Profile of the Cadillac Calais: 1965 through 1968 (Part one)
In 1965 Cadillac produced around 200,000 vehicles, which was on the low end when compared with other manufacturers. While the Sixty Special and Eldorado both officially became Fleetwoods, big changes were ahead for the Series 62 budget models also.
The Cadillac Calais was actually a renamed entry-level Series 62 that was named after the French resort Calais. It was a full-size luxury car that came as a two-door coupe or four-door sedan during its years of production. The Calais name appeared in 1965 and the car closely resembled that year's Cadillac DeVille. Both featured curved side windows and both were pillared sedans.
Special features of the 1965 Calais
The Calais had several styling improvements over the previous year's Series 62. It had a wider grille with headlamps that were mounted vertically. It didn't have the usual tailfin one would expect on a Cadillac, but instead had a symmetrical fender at the rear with thin edges, giving the model a traditional look and feel. It also featured tempered glass backlights. The wheelbase was the standard for pillared sedans.
Interior room was increased because of the perimeter frame design. This design resulted in the engine being positioned six inches more toward the front of the frame, and also lowered the hump where the transmission is located.
Standard equipment for the 1965 Calais
The Calais came with some great standard features. It had a defroster and heater, power brakes, automatic transmission, power steering, oil filter, front and rear seatbelts, visor vanity mirror and windshield washers with dual speed wipers. It also featured full wheel discs, five tubeless tires, lights for the glovebox and other compartments and a remote control rear view mirror.
1965 Calais engine
The engine was a 429-cubic-inch V-8 engine with overhead valves. It could produce 340 brake horsepower and had a Carter AFB four-barrel carburetor. The bore and stroke were 4.13 x 4.00 in. The compression ratio was 10.5:1. The car's wheelbase was 129.5. The engine was mounted differently and a quieter exhaust, patented by Cadillac, was used.
Special options for 1965
The Calais came with many convenient options for those who wanted to add luxury features to their car by paying a little more. Option pricing ranged from $4 to $500, with an air conditioner being the highest-priced option on the chart.
For those who wanted to give the Calais a "sporty" look for the interior, they could add bucket seats with a console for around $200. Controlled differential was available for around $55. Cruise control was an option for those who liked to travel and was available for around $100. Rear seatbelts were offered for around $18 or the front seatbelts could be removed for around the same price as a credit. This was before seatbelt laws were in place.
Customers could also add Twilight Sentinel, an adjustable steering wheel, AM/FM radio, power headlight control and more.
For 1966, Cadillac made some notable changes to improve steering and handling. Headrests, AM/FM stereo system and reclining seats were featured on the interior. The same engine was used except with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor. It came with pretty much the same options as the previous year as well with a few extras. Around 29,000 total for all the Calais models were sold that year.
In 1967, the Calais models had a longer, sculptured appearance with a redesign of the side panel contour. It had a coupe roof structure that had been styled after a Florentine show model. The grille was more square-shaped and cornered with cross-hatch pattern. In the rear, the taillights were divided by metal and the lower bumper section was painted.
The car's standard equipment included an automatic transmission, power steering, reflectors, a defroster and heater, power brakes, three-speed windshield wipers, electric clock, visor vanity mirror, cigarette lighter and interior lamps as well as all of GM's standard safety features. Other great features were included as well at no extra cost such as a hazard warning system, padded dashboard and automatic climate controls.
The engine was still a 429-cubic-inch V-8, but used a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor and a de-clutching cooling fan. There were also several powertrain options for some Cadillacs that year, along with many other "convenient" options.
Three models were available: four-door sedan, four-door hardtop sedan, and two-door coupe. Around 21,000 of these were sold that year.
The 1968 Calais had the same basic look and design with a few refinements such as new grilles. Rear end style was slightly different. The hood was 6 1/3 inches longer. The Calais also had 20 (14 brand new) paint combinations to choose from and 147 upholstery choices. Some of the standard features included power steering, Turbo-Hydramatic, center arm rests, an electric clock, a defroster and heater, a trip odometer, ignition key buzzer and seat belts.
The major change was with the engine. It was a 472-cubic-inch V-8 with 375 horsepower. It featured an emissions control system with air injection, a 15-plate battery, a metal temperature device and a cast crankshaft and connecting rods.
There were two models for this year - a two-door coupe and a four-door hardtop sedan. Around 18,000 of these were produced.