1962 Sedan deVille
February 14, 2016
My parents bought our 6-window Sedan deVille as a 2-year-old cherry used car in 1964.
Then they made the mistake of setting me loose with it. I ran the bejeebers out of it, and it held up quite well.
I took it drag racing on Telegraph Road many a night. I won far more than I lost. The 390 and four-speed Hydra-Matic ran far better than you'd expect of a 4660 lb. car.
I road raced it wherever I could find a curvy road. Softly sprung, without the anti-roll control of today, the car would heel over and get a set, and then we were good to go. Stable, predictable, controllable.
I four-wheel-drifted it when I found the appropriate constant-radius curved roads. Such antics would probably be much more difficult with today's tires. I remember one guy standing in his front yard shaking his fist as I whizzed past, drifting by at reckless youthful exuberance speed. Admittedly, not smart.
It had great brakes for the era, 12" finned cast iron drums all around. They would stop the car straight and quickly.
I rate this car compared to a few of its contemporaries that I rode in. One of my best buddies' parents had a '65 Electra 225. That was a nice car too. We raced once, and we were dead even up to 90. Considering the Caddy was giving away 400 lbs. curb weight, I thought we did OK.
Another friend got to drive Ford products his father brought home. I remember one big Merc. It had a 390 two-barrel. It didn't do corners nearly as well as our Caddy, it felt heavier, more sluggish, and more roll-y. Not as quick either.
Our driver ed cars were Galaxies with 352s or 390s IIRC. Those didn't compare to our Caddy. But they shouldn't they were Fords. Not as quick feeling (our DE teacher wouldn't let us race them) and the Ford automatics of that era shifted in what I thought was a funny way. Not like my bud's deuce-and-a-quarter or our Caddy.
Our mint green Caddy was a good long-distance traveler, those wide benches made for Big Sky country for three or four. The seats would give you aches after a while, though. You had to buy foreign in that era to get good seats.
I was visiting a friend in the New England countryside. I met some of his friends. One was quite the hot-shot, though I forget what his wheels were. We agreed to race the 20-odd miles into town. He dismissed the deVille as if it were an old man with a cane and he was a long-distance runner.
That Caddy would handle hilly curvy New England roads way better than any "car-savvy" youth would expect of such a tank. It certainly surprised his friend when we arrived minutes ahead of him. I heard lots of excuses.
Yes, we cheated. LOL.
And yes, I did survive my youth with the help of some innate driving skill, quick reflexes, and particularly by the Grace of God.
So when you hear modern smarties disparaging the "barges" of yesteryear, remember, not everyone knows what they're talking about. Particularly if they didn't exist in that era, and didn't have the opportunity to wring out a highly-competitive--in all senses of the word--1962 Sedan deVille.