Designed by the legendary Harley Earl, whose design team were the first to introduce tailfins to the American public in 1948, the Cadillac Series 75 ran from 1954 to 1956 and could accommodate up to eight people with a partitioned screen for the driver. It was one of Cadillacs largest cars at the time, the ‘D’-body measuring a whopping 6.02m (or 19ft 9in) and featured restrained aero-inspired styling.
With relatively modest tailfins compared to future Cadillac offerings (their 1959 model having the largest) and elegant chromework that streaked the sides it is an elegant 50s icon. Powered by a beefy 5,425cc V8 offering 250hp, the big Cadillac featured four-speed Hydromatic transmission as standard, the 75 series was one of the ultimate status symbols of post-war America and was beloved by well-heeled stars of film and music. Elvis was a huge fan of the brand, buying many examples for his family and friends, including a 1955 Fleetwood that he painted pink for this mother.
Happily this particular model isn’t so garish and is registered as a 7-seater, with three UK owners since importation. It’s a classic example of Atomic Age styling and is a rare car, with only 1,075 examples being built by GM in 1955.
The History and Paperwork
Current owner for over four years
The current owner of this Cadillac has owned it since 2018 and is huge Cadillac fan, having owned three other examples of the marque. This particular example was bought off a friend of his who is thought to have owned it for around four years. The vehicle is MoT exempt and as such does not have a current MoT, though the current owner has maintained it carefully and says it drives fine.
Seats seven people
Space age styling
Opulent is the work for the cavernous interior, which has been retimed in Aqua coloured vinyl on the front bench seat, with velour used for the two rear bench seats. The cab is a feast of chrome and metallic blue paintwork, with the vinyl trimmed dash top being crack-free. A chrome strip curves around the cab, with the speedo being a wonderful bit of Atomic Age design and going up to a rather optimistic 110mph. But Cadillacs are all about effortless cruising and gripping the thin rimmed two-tone blue/pale blue steering wheel while selecting ‘D’ on the column change automatic gearbox should instantly transport you back to the era when Bill Haley was on the radio and man still hadn’t set foot on the moon.
All the knobs on the interior are chromed, with a large T-shaped handle activating the handbrake. It’s the era of tactile cars where everything was designed to be stylish. Not just the cheap black plastic you get in modern Euroboxes...
The interior condition isn’t concours but is in good useable condition with the odd evidence of wear to its 67-year old trim, with a little fading on the carpeting and the odd stained section of trim. All the internal brightwork and doorcards looks original and the chrome all looks to be in good order.
The seller points out that the only fault he’s aware of is with an electric window switch which recently stopped working – he suspects it could be simply down to a blown fuse.
19-feet of iconic Fifties styling
Bodywork brightwork in great condition
Paintwork presents well
Externally this ’55 Caddy is a real head-turned. Hailing from the golden age of Cadillac design it’s styling pre-dates the excessively tall fin era that defined the end of the decade and is far more subtle. But it still sports large bullet-shaped chrome accents to the front bumper and stylish side strakes that echo the space age era.
At 19-feet long, this is a large and spacious cruiser that can easily swallow the entire family and enough luggage for a roadtrip across a continent.
The exterior chomework is in excellent order with only a little surface rust on the chrome wirewheels, but given the car’s age this is to be expected and doesn’t detract from its stunning prescence. There are lots of great styling details such as the flip-up tail-light which hides the fuel filler cap and elegant way the exhaust has been routed to exit through the chromed rear bumper ends. It’s a masterpiece of Fifties design.
The bodywork is largely in good condition, with only a little fraying at the edges to detract from it. Given its age its likely to have been repainted several times and there is evidence of previous work at the door edges, but overall it presents beautifully. The underside has surface corrosion on it, but looks to be solid and straight, only needing a little undersealing, while the exhaust looks to have been recently replaced.
Said to be a delight to drive
Smooth engine and gearbox
Power-steering works fine
The current owner is only selling this vehicle as he doesn’t have time to use it thanks to owning several other Cadillacs. He points out that it glides along without fuss and has been reliable. He has no issue with driving it long distances and maintains it with care. The engine and gearbox are said to be quiet and smooth, though the air-conditioning isn’t currently functioning (as is common with most Fifties American cars). The belts and spark plugs look to have been recently changed.
The power-steering is said to work fine, too, while the owner says that all the electrics work fine (power window switch excepted). He also points out that the tyres are in good condition.
This isn’t a car for the shy and retiring but a gloriously bold bit of Americana that represents the ultimate in American cars of the Fifties. With electric everything and enough room for all your family and friends, this is a sociable way to share an Atomic era classic car that was produced at the height of GM’s power.
With a great V8 soundtrack and 19ft of chrome to polish this would be delight to look at and admire in between trips to car shows and cruises.
With only 1,075 Series 75 models produced – a tiny number by European standards and a microscopic production run in US terms – it’s a rare beast too.
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1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 LHD
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