Cadillac Models & History 1965

Cadillac had a resounding 1965, producing close to 200,000 cars. But it was a banner year for all Detroit, so that was only good for 11th place. The “budget” Series 62, a fixture since 1940, was renamed Calais. Eldorado and the Sixty Special were officially Fleetwoods, like Series 75, bearing the requisite nameplates, wreath-and-crest medallions, broad rocker panel and rear-quarter brightwork, and rectangular-pattern rear appliqués. A new Fleetwood Brougham sedan, actually a Sixty Special trim option, offered a vinyl roof with rear-quarter “Brougham” script.

Another body change gave the ’65s a longer, lower silhouette, with fins planed absolutely flat, though a hint of them remained. Also new were a straight back bumper and vertical lamp clusters. Up front, headlight pairs switched from horizontal to vertical, thus permitting an even wider grille. Curved side windows appeared, and pillared sedans returned in the Calais and DeVille series. Sixty Specials likewise gained roof pillars, while six-window hardtop sedans were dropped. The Special also reverted to its exclusive 133-inch wheelbase after riding the standard 129.5-inch chassis for 1959-64.

Though Cadillac’s V-8 was unchanged, the slightly lighter ’65s offered the luxury market’s best power-to-weight ratio. “Dual driving range” Turbo Hydra-Matic and full-perimeter frames (replacing the X-type used since ’57) were adopted except for 75s, and all models came with a new “sonically balanced” exhaust system. Amazingly, prices weren’t far above what they’d been in ’61.


Vehicle numbers were now located on the right or lefthand side of the forward frame crossmember.
The original engine serial number was the same as the vehicle identification number.
The first symbol was a letter (see Body Style Number suffixes) indicating series and body style.
The second symbol was a number designating the model year.
The following six numbers designated the sequential production code and started with 100001 and up.
Body Style Numbers were revised to reflect a more rational arrangement of models.
The new five digit codes began with “68”
The third number was a “2” on Calais; a “3” on DeVilles.
The final two symbols corresponded to Fisher Body Division Style Number codes.
The five digit numbers were found on the vehicle data plate, affixed to engine side of the firewall, and may have been followed by a letter suffix corresponding to those on the charts below.


  • Vinyl roofs for Coupe and Sedan DeVilles came in four different colors.
  • A tilt telescope steering wheel option was highlighted this season.
  • The Cadillac factory closed July 8, 1964 for the changeover to 1965 model production.
  • This was 22 days earlier than usual, as a 471,000 square foot expansion of facilities was planned.
  • The plant reopened August 24, when production of cars to 1965 specifications commenced.
  • It was the longest plant shutdown in Cadillac history and the new manufacturing potential of 800 cars per day was an all-time high.
  • The three millionth Cadillac was built this season and a new engineering center was dedicated.
  • The Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham was frequently referred to as a separate model.


1965 Manual