Questions about cars and optional accessories

Started by chrisntam, October 07, 2016, 09:13:31 AM

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chrisntam

I am always on eBay looking at cars, mostly '69 & '70s and I notice most, if not all hardly have any optional accessories.  Always a/c & tinted glass.  Devilles seem to have hardly any options, though every once in a while, an eldo will be nicely optioned with cruise, sentinel, guide-matic, trumpet horn, etc.

For those looking at cars, are you finding original owners checked all the boxes or check hardly any?

I've only bought 2 new vehicles in my life ('02 & '06 - not caddies), but I checked all the boxes.

My '70 had auto leveling, sentinel, cruise, trumpet horn, a/c tinted glass, door edge guards, remote trunk opener and trunk pull down, but no stereo radio.  Main reason I pulled the trigger on this car is due to the options it had.  I passed on many plain jane cars.

Back in the day, appears owners hardly checked any boxes.
1970 Deville Convertible 
Dallas, Texas

TJ Hopland

Another question would be how often did people order their cars back then vs. take something off the lot?   Now days it doesn't seem that common to order a car.    IF they don't have close to what you want on the lot they get on the internet and possibly find the car you want sitting on another dealer lot somewhere.

So who decided what the dealer should order?  Example would be there were not many 67 Eldo's without the disc brake option.   Was that based on the bad rap of the 66 Toro that had drums?  Did the dealers order them that way or did the just build more disc cars so the dealers didn't have the choice?    There were a decent number of EFI cars in 76,  did the factory just build them and push them on the dealers or were that many people asking for them?   Did the factory just build any non ac cars before it became standard or did they only build them if someone ordered one?

I have had and looked at a lot of 71-78 Eldos and they have always had interesting options.  My nicest one has about 3/4 of the options but bench seat?  Originally I just figured that was maybe the only option but then noticed I have not seen another one that way,  the rest all seem to have the split bench.   I have another one that has the security and antilock but no cruise or better radio.    Was that a dealer package or someone that just didn't want to spend the $95 for something they were not planning to use?   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Barry M Wheeler #2189

Back in '93-'95 when I was selling new Buicks and Cadillacs, our sale managers usually picked 50% beige DeVilles and LeSabres. Then about 25% white, and then this and that for the rest. Those were the colors that were selling at the time. He also picked what accessory groups were hot at the time. I remember we had one Medium Montana Blue DeVille that we couldn't give away. And one beautiful burgundy '93 CDV that some sucker finally made a dealer trade for. Again, we couldn't sell it.

What was funny was that we would take a nicely equipped Century and trick it out with a canvas top, sit it on the grass out front, and usually sell it within a week. Usually, they were burgundy with a tan top. We called them "the little jewel."

We did have a hard time finding a base ATS this summer. I wanted a red, but finally settled for a silver. At least I didn't have to pay extra for that color. (Basic black and silver are the only "no-cost" paints available this year.) I think that's why you see so many silver cars on the road.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189


1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville

59-in-pieces

Chris,
Maybe this is reaching back a bit.
There was a time when cars came with no window curtain, to Isinglass Curtains, to slide up windows, to roll up and down windows, which transitioned to the power option, which transitioned to standard power windows.
The same is true about cars coming initially without a radio, which transitioned to optioned with a radio, which transitioned to standard with a radio - CB - stereo - tape players - CD players, and even DVD players.
There were events during these periods of a sort of "reverse ordering" to delete standard items - like a radio - which may have actually occurred at the dealer and not the factory.
In my experience with 59's, you could get a totally stripped down - coupe - such as no power anything or even a radio (a delete plate in its place).
Times change and budgets often dictate.
Now days, as was pointed out - you get a couple of colors - yes with other colors to order, but with delays.
It seems the Ford saying of "you can have any color, as long as its black" is coming full circle.

Have fun,
Steve B.
S. Butcher

Big Apple Caddy

KBB article on most popular car colors:
http://www.kbb.com/car-advice/articles/best-color-to-buy/


Some DuPont stats from past decades:
1976
Full:
1.  Medium blue
2.  Silver
3.  Bright red
4.  White
5.  Dark blue

1986
Full/intermediate:
1.  Medium gray (15%)
2.  White (13%)
3.  Medium red (12%)
4.  Dark blue (11%)
5.  Silver (10%)

1995
Luxury:
1.  White (15%)
2.  Light brown (13%)
3.  Dark green (13%)
4.  Black (10%)

Full/intermediate:
1.  White (19%)
2.  Dark green (17%)
3.  Medium red (11%)
4.  Light brown (10%)

2005
Full/intermediate:
1.  Silver (21%)
2.  Gray (14%)
3.  Red (13%)
4.  Light brown (12%)
5.  Blue, white (tied at 11% each)

The Tassie Devil(le)

The Colours are dictated by the group of so-called Stylists, that successfully tell the world just what are the "Fab" or "In" colours for the time.   They don't care about safety, or they wouldn't be pushing the Silver or other unsafe dark colours.

