The 1960 model year was an impressive beginning to a new decade. During the Sixties, Cadillac styling became more graceful and restrained as Bill Mitchell gradually unified the design. Few new engineering advances were introduced, but orderly design development and a conservative styling approach set Cadillac apart from other luxury makes and maintained its reputation as “The Standard of the World.” To the American public, Cadillac remained a symbol of prestige, success, and good taste.
The 1960 Cadillac began the evolutionary process of toning down the excesses of 1959. Although it continued the jet plane styling theme of the ’59, its fins were clipped (but still prominent) and Ed Taylor redesigned the taillights into a thin strip of red plastic neatly blended into the end of the fin. Supplementing that was a second taillight in each “exhaust port,” now a vertical oval that still housed the backup light as well. the simplified grille lost its horizontal divider bar and the front bumper was also simpler and less bulky. New, too, was the instrument panel. All in all, the ’60 Caddy had a more formal, yet youthful, look.
The Cadillac Series Sixty-Two hardtop coupe, hardtop sedan, and convertible were the “entry level” Cadillacs of 1959 and ’60; they were priced at $4892, $5080, and $5455, respectively. The sedan was available in four- or six-window form for the same price. Series Sixty-Two models were distinguished by a narrow full-length chrome rub strip that ran from behind the front wheel to the rear bumper. Cadillac script was located on the side under the rubbing strip on the front fender and the rear grille had only one row of “jewels.”
One step up the Cadillac ladder came the four- and six-window Sedan de Ville and Coupe de Ville, priced at $5498 and $5252. Interiors were finished in Camden cloth with matching leathers, and a metallic cloth was also listed. Like the Series Sixty-Two, one row of jewels graced the rear, and a narrow chrome strip ran from behind the front wheel to the rear bumper, but the Sedan de Ville or Coupe de Ville script was located on the rear fender.
Cadillac’s 1959 and ’60 bold sweeping lines stood out as a modern masterpiece of automotive sculpture. Every luxury and convenience coddled both driver and passengers, with comfort enough for even the longest journey. Here was a car designed for comfort, but one that offered a pleasant surprise when a quick response was needed — 0-60 mph in just 10.3 seconds. And with the windows up, the interior became hushed, like a living room on wheels. Cadillac engineering and design had come together in creating a sumptuous machine.
The 1959-60 Cadillacs were designed during a period of great change within GM. Harley Earl was heavily involved with the ’59s, but Bill Mitchell took over after Earl’s retirement and was mainly responsible for the 1960 models. Under Mitchell, a new freshness permeated the air — a freshness and youthfulness that was to become the hallmark of most cars developed under his regime.
The ’59s and ’60s have had their share of foes over the years, but there is certainly a time and a place for them. Perhaps Earl, Mitchell, Hols, Glowacke, and Scheelk designed a car whose time is now. It is seen everywhere these days: TV, movies, and even in commercials for new Cadillacs! People can’t get enough of the 1959-60 Cadillac’s flamboyance, and prices are escalating accordingly. It is such a welcome relief to see one parked amongst the little boxes-on-wheels of today. Ah, the genius of it all.
Car Life magazine selected the 1960 Cadillac as its “Best buy in the luxury field.”
This was the last year for air suspension and for wraparound windshields, except on the Series 75 Fleetwood models.
According to contemporary road tests gas economy ratings for 1960 Cadillacs were approximately 14 miles per gallon at a steady 60 miles per hour.