in an increasingly disposable automotive environment. This car has good bones and should be restored without regard to its economic viability.

    Some things you can’t put a price on.

  13. Ben T. Spanner

    My Aunt married a man when she was 66 (First marriage), who got the first new Cadillac of each model year in his town. Each was an off white Coupe DeVille with cloth interior, alternating between green and brown, and no ac. He died just as the 1959’s came out. The 1958 sat until 1965 when my aunt, then in her mid 70’s, asked my mother to teach her to drive. First she needed a new car. The Cadillac dealer obtained a 1965 Calais coupe, off white with green cloth and no air. My aunt was about 5 feet tall and needed two cushions on the seat. She passed the driving test, including parallel parking on the first try. When she died on 1986, the 1965 had 11,000 miles.

    • Joe Spinelli

      rollups? seriously?

  14. Bob McK Member

    I find it hard to believe that anybody would choose to push this out of storage after sitting for decades versus getting it running and driving it out. 5000 pounds on old tires does not move easily. Be prepared to rebuild or replace the engine. It was parked for a reason.

  15. Mountainwoodie

    If anyone wants me to scope this out, email me at I’m about forty miles south east of this puppy. Its an easy drive. Plus hes got a few more I’m happy to look at. Since his dog, Johnny Cash, is not included in the sale I would only go five grand.

    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      At 40 mile SE of Vista, you’ve had your own Fourth of July weekend fireworks display RE: magnitude 6.4 Thursday and 7.1 Friday with all the aftershocks in between.. everybody ok down your way, mountainwoodie?

      • Mountainwoodies

        So I live about 45 miles east of San Diego up in the Cleveland National Forest.4500 ft. We didnt feel it at all. As I read it, the shocks made it to LA somewhat. Ridgecrest, Trona and China Lake are northeast of Barstow. Las Vegas felt it though. Thanks for asking. Earthquakes, schmershquakes..:)

      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        That’s good!
        The media claimed people in Reno felt it too, BIDK..

  16. Angel Cadillac Diva

    @ Ben T. Spanner

    Great story, Mr. Ben. A little similar to mine. I’ve told this story before on Barn Finds. My love of Cadillacs started with the 1956. I was three years old and my aunt and uncle, who lived next door, had a baby blue with white top Coupe de Ville. Never actually inquired what Cadillacs they had before that, but I was mezmerized by those huge “dagmars” that the 56 had. Also very facinated with the gas filler under the left taillight. Uncle slid on the ice and a tree t-boned the passenger side. A large branch fell on the roof, crushing the car.
    Which, in my opinion, was good news, because that Caddy was replaced with a 1959 Coupe de Ville , in a medium mist blue. I guess they liked blue. After that was a 1968 Sedan de Ville in a blue/green. By this time I was old enough to drive that one between driveways when I washed it.
    Uncle passed in 2004. Auntie just passed three years ago. Because of them, I’ve had many Cadillacs. And expect to get a few more before going off to that great Fleetwood Brougham in the sky……

    • Vudutu

      Wonderful story diva, I loved living through this period of car history. mid 50 to late 60s era was a sweet spot. Caddys defined this Late 50s early 60s period.

  17. Angel Cadillac Diva

    @ Mountainwoodies

    I live in Vegas. Yes, we quite felt the 7.1! I was sitting on my sofa when it started to shake. At first, I thought my bulldog was pushing against the back of the sofa. Then I noticed my chandeliers were swaying and clinking. I kept looking around the room at everything that was swaying, just waiting for something to fall over and break. Lots of antiques that can’t be replaced.
    Also, wondered if I should go to the doorway and stand there. But, I currently have a broken leg and can’t run anywhere, so I just sat there until it was over.
    I’m from back east. This was my third earthquake. First one was in Anahiem, California back in the early 70s. Second one was in Baltimore, Maryland in 2012 and now this one.

    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Good that you’re ok too! We’ve friends in LV that told us it was a hard shaker, one person claiming they had whitecaps in the pool…

    • Bevis

      Herad Pelosi almost fell off her high horse!

