Thread Number: 81492  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
1955 Cadillac update
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Post# 1055280   12/23/2019 at 20:07 (276 days old) by rickr (.)        

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This is something that turned out much better than 1960 Frigidaire washer! I purchased this Cadillac in 2003, and finished the mechanical restoration over the years. One thing that remained with the restoration of the interior. This car featured all leather, including the door and kick panels. At any rate, it took six months for the trim shop to do the interior restoration. In my memory is correct, it took six hides of leather to do the car. I am very happy to get the car back, however I only drove it once. From the trim shop, home. It is cold in Indiana, so the car will remain in the garage until spring.

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Post# 1055281 , Reply# 1   12/23/2019 at 20:16 (276 days old) by 58limited (Port Arthur, Texas)        

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Absolutely beautiful! I need to get to work on my poor Buick.

Post# 1055286 , Reply# 2   12/23/2019 at 20:21 (276 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Another beauty, Rick, you're going to need a bigger garage!

Post# 1055289 , Reply# 3   12/23/2019 at 20:26 (276 days old) by rickr (.)        

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Oh no Kenny! I should be downsizing at my age. I really want another jukebox, but I keep talking myself out of it for now.....

Post# 1055292 , Reply# 4   12/23/2019 at 20:37 (276 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

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That caddy is a sight to behold! Enjoy it in good health.

Post# 1055298 , Reply# 5   12/23/2019 at 20:57 (276 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Stunning car! That interior looks sumptuous!

Post# 1055299 , Reply# 6   12/23/2019 at 21:00 (276 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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My late brother in law Loved old Caddys. He had a "49 convertible, '50, "52 and '53 Fleetwood with power windows and air conditioning and a 57 Coupe de DeVille black and loaded. Unfortunately, all ended up at the crusher after his passing.

Post# 1055300 , Reply# 7   12/23/2019 at 21:02 (276 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Truly a showstopper, Rick.  Merry Christmas!

Post# 1055302 , Reply# 8   12/23/2019 at 21:11 (276 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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That’s a beautiful 55’ Coupe de Ville Rick, I bet you are enjoying it.

I owned a 55’ Coupe de Ville myself for about 7 months in 1974. Mine was light green with a cream top and two tone light and dark green cloth upholstery. I had so much fun driving that car! And it was surprisingly easy to handle despite its enormous size. And even though it was 19 years old at the time and 180,000 miles on the odometer it still could haul ass.

But it was not a car to own during the days of gas rationing, 8-10 mpg. The power brakes and hydra matic were as smooth as silk, and I loved the auto headlight dimmer. But it was really fun while it lasted. I hope you’ll get lots of pleasure from it.


Post# 1055308 , Reply# 9   12/23/2019 at 21:47 (276 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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An AWESOME car with a fabulous interior!  Just think of the fun you will this coming spring.



Post# 1055309 , Reply# 10   12/23/2019 at 22:09 (276 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        
Lovely car

They did an exquisite job on the upholstery. Are the colors factory selections for 1955? It's a beautiful combination.

Post# 1055316 , Reply# 11   12/23/2019 at 23:02 (276 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Pre 56 are my FAVORITE

Cadillacs, Decent gas mileage and the HydraMatic was SO much better than the 56 and later versions.

Post# 1055332 , Reply# 12   12/24/2019 at 03:14 (276 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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You are a very Talented Man Rick.

Everything you restore turns out exquisite.

Beautiful Caddy. Enjoy.

Post# 1055351 , Reply# 13   12/24/2019 at 08:47 (276 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

That was my Aunt's car. Hers was baby blue and white.

Post# 1055381 , Reply# 14   12/24/2019 at 13:49 (276 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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What a beautiful job!  I've always liked that shade of yellow Cadillac used.


Is that an FM converter below the dash?  I'd been wanting one of those for my '50 GMC, but realized that a 6-volt system ruled it out.

Post# 1055384 , Reply# 15   12/24/2019 at 14:15 (276 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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I don’t believe this is the original color of this Cadillac. From the steering wheel, inserts on the front seat backs, door panel trim and carpet colors I believe it may have originally been Goddess Gold.

My 55’ Cadillac was Mist Green with an Alpine White roof according to the link I’ve attached for 1955 Cadillac paint colors. I’ve also attached an interesting 1955 Cadillac salesman brochure. Mine was a 62 series coupe. There is a wealth of information in this link.

These were really magnificent automobiles.


