Renovation project 1964 Cadillac Deville convertible

Renovation project 1964 Cadillac Deville convertible



To achieve an excellent result of vehicle restoration, it is essential to  manage this task as one manages an industrial project.

To do this we will use a certain formalism of project management and therefore start by defining the need. It is from this that we will deduce the scope, then the time of execution of the dive steps, and finally the budget necessary for the realization.

It is a very formalistic exercise, which is not simple but which has the advantage of analysing the project in the light of its risks, its advantages, and also of setting a frameworkand limits. It is at this price that we will put in our hands the tools allowing us to achieve the success of the project.



The idea of restoration is based on an emotional need  that corresponds to driving with a style car (collection) that was made the year of my birth and to be able to use it daily in a family setting as long as possible.

The convertible Cadillac Deville of 1964 as presented in the film "le corniaud" corresponds well to this emotion.

This emotion comes from the exterior style which must therefore be preserved. Nevertheless, modern daily use will require adaptations.

Both active and passive safety adaptations

This is the case of seat belts that should be retractable and pre-tension or disc brakes with ABS, air suspension for crossing donkey backs or even head restraints possibly retractable

Comfort adaptations

This is already the case for an air suspension that should improve comfort as well as active safety. There is also a more colorful and modern indoor light cover  or a more acoustic sound cover whose sources would complement the original AM radio  (Bluetooth and or auxiliary connections). We can also imagine a possible outdoor lighting of more modern atmosphere and which welcomes or accompanies the driver. Heated seats are also useful if you want to use the vehicle in winter.

Environmental adaptations

such as for example on the engine by improving its balance to limit vibrations and parasitic forces or ane mise to the "Lpg" or other in such a way as to obtain more acceptable operating costs or other modifications that save energy by transforming the carburetor power supply into a power supply to   ideally multi-point injection, management of battery charging during decelerations and  LED lights less energy consumings.

Anecdotal adaptations

Finally, interesting gadgets can be added if designed in the renovation such as a remote-controlled central lock, an electronic anti-theft device a GPS locator, an opening of the electric trunk, a hard top for the winter, a hands-free device  that also allows to have an integrated GPS and, a head-up vision multi display.


As we can see, some elements are essential, others more optional but must be part of the project because they must be able to be added later.



It consists of the sustainable restoration of the vehicle (50 years) to restore the original exterior and interior stamp while allowing itself immediately or later functional  improvements on safety, consumption and comfort.

The restore focuses on different themes for which a specific scope can be defined. We distinguish the following themes from the restoration.

Administrative part

It is necessary to be able to obtain an approval of the vehicle to put it back on the road.

The various improvements envisaged can in no way prevent the vehicle from being put onthe road.  This is an  essential part of the project.  In corollary, since it is an antique within the meaning of Belgian legislation, the road tax is reduced as well as the absence of an annual passage to the technical inspection.

It is therefore necessary to be part of this advantageous legislation to contribute to an economically acceptable daily use.


They must be impeccably restored because they are an important part of the design of the car; the same is true of the acronyms that give the character to the car.


It must be treated 100% to eliminate all corrosion on the 2 sides. It must be protected against corrosion, including the hollow parts.

The paint must be of quality without false reflections and ideally metallic. A 3-layer varnish must be applied to the outer parts.

The original color can be changed given the 100% treatment.

It is necessary to find the best formula for the harmony of colorsbetween exterior / interior / hood.


We include in this item all the elements other than the engine, its gearbox and the transmission.

A check of the chassis geometry is essential to ensure the handling of the vehicle.

It must be treated 100% against corrosion both outdoors and in hollow parts.

It must be repainted durably with an epoxy paint resistant to gravel.

All safety features such as suspension,  silentblocks need to be refurbished.  The exhaust must be made of stainless steel and so must the tank.

Ideally, ceramic disc brakes should be installed and ABS connected with a new master cylinder.

It is also necessary to consider the installation of a hook not to tow a trailer or a caravan but to add an outdoor trunk or a bicycle rack.

Engine and transmission

The engine must be 100% overhauled in such a way as to ensure its efficiency (compression ratio, tightness of the valves balancing the crankshaft of the pistons and connecting rods and also of the automatic gearbox and the rear axle)

An improvement in engine efficiency must be sought at each point of overhaul. An improvement in combustion will be sought by placing a transistorized start by putting an injection carburetor, improving the air inlet and exhaust outlet...



To avoid any problems, 100% of the cables must be charged.

The sections, and therefore the weight of the cables will be adapted to the  LED lights put in place.

