19,928 original miles. Original interior and engine, one repaint in original colors. Beautiful chrome and stainless trim. Drives like new. Loaded with options. Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels. Nice!
We believe that the light green portion of the bodywork (which is code 17 Forest Green over Gloss Green) has been repainted at some point, but the work was rather well done, because there's no obvious line between the finishes and no glaring color change. It has a wonderful soft gloss that was contemporary Magic Mirror GM enamel from the 1950s and the pastel paint looks fantastic on anything with fins, even the small ones on the '53 models. The sheetmetal underneath is in fantastic condition, with four doors that open and close with precision, closing tightly without a major slam and sealing up admirably, even for a car now celebrating its 63rd birthday. The brightwork is in fantastic condition, with bright, clear chrome, shiny stainless, and few signs of age. If we're going to pick nits (which is all there is on this car), the front bumper has some tiny micro-blisters that are simply age-related and the gold anodized V under the hood ornament is a bit faded, but those are very minor issues.
Code 56 is Light Green Bedford Cord and Dark Green Plain Broadcloth upholstery, and in this Cadillac, it appears to be almost entirely original. The seats, door panels, and headliner are unquestionably original and in outstanding condition, with only some light discoloration on the driver's seat to give away its age. We suspect that the front carpets have been replaced simply because they're a slightly different color than the rear seat area, but then again, perhaps that was a throwback to Cadillac owners having a chauffeur to handle the driving. The two-tone steering wheel matches the overall décor and it's in outstanding condition with no cracks or breaks in the plastic—a really rare find all by itself. Everything in this car works the way it should: the windows all power up and down quickly, the clock ticks away reliably, and the signal-seeking radio seeks—sometimes it has trouble locking on, but when it does, it seems to work properly. The trunk is properly outfitted with original burlap-style fabric matting and there's a vintage bias-ply tire and wheel assembly which might just be this car's original spare.
The big news in 1953 was the switch to a 12-volt electrical system, but in the spirit of the '50s, horsepower was up another 20 for a total of 210 from the 331 cubic inch OHV V8. This is the car's original, numbers-matching engine and it has never been out of the car or opened up. That's factory Cadillac Blue engine enamel on the block and Cadillac-logo valve covers, and it still carries all its original hardware, from the familiar A/C air cleaner to the new 12-volt generator. The plug wires are new, the power steering lines are new, the radiator hoses are new, and, well, you get the picture. There's an electric fuel pump that runs as soon as the key is turned, and after a second or two of priming, the car starts easily and settles into a smooth idle as if to say, "Well, shall we go?" That's a correct Carter WFCB 4-barrel carburetor under the air cleaner and it never seems to get fussy, hot or cold, which is one of the best things about a low-mileage survivor: they just work like they should.
This Cadillac carries a tried and true dual-range Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission. With reassuringly firm shifts, it works properly and gives the big car the moves of something weighing far less. The suspension is taut and firm but not harsh, offering a luxurious ride that's never sloppy, one of the most telling hallmarks of a low-mileage car. steering and power brakes were optional in 1953, but it's hard to imagine something this big without them, and the car handles wonderfully in traffic and out on the open road. At speed, it just whispers along, and even at idle, the exhaust note is an expensive hum, not a thrumming muscle car rumble. Brakes are smooth and strong and those chrome wire wheels are simply gorgeous against the light green paint. New 235/75/15 BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewall radials have been fitted, so it looks right but seems immune to the ruts and grooves of modern pavement; you can literally drive this car with one finger.
It should be obvious by now that we're madly in love with this car. It captures the ideal essence of the 1950s with subtle but flashy colors, tasteful but expensive design, and impeccable quality. The only downside of a car like this is that you will immediately know all your other collector cars' shortcomings, because even the best restored car will have a hard time meeting the standards set by this lovely Cadillac. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com