The 1949 Cadillac Series 62, with its budding tail fins, is seen by many as the originator of the whole 1950’s tail-fin craze. Realistically speaking, its tail fins were quite reasonable, compared to the absolute excess that was to follow – and I’m not complaining about either, mind you! The sweeping rear-end end the discreet tail-fins were also seen as the inspiration for the 1952 Bentley Continental R, although the latter had a much longer rear and seemed lower. The Series 62 certainly made an impact, not only with its competitors, but also on the road, where its dramatic styling imposed itself as a standard, as well as mechanically. While no race car, it didn’t give its place to anyone!
Powered by a silky-smooth 5.4-liter V8 pumping out a then-impressive 162 horsepower, the Cadillac Series 62 could reach the top speed of 100 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 mph in 13 seconds, which was at the time faster than most sports car could achieve.
The power was transmitted to the rear wheels by a three-speed automatic gearbox; Cadillac had abandoned manual transmissions in 1941. The brakes were standard drums (discs were not available) and it benefited from an independent front suspension, and a live rear axle.
Minor cosmetic upgrades were made to the Series 62 in later models, but nothing that would have damaged its name or reputation.