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karmakvisser

question on a 1959 Biarritz Convertible

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I had the pleasure of meeting a very interesting fellow, Ray Koenig, at this year's Barrett-Jackson auction. I was onsite for the Velocity Channel to do still photography and conduct interviews for the Velocity blog. Ray was a GM designer and started back in 1956 with Harvey Earl. I ended up doing a series of interviews with him discussing the evolution of the tail fin. We started with the distinctive rear end of a 57 Desota.

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Evidently someone had spotted a version of this tail fin in the Desota parking lot in 54 which prompted the discussion at the GM studios "Well, what are we going to do?" Organically, the 57 Caddy had already started to sprout a tail fin of less stature but still prominent.

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And then of course, there was the grandaddy of them all, the 59

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Needless to say, I had a grand time learning from someone who was in the bull pit, knowing all the characters, speak of the design process of where all this incredible and vivacious design came from. Ray went on to record an interview with one of our Velocity personalities concerning the 59 Cadillac. Then someone piped into the conversation that the parade boot as scene on the 59 Biarritz convertible was not an option for that year. He questioned the validity of the restoration at that point.

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Everything that I could find that the Biarritz Cadillac of 59 only had 4 options: Just four options were available for the Eldorado – air conditioning, cruise control, the Autronic-Eye automatic headlight dimmer and E-Z Eye glass, along with a no-cost bucket seat option for the Biarritz. Both the Biarritz convertible and the Seville hardtops carried a lofty base price of $7,401 when new, with only 1,320 examples of the Biarritz produced.

All the photos I could dig up all indicated that the Biarritz Caddies had body colored parade boots. So it must have been a standard item on that version of the Series 62. Does anyone have information as to the validity of that statement? I emailed Mark Lizewskie earlier and he suggested posting the question here. Ray has found the contact info for the designer of the 58 and 59 Cadillacs but we are unsure if he'll get a responce.

I look forward to any information we can glean from the group.

warm regards

Ken Visser

Velocity Blogger

photographer of all the images included in this post. All taken at the 2015 Barrett-Jackson auction.

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While the '59 Cadillac Salesman's Data Book does not specifically mention the hard parade boot, it is shown in the illustration of the Biarritz interior.

http://oldcarbrochures.org/NA/Cadillac/1959_Cadillac/1959-Cadillac-Salesmen-s-Data-Book/1959-Cadillac-Data-Book-042A

The boot shown for the 62 convertible appears to be a typical soft boot, and no mention is made of a hard boot being an option.

Paul

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Hey Paul,

Thanks for the quick and well sorted out answer. Looks like you answered the question, great reference to the illustration.

thanks for the info

regards

ken

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Exactly, the hard boot was standard on the Eldorado . The Eldo that was sold at BJ was a special order car. Only about 12 S O cars are known to exist. It was an older restoration, a nice driver quality car. It was a S O car due to the fact that the customer ordered it with a green dash and carpet from the factory when it normally would have had a gray dash top and carpet.

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Guest

Correct me if I'm wrong , but the forward tail lamp extensions into the fin on the 59 Caddy are supposed to be body color.

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Yes , only the Eldorado Fleetwood used the chrome ones, all others used body colored ones. Many people mistakenly use the chrome ones when they restore the cars. Kind of like the claim of only 99 bucket seat cars when in fact there were at least 300 cars with bucket seats.

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