1960s Cadillac Concept Cars

1960s Cadillac Concept Cars and the Future
Another view of the 1963 Cadillac concept car shows sharp fender lines and bulging wheel arches similar to those on the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado.
Another view of the 1963 Cadillac concept car shows sharp fender lines and bulging wheel arches similar to those on the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Some 1960s Cadillac concept cars and the future weren't that far apart. Many of the ideas explored in 1960s Cadillac concept cars later showed up in GM showrooms. One fastback combined lower body contours like those of the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado with an exaggerated version of the 1966 Buick Riviera front.

Renderings often toyed with open or semi-open concepts. Wayne Cady, for example, sketched a concept car that was rather reminiscent of Classic 1930s speedsters. The circa 1963 concept car featured an open V-16, wore "Cyclone" badges, and had a plethora of hood air intakes. The rakish perimeter windscreen harmonized with the Buick-style bodyside "sweepspear" lines, but it would have been far too costly for series production.

A May 1963 proposal shows a crisp yet bulky-looking V-12 hardtop with close-coupled notchback roofline and wild two-tier front. Aft fenderlines would show up in modified form on Cadillac's new front-drive 1967 Eldorado.

Another drawing shows a super-low roadster with the character of a speedboat: low windscreen wrapped all the way to the rear fenders, vee'd deck, and 16 "ventiports" in the vastly longer front to accommodate the engine.

The ventiports, presumably, were air intakes for separate carbs in these years before government emissions standards and Detroit's wholesale move to fuel injection. This sketch also showed a sweeping fastback roof -- a feature that likely would have been too much for Cadillac's conservative audience.

Another scale model for the stillborn new-generation multi-cylinder Cadillac appeared in August 1963. A prominently peaked hood and grille were highlights, along with a "cantilevered" roof sans A-posts, a radically vee'd windshield, a vee'd rear deck to complement both the windshield curvature and the pointy snout, and muscular, wide-stance proportions.

The concept car's profile displayed hints of the 1966 Buick Riviera front, while the front view displayed sharp fenderlines and bulging wheel arches like those adopted for Oldsmobile's new 1966 Toronado. A fastback roof treatment with no beltline "break" at the rear wheels would also be seen on both those production models, though in quieter form.

Another Cadillac concept was a more formal multi-cylinder from March 1965; its C-post script intriguingly read "LaSalle." The semi-open fastback would have been a 1960s novelty.

The unchallenged luxury sales leader, Cadillac really had no need in the 1960s for a V-12 or V-16 model, so wild concept cars such as this were mostly flights of fancy.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

In the end, though, there was no hope. As Jordan recalled: "We finally dropped the project after the full-size model was completed. We had a lot of other things to do, and here we were playing with a full-size clay we never intended to expose. It was strictly a styling exercise."

Of course, it's styling exercises like this that fire the dreams of enthusiasts, and in retrospect it's a shame the division went no further with a postwar multi-cylinder car.

For more on concept cars and the production models they forecast, check out: