1956 Cadillac remains desirable

Farm Forum

A Cadillac in 1956 — be it a two-door or four-door model — translated into desirability. Records show that one of those 1956 four-door Cadillacs was sold to a man who lived in Flint, Mich., about 30 miles from the factory where the car was assembled.

The base price for the 1956 Cadillac, with few extras, was $4,296. A total of 26,660 of the 10-window sedans were manufactured. The buyer was pleased with the hand-crank operated windows and the E-Z-Eye tinted glass. Upon taking ownership of the car, a complete set of heavy-duty plastic seat covers were installed.

After 14 years, the original owner sold the Cadillac to his neighbor who kept the car 41 more years. When he died his grandson advertised the car for sale.

That’s when Chris Overcash noticed the ad. He contacted the seller and over the telephone the description of the car sounded great. However, to be on the safe side Overcash hired an inspector to check out the Cadillac. The inspector reported back to Overcash saying, “If you don’t buy this car, I will.”

A convinced Overcash flew to Michigan and, relying on the inspectors report, bought the car and drove the Cadillac home to Virginia. Under the giant oil bath air cleaner the four-barrel carburetor fed premium grade gasoline to the 365-cubic-inch V-8 at the rate of 10 to 12 miles per gallon.

As Overcash motored along in his 17-foot, 11-inch-long Cadillac he marveled at the extreme comfort afforded by the 8.00×15-inch white sidewall tires supporting the 4,430-pound car on a lengthy 129-inch wheelbase. The General Motors gear shift pattern used in 1956 was from the left: Park-Neutral-Drive1-Drive2-Low-Reverse.

Overcash says he discovered that power brakes were standard equipment on all Cadillacs in 1956. His car also is equipped with power steering and the radio antenna can be raised and lowered from inside the car while the driver is seated behind the three-spoke steering wheel. The AM radio has a signal-seeking function enabling the driver to keep his eyes on the road while switching stations.

One option the original owner did get was a unique package deal that included a spot light, wheel covers and chrome valve covers. As soon as Overcash got his white-over-beige Cadillac home he removed the plastic seat covers. They had done their job, preserving the gorgeous green cloth and vinyl upholstery. Today the interior appears as if no one has ever sat in the car in the last half century.

When Overcash bought the ’56 Cadillac the odometer located by the 120-mph speedometer in the padded dashboard had registered 69,000 miles. Today the dashboard still appears to be new, but the odometer has recorded a few more miles. It now reads 76,000 miles. “I’ve been enjoying my car,” Overcash says.

Very few parts on the car have required attention like typical items such as some soldering on the radiator and rebuilding the generator.

Since automobile designers ruled the day in the 1950s, cars needed to look good. At the rear of the Cadillac are the famous tailfins incorporating the taillights atop the rear fenders. Every gasoline station attendant in 1956 knew that the left taillight hid the gas cap. It was accessed by pressing the red-reflector below the taillight. “I love the styling,” Overcash says. “It’s different.”

For your car to become the subject of the Classic Classics column, e-mail us your .jpeg image, plus brief details and phone number. Type “Classic Classics” in subject box and send to Or, send a photo (frontal 3/4 view) plus brief details and phone number to Vern Parker, 2221 Abbotsford Drive, Vienna, VA 22181.