Under The Hood

1956 Caddy prices: all over the Rand McNally map

As promised, here are some 1956 Cadillac price observations:

1956 Cadillacs:
Current OCPG values:
Series 62 two-door hdtp: #1 41,000; #2 28,700; #3 18,450; #4 8,200
Series 62 Coupe deVille: #1 42,000; #2 29,400; #3 18,900; #4 8,400
Eldorado Seville coupe:  #1 47,000; #2 32,900; #3 21,500; #4 9,400
Series 62 convertible:      #1 87,500; #2 61,250; #3 39,380; #4 17,500
Eldorado convertible:      #1 118,500; #2 82,950; #3 53,330; #4 23,700
Series 62 Sedan deVille   #1 35,000; #2 24,500; #3 15,750; #4 7,000

It takes a novice Cadillac fan to tell the difference between a 1955 and 1956 Cadillac. It takes an expert to tell that those differences are more than subtle. Although 1955 and 1956 Cadillacs are very similar in appearance, only the roofs and doors are interchangeable. The inner body structures are nearly identical, if not completely identical, but the outer metal is vastly different. From 1955 to 1956, decklids, front fenders and rear quarter panels, as well as the bumpers, are completely different (I haven’t been able to confirm whether or not hoods are different, but I’m fairly certain they are, too). Cadillac collectors who choose one model year over the other do so more out of personal preference than any other reason. The sheet metal changes to 1956 Cadillac intend to make it look lower and longer. Some Cadillac collectors prefer this look to that of 1955 Cadillacs, while 1955 Cadillac fans will tell you these changes make the 1956 look heavier than the 1955 models.
Under the hood, 1956 saw an increased bore and stroke to its overhead-valve V-8, and displacement went from 331 cubic inches to 365 cubic inches. A revised Hydra-Matic transmission was also implemented in 1956. Some 1956 Cadillacs experienced lifter problems with the 365-cid V-8, as well as problems with the revised-for-1956 Hydra-Matic transmission. Of course, many Cadillac owners experienced neither of these problems, though the cars gained a reputation as being mechanically troublesome, whether they deserve it or not.
As collector vehicles, these problems, whether relevant or not, have little reflection on the values and preference of 1955 to 1956. So, that leaves collectors to selecting a 1955 or 1956 Cadillac to their personal taste. Regardless, 1956 Cadillacs were showing higher prices in the past, but it does not appear to be the case any longer.
Data for 1956 Cadillac Series 62 coupes includes only one sale for a No. 3 car in 2007 at $21,000. Three sales in 2007 for No. 2 Coupe deVilles showed values of $22,000, $20,700 and $20,000 for an average of $20,900. That seems like a steal. Two No. 3 1956 Cadillac Coupe deVilles sold for $15,000 and $26,000 last year, the higher-priced car selling at a televised Arizona auction in January. Given the publicity surrounding the $26,000, No. 3 Coupe deVille sale compared to the sale of the three No. 2 Coupe deVilles and the remaining No. 3 Coupe deVille, the televised sale is not an accurate reflection of the marketplace.
When it comes to drop-top 1956 Cadillacs, the status quos appear to have been maintained, unlike in 1955. Eldorado convertibles retain their price advantage over Series 62 convertibles. Examples include No. 2 Eldorados selling for $76,000, $79,000 and $101,000 are recorded for an average of $85,000. No. 2 Series 62 convertibles are limited to two cars at $50,000. A No. 1 Series 62 sold for $72,500, and a No. 2 Series 62 convertible sold for $52,000. This is right on target for Cadillac value hierarchy, but much lower than current Old Cars Price Guide values.
Sedan deVille prices also appear to be a little down. While Old Cars Price Guide values show No. 3 cars to be in the $15,750 range, actual sales show prices in the $10-12,000 range.

Conclusion:
Prices for 1956 Coupe deVilles are down slightly, and have been passed by comparable 1955 Cadillac prices. Unfortunately, the lack of data on Series 62 coupes does not allow us to compare the trend of seeing higher prices of Series 62s to Coupe deVilles as can be seen in 1955. Convertible Series 62 and Sedan deVille prices also appear to be down, while 1956 Eldorado prices seem to be on target with OCPG, if not a bit higher.

Ain’t this a great old photo? I’ll take the green Series 62 coupe, and the red Coupe deVille, and the pink Series 62 convertible, and the Biarritz. Oh, and that green Seville would like nice in the garage, too, as would that black Series 75 sedan (if there’s room). Can’t leave that Series 62 sedan by itself, either…

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