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Buying advice 1964 Cadillac

I have already received many emails and friends who have suffered similar fates. You have been blinded by enthusiasm and excitement that you can finally buy a Cadillac. The supposed bargain had defects here and there. Was tinkered with, not professionally repaired or restored.

But if you're afraid your sweetheart will break down every time you go to a meeting or half of it doesn't work, you'll quickly get frustrated, give up in annoyance at some point, or put way too much money into your hobby.

Cadillacs are extremely reliable and durable when properly cared for. My Cadillac is certainly a good example here and I know many more where it is the same. Driving a Cadillac can be a lot of fun. However, if you are dealing with a supposed "expert" it can quickly become unpleasant. Turn to a US-Car specialist garage. The American cars and engines are just a little different than the European ones. Someone who has only dealt with European sheet metal all his life does not know the small but fine and important details of American sheet metal! And be it still such a renowned workshop. I have really experienced everything.

I can therefore only advise all those who are interested in Cadillacs and old cars in general: Join a club before buying (in the case of Cadillac, of course, the Classic Cadillac Club Deutschland e.V.). Inform yourself in detail in the scene and talk to the classic car owners about their experiences. Maybe in the club or someone you have met well sells a vehicle that you are interested in.

Even though vehicles were not expected to live longer than 15 years in 1964, the engineers did a great job back then. Although every year the design was always different.

As is so often the case, technology is not one of the points to which particular attention must be paid. If the regular maintenance intervals are observed and fluids are changed, no problems are to be expected and the engine, transmission and chassis will thank you with longevity. Important is the completeness of the trim and emblems of the body.

There are, of course, a few points to note about the 1964 models.


  • On vehicles with air conditioning, pay particular attention to rust on the lower, rear part of the right front wheel arch. This is due to various air-conditioning lines in the fender behind the right front wheel arch, where condensation drips into the fender. Especially on Fleetwood and Eldorado models, the rust foci with bubbles are well hidden from the outside by the stainless steel trim.
  • If the heater leaked once and coolant got into the interior on the driver's side, the original insulation mat under the carpet soaks up and lets the floor panel rust wonderfully. This is often not visible from below. So here you have to lift the carpet a bit and look for the brown plague.
  • The front, lower shells of the bumper horns are a perfect biotope for dirt that gets there through the tires. So here from the wheel well inspect the shells from the inside. From the outside through the chrome layer is not necessarily something to see! If it does, it is usually already much too late.
  • You should also take a look at the mudguard supports. They are somewhat hidden at the top of the front wheel arches.
  • In general, of course, the other neuralgic points as with any other vehicle. For example, the corners of the trunk, corners in the wheel arches, fender skirts and so on.


  • The X-frame is quite soft, which is especially noticeable when jacked up on the frame, when the gap at the doors of convertibles increases. Therefore, the 1964 models, as well as other Cadillacs of this era, should not be stored jacked up! They should be stored as vehicles should be. On their own 4 wheels.
    Especially in the case of convertibles, the body-to-frame bolts must be checked and retightened regularly.
  • In 1964, automatic air conditioning was available for the first time. If this option was selected, you need a bit of luck and previous owners who didn't fiddle around indiscriminately. If the electro-mechanical system of temperature sensors and vacuum flaps works properly, it works well. But woe betide if some hose leaks or a temperature sensor is defective. The search for the fault can be lengthy and is not entirely trivial.
    The troubleshooting can be helped by the manual of
  • If the heater does not work, it may be due to the vacuum hose leading from the "time delay switch" to the vacuum-controlled temperature valve. This is located at the rear above the right valve cover in the direction of travel. The valve controls the flow to the heat exchanger. This hose is often porous due to the rising heat from the manifold and therefore leaks. The "time delay switch" was a service bulletin item on 1964 Cadillacs and was pretty much always retrofitted. Only in very rare cases is it missing.
  • The cooling water should also be changed regularly. Indeed, removing the heat exchanger is almost impossible and a punishing job. Regular service can save this work. So you should pay attention to the condition of the cooling water when buying.
  • The filter of the automatic transmission must be changed after the maintenance intervals. Failure to do so will result in undesirable behavior of the transmission. Some new transmission oil filters are minimally thicker than the original ones. An unpleasant side effect can be the lack of engagement of the driving gears. A few sensitive, light blows with a small hammer on the filter to make it a little "thinner" will help here.
  • Many smaller mechanical parts, such as the gears of the electrically adjustable seat or the "neutral safety switch," have been lubricated with "lubriplate" from the factory. This peanut butter-like paste turns into hard plasticine over the years. Therefore, the "neutral safety switch" should be lubricated prophylactically. There are four different switches. Depending on whether with or without steering wheel adjustment or with hydramatics or with turbo-hydramatics equipped transmission. This switch is almost impossible to get used or very expensive. New already not at all.
    If you only hear a click from the electric seat, it usually helps to remove it, remove the "lubriplate" and re-lubricate.
  • Perfectly tuned, the 1964 Cadillac can reach values of 12 liters per 100 km. However, around 17 liters are normal. Values above 23 liters are not normal even in hot weather with the air conditioning on in city traffic.
  • Particular attention should be paid to the wiring harness and its sheathing in the front driver's door, especially in vehicles with full electrical equipment. As this is subject to high mechanical stresses, especially due to the constant opening and closing of the door, cable breakage and/or chafed cables can occur here. As a result, the window regulator, triangular window or bench seat will not function. Short circuit - or if there are no correct fuses here - and even cable fire are possible!


In terms of options or color combinations, just about anything was possible in 1964. Even configuration variants that would not have been possible according to the option list. Like a Fleetwood Sixty Special with individual seats, which were actually only available for the Eldorado. Partially installed by dealers afterwards, partially already ordered directly from the factory. So authentication can be very difficult here.

Incidentally, retrofitting vehicles with options can be very difficult or even impossible! Not possible is, for example, the subsequent installation of the Guide-Matic, the automatic dimming of the high beam. The sensor for this was specially installed in the left front fender. The subsequent installation in fenders without sensor is not possible.

Also, an adjustable steering wheel requires a different lower instrument panel and many other modifications and different parts when swapping from the fixed valance.

Extremely rare is a vehicle with a limited slip differential. Finding a vehicle equipped with it is like winning the lottery.

Be careful with trim and emblems:

Trim, emblems and other body parts should always be complete and in good condition. Especially for the "rarer" models like Fleetwood Sixty Special and Eldorado, the parts are often very, very rare.

The symbolic "grille" at the rear between the trunk lid and bumper is different on the Fleetwood Sixty Special and Eldorado, for example, than on the Series 62 and DeVille.

Extremely sought after are the deep drawn aluminum inserts in the taillights. Very often dented and scratched.

As so often:

Buy the best vehicle you can find, it will end up being the cheapest!

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