Another body change gave every 1965 Cadillac a longer, lower silhouette. Rear fenders were now planed ruler-flat in profile, though a hint of fin was preserved via a recontoured rear deck. Also new were a straight back bumper and vertical lamp clusters.
Up front for the 1965 Cadillac line, the headlight pairs were switched from horizontal to vertical, making for an even wider grille. Curved side windows appeared, six-window hardtop sedans disappeared, and pillared sedans returned in Calais, De Ville and Sixty Special guise. The Special also reverted to its exclusive 133-inch wheelbase (last used from 1954 to 1958).
The 1965 Cadillac Series 62 was renamed Calais, but its roster was thinned to just two hardtops and a pillared sedan. The convertible moved to the midrange DeVille series, which had been gaining popularity since its 1959 inaugural.
At the top of the 1965 Cadillac line, the Eldorado convertible and Sixty Special sedan officially became Fleetwoods, adopting the "carriage trade" Series 75 models' nameplates, wreath-and-crest medallions, broad rocker-panel and rear-quarter brightwork, and rectangular-pattern rear appliqués. A new Fleetwood Brougham sedan (actually a Sixty Special trim option) came with a vinyl roof and "Brougham" script on the rear pillars.
Despite an unchanged V-8, the slightly lighter 1965 Cadillac lineup boasted the luxury field's best power-to-weight ratio. A new "Dual driving range" Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission and full-perimeter frames (replacing the X-type used since '57) were adopted except on Series 75s, and all 1965 Cadillac models came with a new "sonically balanced" exhaust system. Amazingly, prices weren't too far above what they'd been back in 1961.
Cadillac had a resounding 1965, producing close to 200,000 cars. But it was a great year for all Detroit, so that volume was only good for 11th place.
Unsurprisingly, the 1966 Cadillac models were a mild update of the all-new '65 design, marked by a revised front bumper and grille, plus more smoothly integrated taillights.
Perimeter frames now supported the 1966 Cadillac Series 75, which was fully rebodied for the first time since 1959. The options list added two more innovations: variable-ratio power steering, which "speeded up" the more the wheel was turned from straight-ahead, and carbon-cloth seat heating pads, a forerunner of today's heated seats.
The 1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham became a separate model, more luxuriously trimmed than the plain-roof Sixty Special and priced about $320 higher.
Most Detroit cars posted lower sales after torrid '65. Cadillac was no exception, producing just over 194,000 units for model-year '66. But reflecting its strong buyer appeal, Cadillac did notch its first 200,000-unit calendar year, breaking the barrier by exactly 5,001 sales.
Cadillac introduced a state-of-the-art front-wheel drive Eldorado in 1967. Read about this significant Cadillac achievement on the next page.
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.