[ last update: 04.02.2014 ]

The (new) Cadillac Database©

Cadillac Stuff

Fifty-Nine Follies
The 1959 Cadillac:  from Eye-sore to Icon


Return to The (New) Cadillac Database© Index Page
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Frflag.jpg (773 bytes)
(en bas de page se trouve un court résumé en français)



59tllght.jpg (6099 bytes)
Is this what it's all about?

lit59ms.jpg (7156 bytes)
Montage of '59 stuff from my collection:
Prestige color catalog, Eldorado "V" tail-light inserts,

scale model,  pair of tail-light "bullets",  '59 photo album

Here's a Chevy Impala from 1960 with custom "59 Cadillac" tail-lights
[ Photo: Internet, 2013 ]

What is THIS for a '59 Cadillac "nightmare"?



The 1959 Cadillac has become an American icon. Talk to any collector of American iron today and you will find the conversation soon drifting to the Cadillac and, in particular, to the finned behemoths of 1959.  You either love them or despise them; no "ifs" or "buts".


59fullrr.jpg (6497 bytes)
Factory promotional photo, 1959 press kit



...but was it first with the "wild" fins and bullet pods ?


Cad_Boat.jpg (6080 bytes)

59finbo2.jpg (3234 bytes)    59finbo3.jpg (6050 bytes)
Enthusiast Kevin Mueller sent these pics (he owns the only known example of this
'59 Cadillac-finned speed boat (top photo).  Kevin confirmed the fins were a feature of
the boat when it left the yard; it got a lot of press at the time; the photo in the 2nd row, left,
appeared in Newsweek on January 1, 1956, almost three years before the like-finned '
59 Cadillacs made their first appearance); the other photo, right, graced the cover
of Newsweek on April 15, 1957. I must admit I tend to share Kevin's opinion
that this "wild" boat may have seriously influenced the design of the '59s !


But whichever way you look at it and however much you love or hate it, the '59 Caddy is here to stay, like the hamburger, like Coca-Cola and (with all due respect) like the nation's star-spangled banner.  It may be the most extreme example of the automobile as an outrageous art form. There never was and never will be anything quite like it on the road again.



Cadillac Art, Paintings, Sculptures

aragtop.jpg (5293 bytes)    ar59prnt.jpg (6421 bytes)
Left: Evolution of the Cadillac convertible, from 1930 to 1959
Right: artist's view of the 1959 Series 62 convertible

ar59toon.jpg (8170 bytes)    ar59xms.jpg (5669 bytes)
Left: a 1959 cartoon; right:  a 1959 Eldorado Xmas card;

Ar59gril.jpg (7888 bytes)
Left:  1959 Cadillac front clip

art59b.jpg (7288 bytes)    Art5960s.jpg (9880 bytes)     art59c.jpg (6784 bytes)    ar59fin2.jpg (6733 bytes) 
Various 1959 art photos and drawings

ar59fin1.jpg (6468 bytes)    ar59fin2.jpg (5433 bytes)
These two posters are from the 1987
Del Greger/Philip Kaake collection of San Francisco

ar59fade.JPG (6258 bytes)
(unidentified) all things must pass

AR59FIN.JPG (5044 bytes)    ar59.jpg (10349 bytes)     AR59CPE.JPG (5599 bytes)

AR59CV.JPG (6263 bytes)    AR59GRL2.JPG (5299 bytes)    ar59moon.jpg (4876 bytes)

59art4.JPG (6773 bytes)    59nwood.jpg (6536 bytes)
These four rows: Some Cadillac art involving the 1959 Cadillac

Art59a.jpg (3934 bytes)    59slvan.JPG (7854 bytes)
Here is an interesting print (left)  and a close up detail (right) painted by Patrick Sullivan of Wilmington,
NC. The location is Carolina Beach, NC.  The car was stored in the artist's hometown; now it has gone.

59_nail.jpg (6341 bytes)
Someone sent me this picture many years ago; I understand it depicts a "sculpture"
on display on an American University campus. Later I got a cutting from the LA Times
describing the work of Englewood artist, Dustin Shuler; it is called Death of an Era

ONEONECP.JPG (7167 bytes)
The ultimate folly is this 1:1 scale replica, in Fiberglas, of the two-door coupe model
(seen for sale on eBay in December 2002). The vendor claims it is unique
and weighs "ruffly" 300lbs. Any takers ?


