The 1963 Cadillac styling was tastefully simplified with a more prominent grille, new outer body panels that eliminated busy sheetmetal sculpturing, and lower-than-ever fins above a restyled rear end bearing tall taillight/backup lamps.
The 1963 Cadillac got important alterations to its 390-cubic-inch V-8, the first major revisions to the engine in 14 years. Horsepower remained at 325. Cylinder size was unchanged, too, as were valves, rocker arms, heads, compression (still 10.5:1), and connecting rods. But everything else was different: a lighter, stronger crankshaft; a stiffer block weighing 50 pounds less; accessories relocated to improve service access.
While all this did little for performance, the revised 390 was smoother and quieter by far. And performance was already good. The typical '63 Cadillac could reach 115-120 mph, do 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, return about 14 miles per gallon, and was near-silent at high speed. In fact, many testers judged Cadillac superior to the vaunted Rolls-Royce when it came to refinement.
Prices rose only slightly for the 1963 Cadillac line, which remained an excellent value in the luxury class.
Standard features expanded to include self-adjusting power brakes and a manually operated remote-control driver's door mirror. Eldorado added a six-way power seat. Power windows, available since the 1940s, were now standard for all models save the entry-level Series 62 sedans and coupes. Power vent windows were newly available. So were vinyl roof coverings, a "formal" styling add-on then fast spreading all over Detroit.
Remarkably, a 1963 Cadillac Series 62 still cost as little as $5,026; the 1963 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was only $6,608. With all this, GM's finest set another model-year production record, topping 163,000 units.
The 1964 Cadillac lineup got some revisions inside and out. Styling was updated with lower tailfins that created an unbroken beltline, accentuating the length of a body that was already considerably long. Grilles gained a body-color horizontal divider bar; and taillamp housings were reshaped.
More significantly, the 390-cubic-inch V-8 was bored-and-stroked to 429 cubic inches, good for 340 horsepower. Another new extra-cost convenience arrived for '64 in the form of an automatic heating/air-conditioning system that maintained a set temperature regardless of outside conditions. Unit volume kept climbing, reaching near 166,000 for the model year.
On the next page, learn why Cadillac boasted record sales numbers in 1965.
For more information on Cadillac, see:
- Cadillac: Learn the history of America's premier luxury car, from 1930s classics to today's newest Cadillac models.
- Consumer Guide New Car Reviews and Prices: Road test results, photos, specifications, and prices for 2007 Cadillacs and hundreds of other new cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs.
- 1950-1959 Cadillac: Cadillac symbolizes the optimism of a swaggering America with soaring tailfins and Elvis-era glamour.
- 1970-1979 Cadillac: See how Cadillac maintained its hold on the premium market by adroitly changing consumer demands.