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Retirement Plan: 1964 Cadillac DeVille


While browsing ebay, I happened on this sad ’64 Cadillac DeVille. The owner had done a mechanical restoration and had just retired. This was the car that he “was going to take to (his) retirement home in California”, and he was actually driving to California when he had a big tire failure. The rear tire blew out with such force that the fender skirt was blown off the car. Somehow a fire took hold and despite the help of a state trooper and two fire extinguishers the car burned and was a total loss. Find it here on eBay in Cleveland, Ohio.


The owner was compensated by the insurance company for the loss of his Cadillac, and then bought the remains back with the intention of rebuilding the car. But the damage to his retirement plans was too much and he has decided to sell the car. That’s perhaps understandable. The car looks like it will take a lot more money, parts, and work than a lot of the cars that are featured here on Barn Finds. He has a salvage title for the car.


This Caddy was rust free and was the best of the more than 20 Cadillac convertibles he looked at when he was searching for his retirement convertible. The chrome had been redone and the engine was rebuilt. The owner believes that the engine would fire right up, but before that could happen the fuel and electrical systems, and maybe more, would need quite a lot of work.


The owner suggests that this Caddy would make a wonderful basis for a resto-mod. It’s only been bid to $610 so far, so it might sell for reasonable money. What do you think should happen to this poor Caddy? Resto-mod? Part it out? Or a heroic restoration like the previous owner originally planned?


  1. MikeW

    This looks similar to what happened to a friends car. He restored his but they forgot to replace the rear soft flex brake line and it got restricted and made the brakes drag. They got hot and because there was a small seal leak it got the axle oil on fire. The dragging brake could have got the tire hot causing it to blow out too.

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  2. Clay Bryant

    I like the owner’s humor.”I think it’ll fire right up.” Back in the 70s I bought a 70 Cad convertible that had quit on a guy going down I-80 and had been towed in.A couple interested guys had looked at it but wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole as the dash in front of the driver didn’t have a ID number,it was just absolutely smooth there.The guy needed to hop a bus and get down the road so I gave him 200 bucks(it WAS a nice car)he had the title with him and all was well.Later,if you’ve been around these Caddies,the windshield slopes so much that it’s hard to get to the # but I took a coathanger,stretched it out and scraped where the vin # should have been.It was satin smooth ’til then but someone spilled what looked like coco to me on the dash and filled in the numbers and baked it over flat smooth.50 bucks had it running.First car I ever saw with a factory CB radio in it.

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  3. paul

    Sad.Maybe Neil Young needs a new electric car.

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    • Don Andreina

      Genuinely. Hope he can find something else to enjoy.

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  4. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    And what is that hopelessly twisted hunk of metal behind the Caddie?

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  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    Tragic is all I can say. Looks like a complete front end and engine bay. The body sheetmetal looks good but I’m dubious about the frame. I’d say that its parts could help bring another treasure back to life but this one is too far gone to bring back. However, I have little doubt that there is someone out there with a great deal of tenacity who would tackle a job like this and be driving the car within a couple of years. I saw that with a ’37 Ford that came out of a shed fire.

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  6. jim s

    i too think this is a parts car and at the current bid you would be close to max $ if you had to ship it any distance. i do hope it gets parted out instead of going to the crusher as a complete car. nice find. very nice writeup also.

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  7. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Wow! Now the bidding is up over $1500 and reserve not met! Guess it does have a pretty decent front grille, and then the motor… ???

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  8. Fred

    Despite the condition of the rest of the car, the engine bay still looks fine and was insulated from the heat by the firewall. It could very well “fire right up” once fuel supply and electrical were sorted. If you needed an engine, grille, front end to turn into a couch, etc., this is a gold mine.

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  9. the chucker

    The front 36″ of that car would make for some outstanding garage art!

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  10. That Guy

    My initial reaction was “parts car only.” But the more I look at the pictures, it seems the fire was mostly confined to the soft trim inside and the rubber underneath. My big concern with a fire-damaged car is that the structural integrity of the body could be compromised by the heat. This doesn’t appear to have been an intensely hot fire, though, so it’s very possible that the metallurgy is still sound. It would be a hell of a restoration project in any case. But if you’ve got a rusted-out wreck of a ’64 Caddy convertible with an intact interior, this could be the car for you.

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  11. Fred

    Yep, if the panels are truly not warped, and you were going to do a frame off restoration anyway and bead blast the body, this could well be the solution to a rusted out ‘vert.

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  12. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    SOLD for $2,670 with 9 bids!

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