  18. Angel Cadillac Diva

    @ Moutainwoodies

    I live in Vegas. Yes, we quite felt the 7.1! I was sitting on my sofa when it started to shake. At first, I thought my bulldog was pushing against the back of the sofa. Then I noticed my chandeliers were swaying and clinking. I kept looking around the room at everything that was swaying, just waiting for something to fall over and break. Lots of antiques that can’t be replaced.
    Also, wondered if I should go to the doorway and stand there. But, I currently have a broken leg and can’t run anywhere, so I just sat there until it was over.
    I’m from back east. This was my third earthquake. First one was in Anahiem, California back in the early 70s. Second one was in Baltimore, Maryland in 2012 and now this one.

    • Mountainwoodie

      Dont stand ( or sit) under the chandelier :)

      Some folks dont realize that the the most dangerous earthquake fault actually runs north and south through the Mississippi Valley and eight states. When the New Madrid Fault blows…….look out. Meanwhile, carry on!

      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        As the old pessimists saying goes-“Floods, range fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, the ex..eventually one’s gonna get the house!”

  19. John S

    Anyone who would consider this car as a (shudder) “rat rod” (barf) should be boiled in 20 w 50 and buried with a push rod through their heart!
    At the very least this beauty should be cleaned, cleaned, cleaned, repaired as needed and driven down the highway as designed! What a potentially gorgeous automobile!

  20. Marshall

    “Rolling refurbishment”. I like that!

    I vote for a righteous (frame off) restore, or at least for a semi-righteous rolling (frame on) refurb. Ratrods are for when the only alternative is the crusher.

  21. Jerr

    Its add on air conditioning

  22. TimM

    Great car
    Great price
    I’d have to slam it on the ground though!!!

  23. Angel Cadillac Diva

    @ TimM


  24. Ward William

    Way too original to rat rod. Rat rodding should be reserved for cars that are no longer viable as original restos. In another 30 years people will be crying when they find old rat rods in sheds that can no longer be restored to original.

  25. Ken Carney

    Upgrade the brakes, the fuel delivery system, the A/C, then drive and enjoy your work in progress! Rat rod?!!! Oh
    hell no!!!! I get pissed off just thinking
    about it. Don’t show me this when I’m
    getting my BP checked, would explode the machine for sure. Time to take a
    nitro pill and relax after saying what I
    needed to say.

  26. SMS

    In all seriousness, has anyone seen a “Ratrod” that they liked? I don’t think I ever have.


    To restomod or ratrod this car or anything worth more than a plug nickel boiling in 20w50 would be a waste of good motor oil.
    This is such a beautiful car by design and this one doesn’t require much to return to factory beauty. Not every car should be an investment vs. restoration cost analysis we used to repair, rebuild, repaint our cars cause we wanted them to look and run good and be relatively safe not because we were thinking 5-10 years from now this car will be worth only x amount of dollars. In 1978 I paid $ 1500 for the SCRAMBLER over the next 2 yrs. I put another $1200 or more in it and when I sold it I only got $850 for it. Needless to say I took a beating but at the time it was a non-running used car. Even the person that bought it only got $1000 after getting it running.
    My point is we used to value our cars only as what they meant to us at the time not as a future investment.

  28. James R.

    This car is not a Coupe deVille, folks. It is a basic, entry level 62 Series coupe. No AC, no power windows, no power seats, no leather interior. The armrests on the doors are a simple bolt-on, instead of the fancier ones on the deVille, the seat covers are plainer design and have plainer cloth. The deVille has leather and cloth, and the 62 Series has vinyl and cloth. On the outside, the deVille has an additional stainless trim on the quarterpanel. This model was intended to compete with Buick, to take away their customers.

  29. Dovi65

    Rat rod?? WHY?? Yes, this old girl will need a bit of TLC to get her feeling better, and turning heads at the local Show n Shine, but NO to the rat rod approach.

  30. Ward William

    I am happy say that after reading all the posts here, Rat Rod is having it’s a$$ handed to it. LOL

  31. bone

    ” Door trims” again ????

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