What Is It?

Last week’s photo showed the front corner of a 1959 Cadillac Series 62. It is the rear of the 1959 Caddy that is most often shown, of course, because it boasted the last of the tallest fins in Motor City history. In fact, the hint we gave you was: You probably know this car; you’re just used to seeing it from a different point of view.


Chosen randomly from the correct entries was the name of Jeff Brown, of Evans, who wrote:

“This week’s photo is the immortal 1959 Cadillac. That year was the height of rear ‘findom’! Bruce Springsteen definitely saw it from a different view as he was ‘always wondering what you do there in the back of your pink Cadillac.’ ”

Here are the other readers identifying the vehicle. Unless otherwise noted, each respondent guessed the 1959 Cadillac:

AIKEN: Ann Willbrand said: “Everyone should know this one.”

Also, Raymond Richards and Bob Ennis

AUGUSTA: Ace Brown said is was “possibly the one in Clint Eastwood’s Pink Cadillac movie, which the hint refers to.”

Barbara Hendley thought it might be a 1954 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60.

Gary Engen said: “The ’59 Caddy was the epitome of the tail-fin craze, with the most recognizable tail fins of any production automobile. Today, it is a valued classic and has been seen in a number of movies over the years. The opening scenes of The Deer Hunter show the future Vietnam veterans driving around in a white 1959 Cadillac. In the movie Ghostbusters, the car used by actors Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd was a modified ‘59 Cadillac hearse.”

Norman Lewis wrote: “This week’s car marks the ending of the tail-fin era for GM. The car is a 1959 Cadillac, with the distinctive front and rear grilles. It most likely had a 325-horsepower, 390-cubic-inch engine for plenty of wheel-spinning power. At the time, I was one year from driving (legally), so cars held my interest.”

Lowell Fritsche said: “It’s pretty hard to get the model because most all of the 1959 Caddies had the same front end. But the fins were long and sharp. Cadillac really went all out on the fins.

“We had some friends who had a 1959 convertible. His wife went to take it out of the garage and did not notice that the door had not gone up. She backed up and both fins pierced the aluminum door. She got scared and left it sit. When he came home from work he was greeted with two fins in the door. Easy to see what happened.”

John Hayes said: “I think today’s car is a 1959 Cadillac 62.”

Walker Mobley Jr. said: “I think that the headlight/grille/front bumper configuration was the same across all of the model lines. Just my opinion: The 1959 Cadillac was the worst design ever, with the ’60, ’61 and ‘62 being a very pleasant change for the better. These cars were huge by today’s standards.

“A friend of mine said riding in one of these was like riding on top of a giant marshmallow. As always, keep these coming!”

Dalton Brannen said: “This vehicle represents the apogee of the fin fetish of Detroit during the 1950s and 1960s. Though I have and have had other antique automobiles, this is one of two I have lusted for. Attached is a photo of two fine examples.” (His photo showed two 1959 Caddies forming a good chunk of a city intersection.)

Victor Loftiss said: “When I was a kid, a guy down the street had a two-door ’59. Every time I passed his house, I’d think something to the effect of, ‘Wow, a piece of art, right in the driveway!’ And you’re right, he always pointed the nose in towards the house, so all you saw were those milelong fins. Thanks!”

Gale Clark thought it was the 1955 Cadillac Coupe de Ville: “We know it from Elvis owning one and then Clint Eastwood drove on as a bounty hunter in the 1989 movie Pink Cadillac, and Natalie Cole sang about a Pink Cadillac.”

Also, Tom Turner, Robin Kitchens, Carol Clemmons, Tom Wall, Jerry Delaigle, Jerry Maddox and Willie Thomas

BLYTHE: Jo Ann Holbert

CANTON, GA.: David Anderson said: “Unmistakable from almost any angle to any Cadillac fan, this car has become an iconic piece of Americana, lauded, mocked, praised, worshipped and parodied in song and film.

“Elvis, Natalie Cole, Bruce Springsteen and Aretha Franklin (just to name a few) all sang the praises of oozing down the highway in a pink Cadillac. The Fabulous Thunderbirds sang that Life is a ’59 Cadillac, and even master guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan sang of ‘Willie the wimp and his Cadillac coffin,’ though I think that one may have been from the later crushed-velour decade.

“All told, the online Cadillac database says that there may be as many as 10,000 songs with Cadillac in the title and countless album covers featuring the images of Cadillacs through the ages.

“In 1985, Kevin Costner, in what is billed as his first released starring role, appeared in Fandango, a college graduation road trip movie prominently featuring a Series 62, six-window 1959 Cadillac sedan. During the course of the movie, in a failed towing attempt by a passing train, the entire front clip of the car is ripped off. The rest of the car is apparently left intact and they continue on their road trip with a replacement front clip from an International Harvester pickup.

“Four years later, 30 years after this car’s debut, Clint Eastwood and Bernadette Peters starred in Pink Cadillac with, you guessed it, a 1959 Pink Cadillac convertible.

“I pay attention to the choice of the cars in movies, just as my wife is always looking at the period and antique furniture in the background. Almost exclusively, the 1959 Cadillac is the vehicle of choice, along with Lamborghinis and Ferraris, to exemplify excessive wealth, opulence and overindulgence, while the ’60s suicide-door Lincolns are used to show refinement, elegance and class – along with gangsters, murder and mayhem.

