Saturday, August 13, 2016

1958 Cadillac modificado

"Cadillac's many and varied contributions to the cause of automotive progress have, over the years, represented one of the most important and inspiring traditions in all motordom. And in styling, in design and in engineering, the latest 'car of cars' has added dramatic emphasis to this fact of Cadillac leadership. If you have not yet inspected its marvelous new Fleetwood coachcrafting — or experienced its brilliant new performance — you should do so soon."

Noble understatement was never a trait of Cadillac's advertisement. Especially throughout the 1950s, GM's luxury division cultivated the image of being "Standard of the World", suggesting that everyone was following. Yet, the company's proclaimed "various contributions to the cause of automotive progress" definitely didn't include a station wagon. It took Cuban craftsmen to complete the unfinished task.

The linear window graphics of this rather clumsy rework actually create fairly extreme proportions which somehow suit the Cadillac design. Harley Earl certainly would be pleased to see his mantra of "longer and lower" looking cars in full effect here, even if an original Cadillac station wagon would probably look more baroque and opulent than our pictured model.

"Baroque" seemed to be the underlying theme for all GM designs in 1958. That year, the models turned into garish chrome monsters. Among them, the Cadillac still looked surprisingly decent. Novel quad headlights and a wider front grille should make the 1958 Cadillacs look different but certainly not better than their predecessors, and probably many customers thought the same. Cadillac's sales didn't nosedive as sharp as most other "Full-size" cars in 1958, yet they took a serious hit. Even if the luxury segment wasn't really affected from the buyer's sudden turn to economic "compact" cars, the Cadillacs sold badly that year. Thus, 1958 Cadillacs aren't common in Cuba today, either. This genuine example over at Caristas nicely illustrates how the 1958 Cadillac looked before its station wagon conversion.

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