The 1964 Cadillac emerges
1964 was another thoroughly successful year for Cadillac. And a very special one in many respects.
At first glance, the 1963 and 1964 models look very similar. At second and third glance, however, there are many differences that can be found throughout the entire model. Starting with the radiator grille, which in 1963 still had a chrome bar instead of a painted bar.
Die Blinker waren keine runden, aufgesetzten Gläser mehr, sondern mit Chromgittern versehen unter die Hauptscheinwerfer integriert.
Der Heckabschluss war 1963 noch komplett gerade abgeschnitten und die Flossen noch ein kleines Stück größer.
The instrument panel also looks almost identical. But only almost. In 1963, for example, it is still straight at the door ends on the right and left and has a small bead above the speedometer; in 1964, the ends run in a slight curve into the door panels.
Almost all trims are slightly different design than 1963 and therefore not interchangeable.
Much more interesting is what goes on under the hood. The engine, which was completely redesigned for the 1963 model year, was immediately increased to 7 liters of displacement in 1964, and instead of 325 (SAE) hp, now produced a stately 340 (SAE) hp at 4,000 rpm with a maximum torque of 470 Nm at 3,000 rpm with its four-barrel carburetor. In Europe, that's 262 DIN hp.
Starting with the De Ville models, the new Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission was available as standard. The normal Hydramatic transmission, which was reproduced under license by Rolls-Royce, had been fitted for 1964 with a reinforced reverse gear and more efficient cooling.
The Turbo-Hydramatic once again surpassed the old normal transmission in all respects and was also 76 kilograms lighter thanks to the generous use of aluminum. Another interesting and new feature was the new built-in converter, which reacted to changes in altitude and pressure with a valve.
A simplified design with a planetary gearbox connected to the torque converter reduced the high production costs.
With this combination of innovations, the driving performance was at the sports car level of the time!
Leistung? Über die spricht man bei Cadillac nicht, man hat sie!
These values did not come from Cadillac itself, but were proven by relevant car magazines. Both "Motor Trend" in March 1964 and "Car Life" in July 1964 measured only 8.5 seconds from 0 to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) with a Sedan de Ville! The top speed of 195 km/h (121 mls/h) is also impressive. The Cadillac did the quarter mile in 16.4 seconds and 86 miles per hour (138 km/h). The Porsche 911 2.0, newly introduced in 1964, even had a slightly lower acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h!
The press was not only enthusiastic about the performance. Both magazines praised the new model in the highest terms, attesting to its superiority over Lincoln and the Chrysler Imperial in almost every respect. Motor Trend even went so far as to certify the new Cadillac, after extensive testing, the best price/performance ratio compared to any luxury vehicle in the world. Even the English magazine "The Autocar", which was extremely critical of US vehicles, joined its American colleagues in a test of the Coupé de Ville in August 1964. Honorably, they even went so far as to compare the vintage with the single-cylinder Cadillacs of 1905. At the time, the reference for precision and perfection in automotive engineering.
However, everyone agreed on one point: The four drum brakes were inadequate despite a braking surface of 2,438 cm². They were not commensurate with the driving performance. However, the testers were all the more enthusiastic about the world's first automatically controlled air conditioning system, "Comfort Control". Once the temperature has been set, it always maintains the same temperature in summer and winter.
Customers saw it all the same way. With 165,959 units, the 1964 model year brought Cadillac a new record. And that was despite the extensive renovations throughout the company's premises.
On November 4, 1964, Cadillac celebrated its three millionth vehicle with the new '65 model.
For many, the 1964 Cadillac is one of the most beautiful and elegant models. The last fin, perfectly integrated into the design, fortunately also fascinated the previous owner of my Fleetwood Sixty Special, who cherished it. So I also have a lot of pleasure every time I get in and turn the ignition key.
Sources: Motor Trend, Car Life, General Motors