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Sanded For No Reason: 1959 Cadillac Sedan Deville

What way can you make an American automotive icon bigger than its reputation and large fins? Add a couple more doors into the mix! This Sedan Deville is original, and was likely not too bad of a survivor, until the previous owner took it upon himself to sand this Caddy. As to why it was sanded, I can only speculate, but I would guess it was for paint prep for this massive sedan. With a spotless interior, and in running condition, this heavy weight is currently bid up to $12,000. Find it here on ebay out of Jamul, California.

Beneath the massive hood resides the 390 cubic inch V8 engine. With a claimed 75,000 miles, this V8 does run, although suffering a miss on one cylinder that may be an issue. The engines exhaust “blows a little” which I assume means the engine smokes, and may consume some oil. The engine and bay appear quite stock and original. There is some minor surface rust on the brake master, booster, and on the engine itself. The engine bay, and the inner fender sections are free of rust, needing a cleaning. There appears to be, or have been, some rust in the cooling system from looking at the radiator cap and overflow tube.

So far the appearance of this Cadillac may have you scratching your head over the claimed 75,000 miles. But looking at the interior and you would think that this Cadillac has only covered 7,500 miles. Inside of this immense icon, is a clean and magnificent interior. With only a few creases, and some minor wear to the cording on the seat, this interior could be maintained, and reflects what a great restoration candidate this Cadillac could be.

With a goofy story of the previous owner randomly sanding the car, then leaving the car outside, it is easy to  wonder what this Sedan looked like before being touched in such a way. Clean and straight, this Caddy is waiting to shine once more. Aside from the superficial surface rust, the only rust of consequence is the rust forming in the lower corners of the doors. The chrome trim items are in nice shape, with some mention of the rear chrome needing some attention. Looking through the glass reveals the lovely factory tinted windows to be in good shape. This Caddy would benefit greatly from a paint job, and a little engine work. Would you revive this massive American icon?



  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Nice ride, funny, I had never noticed the lights in the bumper before. Leave it to Cadillac.

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  2. Anthony

    Nice oportunity for someone who can do the body work and get it painted

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    paint it black

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    • john C

      …humming a few bars….

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    • Greg NJ 2 SC

      I see a caddy and I want to paint it black
      No patina anymore I want it to turn black

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      • Mark S

        I hate to say it not my favorite colour but it needs be a pale pink with a white top. Know I’m going to go wash my mouth out with soap.

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  4. Ed P

    It is a shame he left this out in the rain. Maybe a sudden medical problem? These cars were magnificent in their day. With such a nice interior and very little problem rust, this should be restored.

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  5. DRV

    There is a fortune in chrome looking new…

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  6. grant

    The chrome looks fantastic. What a great car. Finish up the paint work and clean the rest up. Get it running right and love like the other half did in 1959.

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  7. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I think if this were a 2-door, and the ask was maybe half of that 12K, then it would have already be sold.

    But I can imagine that freshening up the mechanicals to be roadworthy would cost at least 5K if you did the work yourself, and even a cheap paint job would cost 5K as well. And maybe a nicer example could be had for less than 22,000, without all the effort?

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    • Mark S

      Rex this maybe a four door but it is also a hard top with the thin C pillar and rap around glass on the back. You’d be hard pressed to find this exact caddy with this little work to be done. Remember these were single stage gloss paint not base/clear which is Cheeper to apply. As for the engine drop in a bottle of Lucas engine oil stabilizer and the smoke will disappear. I suspect that the miss is from a fowled spark plug. Replace all of them and with the Lucas in the oil the fowling will stop too. Lucas is an amazing product it will keep old engines alive for years. I had a Saturn sport coupe that went threw 1 litre pre thousand kilometres with the Lucas in the engine it jumped to 1 litre per 5 thousand kilometres which was my oil change duration. I drove that Saturn for five years like that until it got tagged on the left rear corner, I suspect it would have gone much longer had it not have gotten hit. If you did your own body work and even paint this caddy could be rolling for under $5k worth of work. JMHO.

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      • Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

        Sure, the car runs, but that’s the tip of the iceberg on an old huge car like this. But then you’d be replacing every hose, wires, cap, rotor, fluid, etc. Then the carb would need rebuilt, the tank flushed, new fuel pump probably. Brke refurbishment would be mandatory…wheel cylinders, maybe master cylinder, brake shoes. The radiator will likely be sludged up, and the water pump will go as soon as you start driving the car, and so on and so on.

        I’ve revived cars like this and even if you do the work yourself, I can see 3-5K in parts. I’d take this one on if I could at this time, I’ve always wanted one of these big Caddies.

