1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville


  • Comprehensively restored in the 1990s
  • Multiple award-winner
  • 390ci (6.4-litre) V8 powertrain
  • Four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission
  • Extensive and detailed history file
  • Iconic and sought after 59 'Big Fin' car

The Appeal

Launched in 1959 and only produced for two years, the first generation of the Cadillac DeVille has gone down in history as an era-defining machine. With incredible detailing, a striking “jet set” futurist aesthetic and those vast rear fins with their twin “bullet” lights, it’s a carnival of chrome and fifties optimism.

It’s as beautifully finished inside as it is out too, with superb material quality and fetching design details at every turn. Topping it off is that warbling, charismatic V8 and super-smooth automatic transmission, providing plenty of power as you waft down the road in comfort and style. Truly, this was the period when American car design and building led the world.

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The History and Paperwork

  • First registered in 1959 – early first generation car
  • Originally outshopped in Silver Metallic (paint code 14) with Silver/Black Coronado Metallic Cloth & White leather (trim code 40)
  • Sourced from West Canada and personally inspected by the vendor before import in 2017
  • The previous owner had the vehicle for 22 years, following a complete restoration
  • Only used for shows and parades in the summer, dry stored the rest of the time
  • Cover star of the 2015 “Tireland” calendar, and included in the 2013 edition
  • First registered in the UK in April 2018
  • One UK owner since import
  • Historic vehicle status – tax and MOT exempt
  • 44,303 miles indicated on a five-figure odometer
  • Complete with two sets of keys
  • Two large box files of history and paperwork
  • Original operator’s manual, numerous invoices for maintenance, Cadillac workshop manual and CD accompaniment
  • Period sales brochure, Cadillac book
  • Various awards from Canadian car shows
  • All import duties and taxes paid
  • Kept by the vendor in a heated and dehumidified garage
  • Only being sold as the vendor has now retired and is thinning their collection

The Interior

  • Smart leather upholstery with fabric inserts
  • Electrically operated front seats and windows
  • Period radio system
  • Column shift transmission

With its wide, plush twin benches and art deco inspired design, the cabin of the de Ville is like something from Flash Gordon, and is all the better for it. The upholstery of the benches, door cards and rear side panels is soft, quality white leather, punctuated with black and silver fabric inserts. It’s remarkable to look at and presents in superb condition despite being an older restoration. There’s a light and almost unnoticeable level of patina, but no damage or serious wear we could discern.

Black carpeting adorns the floors, looking to be in similarly fine fettle, with no threading or staining we could see. The vendor has also installed a new set of rubber floor mats, offering a layer of extra protection. The headlining is white vinyl, beautifully taut and secure, with no tears or discolouration on view.

Where the interior truly shines – quite literally – is on the dashboard. The gauges and instruments before the driver are clear and wonderfully designed, with a wide, horizontal speedometer taking pride of place. As the dash sweeps to the passenger side it embraces a concave, finned design that quite simply looks fantastic. The lower portion of the dash is finished in what appears to be wood veneer, while a brace of additional gauges have been carefully grafted into place to the left of the steering column. These are a voltmeter and oil pressure gauge, and have been well styled and integrated so as to look almost in-period. We noted some cracking to the Bakelite surface of the steering wheel, as you’d expect on a 64-year-old vehicle, but it remains eminently usable and presentable. The rest of the cabin trim and switchgear all shows in excellent condition.

The typically vast boot space is finished with a black and white vinyl liner, bearing a “hound’s tooth” design. It also features a full-size spare and an original crack-style jack. 

The Exterior

  • Seminole Red paintwork
  • Two-door coupe styling
  • Acres of lovely brightwork
  • Stylish and original chrome wheel covers

We think the Seminole Red paintwork of this Cadillac really suits the vehicle, offering a bold contrast to the many chrome embellishments. Overall, the paint looks to be in very fine condition for an older restoration. There is a little swirling here and there, and some tiny areas of bubbling to the rear quarters, but otherwise it presents very well indeed and should polish up a treat.

With 5.8 metres of bodywork on display, you’d soon notice if there were any damage. Thankfully, the metalwork of this magnificent land-yacht all looks to be in superb order, with no damage or corrosion we could see and neat, consistent panels gaps and shut lines. The removable rear arch spats are present and correct too.

Of course, that smart bodywork is further enhanced with lashing of polished brightwork. From the wide, imposing bumpers to the delicate touches around the rear fins and neat polished highlights on the sides and bonnet, all of the brightwork appears to have been very well preserved and wears a lustrous, glimmering shine.

Underneath, we note that the tale continues in the same vein – everything is very neat and straight, clearly well cared for and in good condition. There’s the odd bit of surface corrosion here and there, but nothing we wouldn’t expect, and certainly nothing that causes us concern.

Completing this icon of rocket-age design is a set of polished and branded chrome wheel covers. These lovely, highly detailed 15-inch items are presented in very good condition and are matched with a full set of white wall tyres, for that perfect late-50s luxury look.

The Mechanics

  • 390ci (6.4-litre) naturally-aspirated V8
  • Four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission
  • Power-assisted steering
  • Power-assisted brakes
  • Rear-wheel drive

When you need to move a couple of tonnes of luxury metal along at an appropriate lick, only a massive V8 will do. And at this time, the Americans were the masters at building gigantic, powerful and low-stress V8s. 

The 390ci fitted in this Coupe de Ville was rated at some 325hp from the factory – more than enough to whisk this marvellous machine along the highways and byways of its homeland. Add to that the sonorous, evocative nature of the powertrain and you have something very special indeed – you’ll certainly want to drive with the windows down and take advantage of every tunnel you pass.

The vendor tells us that the car is in excellent mechanical order, starting on the button, running and driving superbly well.

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Good Lord, but we want this car. It’s a beautifully restored example of one of the most iconic machines to ever come out of the US. With just the right level of originality and patina, a quite stellar history and the sort of presentation that will stop traffic and make it the focal point of any car show you attend, we are, quite simply, deeply in love with this debonair coupe. Whoever the next owner is, they’ll be looking after something really quite extraordinary.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1959
  • Make Cadillac
  • Model Coupe de Ville
  • Colour Seminole Red
  • Odometer 44,303 Miles
  • Engine size 6400
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Christchurch
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
14 bids from 7 bidders
  • da•••• £37,000 01/06/23
  • da•••• £36,750 01/06/23
  • Ma•••• £36,500 01/06/23
  • Ma•••• £36,250 01/06/23
  • ga•••• £36,000 01/06/23
  • Ma•••• £35,000 31/05/23
  • wi•••• £34,000 31/05/23
  • da•••• £32,000 29/05/23
  • wi•••• £30,000 29/05/23
  • da•••• £26,000 28/05/23

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