Hello! What a great group! A few years ago I owned a 64 Fleetwood Series 60 special and got hooked! I’m going to be looking for a 63/64 coupe early next year and am just looking for some pointers. I want it to be stock and as dependable as can be expected. I’m definitely looking for a numbers matching turn key car I can drive as much as I want and take to shows. Not looking to win the shows necessarily but just want a good respectable example. Any advice you can share would be most appreciated. Price ranges & places to look? I keep an eye on eBay, auto trader and Hemming’s just to name a few places. Any thoughts on air conditioning in these cars.....I know Cadillac offered it going way back in the early 50’s but how temperamental are they? I’ve seen 63/64’s with and without it as an option but am curious if it’s worth it? I mean......I’d like it.....haha. Thanks, Alex
Geez Alex, after a Fleetwood Sixty Special, anything else will be a bit plain. LOL :-)
Go get another Fleetwood, all of the classy, discerning types on here have one.
And Kevin has one too!
Hmm, talk about contradiction. Kevin and class in the same sentens. Lol.
You two can be so unkind.
We only state the truth...
Spend as much as you can afford. Don't try to save money. Look for a car with a rebuilt engine, or an original engine with less than 90,000 miles. These are expensive to rebuild. Anything over 90k will be in the worn out close to a rebuild.
The 63 AC system is great. The 64 AC/Heat system was completely redesigned. It allows the driver to set the desired cabin temperature. I works great too, but it is a complex troublesome system to maintain. Expensive to get going if it does not work.
Alex, The AC on 1964's, unlike the 1963, is often problematic as these were the first ever Production car with the automatic "Comfort Control". The systems are not that complex but have numerous components from vacuum actuators and rotary valves and hoses that go bad and need to be repaired or replaced, which can be very time consuming to track down and expensive to replace. There is an excellent manual for diagnosing and repairing these by Tim Groves called "Troubleshooting 1964 Cadillac Comfort Control Systems" that is a must, along with the 1964 Cadillac Shop Manual, to go through, diagnose and get the Comfort Control working again.
I mention AC first as that was one of your questions and it really depends on where it is on your Priority List. I bought my 1964 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in Nov 1996, and the AC part of Comfort Control has never worked (heat works fine), but has never been high on my Priority List. I first addressed the drivetrain (rebuilt block myself in 2012), and body work (painted twice), steering and suspension and brakes (all replaced with new components), and have the AC Comfort Control staring at me as a next big project. Typically I just drop the windows, and turn the optional power vents inward on warm days, and really have never taken it on a cross country trip across the southern states where AC might be more of a prerequisite. AC is nice, and I am in a mid-south state with high humidity (NC), but I also grew up dirt poor on the other side of the tracks with window fans, so AC has never been mandatory ... not to mention I am not overly sensitive to hot and cold as many of today's youngsters seem to be. Don't get me wrong, I like my AC now, but it has always been low priority ... or at least lower priority than the afore mentioned projects.
Other than AC, I would do a thorough check of the drivetrain, brakes, suspension & steering, body condition (get it up on a lift, look under mats, carpet, etc), and consider everything. Having judged at several Cadillac LaSalle Club Grand Nationals I tend to use the judging sheets as an overall guide when going over a car, as it will force you to go through and check many operational items (e.g. wipers, lights, signals, radio, AC, power windows, power seats, antenna,) and inspect each component individually instead of the typical once over most of us do when we pop a hood and have an owner fire up the engine.
Problematic areas on the 64 other than the Comfort Control System, include vibration from worn out rear driveshaft sections, leaking exhaust manifolds and intake manifolds due to cracks, leaking and damaged front aluminum engine covers, cracked transmission to engine adapter rings (for those equipped), rusted out front lower bumper ends, rusted front fenders at bottom in front of door, rusted out hood and deck lid lips, broken wires in driver door rubber boot between door and body, other faulty wiring including grounding issues (especially in the engine compartment), broken neutral safety switches (getting very hard to find and expensive, and 4 used in 1964), and again worn out steering and suspension components. I have found the core engine blocks often hold up well, even over 100K miles. I did not rebuild my 429 until it had 158K miles. It basically was leaking so bad I really needed to do something so I rebuilt the engine. The wear on the cylinder walls, even at 158K miles was marginal and was able to just hone the walls, and install all new components. Just something to keep in mind. The valve train has a lot of moving parts and a new valve job is usually in order (and will show great performance gains) regardless if over 100K miles.
These are overall great cars, but do have a few problematic areas. Good luck on the hunt.
When we bought our Fleetwood :-) for us, no air conditioning, was a deal breaker on a few cars.
We did however, manage to locate a solid car from California that was in pretty good ORIGINAL condition. After pouring over 130 good photos, of all aspects of the car, we did haggle a price subject to an inspection. The car was checked over, a compression test performed on it and we bought it.
The air cond was disabled and evacuated prior to shipping. Yep, all the way to OZ.
After around 3,500 miles, i did get the joy of rebuilding the engine (124,000 miles on it) The air cond was kicked back into life, but we did replace over the past 2 years, he rag joint on the steering, recently, the gearbox mount, 4 tyres (Oz spelling) due to age.
I always shoot for something that hasn't been painted, with history from a dry climate. Our car, has zero rust, but it does suffer a tiny bit, from a Californian suntan. Its got few light bumps because the elderly first owner use to collect the mail box on occasions when driving in the driveway. But what you see, is what you get.
Take your time, get any car up on a lift for a good going over. Road test it for a decent amount of time. Good luck, and make sure its a Fleetwood.
Don't listen to Kevin.
A Fleetwood can be nice. And having all optional equipment could also create extra repairs or parts. The less stuff = the less repairs.
Find a nice Series 62. It should have power windows and C/C (AC) and maybe electrical sofa. As I said less options = less stuff to repair.
Also a lot of cars came with a sofa in front. Some have separate seats. I prefer a three person sofa. But that's just me.
In the latest newsletter thread, there is two very nice Cadillac's for what seems a pretty reasonable price each.