When it comes to 1950’s car designs, there is hardly anything more outrageous or iconic than a 1959 Cadillac.
1959 Cadillac – Biggest Fins Ever!
Of course, there are lots of other 1950’s cars that can fit this bill – the 1957 Chevrolet comes to mind. But, when it comes to the sheer audacity of design and execution and the biggest fins ever, this Cadillac takes the cake!
The Cadillac is big – really big. At 225 inches long, it’s about the same length as a current Cadillac Escalade or Chevrolet Suburban. The car is split into approximate thirds, with the hood, passenger compartment and trunk being about equal in length. For such a big car, there’s a surprising tiny back seat!
Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
The top of the line Cadillac for 1959 was the Eldorado. Right after the Limousine, the Eldorado was the most expensive Cadillac for 1959.
The Eldorado Biarritz Convertible was Cadillac’s most expensive convertible for 1959, retailing for $7,401 (about $64,000 today) 1,320 Eldorados were made that year. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, air suspension, tri-power carburation (345 horsepower) and Hydra-matic automatic transmission. A very few options could be had – the “Autronic Eye” automatic headlamp dimmer and the E-Z Eye tinted glass. Arguably, the 1959 Eldorado Biarritz was Cadillac’s most desirable car for 1959.
Some might say that GM “panicked” when they saw the 1957 Chrysler fabulously low lines, and implemented a crash program to lower all their car lines. Since Cadillac originated the “fin wars” with the 1949 Cadillac, GM was determined to steal the lead from Chrysler with the totally re-vamped car line from Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac.
Longer, lower and wider were the design elements – and boy, did GM do it! From the “flat top” 4-door hard tops of 1959 and 1960 to the convertibles, all GM lines reflected the Cadillac design.
By 1960, Chrysler Was Declining
By 1960, the Chrysler “Suddenly It’s 1960” design had run its course, with oddly-styled downsized offerings from Dodge and Plymouth that really couldn’t compete with Cadillac. The Cadillac was still king.
Similar to the way a Lamborghini Countach from the 1970’s defined the Lamborghini brand for years, the Cadillac for 1959 was the end-all for an outlandish design from the jet-inspired 1950’s car designs.
Love it or hate it – the the Cadillac line for 1959 set design trends and luxury car comfort standards for decades to come.