Also, the times have changed where the cheap imports are fitting their vehicles with all the available "options" that the high-end cars have as options, because they are so much cheaper to build, and factory-fitted, is cheaper in the long run as the assembly-line doesn't have to chop and change.

With the imports having no options as such, the locally made cars have to match them.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Scot Minesinger

Chris,

It is almost taken for granted that a 1970 era Cadillac will have climate control (with ac) power windows, power seats and tinted glass.  You can add accessories.  Referring to 1970 era Cadillacs (my experience being with 1970), it is not difficult to change your car and add accessories such as:

Tilt telescoping steering column (have not done this with cruise)
Twilight sentinel
Trunk release
40/60 seats (easy but expensive)
radio options, including stereo

I think condition followed by color are the main guiding ideals on whether a 1970 era Cadillac would be good for me, because options can be changed.  I always add the top three Tilt, Twilight sentinel and trunk release on any one I buy if not so equipped.  Like the self closing trunk (pull down), but wow is that option difficult to add.

I always remove door edge guards if repainting, the ruin the horizontal lines of the car.  The auto-dim lights is of no value to me because I never drive with bright beams ever.  There is too much traffic in our area to consider using cruise very often, not worthwhile to me.  I don't like the auto leveling because it can be problematic and if a 1970 DeVille was so equipped I would change it to regular rear springs and remove this feature. 

On ordering new cars, yes I get them well equipped too, and then drive the hell out of them so they will not be available for future collectors.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

59-in-pieces

Bruce,
You got me thinking.
Remember George Orwell's "1984" and Big Brother or better still George Lucas' "THX 1138".
So big brother is telling us what we want and how we will get it, and THX 1138 depicts us all look a likes (same clothes, bald, heavily sedated) with no free will.
What is the upshot of this ramble - WELL if we have no choice and they all look the same - who needs people on the assembly line, since the cars are all made exactly the same in looks and accessories - remember no options so no person on the line - robots doing the same thing, no deviations.
Faster - the same - no variance = cheaper and more profit.
Have fun - if we're still allowed.
Steve B.
S. Butcher

m-mman

In research the situation you are seeing is referred to as "selection bias".   You are only seeing the cars that have SURVIVED to today.  You are not seeing the cars that were junked because they were no longer serviceable.

(Way back when) People who bought fully loaded cars (and paid top dollar) did not plan to keep it very long. Their plan was to trade it within 2-3 years. They had the money, they wanted the best most current technology and they wanted whatever was new and fashionable again 2-3 years in the future.

But then what happened to the fully decked cars when they were traded in? They were sold as used cars to 'bargain hunters'. Remember: used car buyers are always thrifty people. If they had mega bucks they would buy new.

As value buyers and cost conscious individuals they are not the type who drop the loaded car off at the service department with a blank check. These people are the type that get a call from the service manager saying that "You need to fix . . ." or "The recommended service at this mileage is . . . " and they say "NO let it slide" . . .

So these loaded cars wear out and as things break and are not repaired, they lose value faster and wind up as a broken heap sooner.  Wanna see the loaded top line cars in the junk yard? Go when they 4-6 years old. 

The base (low option) versions were purchased by value consciousness people who initially planned to keep their car 5-10 years. They didn't order the cheesy extra stuff that they knew was going to break and need repair.

This can be shown by body style too. If you find a one (family) owner, well cared for 50-70 year old car, it is always going to be a base model conservative version.  (series 62 likely not even a DeVille and never an El Dorado) it was the conservative people who KEPT their cars. The flashy (50s-60s) ElDorado buyers only kept them a few years and they slid into the obscurity of a cheap used car lot.
1929 341B Town Sedan
1971 Miller-Meteor Lifeliner ambulance
Other non-Cadillac cars
Near Los Angeles, California

CLC #29634

john henderson

I appreciate this subject because my 76 coupe has every option as opposed to my 65 having none. I always assumed all Cadillacs were heavily optioned.thanks for shedding some light! John Henderson
65 coupe 76 coupe

TJ Hopland

Makes sense about the survivors tending to be lower equipped. 

So how did we come to most cars today having many of the options?    Are they making less profit on the base models than the high end models but in the long run it makes em more money building them all the same?
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Big Apple Caddy

Quote from: TJ Hopland on October 09, 2016, 12:41:16 PM
So how did we come to most cars today having many of the options?    Are they making less profit on the base models than the high end models but in the long run it makes em more money building them all the same?

There are production cost efficiencies to building cars with certain sets of options but there are still many options and option packages, sometimes tied to trim levels, available on cars today including many which weren't even available decades ago.

