1955 Cadillac Fleetwood, Model 55-60 Special, 4-dr. sedan
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $4,342.00 (1955: average cost of a car, $1,900.00; average household income, $4,130.00; average cost of a house, $10,950.00; gallon of gas, 23 cents)
Number made: 44,904
Engine, etc.: 8 cyl., 250 hp; 331 cid; 133” wheelbase; 4,775 lbs.
In the mid-’50’s it seemed Cadillac could do no wrong – each year’s cars were carefully planned to build on the appeal of the previous models.
Cadillac’s 331 cubic-inch V-8 was still state of the art and 20 horsepower was added for 1954. Higher compression and other improvements added 30 more horsepower for 1955 – 250 horsepower for all models except the Eldorado convertible which had a 270 bhp V-8. Even with the improved V-8, this Cadillac was build for comfort, not speed. It was capable of “creeping” to sixty in 11 seconds.
The 1954 models had a new look but still looked very much like the lower priced model, the Series 62. Better power steering became standard as did electric windshield washers. New options included a four-way electric powered bench seat and power brakes.
In 1955, the 60 Special was revised and had more power. Its price was slightly lower than the previous year and production rose slightly to 18,300. It was the top-of-the-line Cadillac, elegant and refined. If you owned one, it showed you had made it.
Instead of eight chrome louvers on the lower part of the rear door, the 1955 models had 12 louvers mounted just in front of the back fenders. Chrome rocker panel moldings were taller than the Series 62’s and went from the back of the rear wheel well to the rear bumper. The grille was new, with an eggcrate design. Six vertical chrome louvers were placed on a panel below the trunk lid. A new option was a remote control trunk release. A new 12-volt electrical system was introduced. The air conditioning option cost $619.55 and was trunk-mounted. An “autronic eye” automatically dimmed the high-beam headlights with a forward-facing sensor detecting oncoming traffic.
A set of five true wire-wheeled rims was an option for $325.00. Also new this year were tubeless tires. Air suspension was used to improve comfort but there was significant body roll when cornering. The fuel filler cap was hidden behind the left tail lamp.
Fleetwood Metal Body was a coachbuilder during the early 1900’s. The name came from the town of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania where the company started. Fleetwood was purchased by Fisher Body in 1925 and became part of General Motors in 1931.
In 1946 Cadillac introduced the Series 60, also called the Series 60 Special Fleetwood. The name was used until 1996. It described Cadillac’s most luxurious automobiles.
http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Cadillac/1955_Cadillac/1955_Cadillac_Brochure/dirindex.html (Original 1955 brochure; pdf)