Post# 1055386 , Reply# 16   12/24/2019 at 15:00 (275 days old) by rickr (.)        

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Thanks for the comments everyone! And Merry Christmas to all! The car was a solid white originally. The previous owner had the car repainted in 1976, and added two tone paint. Therefor the yellow is not original to the car. When these were two toned from the factory, they simply painted the roof a contrasting colour. When I looked for a 1955 Cadillac back in 2003, this one really caught my eye. I feel that the way the car was two toned really makes the car.

Post# 1055388 , Reply# 17   12/24/2019 at 15:18 (275 days old) by rickr (.)        
To EA56

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Yes, the quality of the 1950's Cadillacs is outstanding. They are really constructed like tanks. They were comparable to a Rolls Royce back in the day. In fact Rolls used the Cadillac transmission up to the late 1970's. I do not know why Cadillac slipped so badly. In my opinion Cadillac has not built a decent reliable car since the late 1970's. I was service manager at our local Cadillac dealer in the 1980's, and the cars were horrible then, and I feel they are not built much better today. Too bad. So much for "The Standard Of The World" as Cadillac was referred to back in the day.

Post# 1055391 , Reply# 18   12/24/2019 at 15:34 (275 days old) by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
Our friends Grandfather had one

Absolutely stunning. Our friend's Grandfather had one like this although I think it was a 1956. So I was 10 years old and I asked if I could play with the power windows. You did not need to turn the car on to use the windows. I ran them up and down and was hoping that I didn't drain the battery.

I did have a 1961 Coupe de Ville for about 4 years from 1972 to 1976. Same Hydramatic as yours but with the dual coupling and same radio, with the Wonderbar. Also had the Autronic eye. Don't know why, but I love putting those into Reverse which is located all the way to the right. Or DRIVE with it's two settings.

Someone told me that Cadillacs were performance cars, easily outdoing a Mercedes of the time, at least until probably the 1990's.

Our family never had Luxury cars, just Chevrolets and Fords. I just love these cars. They also do quite well in the snow because of the weight and even mass distribution. I can see keeping it off the road due to the salted roads.

Happy motoring.

Post# 1055401 , Reply# 19   12/24/2019 at 16:45 (275 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I remember my BOL's pre '57 Caddys had column shift with Neutral at the top Drive Low and Reverse at the bottom. The '57 had PNDLR. Even their '64 Olds 98 had the same sequence. I dont remember when GM went to the PRNDL.

Post# 1055410 , Reply# 20   12/24/2019 at 17:47 (275 days old) by rickr (.)        

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1965,(PRNDL) when they came out with the Turbohydramatic. Prior to 1965 most GM cars had "REVERSE" at the bottom. The "PARK" position was added to the Hydramatic in 1956, when the redesigned Jetaway Hydramatic was introduced. 1955 on down do have a locking "PARK" although there is no detent position for it. One simply places the shift lever into "REVERSE" when the engine is not running, and the transmission is locked in "PARK"

Post# 1055421 , Reply# 21   12/24/2019 at 18:40 (275 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Thanks Rick, I always wondered when GM changed that. The rest of my family always drove Fords with the PRNDL sequence, since my great uncle owned the local Ford dealership. I got my drivers licence in 1969 and my first car, a worn out '63 Rambler had had the P R N D2 D1 L.

Post# 1055447 , Reply# 22   12/24/2019 at 23:35 (275 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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Our 63’ Impala had PRNDL and so did the 61 Chevy Nomad that I got my DL in, and our 55 Chevrolet BelAir with Powerglide had Park on the quadrant, but R was at the lower right end, and if my memory serves me correctly the 51’ BelAir we had before the 55” had the same shift pattern as the 55’, and my Dad’s 57’ Olds 88 had Park on the quadrant too, again with R at the lower right end. GM retained the R on the lower right until I believe 59’.


This post was last edited 12/25/2019 at 00:02
Post# 1055454 , Reply# 23   12/25/2019 at 00:34 (275 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

COOL CAR!!!!!Really like the colors.Drive it in good health!!!!

Post# 1055597 , Reply# 24   12/26/2019 at 07:35 (274 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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That's a beautiful car! You can certainly be seen in it.

My grandfather had a 1955 Pontiac Starchief in two tone. There are only a few pictures of it, and most of them only a few details on those that were taken on the day of my parent's wedding. It was replaced by a 1960 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan, the only car he had that I can remember from own memories.

Americans were very popular among my relatives, more so than Mercedes and BMW's. But it ended in the late 60's. The last American car was a 1967 Chevelle, that was owned by an uncle.

