(click here for 1959 Caddillac Specifications)
Responsible for the ground breaking design of the 1959 Cadillac was G.M design chief Harry Earl. Born into a family of coach builders in 1893 he grew up in the then sleepy town of Hollywood. The family formed Earl Automobile Works in 1908.
In 1914 Earl attended Stanford University and the family income was primarily earned from making chariots for epic movies. Bought out by a local Cadillac dealership in 1919 the company was given over primarily to customizing car bodies. Around this time Harley Earl developed the now standard technique of modeling new car designs out of clay.
During these early years of the Automobile looks were not really considered a priority until General Motor’s chairman Alfred. P. Sloan realised that the aesthetics of a car could greatly improve its desirability to the consumer. Harley Earl was invited to General Motors to head the new Art and Colour section.
Earls first success was with the ‘La Salle’ in 1927. He developed his first ‘dream car’ the Buick Y job in 1937. Harley Earl had several commercial successes with Cadillac’s, Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Oldsmobile’s and Buick’s by the time he retired in 1959. Harley Earl was a true pioneer inventing two-tone paint, chromium plating and the tail fin but was never recognised for his achievements with any form of award.
The 1959 Cadillac was where Harley Earl reached the extremes of his vision in automobile design, longer, lower and more ornate. The tail fin was first introduced in 1948 and was said to be inspired by the World War 2 p-38 fighter. The early fins were fairly modest. In 1957 the fins steadily grew until 1959 they peaked dominating the look of the car.
Several features of the car are said to resemble the look of aircraft around this period and the large wrap around windscreen could give a cockpit like feel. By the time of his death in 1969 Harley Earl had been responsible for the design of around fifty million cars, give or take a couple.
Size is everything
The 1959 Cadillac was by no means a small car. It was certainly designed to make an impression where ever it traveled. The only problem is, they just don’t make car spaces big enough these days. Compared to today’s family cars you can clearly see what a giant it was, although, it was not unusual for cars around this era to be so large.
BMW 3 series
The car may be over 40 years old but it does come with a few modern luxuries. Some of these include a fully restored leather interior, electric windows, electric seats, and for that cold Melbourne winter a heater and for the red hot summer full air conditioning. The Caddy is also fitted with a Radio/ CD player so you can rock along to your favourite tunes whilst being driven in luxury.
Browse our Cadillac wedding car showroom to see more pictures of Caddyman cars.