The distinguishing mark of the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles is a green 1959 coupe  that appears to have landed, nose-first,  on the roof.  On the campus grounds of an American university, a 1959 Cadillac has been nailed to the ground; the symbolism of that monument to excess is not so evident.  A group of Californian artists who call themselves Ant Farm once drove a 1959 Eldorado into a wall of burning TV sets ...in the name of art; they also buried a '59 Cadillac sedan (and nine other Cadillacs typical of the forties, fifties and sixties) up to their windshield  in the Texas turf.


59hrdrok.jpg (6063 bytes)
The roof of Los Angeles' Hard Rock Cafe
(since that photo was taken, in the early nineties,
the car has been repainted in a psychedelic motif)




59medbrn.jpg (9359 bytes)
Media Burn by Ant Farm, San Francisco, July 4, 1975.
A 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz crashes through a wall

of burning TV sets, all in the name of "art"
[ Photo:  © John Frederick Turner (Yann Saunders collection) ]




hardoc2.jpg (6008 bytes)    hardroc3.jpg (5396 bytes)    hardrock.jpg (5749 bytes)
Popular decoration for a popular fast-food chain: the Hard Rock Cafe
[ Photos: © 2000, Yann Saunders ]



Where will it all end?

In these pages you will find a collection of oddities that all have one thing in common:  the fins and the brilliant bullet tail-lights of the 1959 Cadillac.


5960sfi2.jpg (16924 bytes)



1959 Cadillacs on Magazine, Catalog and Book Covers


liVogue59.jpg (17994 bytes)
Anybody know the month/year of this cover?

59holw.jpg (10270 bytes)    59shop1.JPG (9383 bytes)   59bkcvr.JPG (3762 bytes)


59airtr.JPG (6753 bytes)    59trvl1.JPG (5427 bytes)    59trvl2.JPG (10284 bytes)    59popmec.JPG (8516 bytes)

FIN_CLB3.jpg (7307 bytes)
This is the cover of a Newsletter issued
by the Cadillac Club of Finland (CCOF)
[ Photo: © CCOF ]



1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz for rent in Beverley Hills, CA

I got this tip in June, 2005, from a friend and '59 Biarritz owner, Paul Zanetti of Australia.  Sounds like fun if you have some cash to spare but not enough to go buy the next one on eBay !



1959 Cadillac postcards, greeting cards and bumper stickers


59japan.jpg (13732 bytes) 
This bumper sticker is a souvenir from Japan

59broth.JPG (4859 bytes)    59crdrr.JPG (5720 bytes)    59surf2.JPG (5687 bytes)

  5960st~1.jpg (5677 bytes)    59toon4.JPG (8720 bytes)

59pc01.jpg (9582 bytes)

59pool2.JPG (8748 bytes)    59pool1.JPG (4130 bytes)

59lips.jpg (4962 bytes)    59pc2.jpg (8316 bytes)

59hose.JPG (8172 bytes)    59oilwel.jpg (4837 bytes)

59hrdrck.jpg (5845 bytes)    59pclimo.jpg (6338 bytes)

59catsuit.JPG (8087 bytes)    59cowbs.JPG (5523 bytes)

59fla.JPG (5133 bytes)    59vegas.JPG (5527 bytes)    59pcfin.JPG (3743 bytes)

59pc06.jpg (7670 bytes)   59pcaz.JPG (5747 bytes)    59surf1.JPG (7305 bytes)

 59gdth2.JPG (7604 bytes)    59gmnier.jpg (9327 bytes)
Why this PC depicting Geneva's Grand Theater? Well, if you look carefully in the lower RH corner, you'll see a 1959
Series 62 convertible [blown-up, right].  It belonged to a Geneva doctor [more details about it in the 1959 Dream Cars section]

    59dongi1.jpg (5593 bytes)    59dongi2.jpg (3756 bytes)
These two photos were taken inside the same theater during a much later staging of  Don Giovanni (in the nineties);
the car on the stage is ALSO a '59 convertible; it is NOT the car photographed outside the theater twenty years earlier!

