Depending on your taste -- and maybe age -- the 1959 Cadillac Series 62's soaring tailfins are either the literal height of period excess or a campy icon for Happy Days exuberance. The result of a crash General Motors redesign effort prompted by Chrysler Corporation's '57 "Forward Look," the '59 Cadillac was almost as radical as that year's "bat-wing" Chevrolet, though the towering fins and bomb-shape taillamps were nicely balanced by lower-slung bodies with tapered lines. There were also worthwhile technical improvements, headlined by a larger 390-cubic-inch V-8 (up from 365) with 325 standard horsepower and a rousing 345 in Eldorados.

1959 cadillac series 62
The 1959 Cadillac Series 62's distinctive tailfins defined an automotive era.
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The Eldo convertible remained queen of the line at $7401, but the less glittery $5455 Series 62 version was no less arresting. It was certainly more numerous, with a record 11,130 built versus just 1320 ragtop Eldos. Today, all '59 Cadillacs are firmly enshrined as emblems of their era, thanks to those fins -- and the fact that Cadillacs would never look so wild again.

1959 cadillac series 62
The 1959 Cadillac Series 62 are prized by collectors for their unique styling.

For more classic convertibles of the 1950s, see:

1950 Oldsmobile 88

1955 Cadillac Series 62

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

1951 Chrysler New Yorker

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Lincoln Premiere

1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

1955 Mercury Montclair

1957 Oldsmobile Super 88

1951 Rambler Custom Landau

1956 Ford Thunderbird

1958 Continental Mark III

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta

1956 Lincoln Premiere

1958 Edsel Citation

1954 Hudson Hornet Brougham

1956 Packard Caribbean

1959 Dodge Custom Royal

1954 Packard Caribbean

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1959 Ford Thunderbird

1955 Buick Century

1957 Chrysler New Yorker

1959 Pontiac Bonneville

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