More and more buyers over time began to select things like air conditioning, tilt wheel, rear defogger, cruise control, power windows, power locks, stereo radio, etc. and eventually came to expect those items to be standard on most cars.

m-mman

Yes, historically options have been very profitable for automakers and dealers too, but I will stay away from dealer installed accessories.

True Base line cars were never profitable for manufactures. Imagine a 57 Chev 150 6 cyl stick, no radio or heater selling for $1500. I would suspect it is pretty much at cost. They existed to first bring in customers with a low price ($1500 full factory equipment this weekend only!) Then when the customer saw the complete lack of trim, no arm rests, one sun visor it became easier to move them into a 210 (arm rests and sun visors) The cheap cars were styled and engineered to be un-attractive.

Factory installed accessories are very profitable for auto makers. One place to see this is the cost of the radio. During times when you could get a very nice portable radio in a store for $10 $15 the 'factory authorized' radio was $75 to $100(!)

I have a window sticker from a 69 Olds Delta 8 4 dr ht. with EVERY option available. Base car = $4000 Total cost with options = $6000 <yikes> a 50% price increase in options alone!! I would suspect that that extra $2000 was about $1500 in pure profit.

So what happened to the cheap cars and long option lists?
#1 Fifty plus years ago there were people who did not believe that they were inherently special and that they DESERVED 'the best'. They lived life with a balanced budget and no debt. They paid off their cars in 12-24 months.
Today everybody is 'special' and nobody has to settle for anything less than 'the best'. Cost is no object (regardless of income) all you have to do is finance it longer.
This adds up to auto makers being unable to sell 'cheap cars' at any price. Virtually every car has to be the top line model.

#2 Modern manufacturing techniques. All those options were PROFITABLE but they were also costly. Every assembly plant had to have every option on hand at all times to potentially build every variation. Maintaining inventory is expensive.

The Japanese taught us that there is more profit in "just in time' manufacturing. Look at the option lists of Japanese cars from the 60s & 70s - automatic & A/C was about it. Colors? 5-6 maybe and there was likely only one interior choice. But they were high quality and value priced.

So today limiting options ALLOWS the just in time manufacturing to function and limiting options also increases quality. The down side is that modern cars can become pretty boring pretty fast.
1929 341B Town Sedan
1971 Miller-Meteor Lifeliner ambulance
Other non-Cadillac cars
Near Los Angeles, California

CLC #29634

TJ Hopland

Quote from: m-mman on October 09, 2016, 01:24:01 PMFifty plus years ago there were people who did not believe that they were inherently special and that they DESERVED 'the best'. They lived life with a balanced budget and no debt. They paid off their cars in 12-24 months.
Today everybody is 'special' and nobody has to settle for anything less than 'the best'. Cost is no object (regardless of income) all you have to do is finance it longer.
This adds up to auto makers being unable to sell 'cheap cars' at any price. Virtually every car has to be the top line model

That may be it right there.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

chrisntam

1970 Deville Convertible 
Dallas, Texas

Big Apple Caddy

Quote from: m-mman on October 09, 2016, 01:24:01 PM
So what happened to the cheap cars and long option lists?
#1 Fifty plus years ago there were people who did not believe that they were inherently special and that they DESERVED 'the best'. They lived life with a balanced budget and no debt. They paid off their cars in 12-24 months.
Today everybody is 'special' and nobody has to settle for anything less than 'the best'. Cost is no object (regardless of income) all you have to do is finance it longer.
This adds up to auto makers being unable to sell 'cheap cars' at any price. Virtually every car has to be the top line model.

Except that the price of a base model to a fully loaded model can be as wide or wider today than it was decades ago.  Not all cars come fully loaded and people still have a choice of an entry model with less features, a fully optioned model or something in the middle.  Just because some things that may have been optional in the past are now standard doesn't mean that there still aren't many options available for buyers today.  The retail price of a new 2016 Cadillac ATS sedan starts at $34,210 but can run around $25,000 or more higher than that with options and that's not even counting the ATS-V sedan.

If everyone felt "entitled" today, a complaint older generations seem to consistently have had about younger generations throughout history, then cars would only come fully loaded and that's far from the case.   Entry to fully loaded can still be a wide difference in features and price.

Scot Minesinger

Big Apple Caddy,

Yes agreed.  Back in Rome the same reservations about the next younger generation were expressed and look we are positively progressing as a society.  I have three children 17, 19, and 21 and they are all good to go to make the world a better place.

Of course I have schooled them in the importance of buying large American V-8 cars. 

Back on topic, for 1970 era cars it is not difficult to add many options that are desirable, as I posted.  In any 1970 era car of any mark, I always add the tilt wheel, twilight sentinel, and electric trunk release if not so equipped.  Most 1970 era cars that I would be interested in likely have ac.  Condition and color are more important in buying a classic than the options. 



Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Gene Beaird

Quote from: TJ Hopland on October 07, 2016, 10:08:42 AM
Another question would be how often did people order their cars back then vs. take something off the lot?   Now days it doesn't seem that common to order a car.    IF they don't have close to what you want on the lot they get on the internet and possibly find the car you want sitting on another dealer lot somewhere.

<SNIP>

I'm sure our car is an extreme example, but my grandparents were on a road trip from Alabama, leaving Houston, and traveling to Dallas to visit family.  Near Austin, the engine in their current Cadillac quit.  After getting towed to a dealership in Austin, the diagnosis was terminal: oil pump failure.  So, having much time to place an order, they selected a blue Calais sedan and drove it off the lot. 

The car was pretty option-free, I think, having A/C, tinted windows, power seats and an AM radio, but that's about it.  I guess my grand father was looking for something that would be pretty trouble-free, or, not loaded down with expensive options.  Either way, that's what we have, a 68 Calais that doesn't have a lot of options. 
Gene Beaird,
1968 Calais
1979 Seville
Pearland, Texas
CLC Member No. 29873

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

#18
If any evidence exists of higher survivorship of lesser equipped cars, I haven't seen it. While it is certainly possible a highly equipped car with a lot of failing equipment may be more likely to be traded/sold/scrapped in some cases, I really don't see any trends supporting this to any notable degree.

And for whatever it may be worth, a member here has documented around 400/1,320 1959 Eldorado Biarritz in existence today in some level of condition which translates to a 30% rate of survival. Keep in mind this model was standard with air suspension & 3 2-barrel carburetor engine. As used cars, these mechanical options were not only well known to be problematic, but can directly render the car inoperable if either mechanical item is malfunctioning badly enough (unlike most other optional equipment).   

It should therefore be apparent that if ever a car were destined for premature scrappage/ reduced survivorship, a '59 EBZ is surely it.  Yet based on presently known survivors, this doesn't seem to have been the case.

To suggest optional equipment and survivorship are directly (or inversely) related is pure speculation.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

m-mman

Eric, I think you are looking at another statistical anomaly. Some RARE cars have survived at very high rates and it seems to be because they were known to be rare and special when new and rather than giving up on them when they quit, they were pushed into the back yard and 'kept'.

Some examples Compare the survival percentage of the 57-8 Broughams to the 57-8 Fleetwoods. To get a 50% survival from roughly 700 cars is alot easier than even 10% survival from 36,000 cars.

Corvettes, 2 passenger Thunderbirds, 56-7 Lincoln Mark IIs, even 1960 Edsel convertibles (production just 76) all seem to have survived in percentages higher than 50%.

Between 1957 and 1959 Ford made two 'convertibles'. The cloth top Sunliner and the retractable hardtop Skyliner. They produced easily twice as many cloth top cars each year but you would never know it today from looking at survivors. In fact a 1959 cloth top Sunliner is TODAY a very rare car indeed.

In the Cad world 59 convertibles were always seen as special cars. Back in 68-70 when 1950s fin cars were the complete laughing stock and nobody would want to even be seen in one, a local lady drove a red series 62 conv and she was always being hounded by potiental buyers. I dont know exactly what happened to her car but if her transmission quit, rather than junking it it would have gone into the backyard.

Tri power? When the linkage quits then the car becomes just a 2 barrel engine and still runs fine. If not working it would not lead to the vehicle's demise.

Air suspension as a factor in survival . . . ? Yes it was standard BUT how many have survived with it intact? Of the 30% survival you quote I bet 10% or less were still on air after 5 years and 2% after a decade. So as that complicate feature was eliminated it increased survival. Even today considering all surviving 59 Eldorados how many are still on air bags?

In 1975 there was a 60 Seville in our local junkyard. 2x4 boards and lumber had been jammed between the control arms to make it 'driveable' before it was finally junked. I have often wondered what it would have been like to drive it like that.

Again to equalize the statistics ask how many Non-Eldorado air suspension cars have survived? Years ago I worked on a 58 series 62 coupe on springs. If it were not for the compressor still under the hood, I would never have known it was ONCE an air suspension car.

How many 59 Fleetwood air suspension cars have you seen? Compared to total 59 Fleetwood production of both spring and air bag cars. Air suspension 59 Fleetwoods are still rare.
You could also compare All 59 Fleetwoods with air susp AND tri power to the total 59 ElDorado production. The simillarly loaded Fleetwoods were scrapped the Eldos (especially convertibles) went into the garage.

To make a fair comparison study you would have to compare similar cars. For any given year compare stripped vs loaded DeVilles or loaded vs stripped 60 Specials/Fleetwoods.
1929 341B Town Sedan
1971 Miller-Meteor Lifeliner ambulance
Other non-Cadillac cars
Near Los Angeles, California

CLC #29634