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Author Topic: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special  (Read 1668 times)

Offline Jose1941

  • Posts: 4
  • Name: JMiranda
First post!  I'm hoping you all can help point me in the right direction.  My father recently passed on and left me his prized possession--a green 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special.  This is a car he took care of and was a weekly driver up until just a few months ago as it has sat in a garage up until now.   I would like to honor his memory, restore the car, and keep it in our family.  I have started calling and emailing local shops (Tampa, Fl).  One restoration shop owner in Sarasota quoted me 300k and told me it would take them 1 year and a half to restore it.  Other shops must be really busy because I've spoken to a few and emailed but haven't heard back yet.  Needless to say, I'm disheartened.  I don't know much about the costs of restoration but am learning quickly that it isn't as simple as some of those television shows make it out to be  ;D.  I am not looking to restore this car to the highest caliber.  I plan on driving it every week as my dad did.  So I need it to be mechanically reliable and I would like to fix the rust spots in the body/chrome and paint it back to its factory green color.  I've included some photos (below) so you all can see the condition of the car.  I know those in this forum will appreciate the car as much as my father and I did/do.  I look forward to hearing your advice and suggestions so I can get back to enjoying the Caddy and taking my family out cruising in it as my father did so often.

https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0x5fk75vf52i3
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 12:30:52 PM by Jose1941 »

Offline dn010

  • Posts: 324
  • CLC Number: 33004
  • Name: Dan Benedek
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2021, 04:01:36 PM »
Welcome to the forum. I'm right over the bridge in Pinellas, not to far from you.

First of all, my condolences.

300K for a restoration is outrageous to me, you can get a decent '58 Brougham for under $100K. My question is, what is wrong with it now that you find it is not reliable to drive? I see some issue areas in the paint, I believe a repaint is around 10K-20K unless you can find someone who can just fix the problem areas. If you repaint, you might want to find a used trunk/deck lid to swap out with so you don't have all that rust, I'd guess the lettering or the stainless trim is letting water in and it sat, rusting it out. Other than that it looks to be in good shape, does it run well? What about the brakes (you might want to have the original system swapped out for a newer brake booster/dual master cylinder and disc brakes up front)?
-----Dan Benedek
'57 Cadillac Sedan Deville 6239DX
'81 DMC DeLorean

Offline Jose1941

  • Posts: 4
  • Name: JMiranda
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2021, 04:26:53 PM »
Welcome to the forum. I'm right over the bridge in Pinellas, not to far from you.  First of all, my condolences.  300K for a restoration is outrageous to me, you can get a decent '58 Brougham for under $100K. My question is, what is wrong with it now that you find it is not reliable to drive? I see some issue areas in the paint, I believe a repaint is around 10K-20K unless you can find someone who can just fix the problem areas. If you repaint, you might want to find a used trunk/deck lid to swap out with so you don't have all that rust, I'd guess the lettering or the stainless trim is letting water in and it sat, rusting it out. Other than that it looks to be in good shape, does it run well? What about the brakes (you might want to have the original system swapped out for a newer brake booster/dual master cylinder and disc brakes up front)?

Thanks Dan, that is very kind of you.  It is nice to meet another Caddy owner in the bay area!  I was thinking the same thing about the outrageous restoration quote.  I've gotten a few others over the phone and they've all warned me it will be 150-170k for a full restoration.  I understand it is quite a bit of work to restore these classics and mine does have a fair amount of rust.  It was driving fine up until a few months ago.  We had a few electrical/battery issues I got sorted out locally.  We've been busy closing out my dad's affairs and I haven't cranked her back up in a long while.  I'm not sure about the brakes, I think my dad had them repaired a while ago but I am not sure if he updated them.  Either way, they haven't been an issue.  Thanks for all the suggestions.  Do you know a local body/paint shops?

