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Thread: Cadillac Calais 1965-1970

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Cadillac Calais 1965-1970

    The Calais was a full-size luxury car made by Cadillac from 1965 to 1976. For 1965, Cadillac renamed the entry-level Series 62 the Calais, after the French town and resort which overlooks the narrowest point in the English Channel, and from which the White Cliffs of Dover can easily be seen on a clear day. In Greek mythology, Calais was also one of the winged sons of Boreas, God of the North Wind, and Oreithyea.

    In 1965 Calais tailfins were planed flat, and sharp, distinct body lines were featured. The rear bumper was straight and the rear lamp clusters were vertical. The headlight pairs were vertical, permitting a wide grille. Side windows were curved and frameless. Perimeter frame construction allowed positioning of the engine forward in the frame, thus lowering the transmission hump and increasing interior room. The Calais was available as a 2- or 4-door hardtop as well as a "formal-roof" 4-door sedan, which was a hybrid with frameless, hardtop-like windows, but with a pillar between them. With the exception of having no convertible, the Calais mirrored the slightly more expensive and well-equipped De Ville.

    The primary differences between the Calais and the De Ville were trim levels and standard equipment. While the De Ville was delivered with such amenities as power windows and 2-way power seats as standard equipment, hand-cranked windows were standard on the Calais, with power a US$119 option. At the same time, however, AM radio was a US$165 extra, as was air conditioning, at US$495, on either. Standard equipment included power brakes; power steering; automatic transmission; dual back-up lights; windshield washers and dual speed wipers; full wheel discs; remote controlled outside rear view mirror; visor vanity mirror; oil filter; five tubeless black tires; heater; defroster; lamps for luggage, glove and rear passenger compartments; cornering lights and front and rear seat belts.

    Leather seating areas and vinyl roof trim were available on the De Ville, but never on the Calais (although a high-grade vinyl-and-cloth, similar to what was seen on top-line Buick Electras and Oldsmobile 98s, was). Another item not initially available on the Calais was the Cadillac-exclusive "firemist" paint, an extra-cost metallic paint. Both the high-end Buick and Oldsmobile models shared the GM C platform with Cadillac. Cadillac, always General Motors' technology leader, offered most De Ville options on the Calais, such as Twilight Sentinel and the GuideMatic headlight dimmer, on the Calais. In 1965, the new Turbo-Hydramatic, standard on the 1964 De Ville, but not the lower-priced Series 62, became standard throughout the Cadillac range even the Calais. The 340 hp (254 kW) 429 cu in (7.0 l) V8 also remained the standard engine.

    Pricing of the Cadillac Calais started at nearly US$5,000, almost US$1,000 (or about 25%) more than the Electra 225 and Oldsmobile 98, and about US$500 more than the top-line Buick Riviera.

    In 1966 changes included a somewhat coarser mesh for the radiator grille insert, which was now divided by a thick, bright metal horizontal center bar housing rectangular parking lamps at the outer ends. Separate rectangular side marker lamps replaced the integral grille extension designs. There was generally less chrome on all Cadillac models this year. Cadillac "firsts" this season included variable ratio steering and optional front seats with carbon cloth heating pads built into the cushions and seatbacks. Comfort and convenience innovations were headrests, reclining seats and an AM/FM stereo system. Automatic level control was available. Engineering improvements made to the perimeter frame increased ride and handling ease. Newly designed piston and oil rings and a new engine mounting system and patented quiet exhaust were used. Head rests became an option.

    For 1967 the Calais was extensively restyled. Prominent styling features were given a powerful frontal appearance with forward-leaning front end, long sculptured body lines, and redefined rear fenders that had more than just a hint of tail fins in them. The full-width forward-thrusted "eggcrate" grille was flanked by dual stacked headlights for the third consecutive year. The squarer cornered grille insert had blades that seemed to emphasize its vertical members and it appeared both above the bumper and through a horizontal slot cut into it. Rectangular parking lamps were built into the outer edges of the grille. Rear end styling revisions were highlighted by metal divided taillamps and a painted lower bumper section. For 1967, power windows became standard on the Calais line, although power seats were still optional even in the later-year models. Coupes got a new roofline, inspired by the Florentine show car created for the 1964 New York World's Fair, that gave rear seat passengers added privacy. As on that show car, the quarter window glass retracted rearward into a sail panel. New standard Calais features included non-glare rear-view mirror, electric clock, Automatic Climate Controls, padded dashboard, Hazard Warning system, outboard seatbelt retractors and rear cigarette lighters in all styles. A slide-out fuse box and safety front seat back lock for two-door models were additional Cadillac advances for the 1967 model year. Technical improvements included a revised engine valve train, different carburetor, Mylar printed circuit instrument panel, re-tuned body mounts, and a new engine fan with clutch for quieter operation. An energy absorbing steering column became optional. 1967 was the last model year for pillared sedans.

    In 1968 grilles had an insert with finer mesh and step down outer section which held the rectangular parking lights just a little higher than before. Rear end styling was modestly altered with the deck lid having more of a rake. The most obvious change was an 8.5-inch-longer hood designed to accommodate recessed windshield wiper-washers, which now came with three speeds standard. Of 20 exterior paint color combinations, 14 were totally new. On the inside enriched appointments included molded inner door panels with illuminated reflectors and a selection of 147 upholstery combinations, 76 in cloth, 67 in leather and four in vinyl. New standard features included a Light Group, a Mirror Group, a trip odometer and an ignition key warning buzzer. Like all other Cadillacs, the Calais received the 472 cu in (7.7 l) OHV V8 in 1968. 1968 was also the last year for the "stacked" dual headlights, which were replaced with side-by-side dual headlights in 1969. This was also the last year for vent windows.

    In 1969 Calais was restyled in the Eldorado image. An Eldorado-like front fender treatment evolved and helped to emphasize a stronger horizontal design line. Rear quarters were extended to give the car a longer look. There was an all new grille with dual horizontal headlamps positioned in the outboard step down areas of the grille. The hood was again extended, a total of 2.5 inches to add the impression of extra length. The roofline was squarer and the rear deck and bumper more sculptured. A new ventilation system eliminated the need for vent windows, which provided a longer sleeker look and improved visibility. New standard features included front center seat armrests.

    In 1970 a facelift included a grille with 13 vertical blades set against a delicately cross-hatched rectangular opening. The bright metal headlamp surrounds were bordered with body color to give a more refined look. Narrow vertical "vee" taillights were seen again, but no longer had smaller V-shaped bottom lenses pointing downward below the bumper. Wheel discs and winged crest fender tip emblems were new. Exterior distinctions came from a Calais signature script above the rear end of the horizontal belt molding just ahead of the taillight dividers and from the use of small square back-up light lenses set into the lower bumper as opposed to the long rectangular lenses used on the De Ville.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Cadillac Calais #2
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
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