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Cadillac Club: 1961 Cadillac

1961 Cadillac


Although, the true changes began a year earlier in 1960, it was truly the 1961 Cadillac that screamed, “I’m Different”. For the first time in years the Cadillac look was once again refined and more conservative. Gone were the days of the huge tail fins and the bullet lights, instead a crisp and new look was making its way onto the roadway. Unlike the flamboyant Harley Earl, who once designed these masterpieces, the new stylist for Cadillac, Bill Mitchell felt minimalist approaches were what the new Cadillac owners wanted. So therefore, he began the overall gradual changes of the Cadillac look and as a result, the 1961 Cadillac was perhaps the most underplayed look in a decade.

Those individuals that were once offended by the Cadillac’s rocket chrome look were once again pleased with this new concept. A simpler and true work of art was being manufactured, not a chrome bombshell, like before.

Although, the tail fins were still on the 1961 Cadillac, it was no secret that they were being downplayed quiet a lot, a gradual and yet needed change. Bill Mitchell wanted to take the Cadillac back into the days of true luxury and refinement, the flamboyancy of the past was not his forte. But because of long model lead time, his true visions were not seen until later in the sixties. Fortunately for Cadillac, though, the true heart and soul of the vehicle remained a continuous icon in the eyes of Americans, and the Cadillac remained the leader in luxury car purchases throughout the year of 1961.

Another change that was made in 1961 was the elimination of the troublesome air suspension systems. This year all models were re-equipped with traditional coil springs, although not an innovation, it was a well received changed, mainly because the air suspension systems were giving owners a great amount of trouble. Dual exhaust systems were also no longer available instead Cadillac used the four-barrel induction system on all their models in 1961.

Once an exclusive line, the Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz, was also downplayed this year, the engine size was reduced to a 325 horse power V-8, and as a result, the price was lowered causing several thousand to be purchased because of this. But for all purposes, there were little differences between this once exclusive line and all other Cadillac convertibles.

The total amount of 1961 Cadillac models sold this year was just under the previous year’s total, a little more than 138,000 vehicles. Still, however, Cadillac would remain the leader in luxury sedans for years to come. Things would change again with the 1962 Cadillac.

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