Jody Feiertag likely would not suggest obtaining a collector vehicle in precisely the exact same manner he landed his fantastic 1958 Cadillac Sixty Special Fleetwood. But he surely struck a home run when he attempted it.
“I got it from the first owner in St. Paul [Minn.]. My mother resides around in which I grew up and that I was able to drive by the house, and all I saw was that the front bumper sticking from the garage,” laughs Feiertag, a resident of Chetek, Wis. “He’d have his garage door open and it was buried in junk. All you saw was the front of the car sticking out. I’d stop in there occasionally and see if he’d want to sell and it, and it was ‘No, no …’ He was in his 80s and he didn’t even remember what model it was!”
Feiertag was not discouraged, however, and he kept inquiring about the vehicle, although he did not know for certain exactly what it was. He did not even know the season, but he had his heart set on a large 1950s Cadillac and guessed that the vehicle in the garage that was cluttered was finally going to require a new residence.
“I had a ’60 Cadillac. I think that was the only one I had at the time, and I wanted something from the ’50s. So finally he decided to sell it and he unburied it. There was stuff in, on it, under it — everything. I had a flatbed and we pulled it out … the car just kept coming and coming and coming. I didn’t even know what model the car was until I saw the ‘Sixty Special’ and ribbed chrome. No matter what, I was on the hook and I was gonna buy it. He said it was in good shape and had been parked for 20-some years, and I took it at that.”
That has been 25-and years before, based on Feiertag, and that he has the car it’s become a lot more than he might have expected. In the coming quarter century, Jody and his spouse Terri have racked up large miles on the huge four-door hardtop and the vehicle is showing no signs of slowing down. The Cadillac is doing its very best to compensate for lost time. According to the vendor, the Fleetwood had been sitting for 20 years at the little 1 1/2-stall garage. “His last trip was to New York with it, and he parked it after that. It was like ’74 or something like that. They never drove it again after that,” Feiertag said.
Amazingly, Feiertag stated he obtained the Cadillac running under its own energy the exact same day he purchased it. “It came out and it seemed good and the inside looked good. And that night that I had it running and driving, using a gasoline can on the hood leaking to the carburetor! No brakes, but I moved round the block with it [laughs].
“It’s only driver quality, that is exactly what I need. I really don’t wish to run off it and worry about things. The stone chips on the hood, so that is sort of a badge of honour, since we push it a whole lot,” Feiertag adds . “Iola week, we’ll put 1,500, 2,000 miles on it, just around the state. We’ll bansai four or five days before and go aimlessly and just drive… It’s got a little over 100,000 miles on it. I had to have the speedometer replaced. I found a whole new instrument cluster. The speedometer went bad and I had that swapped out and this one shows 60s-some thousand, but it has a little over 100,000 miles on it.”
BILL MITCHELL’S BABY
If ever there was a car that has been tailor made for its 1950s — particularly the late’50s — it had been that the Sixty Special out of Cadillac. The magnificent fins, deserts of chrome and no-holds-barred styling which blossomed from the second half of their’50s seemed to be a part of the organic growth of this Sixty Special, a label which Cadillac had utilized on a few of its opulent vehicles because the version bowed in 1938.
The Series Sixty Special was designer Bill Mitchell’s first opportunity to create a splash and a name for himself under the watchful eyes Harley Earl. His strategy was to establish a vehicle unlike anything seen before in company showrooms, using a design devoid of running boards, using headlamps mounted in the fenders, and a sleeker trunk arrangement that shifted a lot of different designers’ thinking in years ahead.
The blueprint for a four-door hardtop was new to Cadillac in’58. The company had surfaced its initial pillarless four-door in 1956 together with all the Sedan DeVille. The following calendar year, in 1957, Cadillac introduced a sweeping restyling of its own lineup and utilized the four-door hardtop layout on its own Sixty Special, that was one step back on the company hierarchy by the super-exclusive Eldorado Brougham.
The Sixty Special was constantly elaborate, but it was particularly identifying and rich-looking for’58. Even throughout the design had been a part of the huge layout modifications for’57, it obtained several significant tweaks for’58. Huge “Dagmars” were anchored at the oval grille beneath the quad headlights — a headlight structure that had been obtained in the Eldorado Brougham. A sizable, calling card anodized aluminum panel which runs from the back door to the back bumper under the beltline. The styling them proceeds on the tail, using a similar molding throughout the deck . Quad tail lights have been encompassed in chrome and situated under the towering, shark fins which grow up and create the auto recognizable from many blocks away. Sixty Special script emerged on the surfaces of the tailfins plus also a Fleetwood script nameplate adorned the back deck lid.
The body-on-frame structure used Cadillac’s sturdy tubular-center “X” framework, which aided the automobile keep a lower centre of gravity. The back of this body has been U-shaped, which made for a cavernous trunk. Rubber suspension bushings kept road noise and melts down, making an already lavish interior even more calm and inviting.