Offline Lexi

  • Posts: 1996
  • CLC Number: 28634
  • Name: C.R. Foley
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2021, 06:48:53 PM »
Jose welcome aboard. Sorry to hear about your father. I agree with Dan's comments. I would be looking to maintain it, with perhaps addressing some of the problem paint areas. Love the car basically as is. By maintaining it you will have more of a connection with the car to your Father, as that is how it was when he owned and drove it. Just keep it safe and operational. As Dan said, perhaps address some paint issues and perhaps the trunk lid. $300,000.00 for a restoration is nuts, even if it needed a complete one which it does not appear to require. Clay/Lexi
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 06:53:52 PM by lexi »

Offline Jose1941

  • Posts: 4
  • Name: JMiranda
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2021, 07:37:58 PM »
Jose welcome aboard. Sorry to hear about your father. I agree with Dan's comments. I would be looking to maintain it, with perhaps addressing some of the problem paint areas. Love the car basically as is. By maintaining it you will have more of a connection with the car to your Father, as that is how it was when he owned and drove it. Just keep it safe and operational. As Dan said, perhaps address some paint issues and perhaps the trunk lid. $300,000.00 for a restoration is nuts, even if it needed a complete one which it does not appear to require. Clay/Lexi

Thanks Lexi  :)

Offline benji808

  • Posts: 102
  • Name: Benjamin M. Roach
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2021, 07:43:25 PM »
Sorry for your loss.

Beautiful car! The only way those estimates make any sense to me is if they are for a full frame-off restoration, and even then it seems like a lot. You should be able to take that off the table and get years and perhaps decades of enjoyment out of the car with basic maintenance and repairs over time, which shouldn't break the bank, assuming your dad kept up with it and drove it regularly. Obviously if you want to repaint/replace some of the rusted out components that will be pricey ($10k+, perhaps), but unless you have major rust issues on the frame even that isn't strictly necessary, and certainly not "do it right now" urgent. Get it running (if it's only sat for a few months I'd smell the gas and if smells normal, just pump the accelerator and try cranking it and see what happens), enjoy driving it around, and take it one step at a time.

This community has been awesome helping me with my projects, so you're in good company!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 07:45:24 PM by benji808 »

Offline Big Fins

  • Posts: 1802
  • CLC Number: 22631
  • Name: John Serio
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2021, 04:38:13 AM »
Jose', there are lot's of Cadillac's right around you. The Florida Suncoast Chapter of the CLC is right there. I'm straight across the state on the other coast. That car is beautiful just as it is. Stripping and painting along with the rust issues is going to be close to the $40-$50k mark. These shops are insane now. It seems they want to retire after one car.

As noted about the brakes, they are the most important part, getting 5000 pounds of steel to stop. I just learned that when my master cylinder went out on a recently acquired 1969 Cadillac. Just go through the entire system top to bottom. Parts availability is there. Even if you do want to go with a dual master. That's going to require a different booster and some fitting to make work properly. The drum brakes all around are fine and work as good as disc brakes when working properly. You're looking for a Sunday cruiser, not driving in the Rockies.

Then as afforded or you see fit, move on to the next project. Me? I would do what I'm doing to the cars that I have and going through them a little at a time and making them a fun project, then having fun with them until the next one comes along. But a '58 Sixty Special? I'd build a special garage for that one. That was always my #1 Cadillac of desire. Enjoy it and the memories that it brings you. 
Current:
1976 Eldorado Convertible in Crystal Blue FireMist with white interior and top.
1969 Fleetwood Brougham in Chalice Gold FireMist with matching interior and top.

Past and much missed:
1977 Brougham de Elegance
1976 Eldorado Convertible
1972 Fleetwood Brougham
1971 Sedan de Ville
1970 de Ville Convertible
1969 Sedan de Ville
1959 Sedan deVille