59erotik.jpg (5447 bytes)
[ Source:  Unknown (possibly Internet) ]

  59poof2.JPG (7639 bytes)    59poof1.JPG (7225 bytes)
The attire of the person on the rear deck (left) and the card's message suggest that it was intended for members of
San Francisco's gay community.  It reads I love you so f***ing much, it hurts! (pardon my French!)  It was published
in 1982 by Exposed Cards.  I assume that the person featured in the other  card (right) is a cross-dresser [man's hands
and legs] and that the card, again, was intended for the gay community.  There is no message or indication of the publisher



1959 Cadillacs featured in non-Cadillac advertising campaigns


59hmltn.JPG (7670 bytes)    59clip.JPG (6970 bytes)    59miscb.jpg (7345 bytes)

59lifins.JPG (5039 bytes)    59fordmu.JPG (4598 bytes)    59hmbrgr.jpg (5498 bytes)    59mis4.jpg (6281 bytes)



1959 Cadillacs on Movie Billboards


59film4.JPG (9048 bytes)

59geremv.JPG (8390 bytes)
I believe the movie was called
Breathless, in English

[ red 1959 Eldorado Biarritz ]

59film1.jpg (6787 bytes)    59film2.JPG (4766 bytes)    59film3.JPG (4890 bytes)    59film5.JPG (6001 bytes)



1959 Cadillac Fins and Fashion


59fash1.JPG (7311 bytes)    59fashh.JPG (4354 bytes)

59fashf.JPG (6551 bytes)    59fashb.JPG (5597 bytes)    59fashc.JPG (5427 bytes)    59fashe.JPG (5319 bytes)



1959 Cadillacs in Business Promotion


59parly.jpg (7703 bytes)    59reaest.jpg (5113 bytes)
(Left) this rear clip of the 1959 Eldorado Biarritz was used for an advertising poster for a large shopping mall
outside Paris, France, called "Parly 2".  It features an artist's rendering of a car formerly owned by Ed Berry
of California, originally photographed by Alberto Martinez for a French language book on American cars. The gal on
the right leaning nonchalantly on the RH tail-fins appears to be a giant with a shriveled right arm. Business as usual
(right): choice acreage was being offered in this 1959 ad by Lee Ackerman Investment Co Inc of Phoenix, AZ.
We have friends who live about a mile from where this photo was taken.  It sure does not look like this any more!

  59rent.jpg (4921 bytes)    59rental.JPG (6278 bytes)
(Right) Some time back (!) you could rent the car on the left from John Powell's Rent a Wreck
for just $14 a day.  The car on the right was available from a competitive outfit, also in California

  59_mini.jpg (17146 bytes)
This publicity shot for England's Austin Mini, designed by Sir Alex Issigonis, takes a snide swing at the Cadillac
by showing that you could fit the diminutive car into the passenger compartment of the spacious Fleetwood limousine

59&golf.jpg (10141 bytes)
Along the same lines as the preceding photo, this one sets off the "bulky"
'59 convertible and the more trim Chevrolet Chevette.  Personally, I still  prefer the Cadillac!
[ thanks to Dave Burden for correcting me on the Chevette, that I had listed as a VW Rabbit ]

Gracious living is perfectly illustrated in this seventies ad for a private jet
[source:  "Good Life", May 1983]



1959 Cadillac Paraphernalia


59box.jpg (6446 bytes)    59clock.jpg (5363 bytes)    ms59vide.jpg (7181 bytes)
Left and center, a ceramic box and a wall clock decorated with the tail end of a '59 Cadillac

Right: VHS Video tape of Rude Dog and the Dweebs (Dweebin around in a pink Cadillac)

 59cows.JPG (13798 bytes)    59lmoges.jpg (5026 bytes)
More ceramics

   59elphne.jpg (12875 bytes)
Popular telephone handset in the shape of a 1959 Eldorado Seville

GUITHALL.JPG (5454 bytes)
Now isn't this something else?
A working 1959 Cadillac electric guitar!
[ Photo: courtesy Quentin Hall (owner), Australia ]

    59fob.jpg (7268 bytes)    59fridge.jpg (3662 bytes)    MS59MUSI.jpg (8439 bytes)
Left: key fob with cartoon Cadillac, Center, a fridge with 1959 Cadillac tail-lights
Right, from Classics Collection, the Mini Car Musical,  a music box that plays Pink Cadillac ]

59acc_Gift2.JPG (3014 bytes)    59acc_Gifts.JPG (11932 bytes)
Cadillac blank "gold" keys in presentation gift box [top left of larger image]
These items are from a Cadillac Merchandising Gift Catalog from 1959
[ images provided kindly by Bob Millian, CLC resident expert on '59-60 Cadillacs ]

64Key2.jpg (2784 bytes)    64Key1.jpg (3333 bytes)
These images also were provided by Bob Millian; I'm not sure if the year is 1959;
The "dipped V" Cadillac crest first appeared on 1964 Cadillacs

