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Three Generations of Preservation: 1965 Cadillac Coupe deVille

As kids, we tend to collect dinosaur toys.  Partially because kids love things that are big, powerful, totally out of the ordinary, and no longer with us.  They are the stuff dreams are made of (and movies too).  As we get older, wiser, and more affluent, we tend to find different types of dinosaurs to bring into our worlds.  If you follow Barn Finds, you know that many of the writers and readers love the gargantuan luxury cars from back in the day.  A car like this 1965 Cadillac Coupe deVille for sale both on eBay and Barn Finds Classifieds in Lakewood, California is a perfect example of these objects of our affection.  Long, powerful, and gorgeous, this Cadillac was kept by a family for three generations and is now available to anyone who would like a perfect representation of a vehicle type that is as extinct as those giant lizards of days gone by.  With a current bid of $10,100 is this California Cadillac auction a chance to secure a beautiful relic from a fabulous time?  Thanks to T.J. for the help in finding this beautiful coupe!

If you are looking for the perfect automotive dinosaur, this may be the one.  According to the seller, this 1965 Cadillac Coupe deVille was one family’s precious heirloom for three generations before it found a new home.  It was purchased by the seller from a lady with the first name of Karen.  It was her grandfather who drove this car off the new car lot in 1965 somewhere in California.  Her grandfather paid for the car in cash and proceeded to garage and pamper the car until he passed in 1984.  The car was then passed to his son, who followed in his father’s footsteps with the car until his passing in 2004.  From there the car was transferred to Karen’s mother.  In 2021, Karen’s mother had passed, and caretaker duties passed to her.  During the time from 2004 through 2022, registration records suggest that the car was not registered and thus saw little use.

Over that long history, the claims that this car has been pampered are backed up by the condition seen in the photographs and the written description.  The seller tells us that this car has never been in any accidents or had any issues with rust.  While a majority of the paint is the original Color Cape Ivory it left the factory with, there are a few areas that have been spotted in over the years.  It does have minor chips, dings, and other issues that all original cars accumulate over the years.  There is also an area where the driver’s side rear fender meets the bumper and taillight surround that is a bit crunched.  Other than that, the car is very presentable.  It even wears its original black and yellow California plates.

Perusing the pictures, one can see that the seller’s claims of the car’s condition are accurate.  If there were accident damage, it would show in the long expanses of metal present in this Cadillac.  The paint still shines, and the body displays very little in the way of waves or ripples.  The chrome bumpers and trim are also free from the dents and chips that accumulate on a car so large.  Big Cadillacs tend to fill parking spots and other drivers aren’t as respectful as they need to be when opening their doors when parked next to you.  We won’t even get into the “back until you bump” mentality that is ever present in a large percentage of society.  This must have been one of those cars that got parked out at the far end of the parking lot.

Inside we see one of the few areas that exhibit wear.  The driver’s side of the leather-clad front seat has the unmistakable wear of use.  Perhaps a talented upholsterer could patch in new black leather or use a leather dye to make this damage less evident.  Once you get past the front seat, we see the usual Cadillac interior for the time.  Luxurious and filled with such features as air conditioning, power windows, and a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, this Cadillac is surely a pleasure to drive.  We are assured that all of these gadgets are in working order, which prospective buyers should factor in when weighing the purchase cost.

This Cadillac left the factory with the company’s excellent 429 cubic inch V-8 under the hood backed by a three-speed TH-400 automatic.  Having accumulated 102,000 miles over its lifetime, the engine is said to have no issues and the transmission shifts fine.  There is blow-by evident when the hood is raised, and that will be something that the new owner will have to track down and remedy.  The car has been given a recent tune-up and service records, which will go with the car, indicating that it was well cared for over its lifetime.

If you are serious about adding a vintage Cadillac to your garage, this car deserves a serious look.  Purchasing an unrestored Cadillac of this vintage, especially one from a dry climate, is almost always advantageous.  Cadillacs were made with some of the finest materials of their day, but those materials are expensive to replace when damaged by wear, sun, moisture, and all of the other negatives that a car is exposed to daily.  Rust is also a very real issue for cars of this era.  Bodywork, paint, upholstery, and chrome plating have become much more expensive over the years.  Completely restoring an identical year and model Cadillac as this one would be a huge undertaking both timewise and financially.  That is without considering any mechanical needs.  Starting with a car not in need of a restoration, even if the entry cost is higher, is a much better choice.
In all, this is a solid car with a verifiable and altogether positive history.  While we would expect the bidding to push the price up a lot more, this still may end up being a bargain.  Like dinosaurs, these relics of the past aren’t going to be coming back soon.  If you want one, then it may be time to make a decision.


  1. Chris Cornetto

    She’s not a high optioned unit but a d@#%& beautiful example. You cannot go wrong here. No vinyl top is a big plus. Leather has that I’ve lived life and have enjoyed it and love short rides, sunny weather and folks that love me.

