1938 Cadillac Sixty-Special

Although we sometimes credit Roosevelt’s New Deal for ending the Great Depression, it wasn’t really until the Second World War kicked off that America was finally able to shrug off the economic gloom. The 1938 Cadillac Sixty Special, which remained in production mostly unchanged (except cosmetic details) until 1941, was a huge commercial success for Cadillac and General Motors, with over 18,000 of the expensive cars sold. Designed by Bill Mitchell, the Sixty-Special was a derivative of the entry-level Series 60 Cadillac; it was a clean, straightforward and relatively unadorned affair, and fit the mood of the time quite well, as proven by its sales record. It featured a built-in trunk, large windows, and remarkably for a car of the time, didn’t have running boards.

1938 Cadillac Sixty Special
1938 Cadillac Sixty Special

In a nod to future generations of Cadillac cars, the Sixty Special was powered by a 5.7 liter V8 engine, which allowed the big car to reach a top speed of about 90 miles per hour. While this is by no means extraordinary, especially by today’s standards, such a top speed in such a big car made the Sixty-Special stand out among its contemporaries.

Unfortunately, as in all things, all good things must come to an end, and thus it was that the 1938 Cadillac Sixty Special was cancelled in its current form in 1941, making way for a redesigned car in 1942, which didn’t prove nearly as popular. While it is acknowledged that the 1941 model is the most attractive and sought after model, all versions of this superb car are sought-after collector’s dreams, particularly the very few cars – some say as few as a dozen – which were fitted with factory original custom bodies.