Offline James Landi

  • Posts: 2376
  • 2007 XLR
  • Name: James Landi
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2021, 08:33:38 AM »
All very sound advice regarding safety FIRST. I'd add a note about the flexible brake lines and potential rust compromised steel brake lines.  Your car is not dual braking, that is, if there's a failure in any part of the system, that EMERGENcY BRAKE is all that you have.   A couple of mechanical/engine concerns.  I note that your dad added an extra electric fan forward of the radiator/ a/c condenser, and that leads me to "speculate" that over heating, especially in FLorida, may have been an issue.  Having lived in FLorida, I know how hot and how frustratingly long traffic lights and conjestion can be, so, I'm suggesting that a thorough evaluation of the radiator and associated cooling system elements be on your list. De-scaling the radiator by someone WITH EXPERIENCE who knows how to do this is an important first step.  Over the decades, a crusty scale inevitably bonds with the radiator core, and thus deeply compromises engine heat dissipation.  You can and should run your dad's car, and getting the engine and transmission UP TO TEMPERATURE is very desirable with these old cars... and you can do so even if the cooling system is somewhat compromised--- it's a matter of how far you go and how well you're able to monitor the engine heat.  All of the above and especially including other suggestions leads me to ask, how much experience have you had as a mechanic?  How many friends do you have in the car repair business?  Having lived in FLorida for a couple of decades, I truly depended on one mechanic who ran his own shop to keep my old Cadillacs safe and running well... as you likely well know, there are many folks in the car business who will cynically take your money and rationalize their doing so by characterizing you as the crazy guy with money to burn on an old junker.  The forum, alas, has many sad tales of good folks who were terrible cheated. Hope this helps and stimulates more discussion .    James

Offline fishnjim

  • Posts: 2415
  • Name: J. Bozin
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2021, 09:42:49 AM »
Condolences on loss of your father.   
I usually advise in this case to wait.   Emotional value exceeds market value and is higher right now than it will be later.   Plus the current industry conditions make it more difficult to restore.

If you research the values for a '58 F-60 spec. they're only worth around $50K in "10" condition.   It can easily cost $300K to restore this to factory and won't be worth any more.   Labor rates are up and so are parts.   It takes a long time to find some parts, if at all.   It also takes much time for the disassemble, repair, and reassemble.   It took around 1-2000 manhours to make a car in those days and they had all the parts.  Wages were a couple dollars/hour.   Shop rates now are over $100/hr.   It has to be taken apart, repaired, and reassembled, so the hours mount fast, ie, twice what it took to make.   Shop has to also include costs from having to store, catalog, and search for all those replace items while it's being done.   
This car is in very good condition with original paint.   To repaint would be a loss.   Some rust repair and touch up maybe a better path.   The interior can be covered or the damaged panels replaced.   Go through the mechanicals/have checked as suggested already, if you plan to drive.   Have a mechanic or body shop assess it for structural issues/extent of rust repair.

Offline cadillac ken

  • Posts: 700
  • Name: k caskey
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2021, 10:28:33 AM »
Welcome Jose:

As a restoration professional and an owner of a Restoration Custom Car business here in Florida for over 30 years, I can tell you most complete restorations; body off frame, completely replacing all lines, Sandblasting frame, body, rust repair, metal replacement, interior replacement, glass and associated run channels and rubber, electrical, and so much more will typically run well over $200K.

Now the question you need to ask yourself is "does this car need that or do you want the car that perfect?"  Everyone needs to place a value on what it is worth to them.  All the cars we have in the shop (and we are a small shop with personalized service) will have far and away, in most cases, 5 to 6x invested in their project than the car will be worth the day it rolls out of the shop.  But they are vehicles that mean something to the owner.  Maybe like in your case it was their father's car.  Maybe it was the car, not one like it, but the car that they drove in high school and dated their wife , brought their kids home from the hospital in, and now they want to have it become the car they could previously never afford to restore.

I would address the issues that the car needs to be safely driven and cosmetically pleasing to you.  But a full restoration is expensive and there are no shortcuts once you get the project underway.  You will find that there are not a lot of shops (reputable) that will simply do a "quickie" on the car.  And even getting the rust repaired and the car painted will be a challenge as most "body shops" will not be interested.  Frankly because it requires a lot of effort over a long period of time and the "body shop" can make more money faster and easier replacing body panels on newer cars that are accident victims.