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      • Mark S

        I just went though all that on a dodge I’m not to paint yet but I am done with the mechanical stuff and about half done the finish body work all the metal work is done. I got lucky and bought the car off of my wife’s aunt for $400.00 and To date I have yet to spend $3500.00 on it I’m projecting a total of $5000.00 at completion. And that is painted too. Are things going to fail? of course they are it’s an old car. But at that point it’s not restoration cost it’s maintenance costs. Just like my daily driver. If your doing all of your own work and you set yourself up on an annual budget I just can’t see where you guys are throwing the money. Maybe you don’t know how to scrounge or improvise. The point I’m making is for example on this car do you need an engine right away probably not you just need to no what needs fixing on this one. I guess it all boils down to expectations. Do you want a trailer queen or a driver, do want to own it for a long time because it’s your dream car or are you looking for a quick profit. Are you a Hobbiest or a speculator, do you have two left hands and need someone else to do your work or can you accomplish this on your own. Any car can mean different things to different people but I find that this site tends to stear toward the speculator looking to turn a fast buck, and that’s ok because that is part of what goes on in this hobby. Best regards Rex.

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  8. Joeinthousandoaks

    Love the flat top Caddies

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    • Marshall

      Me too! In 1984, I owned a 1960 flattop, same color, but no false patina. At 24 years old (at the time), it didn’t look bad, but it ran poorly. The transmission started grinding in reverse. Shortly after that I sold it to a collector.

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  9. The One

    Our family had a pink one in the 60s. common problems exhaust Manifolds crack, tranny slips between second and third,.other than that quite the land yacht.$500 Earl Schibe paint job and your on the road!
    Read more at http://barnfinds.com/sanded-for-no-reason-1959-cadillac-sedan-deville/#3MIM5SCuM7oSvKR8.99

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  10. The One

    Our family had a pink one in the 60s. common problems exhaust Manifolds crack, tranny slips between second and third,.other than that quite the land yacht. $500 Earl Schibe paint job and your on the road!

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  11. Rustytech Member

    Is Earl Schibe still around? Haven’t seen one in 30 years. Nice cruiser if you can do most of the work in house. Price is a little high though. I’ve said before this big 50’s cars were too big for my garage, this one might be too big for my street!

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    • Ed P

      I think Maaco took Earl’s place.

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    • Al

      I had a 1963 Buick Special painted green by Earl for $25 back in 1971.

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  12. Joe

    It’s amazing just how much two doors can change the look of an entire car. 59/60 Cadillacs are so graceful and proportionate as a coupe, EVERY line and curve fits and blends together. Art on wheels, and I’ve always wanted one.. Yet you take the same car, add two doors, and nothing seems to work. Ride height, length, glasswork, even the fins don’t quite look right together. Totally disproportionate, and a land barge in a bad kind of a way.

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    • GearHead Engineer

      Joe, this is the flat top body style. It does look very different than the two door.

      The more common six window four door has the arced roofline more like the two door. I prefer the six window over this one, although I think the flat top is more scarce. Came REALLY close to buying one many years ago, but logic prevailed over emotion. Someday I will pick one up.

      – John

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  13. smittydog

    A real joy loading and unloading on open or enclosed car hauler! I’m sweating just thinking about crawling in and out of window with belt and shoes off!

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  14. Ck

    I like it if ya could get the price down around 7K .Then resand it and rattlecan it YOURSELF in your garage .What would you have to lose?At least there would be paint on it and you could drive it around .Then in time you could give it a proper paint job.

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  15. charlie Member

    And I like the flat tops GM made in ’59-’60, but I recollect it being reported that they were not much better than a convertible if you rolled one over. (Now I have owned 3 convertibles and still have one, and I ride a horse without a helmet, so there are risks worth taking.)

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    • Chebby

      Your horse should wear his helmet, shame on you Charlie!!

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  16. G 1

    Looks longer then it is at 225″. My 78 Mark V is 230.3″

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  17. The One

    When I was 15 1969 my friend and I watched a couple drunks in tuxedos after a wedding flip a fiat convertible . They were making repeated passes putting the car into a 4 wheel drift well, the last pass was too slow, the tires hooked up and over they went, no seat belts, no roll bar, the passenger was ejected, me and my friend were right there! Saw the whole thing. He landed smack on the top of his head. I remember the big hole with blood gushing out. He didn’t make it.

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    • grant

      When I was 15 in 1990, I saw archive footage of evel knievel jump over the snake river canyon. This has about as much to do with the subject at hand as your comment does.

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    • MH

      I think “The One” was the one who landed on his head.

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  18. Westexan

    I could use this as a limo.

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  19. Pete W.

    With a decent headwind you could land a Piper Cub on the roof.

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  20. Donek

    That rear window is remarkable.

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  21. Chebby

    Being a white car, I think you could get away with the “$50 Rustoleum paint job”.


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  22. Pete in PA

    Back in the late 70s/early 80s I worked in a salvage yard in SE PA. One day the yard owner hauled in a 1963 Valiant convertible. The body was rock solid and the interior was pristine but all the trim was removed and the body was sanded down to metal in places. Which naturally turned to rust…
    Turns out the car was owned by an old lady who barely drove it (it had something like 20k miles on the clock) and when she stopped driving she gave it to her grandson. Now he was *much* too manly to drive a powder blue Valiant so he took a prybar and popped off all the trim bits (destroying them) and then he began sanding it to prepare it for a more appropriate color.
    The project stalled for some reason (stupidity?) and the car was left outside for years until someone got tired of looking at it and called us to haul it away.
    The styling of that year Valiant never did much for me but that car deserved a better fate. Saw multiple sad cases like that in the business…

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