59knife.JPG (6076 bytes)    59lictag.jpg (9217 bytes)
Left:  believed to be from the Franklin Mint [anything to make a quick buck!], this decorative pocket knife
Right: THE number plate for the '59 Cadillac buff

MI59NEON.jpg (8112 bytes)    MS59CRD.jpg (5631 bytes)
Left: Neon-lighted Cadillac sign [there exists also a simpler version without lighting]
Right:  From Car and Driver comes this card set, including one that depicts the '59 Eldorado convertible 

59radio.jpg (10671 bytes)    59radio2.jpg (4922 bytes)
1959 Cadillac (tail) radio and tape deck

MSC59STP.jpg (8343 bytes)    Ar59fdc.jpg (10343 bytes)
This first day cover, celebrating the 1959 Cadillac tail-fin,  issued March 17, 1995,
features an unknown artist's impressions of that year's Series 62 convertible model

59toy60s.JPG (11615 bytes)    59toyad.JPG (6380 bytes)
(Left) This cute wood and card model of a 1959 Cadillac Series Sixty-Special sedan is "parked" beside a rare 1959
Cadillac Eldorado Brougham in Paris, France [ex-François Laurent car, now Robert Keyaerts Cadillac Museum at Langeais]; as you
can see, the toy is about three feet long.  Right, this classified ad appeared in the Swiss weekly Automobile Revue;  a real car is being
offered for sale but the ad seems to features a '59 Cadillac toy (one that I have never been able to properly identify)

59bag.jpg (9630 bytes)
This paper bag design was used by
a Swiss department store in the eighties

59blow~1.jpg (6569 bytes)    59tlght.jpg (10736 bytes)
I wanted a pair of fancy Cadillac bookends.  At left, this is how the junk yard operator removed them
from the "donor car", an unhealthy 1959 ambulance.  On the right, this is how the tail-lights were
used to decorate the music room in the basement of our former home in Chambésy, Switzerland
(Below) This rear bumper off a 1959 Eldorado - with working lights - graced the outside of our garage.

59garage.jpg (9926 bytes)

 59bludot.jpg (4331 bytes)    59bludo2.jpg (3697 bytes)
(Left) the tail end of this thirties-based Ford (?) hot-rod caught my attention at a car meet in PA in 1991.  These
1959 Cadillac tail-light lenses have been adroitly converted to the "blue dot" kind,  popular in the thirties.
On the right, these two blue-dot '59 tail-light lenses were offered for sale at auction on e-Bay in January 2000!

  59GLASS.JPG (6240 bytes)  
Champagne anyone?
"Glasses" by Peter Wilding Frey
[ Photo by Mel Melcon ]

  59cocktl.JPG (6598 bytes)
Matchbook cover from the collection of   Jean-Michel Roux, Switzerland



1959 Cadillac Seats, Sofas, Beds, etc.


59chair.JPG (3713 bytes)

59seat1.jpg (5370 bytes)    59seat3.jpg (4976 bytes)

   59seat2.jpg (6837 bytes)    59SOFA.jpg (16567 bytes)

59stbobm.jpg (6527 bytes)
This couch was made for R&B artist, Fats Domino, by CLC member, Bob Millian

    60fatsd.jpg (5182 bytes)    60fatsd2.jpg (2683 bytes)
Left: Fats autographed this photo of him seated on the custom-made couch
Plaque (right) hides behind arm rest of Fats' couch (left)

59elvst.jpg (7557 bytes)
The 1959 Cadillac couch is a popular home furnishing for the car nut.  One of our friends in Switzerland has one 
[see "Shark 59" story].  I witnessed the "delivery" to his penthouse apartment in Geneva;  they had to get a crane
to hoist it onto the terrace and four strong men to carry it through the French windows into the lounge;
Lower pic: miniature ceramic couch with Elvis, reading

59seat.jpg (8822 bytes)
In this painting you can see a 1959 Cadillac couch  (lower right)

59dezr.JPG (5003 bytes)    59dezr2.JPG (10296 bytes)    59ssidht.jpg (9167 bytes)
This hotel in Miami Beach features a snack-bar with fancy booths like this one

Don't discard your '59 when you are through driving it!  It could make a comfortable
"Cadillac-King"-sized bed (left) or an ingenious, log-burning stove for the lounge (right)



The places Cadillacs will go!