Post# 1055619 , Reply# 25   12/26/2019 at 12:12 (274 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Glad to see the '55 is still in the stable, and that it's gotten some much deserved TLC treatment! The new leather looks amazing!


Post# 1055666 , Reply# 26   12/26/2019 at 20:30 (273 days old) by rickr (.)        

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Thanks Louis! My older brother had a 1955 Pontiac as his first car in 1968. It was a 4 door sedan, Chieftain. Nothing special, but I loved it! It was two toned, mint green and black.

Thanks Ben! I was wondering, if you still had that 1959 Cadillac? Or perhaps it was Cory's car. I saw it when you guys drove it to Greg's house in 2006.

Post# 1055714 , Reply# 27   12/27/2019 at 12:36 (273 days old) by Kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
A real beauty!!

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You have done a wonderful job with it - just stunning! Come spring, get her out on the road and enjoy!

Post# 1056152 , Reply# 28   1/1/2020 at 13:37 (268 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

From what I've read, the Powerglide and the Dynaflow were the two GM transmissions that used the PNDLR sequence. The Dynaflow wasn't truly an automatic; it was a slushbox that relied entirely on the torque converter. It never shifted to low gear unless you moved the lever to L. My parents had a '61 Le Sabre with the Dynaflow. There were hills that it would not go up unless it was shifted to L.

Post# 1056157 , Reply# 29   1/1/2020 at 13:59 (268 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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Originally, GM placed the “L” and the “R” at the end of the shift quadrant to facilitate “rocking” your car out of snow, mud and sand by quickly moving between reverse and low. I’ve seen some Jam Dandy films on You Tube that demonstrate this, and I recall reading about this maneuver in old GM owners manuals.

When I was in HS, in 1966 the neighbors up the road from us had a 57’ Buick Station Wagon and also a 63’ Rambler Classic 4 dr. The Rambler had the PRNDL set up, while the Buick had PNDLR. Once, Diane, the middle daughter was following the school bus up a very step grade, and the bus driver Mrs. Denton always had to come to a complete stop at a certain very steep spot and shift into 1st gear. Well Diane, was used to driving the Rambler, and forgot that reverse was at the end of the quadrant in the Buick and slammed the shift lever of the Buick into reverse by mistake, thinking she was shifting to low and dropped the transmission right on the spot, with all of us laughing at her bad luck. Fortunately, her Dad had a tow truck too, and was able to tow the Buick back up the grade.


Post# 1056254 , Reply# 30   1/2/2020 at 08:38 (267 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Yes, Cory and I made the trek to Omaha in '05 in his then just recently resurrected from the dead '59 coupe deVille. He still has the old girl but last I heard the Hydramatic is slipping a bit.

I had a '61 driver condition deVille a few years back that was a blast but has since moved on. Recently a beautiful '54 Series 62 showed up in the right color and I almost bit the bullet (wife approved, too!). Thankfully my sanity came through in time, LOL.

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Post# 1056255 , Reply# 31   1/2/2020 at 08:47 (267 days old) by rickr (.)        

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I owned a 1961 Coupe in the early 1980's. It was nicknamed "The Batmobile" for obvious reasons. I like the green on this 54. Transmission most likely needs overhauled. If it does not move, a band tightening is not going to do it.....

Post# 1056258 , Reply# 32   1/2/2020 at 09:27 (267 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
band tightening is not going to do it.....

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Yeah, a Unimatic is a piece of cake compared to a Hydramatic...

Post# 1056275 , Reply# 33   1/2/2020 at 13:36 (267 days old) by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

ea56 wrote:

"and also a '63 Rambler Classic 4 dr.  the Rambler had the PRNDL setup,"


Ramblers of that era used Borg Warner 3-speed automatics.  The shit quadrant was

P R N D2 D1 L  

In D2, it started in 2nd and continued to 3rd.  In D1, it used all 3 speeds.

Post# 1056276 , Reply# 34   1/2/2020 at 13:49 (267 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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Ken, I was only trying to make the point that the 63’ Rambler had “L”in the location on the quadrant that we are now used to, rather than “R” being at the lower end. The D1 and D2 designations were located where “D” is now commonly the location we’ve all been used to for years. Thanks for the clarification re: the 63’ Ramblers D1 and D2 designations.

The real point I was trying to convey was that there was originally a reason for L and R to be located at the lower end next to each other, and that drivers that weren’t paying attention could and did cause major damage by shifting into reverse when they actually meant to shift into low.