    Like 7
  2. RICK W

    As a collector of collections, I frequently find myself trying to find something with nostalgic significance that has been lost. I regret selling several cars (especially 89 Fleetwood Brougham deElegance and 89 Town Car Signature) and am often tempted to buy a duplicate. Fortunately, I realize that at this stage of life I must scale down instead of adding. That being said, this is extremely tempting. I wish that yet another generation would keep it in the family. Several years ago I saw a 1908 Buick that had been in the same family since New. I believe that 65 Calais became the entry level for Cadillac. And if memory serves me correctly, this would be the top Coupe. As for the drivers seat, it may be difficult to find a good repair. Hopefully the new owner will continue the tradition of loving care and perhaps start a second generation for this beauty!

    Like 8
  3. Gary

    Many Calais had crank windows as this was an entry-level Cad.

    Like 3
    • Andy Frobig

      This one’s a Coupe de Ville. I had a Calais 4 door; it had power windows and cruise control, but no AC or even remote trunk opening. Luckily you could take the key out of the ignition with the car running if you needed to get into the trunk. Speaking of trunks, I once drove about ten miles with a Vespa in my Caddy’s trunk. Couldn’t close it, of course. It was a surprisingly fun car to drive.

      Like 4
    • The Cadillac Kid

      This one does not have crank windows. Only the vent windows are manual unless it was a Fleetwood.

      Like 3
    • Dan N

      This is not a Calais, the quarter-panel badges clearly say “Coupe deVille”. :)

      Like 5
  4. misterlou Member

    FYI this and the Cybertruck are the same length. Choose wisely.

    Like 5
  5. The Cadillac Kid

    1965! Now you are talking. The very first year Cadillac I bought at age 16! I am now 65 and have never bought another make car. My last Cadillac (65), before my Escalade was identical to this one except it had interior that matched the paint and mine has chrome air horns on the hood, a lighted tv antenna on the trunk as well as a crystal chandelier and wall sconces. I also had my original stereo eq. from my first Caddy, Craig Powerplay 8-track and Pioneer Supertuner. And of course, I removed the big ash trays in the front and installed a nice switch panel since no one ever smoked around me let alone in my vehicles. It was lost in a flood a few years ago along with 4 other Cadillacs and yes, I did cry and there is still a big hole inside of me that the Escalade did not fill.
    I did save my stereo eq.

    Like 2
    • Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

      @Cadillac Kid,

      With a handle like “Cadillac Kid” I thought you’d be in your 20s or 30s, not 65! Not a big deal, I’m 70, so we’re comproble.
      Your first Caddy was a ’65 at 16. Mine was a ’56 Caddy at 13. But I grew up on a farm in the country so we always started early.
      I have had other makes, Lincoln, Imperial, Buicks, Oldsmobile, MG, even a couple of Chevys. Never had a Pontiac, though.
      Pretty much stayed with GM, never cared for Ford except the Lincoln division and the Thunderbird. Not sure why I missed out on so many Mopars.
      My fiancé asked what car I want when he gets back from the middle east. I told him a 2024 Cadillac Escalade -V.
      I started with a Cadillac and I’m going out with a Cadillac.

      Like 5
      • The Cadillac Kid

        Very nice story, I like it. I did steer a Caddy for the first time at age 5 (a 1955) and drove one, alone, on the road at age 11(a 1957 pink one).
        I took my drivers test in a pink 1960. When I had my first Cadillac at 16, I parked briefly in front of a big bank in Hbg Pa where I lived. I asked the Afro American bank door man if I could park my car there for a few minutes. He asked which car was mine and I showed him. He replied
        “That’s not a car, that’s a Cadillac kid”, and the name stuck.

        Like 2
      • Mark Switzer

        What a beautifully preserved and cared for Cadillac !! It looks like it was always garaged rather than sitting out in the elements . Cadillacs were expensive to buy even in 1965 ! This one should get some high bids as the condition alone is ” Fabulous .” Bid high, and always remember the old sales slogan ; ” You can’t get a Cadillac for the price of a Chevrolet !” Happy Motoring

        Like 2
  6. Dan N

    Too bad Karen is not an old-car nut, otherwise she would have kept this beauty and watch its value appreciate. This presents very well, I like the gently-broken-in leather interior, and I like the fact that this doesn’t have a vinyl roof. And it’s an original CA black plate car to boot! Bidding is at $10100 and I’m mad that my garage won’t be long enough for this car.

    Like 3
  7. Pat P.

    A Beauty! What is “blow-by?”

    Like 1
    • Ashtray

      @Pat P.
      The easiest way to answer that is, the motor is probably worn out?
      The rings could be broken etc, causing oil and smoke to blow back out the oil fill cap.
      Rebuild it!
      While you’re rebuilding the engine, repaint it so the paint matches like it should.
      Just my oponion!

      Like 4
      • Ashtray

        It’s pretty obvious to me that the same person that did the paint work, also did the plug wires.
        Sometimes it takes more than a neverending, mushy ad to sell something to me.
        Good luck to the new owner, you will need it.
        Just my final thoughts!

        Like 2
  8. roy marson


    This ’65 Calais is a twin to one my Dad bought in Santa Barbara.

    He, over the years. climbed the GM ladder from open top “4 /90’s ” of 1920’s Chevrolets, to ’41 Olds hydramatic, to 1950 Buick Super Dyna”slip” trans, to ’58 Pontiac’s Bonneville and fianlly his 65 Calais. He could not fully close the garage door since it was so long. But it did get 13 mpg at 25 cents a gallon of gas.

    This looks like a very nice ar with a history of when GM was at the top.

    Like 3

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