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1939 Cadillac 60 Special *SOLD*


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*SOLD*

 

This lovely 1939 Cadillac 60 Special is the first of several affordable Full Classics that I've acquired recently and even with its very reasonable price tag, I have to say I'm more than pleased with the car. Now, of course it's not a show car and it does have plenty of flaws, but it also has an all-original special order leather interior (I have the build sheet), a freshly rebuilt engine and transmission, and fantastic road manners. If you want a strong-running, powerful, usable Full Classic, this is a great choice. If you want trophies and concours invites, well, move along. But for the price of a three-year-old Hyundai, you're not going to get more Classic car than this.

 

The 60S was originally gray and sometime in the 1990s it was repainted its current cream, which may or may not have been on the Cadillac color pallet in 1939--my chip charts don't show anything like it, but right there on the cover of the Cadillac 60 Special brochure, there's a yellow 60 Special. You decide. At any rate, the body is in very good condition with four doors that close with authority, straight sheetmetal, nice fenders, and a hood that fits well. I have photos of the restoration and it appears to have been a bare-metal respray with significant disassembly, although it looks like the doors stayed on because there's a bit of overspray on the weather-stripping. No big deal. Much of the chrome is original, including the grille, side grilles, and window surrounds, and they're in OK condition, while the bumpers, hood ornament, and a few other bits have been recently refinished and look great. The hood ornament in particular is gorgeous. But overall it has a complete look where nothing stands out as too nice or too deteriorated and you could chip away at the remaining parts over a period of time and really take it up a notch or two.

 

The red leather interior was a special order (it says SO on the cowl tag and on the build sheet) and still looks great. Sure, there's some wear and age to it, but I don't think I'd worry about restoring it. There's a small tear in the leather right under the driver's tailbone where the seat back and seat bottom meet, and another similar blemish in the back seat under the arm rest, but otherwise there's no major damage. Some cracking and wrinkling, sure, but that's no big deal. The door panels might be original, but it's hard to say. The headliner is excellent and the carpets have been recently replaced with some incorrect stuff but it looks fine. The woodgraining on the dash is very good with a few chips and scratches but no fading or bubbling and the gauges have bright clear faces. All the gauges work except the speedometer, but I suspect that's simply because the needle has come loose, because the odometer is still fully functional. There's also an aftermarket mechanical temperature gauge down low. No radio, but it does have a fully functional heater and defroster and even the wipers work. Aftermarket turn signals have been added, with front indicators hidden in the grille. The trunk is nicely trimmed with matching carpets and yes, the tray in the very back of the car has been patched because they all rust there.

 

The 346 cubic inch flathead V8 was rebuilt in 2006 and runs superbly. It's a little tough to start the first time each day, but after you've had it running once during the day, the other starts are almost instant. I suspect I haven't yet mastered the technique this car requires. It makes plenty of oil pressure (30 PSI at warm idle) and has a great V8 burble. It's not cranky, even when it's cold, and it pulls the sedan around easily at modern speeds. The engine was painted and the engine bay is nicely detailed, although it's not showy. There's a 6-volt alternator up front, but that seems to be the only modification and I have to say that I like seeing it charging even at idle with the headlights on. The transmission was also rebuilt, there's a new clutch, and the brakes were done fairly recently so it stops well. The Firestone wide whites probably date back to the 1990s restoration, so I might consider replacing them, but they look good and I'm taking my family on a weekend tour in this car so I'm not too worried about them.

 

We have receipts for work dating back more than 40 years, brochures, a package from Cadillac Historical Services, all amounting to about a 4-inch stack of papers. This is not an expensive car, this is not a show car, but it is a clean, honest car that drives extremely well and looks good. And for $22,900, I challenge you to find a better all-around Full Classic for someone on a budget or who is just getting into the game. Thanks for looking!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Just finished a 300-mile weekend tour in this car without a single incident. Great driver, comfortable, smooth, never faltered, always started quickly, hot or cold. I'm very impressed!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

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