Post# 1056279 , Reply# 35   1/2/2020 at 14:03 (267 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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1963 was the first year for column shift automatics in Ramblers. 1962 and earlier had push buttons on the dash. My first car was a 1963 Rambler Classic 660 wagon and did have P R N D2 D1 L. You could fold both the rear and front seats for a completely flat carpeted bed. It also had the dual master cylinder braking system, introduced years before most other brands caught up.

Post# 1056282 , Reply# 36   1/2/2020 at 14:17 (267 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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My Grandpa had a 62’ Rambler American Station Wagon that I drove him around in frequently and it had the automatic shift lever on the column. I think the push buttons for the pre 63’ Rambler auto trans were for the higher end models from the mid 50’s until 63’ when the went back to the column.

Nash and Rambler both had since the 40’s offered the convenience of folding the front seat backs all the way down to meet the rear seat cushions thereby creating a bed. Nash and Rambler both offered many features before other manufactures did, like “weatherized” heating that used fresh air circulation when the heater/defroster was on. And they always made a point of their high MPG and gas economy.

When I took Drivers Education, the classroom portion in 1965 textbook had information on all the various different transmissions that people still had in their cars then, from three on the tree to Fluid Drive, Overdrive, vacuum clutches and all the different Auto Transmissions that were still in use, so students would have a clue how to drive any one of these cars should the need arise.


Post# 1056283 , Reply# 37   1/2/2020 at 14:40 (266 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Eddie, you are right about the American always having column shift Automatic but Classic and Ambassador finally did get it '63.

Post# 1056366 , Reply# 38   1/3/2020 at 07:29 (266 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

used the Chrysler torque flight automatics. Chrysler also moved to column shift in 1965 over push buttons, at least on full sized cars.
The tooling for the first 4 speed Hydramatic was obsolete soon after the fire at the Livonia plant inm 1953. Then the Powetglide went into production. Buick retained it's Flight Pitch, and the other divisions save Chevrolet continued their versions of the Superturbine 300, slim jim, etc. until the turbo350 and 400 debuted by 1969 accross all 5 divisions.

Post# 1056404 , Reply# 39   1/3/2020 at 15:53 (265 days old) by appliguy (Oakton Va.)        
1963 was the 1st year for column shift automatics in Rambler

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All Hydra-Matic equipped Ramblers made between 1954 and 1957 used a column gear shift lever with Nash's famous Selectro-Lift Starter. Selectro-Lift was a feature where you turned the ignition switch on and then pulled the gearshift lever toward you to activate the starter. That changed in 1958 when Rambler started using the Borg Warner Flight-O-Matic 3 speed push button automatic. Also if I am reading your last post right Mike you got the timeline a little mixed up. Powerglide appeared in 1950, the Livonia Hydra-Matic plant fire was in August 1953. Turbo Hydra-Matic came out in 1963 on the higher end Cadillac's and was available on big block Chevy's starting mid year 1965 coinciding with dropping of the 409 V8 and the introduction of the 396 V8. Powerglide remained in production until 1973 and was last offered on the Vega, and 6 cylinder and small block V8 Camaro's and Nova's as well as the 6 cylinder and small block V8 Chevelle's thru 1972. Also all 1965 Chrysler products with an automatic transmission had either a floor mounted or steering column mounted gear selector lever. PATRICK COFFEY

Post# 1056425 , Reply# 40   1/3/2020 at 20:49 (265 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

That car is verging on pornographic.... or maybe that's just me.

The grands' '63 Pontiac Catalina had Reverse at the bottom, next to Low. Eddie's right; the owner's manual specifically stated it was to facilitate rocking out of snow.

If not the Catalina, another relative's car had P  N  ' D '  L  R. These were referred to 'Drive Left' and 'Drive Right'


Another car of my grands' family/friends had forward gears marked  D S L, 'S' was for 'Super'; the car started in 2nd gear and only shifted to 3rd 'to avoid transmission damage'.


Full disclosure: Some of my info on cars of this era came from the owners, some from the owner's manuals they let me read, and some from the 3 banker's boxes of mid-50's to late-60's Popular Mechanics and Popular Science mags I got hold of when I was about 14.  Tom McCahill, anyone?

Post# 1056465 , Reply# 41   1/4/2020 at 09:23 (265 days old) by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

AMC switched to Chrysler automatic transmissions for model year 1972, except the big Wagoneer which used the GM THM 400.

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