A list of modern and easy to implement automatisms will be made (turn on left headlight when turning left, brightness adjustment of the daytime fthem ....)

This is the most accessible part from an improvement point of view; it makes it possible to hand over the vehicle in 2020....

Emergency rear lights must be put in place to prevent accidents.

A parking system must also be set up to avoid small blows

A GPS camera and location system must be installed

An external head-up vision system must be capable of being installed at a later date



From an aesthetic point of view it is as important a point as chrome.

They will be made of better quality leather. It is necessary to ensure the longevity of the cook and its resistance to UV and "bad weather"

It is the same for the hood.

Floor mats should also be easily cleanable for better durability. They must contribute to the soundproofing of the car



If project management requires the realization of adetailed schedule, it must not make the project a nightmare for me. It is therefore necessary to give ourselves time to do things correctly, also leaving room for other family and social professional obligations outside the project. The schedule is therefore established in "hours" or "weeks" of work but not according to specific dates that must be respected. This is essential to keep it fun and not a constraint.

Nevertheless, to set a general idea, the estimated duration to get the car back on the road is 3 or even 4 years.

The most important in this restoration is its quality, durability and also the final cost of the discount in being.

Currently, and without having been able to carry out an inventory of the vehicle, we set a provisional cut of the schedule as shown in the table below.

It is important to note that, in the literature, we find for vehicles in average condition and not of this size delays that are close to 2000 hours of overhaul at a professional. For the non-professional that I am, and given the wreckage of the vehicle and its size, I imagine that it will take me almost double  or 4,000 hours of work.

To fix the ideas, this corresponds to a daily work of three hours a day for four years.


4 weeks of transaction + delivery

10 weeks of research on the internet

152 hours

380 hours

Dismantling and labelling

6 weeks

228 hours


12 weeks of realization of specific tools

456 hours


1 week of material delivery

1 week of testing

6 weeks of chrome plating and polishing

38 hours

38 hours

228 hours


12 weeks of sheet metal repair

3 weeks of resin

6 weeks of primer

2 weeks of painting

456 hours

114 hours

228 hours

72 hours


2 weeks of disassembly

2 weeks of rust protection

3 weeks of reassembly

3 weeks supply

72 hours

72 hours

114 hours

114 hours


3 weeks of dismantling and cleaning

6 weeks of cylinder/cylinder head restoration

2 weeks of balancing

6 weeks gearbox

3 weeks of reassembly on chassis

2 weeks of test bench

114 hours

228 hours

72 hours

228 hours

114 hours

72 hours


2 weeks of disassembly

6 weeks dashboard

6 weeks improvements

6 weeks of flagship and other tests

72 hours

228 hours

228 hours


12 weeks of bench seating

6 weeks doors

6 weeks dashboard

2 weeks of sills and soundproofing

2 weeks safe

3 weeks hood

456 hours

228 hours

228 hours

72 hours

72 hours

114 hours

Final reassembly

6 weeks of assembly according to labelling

228 hours


4 weeks

152 hours


156 weeks

5928 hours


If I work 38 hours a week on this project then the estimate would lead me to 6000 hours of work. In reality, I plan to work in, average 3 hours per day or 20 hours per week or 3120 hours which corresponds to a minimalist estimate that leads me to, approximately, 3 years of work; it is possible that depending on small problems or other obligations foreign to the project it lasts 4 years.



It is imperative that the budget for the renovation of the vehicle does not exceed the value of the same vehicle that can be found in the trade.  It is obviously very subjective one vehicle is not the other.

In principle this type of vehicle and accessible for amounts ranging from 22K € for vehicles in driving condition but with many problems to 35K € for vehicle "refurbished" or with a condition without too much problem. A totally overhauled and dismantled vehicle costs€4,0K. Here, it will be 100% refurbished but also "improved".

Nevertheless, we want the restoration to remain below 25K € because a very large majority of the renovation will have been carried out by me

The budget we are planning is broken down as follows:

Purchase of the restoration base


Purchase of tools for restoration


Various consumables (sheet metal, primer mastic, chrome plating,)


Upholstery (soft sewing cook, foam,... )



                Shock absorbers and ball joints

                Disc brakes

                Tank / exhaust

                LPG pre-equipment







                Piston set and seals

Balance motor / gearbox / transmission

                Transistorized ignition









Administration approval


Miscellaneous / Unforeseen



Total budget of 33.000€

It is therefore necessary to reduce this budget by nearly 8,000 euros

Project Risks

Several risks are identified

Lack of space to work

We have planned a garage to store the base. It is impossible to turn around and you have to take out the car to be able to reassemble the elements. This is a handicap because the body phases require frequent reassembly. One solution is to take advantage of the summer season to do this work and provide a temporary tarpaulin.  The risk is mainly related to a loss of time

One of the garages will be provided for the repair of the sheet metal and then for the resin and the primer or even the paint if possible. In principle this garage is sufficient. A rotisserie will be essential to handle the body of the car;  this rotisserie can also be used for the other parts to be restored which greatly facilitates their handling.

