Cadillac Introduction History 1965

Cadillac  Introduction Models & History 1965

Cadillachad 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 3378mm wheelbase after riding the standard 3289mm 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 (i.e., “5” for 1965)
  • 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” except for the early Fleetwood Seventy-Five and early production of the Fleetwood Eldorado convertible which began with “69”
  • The third number indicates the model
    • “2” for Calais
    • “3” for DeVille
    • “4” for Eldorado
    • “0” for Fleetwood 60 Special
    • “7” for Fleetwood 75 Limousine
  • The final two symbols corresponded to Fisher Body Division Style Number codes
    • 23 = 4-dr luxury sedan
    • 33 = 4-dr limo sedan
    • 39 = 4-dr hardtop sedan
    • 57 = 2-dr hardtop coupe
    • 67 = 2-dr convertible
    • 69 = 4-dr sedan
    • 90 = commerical chassis
  • 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 individual model charts


1965 Cadillac Notes

  • Vinyl roofs for Coupe and Sedan DeVilles came in four different colors.
  • A tilt telescope steering wheel option was highlighted this season.
  • Cadillac offers automatic leveling suspension
  • 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.
  • Harold G. Warner was general manager
  • Charles F. Arnold was chief engineer until March
  • Carl A. Rasmussen became chief engineer in March
  • Stanley Parker was chief designer (Cadillac Studio)
  • Fred H. Murray was general sales manager until September
  • L. N. Mays became general sales manager in September
  • Cadillac production figures
Calais34,211 (decreased 18,768)
Sedan de Ville60,535 (increased 6,234)
Coupe de Ville43,345 (increased 24,350)
de Ville convertible19,200 ()
Eldorado2,125 (increased 255)
Series 6018,100 (increased 3,550)
Series 753,919 (decreased 145)

1965 Automotive Notes

  • Chrysler introduces the 300-L–the last “Letter Series”
  • Dodge introduces Coronet and Monaco
  • Ford introduces LTD
  • Buick Skylark and Riviera get Gran Sport editions
  • Many models get front disc brakes
  • The Automotive Products trade Act of 1965 eliminates tariffs on new North American motor vehicles coming or going from U.S. and Canada
  • Ralph Nader publishes Unsafe at Any Speed to highlight safety in cars
  • GM full-size models have perimeter frames
  • Chrysler products abandon the pushbutton automatic transmission controls first introduced in 1956
  • Chevrolet offers AM-FM stereo radio
  • AMC introduces Marlin fastback “3+3”
  • Studebaker Avanti II is powered by Corvette V-8
  • Checker uses Chevrolet V-8 engines
  • Corvette offers 4-wheel disc brakes option
  • The Excalibur SSK introduced
  • Chevy II, Dart, and Falcon get big/more powerful engines
  • Thunderbird features sequential rear turn signals
  • Thunderbird has double-sided reversible keys
  • Thunderbird introduces keyless locking system
  • John F. Gordon was president of GM until June and was replaced by James M. Roche
  • Frederic G. Donner was chairman of the board at GM
  • Top American Automobile Corporations for 1965

1. General Motors4,217,407 (increased 382,398)
2. Ford1,928,999 (increased 70,781)
3. Chrysler1,274,616 (increased 196,981)
4. Others422,419 (decreased 82,532)
  • Top model year production for 1965
Electra 22586,807
Series Sixty Special18,100
Series Seventy-Five3,919
Avanti II21