Although the economy experienced a gradual increase from 1936 to 1937, it took a slight dive in 1938.
However, the economy bounced back in 1939, which meant higher sales throughout the industry. Pointed fronts
reappeared on most of this year's GM cars, and the Sixty-Special was no exception.
Cadillac's new ensemble was
a three-element affair consisting of a slightly raked, prow-shaped vertical radiator flanked by grilles in the
"catwalk" area between the front fenders and the main nose section. Above the catwalks were headlamps
repositioned higher and closer to the central grille.
The Series 60 was replaced by the 126-inch-wheelbase Series 61, offering the same body types and many of the
Sixty-Special's appearance features. Common to all 1939 Cadillacs were a
newly optional vacuum-operated radio antenna,
rubber rear fender protectors,
and something called "Controlled-Action Ride," a reference to a higher rear
axle rotation center claimed to enhance ride comfort.
Aside from this, the Sixty-Special was largely unchanged, presumably on the grounds that it didn't pay to fool around
with a winner. The policy paid off, and once again it was Cadillac's single best-selling model line.
However, the series was expanded for '39 with two variations of the basic four-door: a sunroof sedan with a sliding
section above the front seat area, and a limousine-like Imperial Sedan with division window as well as the sunroof.
A gorgeous Sixty-Special coupe had been built as a one-off for GM president William S. Knudsen and four convertible
sedans were built experimentally for the use of other high-level execs, but neither model reached production.
Chairman Sloan may have hinted at the rationale for only one basic body style when he noted that the Sixty-Special
was "well received in the market and demonstrated the dollars-and-cents value of styling, for customers were ready
to take smaller trade-ins [dollar amounts] on old cars to acquire it."
Cadillac had settled on the 346-cid version of the monobloc
V-8 for all its eight-cylinder models except LaSalle beginning in 1937.
Rated at 135 horsepower at 3400 rpm, the 346 had five more horses than
the 1935 V-8 and 10 more than the one-year-only 322-cid monobloc. The
Sixty-Special arrived weighing only some 230 pounds more than a
comparable 1938 Series 60 sedan, so its power-to-weight ratio was less
than 31 pounds per horsepower, quite good for the period. By contrast, that
year's Packard Super Eight -- which, incidentally, cost $700 more than the
Special -- carried nearly 35 pounds per horsepower.
For 1939, Series 61 replaced Series 60 and 65 of 1938. All V-8's had new grille styling; similar in appearance
but different in detail dimensions on each series. The pointed center grille and the functional side grilles were
diecast, with fine-pitch bars. A single diecast louver was positoned to the rear of each hood side panel.
Headlights were once again attached to the radiator casing.
Sixty Special, now bodied by Fleetwood, was offered with optional Sunshine Turret
Top or center division. These options were also available on the Series 61 Sedan.
Series 61 was available with or without running boards; had concealed door hinges
except for the lower front hinge; and had chrome reveals on all windows.
Chassis changes included:
Tube and fin radiator core
Sea shell horns under the plugs
Cross-link steering on Series 61
Slotted disc wheels on Series 60S and 61
I. D. DATA
Serial numbers were located on the left frame side bar, opposite the steering gear.
Starting: Same as engine number.
Ending: Same as engine number.
Engine numbers were on the crankcase, just behind the left cylinder block, parallel to the dash.
Starting Engine Number:
Series 39-60S = 6290001
Series 39-61 = 8290001
Series 39-75 = 3290001
Ending Engine Number:
Series 39-60S = 6295513
Series 39-61 = 8295913
Series 39-75 = 3292069.
Series 39-60S, 127 in. Wheelbase
Special Sedan (STT)
Special Sedan (Div)
Fisher Series 39-61, 128 in. Wheelbase
Transformable Sedan (STT)
Transformable Sedan (Div)
Fleetwood series 39-75, 141 in. Wheelbase Business Cars
Business Transformable Sedan
Business Transformable Imperial
Fleetwood Series 39-75, 141 in. Wheelbase
Ninety degree - L-Head
Cast iron block (blocks cast enbloc with crankcase)
Bore & Stroke: 3-1/2 in. x 4-1/2 in.
Displacement: 346 cu. in.
60S, 61 = 6.25:1
75 = 6.70:1
Brake Horsepower: 135 (140 on 75) @ 3400 rpm
SAE/Taxable Horsepower: 39.20
Main bearings: Three
Valve lifters: Hydraulic
Carburetor: Stromberg AAV-26.
Series 39-61 Commercial Chassis
7.00 x 16
Series 39-75 Commercial Chassis
7.50 x 16
Selective synchro manual transmission.
Speeds: 3 Forward, 1 Reverse
Left Hand Drive; gearshift on column; handbrake at left (RHD opt.)
Single disc clutch
Shaft drive, Hotchkiss
Semifloating rear axle
60S & 61 = 3.92:1
75 = 4.58:1
Hydraulic brakes on four wheels
Slotted disc wheels
Wheel size: 16 in.
Seat covers: $8.25 per seat
Windshield washer: $5.75
Automatic battery filler: $7.50
Fog lights: $14.50/pair
Introduced October, 1938
Model year sales and production:
Series 60S = 5513
Series 61 = 5913
Series 75 = 2069
The general manager of Cadillac was Nicholas Dreystadt.