The 1938-1941 Sixty-Special Cadillac kept its crisply formal look for 1941, but with deft touches that would be followed by the rest of the industry post haste. These cars reeked class. No wonder they bring six-figure sums today.
The economy was recovering nicely by now, largely on the strength of stepped-up military production, which was already under way even though the United States had not yet been drawn into the widening Second World War.
With inflation starting to make itself felt, Cadillac boosted prices for its all-new 1941 models. The Sixty-Special, which had listed at $2,090 ever since 1938, went up to $2,195, yet it was still a bargain. And with the demise of the massive Sixteen after 1940, it was now the flagship of the fleet, the cream of the crop that firmly established Cadillac as America’s ultimate automotive status symbol.
Styling was again the keynote throughout the 1941 line, fastidiously derived from that of the original Sixty-Special but with deft touches that would be followed by the rest of the industry post haste. These cars reeked class -- so well-executed, that even their heavy use of chrome didn’t seem at all garish or inappropriate. The Sixty-Special Cadillac retained its crisply formal look, while “torpedo” styling was applied to most other models.
Special touches offered a sneak peek into what was in store for the 1942 Sixty-Special Cadillac.
Headlamps were now mounted in, rather than on top of, the front fenders. In between was a horizontal eggcrate grille, the first use of a Cadillac hallmark that’s still with us. Fenders acquired squared-off trailing edges that harmonized nicely with both the torpedo bodies and the Special’s foursquare contours. The Special’s front fenders were swept back into the front doors, a forecast of 1942, and the new front-end sheet metal blended so well with the 1938-1940 central structure that the 1941 looked totally new and completely contemporary.
Cadillac’s 1941 model lineup was considerably -- and shrewdly -- realigned. The companion LaSalle was discarded, and the Series 61 returned to take its place. The Series 62 remained the volume series, offering a full range of body styles, including convertible coupe and sedan. A bit further up the price ladder was a lone four-door under the new Series 63 designation.
Wheelbase on the Sixty-Special Cadillac was shaved an inch, to 126 inches, to match that of the three lower-priced lines. At the top of the heap were the 138-inch-wheelbase Series 67 and 136-inch Series 75 models. Accessories abounded: radios, fender skirts, driving lights, mirrors, windshield washer, backup lamps, and new Hydra-Matic self-shift transmission were all available.
Although the Sixty-Special design proved to be a force to be reckoned with, the performance is considered just as impressive today as it was yesterday. Continue to the next page to read more about the Sixty-Special design, and get details about the performance of this classic collectible car.
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