When you think of classic Cadillac convertibles, what do you picture? What makes a Cadillac a classic? Which of the classics makes the best convertibles?
Defining classic Cadillacs
The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) defines a classic car as a "fine or unusual (car) built between and including the years 1925 to 1948." The official list includes all 12s and 16s; all V-63 from 1923; all Cadillacs built from 1925 to1935; all 63, 65, 67, 70, 72, 75, 80, 85 and 90 Series from 1936 to1948; 60 Specials built from 1938 to 1947; and 62 Series from 1940 to 1947.
The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), however, considers classic vehicles as specific models manufactured between 1925 and 1942. The only Cadillac listed as a classic in its judges' handbook is the Marmon. The Cadillac Mark II, Model 75, Eldorado 1953-1960, Saoutchik Body Series 62 (1948), Lincoln, Pininfarina Body Allante (1954), Lehmann and Peterson are all listed as 'Prestige' cars for show purposes.
In layman's terms, "classic American cars" tends to mean those built between about 1945 and 1960. The AACA categorizes these as factory, high-performance vehicles, a category that includes performance-oriented domestic vehicles, from their beginnings in the 1950s through their heyday of the late 1960s/early '70s and on. This adds the Fleetwood Brougham, Coupe, Coupe DeVille and El Camino to list of classic Cadillacs.
Perhaps not surprisingly, all of the models listed by the CCCA, with the possible exception of the Series 72 Fleetwood Limousine, were available in convertible models with soft tops. The AACA's favorite, the Marmon 16, is arguably the best of the early convertible models, though most people these days would consider this group vintage rather than classic.
Of the AACA's Prestige models, the 1950s Mark II, Eldorado, Series 62 and Peterson probably most closely resemble the 'classic Caddie convertible' image, all sleek lines and fins, whereas the Lincoln, Allante and Lehmann look better with the hood on.
But for many, the true classic Cadillac convertible, besides the Series 62, is the Coupe DeVille. Whether it's the 1940s models with sweeping curves or the later models with their straight lines, many of these cars still need a few years on them to be accepted as true classics by true aficionados. Because let's face it, "factory high-performance Cadillac convertible," just doesn't have the same ring to it.