|The sixties was a decade of transition between older style post war Cadillacs and more contemporary styling of the seventies and beyond. 1963 (and close relative '64) Cadillacs are arguably the last of the older style and the first of the newer.|
They have fins, plenty of chrome and almost no plastic. But their form is sharp and defined and without the trim embellishment of most fifties Cadillacs for example. To some this refinement is seen as plain and makes these models less appealing. For myself and other lovers of the '63 models, these cars have true style. They're not loud or retiring. There's just enough restraint that an admirer may easily believe you have chosen the car because you like it, not because others like it.
This restraint is balanced by just enough excess. Take the front grille for example...stacked high, almost architectural in appearance (sometimes likened to a toned down '59 grille) - not so much beautiful but a statement of strength and 'substance of the owner'. This is one area '63 models differ from the substantially similar '64s. The grille in the later model is less complex and appears to have less depth - more similar to Chevrolet (or in Australia, Holden). This does not greatly detract from the appearance but changes the personality. On this point, one of the best ways to subtly upset a '63 owner is to ask how their '64 is going. It's like asking a Canadian which state of America they come from! For a '63 owner, a '64 model is a bit short in the fins, a bit light in the front ensemble and generally a little less of a statement. Okay, it does, however, have a better gearbox, more go and climate control (when it works!).
Another attractive feature of the '63/64 generation is the clean side profile with only the fins rising neatly from the continuous length of uninterrupted sheet metal (also true of the 1960 models). 1963 is the first year of strongly defined contour on the hood and trunk - again styling forms that along with the modern 'A' pillar design mark the transition towards contemporary appearance.
'63 model convertibles arguably look the best of the post war models with the top up. The more linear forms resulting from the stretched fabric of the soft top combined with the larger 'C' pillar suit the sheet metal work much better than in the rounded forms of earlier models. It is not an outstanding car for interior features but on DeVille models (convertibles) the blending of the die cast interior door handles (with integrated courtesy lights) into the continuous band of stainless is particularly tasteful.
Of course to many members of the public, 'taste' and Cadillac do not sit well together. However, this is largely a reaction to exposure of the more 'common' late fifties models and let's be honest - size! Owners of '63s are still driving full size models but in this case the message seems to be more one of class rather than excess. People still smile and invariably offer remarks of appreciation (or at worst size). Owners know they're driving something exciting but the car allows just enough modesty for them not to need to make too much of it..."you like it, thanks, actually it's my daily driver, I forget how unusual it is" (but that's not true is it!).