1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
Cadillac is one of the oldest motor vehicle manufacturers in the world. When Henry Ford had a dispute with his investors in March 1902, he, together with several of his key partners left the Henry Ford Company. Two of Ford’s financial backers William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen approached Henry M Leland of the Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company to assess the value of the remaining assets and prepare the company for liquidation. Leland, however, convinced them to continue the company and on 22nd August 1902 the Cadillac Automobile Company was founded. The company was named after the French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, who had founded the city of Detroit back in 1701.
The first Cadillacs, the Runabout and the Tonneau were built in late 1902 and shown to the public at the New York Auto Show in January 1903. Their cars received rave reviews and even back then Cadillac’s differentiator was ‘quality’, which is how the brand has been recognised ever since. In 1909 Cadillac was acquired by General Motors and has always been the flagship in the GM stable of car manufacturers.
Prior to World War II Cadillac was a market leader of mass-produced luxury cars. In the 1930s, Cadillac added cars with V12 and V16 engines to their range, many of which were fitted with custom coach-built bodies. Cadillacs of this era were often referred to as American Rolls-Royces.
The 1950’s and 1960’s were ‘good times’ for the American automobile industry. The United States became the world’s largest manufacturer of automobiles and ‘the car’ had a significant influence on American culture. Fast food, rock ‘n’ roll, American diners, drive-in movies and of course cars were ‘very cool’.
One of Cadillac’s most popular models was the Series 62, built from 1940 through until 1964. The first generation Series 62 was built between 1940 and 1941, the second generation between 1942 and 1947, the third generation between 1948 and 1953, the fourth generation between 1954 and 1956, the fifth generation between 1957 and 1958, the sixth generation between 1959 and 1960 and the final, seventh generation between 1961 and 1964.
In 1949 the newly launched automotive magazine Motor Trend choose the Cadillac Series 62 as their first ever Car of the Year.
The Series 62 built from 1950 to 1953 is considered by many to be Cadillac‘s post-war pinnacle of excellence.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible.
The original build record on file confirms the car is style number 53-6267X which is a 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible. It was invoiced on the 30th April 1953 and sold through the authorised Cadillac distributor in St Louis, Missouri, USA. The sale price is noted as US $3,564.39. The colour code is noted as “1” = black and the trim code “548” where “5” = tan (soft top) & “48” = red leather. Some of the option codes are difficult to read, however, it has “S” = power steering, “D” = chrome wheel discs and “Y” = Vanity mirror.
The body name plate is present on this car and everything matches with the build record sheet. The car has had an engine change at some stage in its life, which is apparently quite common for these cars. The engine in the car is a period correct engine for a 1953 Cadillac.
Little is known about this car’s early history. The current owner acquired the car in Michigan, USA back in 2009 and subsequently imported it into Australia. There is a Michigan title on file in the name of the previous owner. The Australian Import Approval is dated 12th January 2010.
The current owner had a vision to restore a 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible to the highest possible standard. He was fussy and wanted a black car with a red interior and a car that had to be complete and in good condition. There is correspondence on file between the current and previous owner discussing the car which confirms that it was purchased as a ‘mechanically sound, nice driver’. There are photos on file showing the condition of the car as purchased and others showing some of the work completed by the previous owner.
The car he found ticked all those boxes and soon after arriving into Australia it was sent to restoration specialist Justin Hills of Hills & Co Customs in Taree, NSW. The car was converted to right hand drive and restored to the highest possible standard. Once the body was complete, the car was sent to Annvid Auto Upholsterers in Capalaba (Brisbane) for a complete retrim and a new soft top. The engine was completely rebuilt by JB Automotive in Ayr, north Queensland. The final job was to fit a new stainless steel exhaust system to the car. The restoration was completed by the end of 2011 and the car was registered in QLD.
This was a no expense spared restoration and there are receipts on file for almost $350,000.
This 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible has been hardly used since it was restored. It has travelled less than 500 miles in the last 10 years. As a result the car today presents like a freshly restored car.
The paint work is exceptional and a credit to Justin Hills and his team of master craftsmen. Black is a difficult colour at the best of time, however, this is an enormous car and the paintwork remains vibrant with a very high gloss finish. You have to look really hard to find any imperfections. The same is true for the chrome work which is a real feature on this car. The rest of the exterior trim, the wheels and the glass are also in excellent condition. The soft top remains like new and looks to have never been used.
Not surprisingly, the engine bay and the boot are also immaculate.
You open the massive door and slide behind the steering wheel and immediately you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Everything looks, feels and smells exactly the way it would have done when this car left the factory in 1953, and perhaps better!
The interior of this car is quite simply stunning! The red leather upholstery, the carpets, the instruments and controls are all like new. Even the painted dashboard looks like new. There are no scratches or discolouration due to the sunlight and the paint presents like it does on the rest of the car – it is immaculate. The steering wheel itself is a work of art! It presents beautifully in red and white and the Cadillac logo being the feature. The instrument cluster is simple, yet functional. Everything you need is right in front of you. As you would expect from a car like this, there is a lot of chrome inside the car as well. Most of the switches are chrome and they create a prefect contrast with the red interior.
Incredibly, for a car built in 1953 everything is electric, or more precisely operated by Cadillac’s complex Hydro-Lectric system. The windows, the soft top and even the seats are electric and they are all in perfect working order.
After having admired the interior for a while it’s time to take the car out for a drive. The car is fitted with an immobiliser and after deactivating it you pump the accelerator two or three times, turn the key and the 331 cubic inch V8 engine ‘quietly’ comes to life and almost immediately settles into a smooth idle. This is exactly what you would expect from a car like this. This car is fitted with a Hydramatic transmission, which in the 1940’s and 1950’s was the best automatic transmission available. In 1952 Rolls-Royce even acquired a license to produce them for their Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles. After getting comfortable it is time to hit the road. You gently move the gear lever on the column to DR for Drive, gently touch the accelerator and the car will just glide forward. Out on the road this car is just so nice to drive. Make no mistake this is a big and heavy car, yet the ride is incredibly smooth. After a few miles you are comfortable behind the wheel and whilst there is no doubt you are driving a car from days gone by, the sheer size of the car disappears. The automatic transmission is incredibly smooth and the engine has sufficient power to take the c2,300 kg car quickly to an acceptable cruising speed. We love the spot lights which are a fabulous finishing touch to the car.
One feature on this car we haven’t mentioned is the radio. This has been discretely upgraded and there is an iPod hidden in the glove box with about 2000 period songs for your listening pleasure. Select the song to suite your mood and you will time warp back to Hollywood in 1953!
The car has an owner’s manual, shop manual, a lever arch file of Cadillac information, an original sales brochure and an extensive file of receipts from the restoration.
The car has hardly been used since it was restored and the owner has decided it is now time for someone else to enjoy this beautiful car.
Today the odometer reads 81,008 miles.
If you are looking for a ‘nice’ Cadillac Series 62 then this is not the car for you. If you are looking for ‘one of the very best’ 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertibles money can buy then please enquire.
- Desirable third generation Cadillac Series 62 convertible.
- Restored to an incredibly high standard in its original colour scheme.
- Converted to right hand drive, making it a more usable classic on Australian roads.
- Just a STUNNING motor car!
- Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
- 81,008 miles