These old cars can be problematic.  And most shops know that simply removing a window glass for replacement is a mine field of other problems that can crop up and will need to be addressed.  Old brittle wiring, broken fasteners, and rusted bolts that refuse to break free are common on a lot of simple jobs -- or more importantly, jobs that most folks who don't do that kind of work, feel should be a "simple job".  Shops charge by the hour and when a simple job spirals out of control, time keeps ticking.  So you can see why costs to restore a car completely can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I hope this information helps.  I know it can be a little disheartening.  But it is important to get the facts beforehand and have a grasp on what it is you are looking to accomplish with your Dad's Fleetwood. 

All the best, Ken

Offline Jay Friedman

  • Posts: 2533
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2021, 01:38:14 PM »
As James Landi mentioned above, the first thing I would do is overhaul the brake system, including replacing the steel hydraulic lines with stainless steel lines.  Next, I would get the motor running correctly and the other mechanical components in good shape.  Neither of these two steps should cost too much and parts are available for them.  After that, with the car in "driver" condition, you can take your time deciding how much more time and money you want to devote to the rust problems and aesthetics of the car.   
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 06:40:58 PM by Jay Friedman »
1949 Cadillac 6107 Club Coupe
1932 Ford V8 Phaeton (restored, not a rod).  Sold
Decatur, Georgia
CLC # 3210, since 1984
"If it won't work, get a bigger hammer."

Offline Big Fins

  • Posts: 1802
  • CLC Number: 22631
  • Name: John Serio
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2021, 07:00:55 PM »
It seems Mr. Landi just echoed most of what I posted 4 hours prior to his post.

Whatever! It's just not worth the argument.
Current:
1976 Eldorado Convertible in Crystal Blue FireMist with white interior and top.
1969 Fleetwood Brougham in Chalice Gold FireMist with matching interior and top.

Past and much missed:
1977 Brougham de Elegance
1976 Eldorado Convertible
1972 Fleetwood Brougham
1971 Sedan de Ville
1970 de Ville Convertible
1969 Sedan de Ville
1959 Sedan deVille

Offline Jon Riley #13576

  • Posts: 108
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2021, 09:05:53 PM »
$300k is pretty standard price for a 1950s Cadillac authenticity restored to receive a senior award by the clc or aaca in 2021   This is assuming that you are dropping off the car and simply paying the bills.  You can always purchase a car for less than it costs to restore.

I would suggest finding a local mechanic to get it stopping and running and then a body shop to paint it.


Offline wrench

  • Posts: 996
  • CLC Number: 27930
  • Name: Jim Cullen
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2021, 09:19:12 PM »
Can you spend $300k on a restoration? Yes. Should you spend $300k on a restoration on a $125k car? No.

As I have said, I never do ‘basketcases’...it looks like that machine needs TLC and not a complete overhaul. I have read people posting here about taking 14 years to do a restoration.

Anywho, I had an interesting conversation with a body shop owner recently that goes against the conventional wisdom.

The guy said he would rather do a classic car restoration than collision work as he knows the classic car guy is gonna pay a better price and pay that willingly, the insurance companies are always haggling and hassling him and while he does collision work, he prefers restoration work.

Keep in mind, this guy is an artist and does amazing work, so doing a hood and fender on a late model Hyundai may not be the best use of his talents...
1951 Series 62 Sedan
1969 Eldorado
1970 Eldorado (Triple Black w/power roof)
1958 Apache 3/4 ton 4x4
2005 F250
2014 FLHP
2014 SRX

Offline Jose1941

  • Posts: 4
  • Name: JMiranda
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2021, 09:24:58 PM »
Thank you all for the condolences, warm welcome, and your sage advice.  I'm going to get the Caddy running again so we can enjoy it while I figure out the next steps on the restoration.  Now I know to pay more attention to the brake system and De-scaling the radiator.  If any of you know of any reputable local mechanics or body shops I would appreciate it.  Once I start restoring the Caddy, I will most definitely post the progress on the restoration forum.   

