The most beautiful car in the world.

The Cadillac 1956

Cadillac 1956
New model awaiting delivery at the Clark Street facility

56audito.JPG (14704 bytes)
The full range of 1956 models on display in the Auditorium at GM's Technical Center in Warren, MI

 

The 1956 models were, according to the copy writers that year, the most inspiring motor cars the world has ever seen. The de luxe product catalog for 1956 is in fact a desirable collector's item. The stiff,  off-white front cover is embossed with the Cadillac "V" and crest and marked 56 Cadillac in gold and black script. In my opinion, the artist's views of the cars and of its principal features are among the finest ever  published by the company.  In those days, artistic license allowed the auto manufacturers to stretch, widen and lower their cars; that would change in the late sixties when manufacturers were obliged to use photography to advertise their products. The wide-angle lens then became a popular accessory with the advertisers!

This year's increased range of models was presented in this order: the Sixty Special sedan, Sixty-Two coupe, Sixty-Two Coupe de Ville, Sixty-Two Sedan de Ville, Sixty-two sedan, Sixty-two convertible, Eldorado Biarritz convertible, Eldorado Seville coupe (new for 1956) and the Series  Seventy-Five. That is also the sequence in which I have presented the illustrations below. There were also a large fold-out and a few mailing catalogs.

The artist's drawings from the prestige catalog, below, are mixed in with color photographs published in the dealer "mailer" catalogs that year.   There is no publication date on the prestige catalog.

The styling of the 1956 models was quite similar to that of the previous year's models, with only minor detailing changes.  Principally, the grille took on a fine-mesh appearance and a fine chrome molding was added to the top surface of the rear fenders.  Gone was the Cadillac script on the front fenders; it was replaced with an elongated and gilded Cadillac crest; some models got their name in script in addition to that crest.

The distinguishing mark of the 1956 Cadillacs is without any doubt the gilded Cadillac script set diagonally across the top half of the grille, on the LH side.  In addition, the 1956 models are the only Cadillacs to have the date (Nineteen Fifty-Six) written in script on the RH side of the instrument panel.

The Cadillac Series 62 vehicles are some of the most well known vehicles that Cadillac has ever produced. Many collectors have a great respect for the Series 62 models and they do tend to stand out in the minds of many Cadillac fans. The Series 62 replaced the mid sized Series 70 in 1941 and was produced until 1964. The Series 62 has undergone several name changes including the Series 6200 and the Cadillac Calais names.

This series of vehicles has also inspired the start of many other vehicles that started out simply as trim levels and became their own models. The Series 62 vehicles are a perfect representation of how vehicles tend to change over the years, depending upon what sells and what features are available. Cadillac started out with a relatively small engine that grew and grew and provided a respectable amount of power by the end.

The First Generation Cadillac Series 62
The first generation of the Cadillac Series 62 was produced from 1941 until 1942 and was offered as a two door club coupe, a four door sedan, and a four door convertible. This generation was powered by a 346 inch L-head V8 engine that provided 135 horsepower the first year and 150 horsepower by the end of the generation.

The Second Generation Cadillac Series 62
The second generation of the Series 62 was produced from 1946 until 1947 and was offered again in three body styles, which were the two door club coupe, the four door sedan, as well as the four door convertible. This generation was on the C body platform and had a wheelbase of 129 inches long. A Monobloc 346 inch V8 engine powered the Series 62 this generation. This was one of the first vechiles to enter production after the war, which made it quite notable at the time.

The Third Generation Cadillac Series 62
The third generation of the Series 62 was seen beginning in 1948 and lasting until 1953. Cadillac again offered the vehicle in three body styles, which were the same as before. The Series 62 was still on the C-body, but had been shortened to a wheelbase of 126 inches. In 1949 power was increased with a 331 inch engine that produced 160 horsepower. This generation saw a lot more in the way of trim levels and deluxe options. Cadillac refreshed the Series 62 in 1950, making the cars closer to the ground. The Series 62 also had longer hoods and sported one piece windshields. In 1952 Cadillac boasted that the Series 62 vehicles provided 190 horsepower, which was respectable for the time.

The Fourth Generation Cadillac Series 62
The fourth generation of the Series 62 was produced from 1954 until 1958 and was offered in the three standard body styles. Cadillac still built the vehicle on the C-body platform and powered it with either a 346 inch V8 or a 365 inch V8 and was again built on the 129 inch wheelbase. Related vehicles by this time were the Cadillac Eldorado, the Coupe de Ville, and the Sedan de Ville. The engine for this generation provided consumers with a respectable 230 horsepower, with an optional dual four barrel carb setup that would provide 270 horsepower. In 1956 the engine was upgraded to a 365 inch that provided the vehicle with 285 or 305 horsepower. By 1957 the horsepower rating was up to 325 and the car was much lower and sporting shark fins in the rear. By 1958, the Deville had become its own series.

The Fifth Generation Cadillac Series 62
The fifth generation of the Series 62 was produced from 1959 until 1964. This is the generation when there was a name change to the Series 6200. Despite the name change, the same three body styles were offered and the car was still based on the C-body platform, though the wheelbase had been stretched to 130 inches. This generation had larger tail fins than before as well as dual bullet tail lights that set it apart from other vehicles. The DeVilles were now known as the Series 6300 and both the 6200 and 6300 series vehicles were powered by a 390 inch engine that had an output of 325 horsepower.


The Lockheed P-38 served as an example