59expofr.jpg (7078 bytes)
On show in Paris
Cars of the American Car Club de France

59daulch.jpg (10576 bytes)    5956un.JPG (8818 bytes)
Left:  this superb Series 62 convertible belonged to my friend the late Philippe Dauliach, a modest potter in one of France's
most barren and remote areas (Lozère).  Philippe wanted to get away from the humdrum of city life ...but he also wanted to
keep the '59.  The beautiful setting is the Dauliach pottery.    Right:  my former '59 Coupe de Ville in company
with Roger Zimmermann's mint '56 Sedan de Ville at the European office of the U.N., in Geneva, Switzerland.

  Since I took that picture (in the mid-eighties)  a barbed wire fence now surrounds the austere building, with observation
posts at various strategic locations, all manned by the Swiss military.  What are the "united nations" coming to?

Yanngit2.jpg (7515 bytes)
We admired yet another Series 62 convertible (this one from Germany),  when we
were guests of Magali and Genevieve Keyaerts at their Château home in France in 1992

          el59syr.jpg (8905 bytes)
This sad looking Eldorado Biarritz was snapped in Damascus, Syria,
in September 2001,  by Joelle Leuba, a former neighbor of ours in Switzerland;

note that the trunk lip "ELDORADO" trim has been  put on the front hood!
[ Photo: © 2001, Joelle Leuba ]

wald59b.jpg (8788 bytes)
Dreams are free ...but not this triple Persian Sand
Eldorado Biarritz that Gita and I  drooled over in Ohio, in 1994

hollnd01.jpg (7570 bytes)    hollnd02.jpg (8418 bytes)
On a Channel cruise in 1999 [ touching on England, France, Belgium and Holland], Gita and I were treated to this
1959 Series 62 convertible belonging to Frits Mast, a member of the Dutch Cadillac-LaSalle Club



1959 Cadillac Tragedies


59murder.JPG (8560 bytes)    59murdr2.JPG (8379 bytes)
This 1959 Eldorado Seville coupe is known as the "murder car" 
because its defunct owner was shot in it.

59fire2.jpg (13942 bytes)
This Series 60 Special caught fire and was all but destroyed
[ Photo:  Courtesy Cadillac-LaSalle Club of Australia ]

59wrck.jpg (9259 bytes)    59wrck2.jpg (10219 bytes) 
I hate to end on a dramatic note, but I took these photos of a 1959 Cadillac 6-window Sedan de Ville
in France, in July 1961. Sadly, six people lost their lives in this wreck when the car skidded out
of control on France's treacherous 3-lane "N7" road near Valence, wrapping itself around a tree
[ Photos: © 1961, Yann Saunders ] 


For more 1959 Cadillac oddities you may refer also to the "Dream Car" section for 1959 by clicking here.   If any readers have other, similar treasures, I shall be glad to feature them here



Frflag.jpg (773 bytes)
(résumé en français)

La Cadillac année 1959 est à la voiture américaine ce que la Statue de la Liberté est au port de New York  Elle est aimée ou haïe; il n'y a pas de juste milieu. Mais que vous l'adoriez ou que vous la haïssiez, elle reste.  Elle restera aussi longtemps que les hamburgers, le Coca-Cola et (avec tout le respect qu'on lui doit) la banière étoilée.

Il s'agit de l'art automobile poussé à l'extrême.  On n'a jamais rien vu de pareil et on ne verra plus jamais rien de pareil.

Le Hard Rock Café de Los Angeles se distingue par le coupé Cadillac de couleur vert pomme qui paraît avoir aterri sur son toit, le nez dans le béton.  Clouée au gazon, sur le campus d'une université américaine, une Cadillac de 1959 grandeur nature s'élève en monument célébrant l'excès;  son symbolisme n'est pourtant pas évident.  Un groupe de jeunes artistes californiens qui ont pour nom Ant Farm ont bricolé dans les années soixante-dix une Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz de 1959 et l'ont fait traverser un mur de postes TV en flammes ...au nom de l'art; ces mêmes jeunes gens [aujourd'hui bien plus agés] ont aussi enterré une Cad '59 jusqu'au parebrise dans le terre du Texas en compagnie de neuf consoeurs des années quarante, cinquante et soixante.  Ou cela s'arretera-t-il?

En parcourant ces pages vous allez découvrir une série d'images pour le moins étonnantes qui ont toutes un point commun:   les ailerons ou les feux arrières en forme d'obus qui sont la marque des Cadillac de 1959.




Return to The (New) Cadillac Database© Index Page
or to the Miscellaneous index page


© 2000, Yann Saunders [aka Mr. Cadillac]
[ Background image:  1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz tail-fins, courtesy Georg Pfeiffer, Austria ]