Offline mezach529

  • Posts: 10
  • Name: Murray Zacharia
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2021, 11:24:57 AM »
I love these cars. I also live in southeast Florida and recently purchased a 1958 Sixty special with only 42000 miles. It has every option except factory AC. Need that in south Florida. I can tell by the pictures that your car came with factory AC but somewhere in its lifetime it has been changed over to a newer system which explains the fan in front of condenser. There is no hot gas bypass valve which was cable operated or an A5 compressor. Also the generator has been changed over to an alternator . I am installing a factory SC system and have obtained all the parts. Your car looks great and has some rust issues that need to be addressed. Are all your power windows seats and power trunk motor working. How about the power antenna. Is the windshield wipers and washer working. I have obtained all the parts for a factory AC and have sourced many parts to repair the seats windows and headlight/fog switch. I am knowledgeable about these cars. It was the first car I ever drove my father had one and t to honk they are the most beautiful Cadillacs ever built. These cars in south Florida have an issue with vapor lock due to ethanol fuel and especially on AC cars. I would love to come and see the car and go over it with you. Please send me an email threw the forum and we could arrange a date and time. I would love to share the information I have obtained over the years.

Offline Anderson

  • Posts: 142
  • Name: W.C. Dunn
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2021, 03:07:58 PM »
My sense is that you're not asking the right question, so you're getting a bad answer.  "I want this car restored" is basically a blank-check question for someone to give you a number for a frame-off restoration job.  What I'd ask is:
(1) What do you need done with her?
-Basically, what is necessary for safe operation and to deal with any present or incipient rust issues?
(2) What do you want done with her?
-Do you want a show-winning restoration?  Do you want her as a nice Sunday driver/head-turner when you take her out?  Do you just want her to be functional and look decent?
(3) What do you want to do with her?
-Again, are you looking to win awards in a show? (My father went this route with a Mercedes 280SL once upon a time.) Do you just want to be able to drive around town?  Do you want to take her on road trips?

Basically, what I think you need is a writeup of all the issues and then a serious talk with a mechanic for your use case.  If you want to be able to take her on a 2,000 mile roadtrip, that has different needs and things to focus on/prioritize than if you want to win a trophy, and that's different from if you want to just be able to drive around town.  And even if all of the use cases might ultimately lead to the same place, getting piecemeal work done once she's "safely" able to be driven and there are no rust issues or other incipient "major problems" would allow you to both spread the cost out over time and enjoy her in the interim.

Edit: And I'd also point out that if there are panels that you need but it's going to take a while, with some rust issues the car might still be taken out on a nice day in the interim.  It very much depends on the issue and whether it affects safety or not.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 03:10:24 PM by Anderson »

Offline Carfreak

  • Posts: 658
  • CLC Number: 5125
  • Name: SPashukewich
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2021, 08:49:41 AM »
Jose,

The Cadillac & LaSalle Club is currently offering a FREE 6 month online membership if you have never been a member previously.  Please consider joining the Club who hosts this Forum and also join the Sun Coast Region to meet Cadillac & LaSalle owners in your area.  They can be a great source for identifying mechanics, body shops, parts suppliers and other businesses in your area, great camaraderie and other resources.  www.cadillaclasalleclub.org  then select JOIN

This link has 1000s of pages of scanned Cadillac documents which may be helpful to you in identifying parts and getting your car serviced:   https://www.modifiedcadillac.org/documents/

It is great you are able to keep your father's car and hopefully you will have many years of enjoyment driving it and remembering him.

Good luck!!

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 421
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2021, 05:17:07 PM »
My deepest condolences on your loss of your father. The car looks great. Also looks very original. A car is only original once. I'm not say not to do any repairs. I would do rust repairs and and make sure it is operating correctly.
                 Thanks Wayne 

Offline Bryan J Moran

  • Posts: 207
  • Name: Bryan Moran
Re: Restoring my Dad's Pride & Joy 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2021, 07:26:59 PM »
$300,000 seems to me to be an indication that shop does not want your car.  That car is still driver class.  I wouldn’t touch the body or chrome.  Interior looks worn but not worn out.  Keep it and drive it. 

 

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