The 4,930-pounds. Sixty-Special rode rode to a 133-inch wheelbase chassis — 3.5 inches more than the DeVille and Series Sixty-Two offerings. The large hardtop measured a whopping 225 inches from tip to tip and 80 inches round. The front suspension utilized the traditional upper and lower control arms with curved joints, along with helical coil springs. The back comprised Cadillac’s four-link push with reduced controller affixed to frame outriggers and helical coil springs. Four-wheel power-assisted drum brakes and power steering were regular equipment.
Feiertag states the inside of this’58 Sixty Special is “like driving your living room” and really it seems there’s ample space for a Persian carpet, a few floor lamps and an ottoman or 2. The Mojave or broadcloth upholstery has been available in three distinct varieties. The automobiles were equipped with power windows and power seat; rearview mirros on either side using a remote controller for your driver’s side; rear and front centre folding arm rests; and agreeing lighting. Air conditioning was optional, as were power door locks and air suspension.
All that the 1958 Cadillacs utilized the 16-valve 365-cid/310-hp V-8 with cast-iron heads and block. It was mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic Drive four-speed automatic and consumed via a Carter AFB 2862S 4-bbl downdraft carburetor. A 335-hp tri-power setup employed from the Eldorado Brougham has been discretionary. Other options contained the Autronic Eye headlight dimmer; Sabre Spoke aluminum wheels; remote controller backward rental; and whitewall tires. )
Cadillac marketed 24,000 of those Fleetwood Sixty Specials at 1957 in a base cost of $5 ),539. A year later, the sticker price grew to $6,232 with no add-ons, and creation of this significant hardtop dropped to 12,900.
The Fleetwoods were believed “hand-crafted” and have been assembled in their very own dedicated assembly lines. They were developed to be the finest American cars money could purchase, and also to live up to Cadillac’s guarantee to become “The Standard of the World.” By any measure, the’58 Sixty Specials were glorious machines, with large price tags, enormous personalities and film star good looks to match.
BACK IN BLACK
Feiertag wound up needing to do a good deal less fixing and restoring his black Fleetwood than he expected. The enormous bet — purchasing a car without really seeing it was a nice surprise directly in the get-go.
“We got it running and we drove it for awhile, then painted it probably a year or two later,” he noticed. “We kept it black, and it looked good, but then the leather started to split on the front seat, and so I had that redone. And then the backseat finally gave out, so I had that done. I had to find the original material from that SMS out in Oregon, and they made it and it’s spot-on perfect. Wally’s upholstery in Whitebear Lake, Minn., he’s no longer in business, but he did an excellent job. It’s like original. It’s excellent… Everything else is original. The door panels are original. The carpet is original. The back of the backseat … dash, motor … everything.”
“The one thing that we’ve had the most problems with is the brake booster. They’ve been a problem and I guess it’s kind of a vertical system. It’s been crazy, I just got done replacing that and those things are expensive as heck! And it’s been about the fourth one I’ve replaced. I dunno, I just can’t seem to get one to last. Otherwise, it’s just the regular stuff — brakes, tires, that sort of thing. I do have to get the air conditioning fixed. It worked up until last fall. I’ve got a problem in there now and I need to get that worked on. It’s factory air, so that’s kind of cool.”
The just bit of bodywork he had to handle was later a person dented the Cadillac at a mall parking lot a couple of years back. “I was parked out all by myself and somebody put a nice dent in the door,” he explained. “People can be jerks, but it’s fine now.”
It’s not likely to win a market runs, but that’s not deterred the Feiertags for cruising within their whale-sized’58 anytime that the spirit moves them along with the roads are clear of snow. ) They possess fireplaces of space for baggage in the trunk and back seat, and also all of the comfort that they could hope for.
“It’s one of the easiest driving cars, period,” Jody insists. “Now with this new brake booster, that’s the best one I’ve ever had. It’s got true power brakes. You touch them and it stops. It’s got plenty of power. You can hang onto the steering wheel with one finger. It doesn’t veer or wobble or pull. It’s really a smooth, fun car. One of the best-driving and riding cars I’ve got. You forget how good cars rode until you get into something like this!”
The Sixty Special, along with various different vehicles that the Feiertags own, has been utilized in commercial function, and additionally seen obligation in weddings and funerals. “Props on Wheels hires me to take it to different things,” Jody notes. ) “Of course, there was nothing this year. There was no filming of anything going on this year.”
The only drawback for this obligation is that Jody must eliminate the wash bucket and wax and then invest a few hours employing a few old-fashioned elbow grease. 1958 Cadillac Sixty Specials are not really great candidates for contemporary car washes. “It took me 2, 2 ½ hours on it yesterday to wash it and throw a coat of wax on it,” he chuckles.
Feiertag appreciates the eye the car receives. It’s pretty much a one-car motorcade where it goeson a display field filled with additional fine machines.
“It’s mad at automobile shows just how much attention it receives. Sometimes over I need [laughs]. Sometimes you only need to sit and chill for a bit, but there is always people coming up and speaking about it all of the time.”
“When it was new, it was the car to get, absolutely. I’m fortunate to have it. I love it. It’s just a cool car.”
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