“I have owned my 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville now for 24 years and I still love to drive it just as much as when I first bought it – slightly musty smell and all. My oldest daughter even commented early on that she could always tell when I had just been in the car because that smell would linger on my clothing. It’s not an offensive odor or harmful moldy odor, just a distinctive odor all its own.

“One day my time with this car will come to an end and it will be time to pass it on to its next caretaker. My children hope it will be one of them, and with three classic cars in my garage and three kids, I do hope to be able to pass along one to each of them.”

EVANS: PJ Rodgers said: “It’s a ‘59 pink Caddy – the one with the fins that make it appear to be blasting off to the moon.”

Jerry Paul said: “Not sure what the model is – de Ville, 62, Eldorado.”

Wayne Wilke said: “One of the most memorable Cadillacs ever produced. While many people felt the design was over the top, 1959 sales were up 16.8 percent from 1958’s.”

Paul Perdue said: “The good old days when cars were cars and not little clown cars like Mr. Obama wants you to drive.”

Glenn Frostholm said: “The view we’re used to seeing is the huge rear fins, each with the two pointy taillight lenses. Keep the vintage cars coming.”

Bill Harding sent along links to five separate singers’ versions of songs about pink Cadillacs, and he wrote: “The 1959 Cadillacs were true luxury cars. Their 390- cubic-inch V-8s developed 325 gross horsepower, mated with four-speed Hydra-Matic transmissions. 1959 showed us just how far the tail-fin craze could go. These cars were all about show (and a little bit of go) but were definitely not sports cars. Their cushy ride came at the expense of any handling prowess.”

Larry Heath said: “This was the high-water mark for tail fins on the Big Three autos. By 1960, fins had begun to subside. The 1959 model featured two bullet taillights atop the fins, which resembled the rear fin on planes.

“Cadillac always had large engines to propel the approximately 5,000-pound body. In 1959, a 390-cubic-inch V-8 could be had in versions up to 345 horsepower. This included the three two-barrel carburetor option.

“The 1959 Cadillac is always popular at car shows thanks to the expanse of chrome, bright colors and tail fins.”

Also, John Corbin

GRANITEVILLE: Arnold J. Seaward

HEPHZIBAH: Raymond Dick said his dad owned one when he was growing up.

John Williams said the two-door hardtop version of the car weighed about 4,855 pounds, cost $7,401, was close to 19 feet long and sold 975 cars.

Leon Register said it looked like the 1960 Cadillac.

Also, Leo Bennett

KEYSVILLE, GA.: Glenn Widner said: It could be the big finned Coupe de Ville. Anyway, stuck in the ’50s or ’60s is a good place to be stuck, as far as cars go.”

LOUISVILLE, GA.: Bob Holbert said: “The car is a 1959 Cadillac, what was usually referred to as a ‘land yacht.’ It was huge with outsize tail fins, massive amounts of chrome – a real road dinosaur. It was the very essence of excess. Depicting it as pink was a cute touch, like the Mary Kay cars.”

MCBEAN: Robert Lamb said: “We had one when I was growing up as a child in Savannah. It was a four-door, off-green – not bright green – and had a white top. We also had 1956 and 1964 Cadillacs, so I kind of know the old Cadillacs. The ’60 is almost identical.”

MARTINEZ: Lloyd B. Schnuck said: “This week’s car is a 1959 Cadillac, characterized by and remembered for the large tail fins and the twin bullet taillights. Powered by a 390-cubic-inch overhead-valve V-8 with 325 horsepower and a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.”

Joe Bert said: “The ultimate collector’s dream, and pink, at that! That car had the largest fins on the fender, and on the middle of that V-formation were two taillights. The most beautiful car; I think every collector would like to have one, just investment-wise. It has appreciated in value. Aretha franklin had a song: ‘Riding on the freeway of love in my in my pink Cadillac.’ ”

Paul Griffin said the photo looked like a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air.

Cheryl Cook said: “I didn’t get the hint, but I figured out it’s a 1959 Cadillac. Thanks for the oldies.”

Also, Jim Muraski

NORTH AUGUSTA: Barry L. Calloway and Wayne Leslie

Peggy Jones said she thought it was the 1960 Cadillac.

PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson said: “Another easy one. What we have is the king of the ’50s tail fins, the 1959 Cadillac. GM was determined to out-fin Chrysler (with the Plymouth and Dodges, which had big fins) and they did it with the ‘59 Caddy. One very huge car in every aspect.

“These Caddies are now sought after as the epitome of ’50s kitsch with their massive size, sparkling trim and, especially, those overblown fins.”

TIGNALL, GA.: Gene Wilson said it might be one of Elvis’ pink Cadillac convertibles.

WADLEY, GA.: Thomas Turner

WASHINGTON, GA.: Clint Albea guessed the 1958 Cadillac Sedan de Ville.

WAYNESBORO, GA.: Terry McClennon

NO CITY LISTED: Bill Agee and Allen Land.


Do you know the year, make and specific model of this car? For instance, a complete answer might be 1951 Ford Custom Tudor, which it isn’t, of course. Get as complete as you can if you don’t know everything about the vehicle.

E-mail glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com or leave a message at (706) 823-3419.

Please tell us your name, city and phone number. If you call, spell your name so we can properly identify you. The deadline is Tuesday night, and we’ll print your name next Friday. A name will be chosen randomly and highlighted.

– Glynn Moore, staff writer



Wed, 01/17/2018 - 14:22

NAHS band director, Aiken band honored