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Standard of the World: 1960

Warren, Michigan, sometime in 1959. "Nineteen-Sixty Cadillac 6339 four-window Sedan de Ville at the GM Technical Center." This was a General Motors body style popularly known as the "flat top." Color transparency from the GM photographic archive. View full size.

Warren, Michigan, sometime in 1959. "Nineteen-Sixty Cadillac 6339 four-window Sedan de Ville at the GM Technical Center." This was a General Motors body style popularly known as the "flat top." Color transparency from the GM photographic archive. View full size.

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My grandfather had the same experience when he bought a 1958 DeSoto Firedome, drove it home, and tried to get it into his 1930 garage. The car was like a wedge, with the fins giving it greater width at the back. I had accompanied him, and got out of the car first, because you couldn't get out on the passenger side in the garage due to an inconvenient staircase. He then drove it carefully into the garage, only to get it stuck with about a foot of car left outside. He then very gingerly backed it out, without visible damage. The next time I went to their house, he had cut two little wedges out of the door frame. If you aimed the car just right, it would go in without getting stuck.

Fuel consumption

mpg (U.S.):

extra-urban: 10.1-12.2
city: 5.6-6.7
highway: 8.9-10.7
average: 8.5

simulation based on the European type of traffic


This website offers the ability to compare two or more cars from pretty much anywhere in the world.

Comparison Correction

The comparison between the 1960 Sedan DeVille and the 2019 Yukon XL is interesting, but slightly misleading. The weight listed for the Yukon (7,500 lbs.) is the gross weight. In other words, its the maximum weight of the vehicle fully loaded with passengers, gear, etc. The curb weight of the Yukon is actually just under 6,000 lbs. Still formidable, and still a lot more than the Caddy.

An investment

In 1960 there was a "data book" for dealers. It contained exhaustive details on how to order hundreds of combinations of models and options, as well as detailed technical info that included what types of metals were used for piston rings and crankshafts.

A 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham had an MSRP of $13,075 or just under $115,000 in 2020 dollars. Only a few more than 100 were made.

[101, to be exact. - Dave]

How many gallons per mile?

Thank goodness gas was probably going for about 25 cents a gallon, if not less. This 3.5 ton behemoth probably had a motor big enough to power an ocean liner. I love the long lines and the tail lights embedded in the fins and in the bumper along with the wrap-around back windshield. Beautiful car!

[The car weighed 4,705 pounds. 3½ tons would be 7,000 pounds! - Dave]

Forget the garage

I need a bigger monitor. When the image is full sized, I can't see more than two-thirds of the car.

Looming Large

A barge indeed, or like someone put wheels on the front porch and drove it away.

And this type of ride also depends on a lot of wide open suburban spaces. As one of the Top Gear hosts said of an enormous luxury car, "In London, it's like trying to park the moon."


1960 Sedan De Ville
225” Long
80” Wide
No Height
Wheelbase 130”
4,703 lbs

2019 Yukon XL
224” Long
80.5” Wide
74.4” High
Wheelbase 130”
7,500 lbs

Long Story Short

For some, if you hadn't stretched your garage prior to getting this land yacht then attempting to squeeze it in would "stretch" it for you.

My grandfather had his garage stretched by adding a half-height shed extension. Only the hood of the car would fit into it. The house, and I presume garage, were built in the 1920s. I remember my grandmother's 1957 Coupe de Ville in that garage and later I had to park her 1962 model for her. It was a squeeze both getting the car in and then getting out of the car.

That panoramic view!

Must have made navigating that barge easy in tight spaces. Rollover protection, not so much.

Environment Friendly

There's room on top for solar panels.

One that got away

In 1983 I went to see a 1959 flat top, to possibly buy it. It was light gray with a white roof. The seller was asking $750 and I talked him down to $650, but ultimately I got into an argument about the car with my parents and meanwhile it got sold out from under me. It needed some work, but it ran well and all the power windows worked. I was so bummed.

I always preferred 1959 over '60, though both are really cool to me. But then I've always loved Cadillacs. This is a great picture.

Garage Stretcher Required?

My memories of 1940/1950 houses seem to remember garages that were not very big. This Sedan de Ville looks to be a bit long to fit in those small garages. Maybe a bit in the width dimension too. The image in the earlier post "The End Result" in this thread from tterrace seems to validate this thought.

Second-Hand Memories

My father's boss bought a new Cadillac every other year & sold the last to Dad's coworker. Lionel's wife always got the "new" one. She & Mom were good friends, so we kids spent a lot of time in Ann's Cadillacs out shopping & hitting the drive-in. The '60, like this one, but in metallic lilac, was memorable for the roominess in the back seat for 5 kids. (That was before seatbelts were required in back. My '65 Sedan DeVille that I've had for 48 years didn't have rear seatbelts either.)

Flatland car

Imagine Karl Malden and Michael Douglas driving that car on The Streets of San Franciso in a hot pursuit.

Or Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks in P.A.G.A.N. gear.

Like piloting a barge

About 50 years ago, I learned to drive in a Peugeot 504, but several times I got to drive a 1960 Sedan de Ville. As the title says, I felt like I was piloting a barge. Or driving a living room. Sorry, I'm searching for just the right analogy.

Junk in the Trunk

That has some insane trunk space!

The End Result

There were, however, parking consquences.

Hot Car

This photo made me weep. in the late 1980s my grandmother gave me this exact car - though pearl white with light blue interior, one bought new in 1960 and sat with less that 30K miles in a barn since the early '70s. My dad cleaned it up, had a tune-up and new tires and brakes fixed for me, and set off driving from East Texas to Austin.

About 100 miles into his trip something went wrong with the brakes — he noticed the drag and figured it was bad gas or something. The friction of the pads heated up the rear wheels and by the time he noticed smoke he barely had time to pull to the side of the road before the rear end was engulfed in flames. The beautiful Caddy burned to a crisp beside the road.

I sometimes wonder how my life would have been different had I cruised Austin in that land yacht instead of my third-hand Buick. *sniff

Such a great driver

My Pop had one or two of these along with a '66 too. I got to drive one. Luxury at its best back then.

I was in total awe when he told me about the "Guide-Matic Autronic Eye Automatic Headlight Dimmer" on the dash! You can see it in the photo.

These cars were Solid As Sears!

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