The automobile featured in this article is a beautifully restored 1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille Series 62. An elegantly designed vehicle with relatively small tailfins, especially compared to the types of tailfins Cadillac would come out with during the last few years of the decade.The Series 62 was offered in a variety of two and four door styles that included sedans, coupes, and convertibles.
New for 1954
For 1954, Cadillac touted it's design as being as distinguished as the Cadillac name itself.
A more contoured front bumper along with a new grille and a new lowered hood were the first thing a Cadillac buyer might notice.
Also, the introduction of a new "V" and crest. The car's fenders had straighter lines both front and back and the tailfins go upward more sharply. Add to this new rounded exhaust ports and a two inch overhang across the windshield which is visor like and helps with sun glare and snow and ice accumulation in that upper portion.
The 54 models also had larger parking and turn signal lights plus new rectangular design of the chrome-framed vent wings. In conjunction with the vertical pillar posts this addition provides exceptionally strong roof support. An Eldorado type wrap around windshield was seen on all models.
The 1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille came with a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission as standard equipment as well as power steering. Air conditioning, power brakes, fog lamps, radio and electrically operated front seats were among options at an extra cost.
Henry Ford, Cadillac and General Motors
The Cadillac brand came out of dispute between Henry Ford and his investors in 1902. A breakup ensued and the investors were essentially left with the hard assets of the factory. The investors felt they had little choice than to try to sell what assets remained of the now closed plant when a man named Henry Leland, a manufacturer in Detroit entered the picture.
Henry Leland was producing engines for Oldsmobile at the time and was more interested in reopening the factory than keeping it closed. Leland, who just happened to have invented a new engine, convinced the old Ford investors that his new engine was stronger than that of Olds and he could even build them at a lower cost. The auto factory remained open and the new automobile to be produced would be named the Cadillac. The Cadillac name for this new car was the namesake of the explorer and founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.
General Motors, which was acquiring nameplates would purchase Cadillac in 1909. As they say, the rest is history. Cadillac would continue on and become the luxury automobile and SUV division of General Motors Corporation.
Cadillac had always proclaimed that their goal was to make their name "the standard for the world". In a big way they did accomplish this. To be sure, Cadillac had it's competitors along the way and still does. There was Lincoln, Imperial and a host of others during the 20's and 30's (think Auburn, Pierce-Arrow, Cord) but Cadillac always kept their reputation intact as a quality, stylish, well engineered and luxurious automobile. Even at their relatively high prices,
The Cadillac Crest
It's interesting to note that Cadillac had forty four revisions to it's crest during the past century. Of historic importance is the fact that the first emblem was the family crest of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. This would make the emblem actually older than Detroit itself.
1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille Specifications
The 54 Cadillac Coupe deVille came with a 331 cubic inch V-8 delivering 230 HP.
Transmission was an automatic four speed.
Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.
Front suspension were independent coil springs with a longitudinal leaf spring in the rear.
The overall outside length was 223.4 inches, height 61.0 inches, width 79.8 inches with a wheelbase of 129.0 inches. Estimated curb weight was 4,520 lbs.
Total Cadillac Series 62 production for 1954 was 58,024 units which was down about 12,000 from the previous year.
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Reference material for this article and some good reads include...The Cadillac Story: The Post War Years by Thomas Bonsall.....Cadillac: A Century of Excellence by authors Robert Leicester Wagner...Cadillac: The Tailfin Years by Robert J. Headrick Jr.
As we have said several times, most 1950's American cars are popular collector cars. Cadillac had some very creative designs during the decade and models from each year of the 50's have a story to tell. Look at any of the models and you just knew it was a Cadillac.
Top 1954 Cadillac models include the Eldorado which depending on condition and restoration factors can be near and well into six figure valuations. The 1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille, again based on condition and restoration details, can run from $30,000, $45,000 on up.
(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)