Nothing Says 'Red-White-and-Blue' More Than This Pepto Bismol Pink 1959 Cadillac Series 62

The 50s were the peak of the American Dream effervescence and high-rolling aspirations when nothing seemed impossible to the overly optimistic U.S. of A. That’s short for Unbelievable Styling of Automobiles, and in 1959 no other carmaker would say “Made in America” better than Cadillac.
1959 Cadillac Series 62 20 photos
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
1959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 621959 Cadillac Series 62
That year, Bill Mitchell was taking over from a retiring Harley Earl as styling guru for General Motors. The legendary designer waved his final farewell to cars with a monument: the sixth generation of Cadillac’s Series 62, the most iconic pair of rear-fender fins to proudly wear an automobile underneath.

That’s neither a typo nor a grammar mishap. Please take the 1959 Cadillac and name its most prominent feature. I’ll bet any proper gearhead a quart of motor oil that the answer will always be “the tailfins.” And for good reason, too – the Caddy is immediately recognizable for this unique design trait.

Greatly influenced by aerodynamically-governed aircraft styling, Earl drew inspiration from the flying machines and sculpted his ideas in a similar fashion. Again, the verb sculpted would be considered a metaphor, but it isn’t here. GM’s head artist introduced clay modeling as an automotive design technique.

1959 Cadillac Series 62
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
Of course, the ’59 Series 62 is a supernova in every way, shape, and form, but, being a Cadillac, there is something else that can make it even more stellar: the color. I needn’t say it; you already know that only one shade can turn a Cadillac into an instant party starter.

Elvis had one Fleetwood in the striking hue. Clint Eastwood co-starred in a 1989 eponymous Hollywood production alongside the 1959 convertible version of the Series 62. And Aretha Franklin sang about her "Pink Cadillac" in 1985.

Coincidentally, that same year, one businessman from Arizona bought a… no, not a pink Cadillac, but a white one. A white 1959 Series 62 convertible, which he took to the drugstore to find the cure for the language barrier.

1959 Cadillac Series 62
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
Pepto Bismol was the perfect replacement for a Spanish-English dictionary, and this statement needs to be detailed. Lou Costabile, the YouTuber with regular classic car video stories, found a pink 1959 Cadillac Series 62 convertible in Arizona.

The owner, Larry Read, is the man who used the pink remedy as a color indicator in a car shop in Saint Jose, California, to describe what color he wanted his car to be. The enterprise, Mexican American Auto, didn’t have any English-speaking personnel available, and Larry wasn’t fluent in Spanish.

His solution was failproof and bluntly straightforward: don’t speak at all, stick to visual cues. So he bought the heartburn-treating drug from the nearest pharmacy and pointed out the shade he was looking for.

1959 Cadillac Series 62
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
That’s the end of the color story, but the tale of his pink Caddy is just beginning. Larry regularly had the flashing vehicle star in TV commercials and magazine cover stories. In true red-white-and-blue fashion (with a dash of pink), one specific photo shoot paired gorgeous supermodels and Stanford University college football stars.

Larry tells the story in the video, but I’ll be a spoiler and let you know this: the magazine was Vogue, the girls were from Victoria’s Secret, and the boys were all over the pink Cadillac, completely aloof from anything – and anyone! – else present.

Harley Earl might have played his best part right before the final curtain by gifting the world a car that could steal any show, anywhere, anytime. And the 390-CID (6.4-liter) V8 of this Cadillac nods in approval – hear it in the video cruising down the road.

1959 Cadillac Series 62
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
The car gets regular road episodes but is also maintained in show-quality condition – the owner had to replace the upholstery and carpets once (due to misuse by various renters). And, for the love of torque! the pink “real estate on wheels” deserves every single spoil in the book.

Speaking of torque – the engine is the 390 V8 that GM manufactured for their prized luxury convertible. The video has one displacement-related inconsistency: the owner mentions a 490-CID powerplant, but GM never put an eight-liter V8 in the 1959 Series 62. The 390-CID (6.4-liter) V8 was the only engine for the model, with either a solo four-barrel Carter or a triad of Rochester two-barrels.

Not that it mattered much to whoever bought the car in ’59, but the power outputs were either 325 hp or 345 hp (330 PS or 350 PS) and 430 lb-ft or 435 lb-ft (583 Nm / 590 Nm). An automatic transmission was offered in either a three-speed or four-speed variant.

1959 Cadillac Series 62
Photo: YouTube/Lou Costabile
I did address the superstar car using the title “real-estate” for a reason: the two-door, six-passenger soft-top measures 225x80x130 inches (length, width, wheelbase). That’s 5.7 meters by two meters, with an axle distance of 3.3 meters.

One massive luxury car, at 2.2 tons, with a hefty price tag of $5,453, which was $443 more than the 1959 annual average American household income. To put it another way, the Series 62 was priced more than twice the average car cost of $2,200.

Despite its land yacht proportions, the car has surprisingly good mileage: 18 mpg (13 liters/100 km). Not bad at all, considering that it came out when gas was a quarter a gallon.

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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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