The electrical part will be installed in the house (cellars and attics) as well as the upholstery part; this is where we will carry out a test bench of the electric part before reassembly.

Lack of competence

It is possible that some repairsrequire skills or dexterity or even special specific knowledge.

In principle there are forums dedicated to this car and we can call on the expertise of owner or even garage. There is also a whole series of general tutorials on the renovation of vintage cars.

Welding point of view; it is possible to practice on sheet metal before working on the vehicle itself.

For resin, resin sellers put on theinternet complete explanations of the use of their equipment.  The risk is therefore limited.

For painting there is already a training in painting and handling the paint gun for the deposit of the primer. If the final painting requires skills and a paint booth it is always possible to have the body and body elements painted by a professional. This will result in additional prices, but this is part of the unforeseen budget.

For the engine there are also various tutorials on the internet; you need little material if you don't have to machine. All machining and balancing must be carried out by professionals and the budget provides for at least a balancing of all moving parts; the hoarding of the cylinders is not foreseen; if it were to be carried out, a budget is provided for in the unforeseen events for this item.

For the upholstery it will be necessary to recover the old leathers to serve as a pattern and inquire about the sewing of the cook. This is currently research that has not been done but should not be too much of a problem.

Lack of time

Time is not limited; a degree of freedom of 1 year is defined from the outset to deal with unforeseen work family or project.

Insufficient budget

The budget provides for improvements that are not currently required and can be added later.

It is therefore possible to cut back on these items; it will be to the detriment of the technical beauty of the project.


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Comment by Balachne on June 3, 2022 at 7:00am

Thank you very much Tony and Ginny 429 for your encouragement and support.
I know this website is the best place to find (and give) information.

The caddillac is parked in a dry place so no problem on that side.
As you point out the lack of space is a time consuming problem as it forces me to move the parts from a garage to another storage and work area.

I have started the dismantling as well as my photo gallery which will be essential for the reassembly .... in 3-4 years!

With the dismantling I already have the first surprises but they are not insurmountable.

First encouragement.... the 4 front lights are still functional. Nevertheless, considering the configuration of the headlights of this time, it will not be easy to replace them in LED headlights except if there were kits of conversion. I haven't looked for it yet. If I don't find it, I will keep the original headlights and postpone their conversion to later.

I guess the best way to share my questions and problems is to put them in a specific album. So that's what I'll do.


Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on May 31, 2022 at 8:19pm


This is the most ambitious 64 Cadillac convertible restorations I have ever had the experience to be seeing   on this site since 2006 ( on this site daily ) 

The extensive upgrades in creature comforts new technology and basic normal restoration  you desire to build into your Cadillac is not at all the norm  very much increasing the difficulty of the restoration you choose to be doing 

The extensive skills required to be considering doing your project  yourself would be that of a prior restoration shop or body shop owner or that of a professional auto mechanic by trade 

Do you have exceptional  extensive mechanical skills to be considering doing a lot of this restoration upgrading yourself ? 
A lot of blood sweat tears time and money —-to be putting that  dream in your driveway 

The cars condition— is going to take a lot just to get back to being solid core to be  worth doing the other investing in 

Just my 2 cents ! —- knowing a great deal about bringing a Cadillac like this back to life again 

The sight is the best place you can be when restoring one of our year Cadillacs for parts and advice 

All posts for many  years are posted to the library’s  - Search engine - at the top  far right of the home page which should be a good source of info for some of your future  projects 

Your lack of a good work place— to be doing your restoration could make your progress more difficult than you are anticipating  and a serious set back to me 

The open car needs to be protected from the weather elements to prevent further damage  ( inside ) 

The boys that live on this site daily have an extreme passion for the subject of these Cadillacs and will provide years of collective advice as to how to proceed with your  questions and restoration 

Best to deal with one repair ( problem ) at a time for best results and get that issue repaired 

We are all here to help as much as is possible 

I own my 64 Cadillac convertible since new off the showroom floor ( 58 years and always maintained ) with a drag race Super Stock track record back ground 


Comment by Balachne on May 31, 2022 at 7:46am

Picture or the car to illustrate the project 



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