- Perhaps the finest restored example
- Cadillac-LaSalle Club Senior Award winner
- Loaded with options
Cadillac redesigned its models in 1965 and continued a slow evolution of the new styling in 1967 with reworked contours, which gave the cars an appearance of greater length and muscularity. Underneath, the valve train and engine fan were refined for smoother operation, and a new carburetor was fitted. Body mounts were tuned, with the result being a car that was everything that a Cadillac should be: a smooth, quiet, and compliant driver.
|Vehicle:||1967 Cadillac DeVille Convertible|
|Number Produced:||18,200 (1967 convertibles)|
|Original List Price:||$5,608|
|SCM Valuation:||Median to date, $17,500; high sale, $55,000 (this car)|
|Tune Up Cost:||$300|
|Chassis Number Location:||Top surface on the right-hand frame horn|
|Engine Number Location:||Rear portion of crankcase|
|Club Info:||The Cadillac|
|Alternatives:||1967 Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible, 1967 Chrysler Imperial convertible, 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS 396 convertible|
This car, Lot 113, sold for $55,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s auction at Amelia Island, FL, on March 12, 2016.
Some automobiles beg for attention. Cadillacs from the ’60s command it.
The 1965 Cadillac was a major redesign which, the dealer data book gushed, “is so new… from grille and vertical headlamps to rear quarter panel and rear lamp housings… as to excite the interest of any viewer. It is so right… in its balanced proportions and sleek symmetry… that even the most discerning fine car connoisseur must voice assent.” The hyperbole, for once, was actually justified, as these Cadillacs were blessed with excellent proportions for their mass, and just enough chrome jewelry to dress it up.
Another styling refresh in 1967 gave the cars a more powerful presence, and it had a lasting impact. In an era of annual styling changes, Cadillac remained much the same through the 1970 model, with only another freshening in ’69.
Bigger and better
Unlike many of today’s luxury makes that ride on the same platform as their plebian family-sedan cousins, rear-drive Caddies rode on three different wheelbases, from 129.5 inches for the base Calais and mid-range DeVille to the 149.8-inch Fleetwood 75.
To put that in perspective, the overall length of a 2016 Prius is 179 inches. One could just about tuck it between the wheels of a base ’67 Cadillac.
But despite its size, a 1967 Cadillac weighed only around 4,500 pounds — about the same as a modern Chrysler 300 or Dodge Challenger. Cadillac’s power was impressive, too, with a big 340-hp 429-ci engine built for quiet, effortless cruising while powering a multitude of accessories.
Exclusivity, competition and class
Big as they were, Cadillacs of this era were so much more than their proportions. The perception of Cadillac as “Standard of the World” hadn’t yet been tarnished by poor design and bad build quality, and although the cars were mass-produced, buyers could still specify custom upholstery and other unique touches.
However, the ’67 models hardly had the air of exclusivity Cadillacs once enjoyed — the division broke records by selling over 200,000 units for the first time in its history, with the popular DeVille coupes and sedans making up over half of those sales.
The DeVille convertible — the only drop-top Cadillac in ’67 — had the smallest production of the bunch, with just 18,200 built. The price of the convertible was steep at $5,608, but that included standard leather interior, which was an option on the closed cars. And to prove nothing is really new, heated front seats were a $36 option with the leather.
Across town, Chrysler and Ford also fought for shares of the luxury market. Chrysler’s Imperial received a major makeover in 1967, and by then, the Lincoln Continental was in its second year of a redesign, powered by a monster 462-ci engine. Lincoln also had its unique Continental 4-door convertible, although ’67 was the last year it was built.
Still, the marketplace spoke, with just 45,667 Lincolns and 17,614 Imperials produced in 1967. Car and Driver magazine went so far as to rank the Cadillac Fleetwood in second place in a six-way face-off of luxury cars, behind the Mercedes-Benz 600 but ahead of Rolls Royce, both costing significantly more than GM’s flagship.
Vintage luxury in the modern market
So how does the ’67 Cadillac’s luxury market popularity translate into today’s prices? Not well at all.
Sales of DeVille convertibles are far and few between, and prices appear generally weak. Maybe that tarnished image of Cadillac from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s hurts these beauties from the ’60s. In addition, the market’s mania over muscle cars from the same era means these cars are mostly ignored. However, a few ’67s have broken out of the basement to bring strong prices at auction.
In September 2014, Barrett-Jackson sold an average-condition DeVille coupe for $88,000 (ACC# 256098), but that car had been owned by The King himself. Elvis and Priscilla Presley drove back to Graceland from their Las Vegas wedding in the red coupe, and were often seen cruising around Memphis in it. It later did duty at Elvis Presley Museums in Pigeon Forge, TN, and Niagara Falls, Canada, before being sold.
The only other sale even close to the King’s coupe was a Grecian White ’67 DeVille convertible that RM Sotheby’s sold, also in 2014, for $44,000 (ACC# 244242). This one had enjoyed a complete nut-and-bolt restoration, and earned a Cadillac-LaSalle Club Senior Award. With its contrasting Code 388 red leather interior, it’s a striking automobile, but in view of the cost of an award-winning frame-off restoration, the seller may have broken even at best, in spite of a strong sale.
Well sold, well bought
This ragtop is in fact the same Grecian White ’67 DeVille RM Sotheby’s sold back in 2014, but this time it raised $55,000. I doubt the seller needed to do anything to the car before flipping it, and if that’s true, I’d say this car was very well sold after less than two years of ownership.
But when you consider that 1967 Lincoln Continental 4-door convertibles can sell for as much as $30,000 more than this price, this nicely restored example of Cadillac’s ’60s quality and luxury looks pretty well bought, too.
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.