: 4 Door Convertible!? 1965 Deville - is it safe?



polaris26
08-14-11, 03:57 AM
Hello all - this is my first post here - the title should have read "1966 Deville" not 1965 - sorry!

I saw a local ad for a 4-door Deville Convertible for sale and there were some photos in the ad that looked authentic but it seems that Cadillac never made a 4-door convertible in 1966. The ad just says that it was 'converted' but doesnt explain anything else about it. I am interested in the car but I am concerned about the frame. Does anyone know if the frame of a 4-door sedan would have had to have been reinforced properly to be made into a custom convertible, or would the frame have been sufficient as-is? The seller is asking what seems like a very low price, so before I drive out to look at it I would like to know if there's anything I need to be aware of to look for in person. Has anyone here seen a custom 4-door convertible on this or similar year Cadillac? I am mostly concerned about safety and the physical integrity of the car when driving it.

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thanks in advance,
Dave

sven914
08-14-11, 04:43 AM
To make a convertible, the frame would need to be strengthened considerably. If it was done right, it is just as safe as any other car. But when you look at it, you need to check the undercarriage for additional support beams. If you see any indication of body sag or the doors being out of alignment, then the chop job wasn't done right and the car is probably going to be a money pit (or come apart when you get on the highway).

Other things to consider is if it has a working rag-top or a detachable hard shell; otherwise it would need to be garage kept. If it comes with a roof, you need to check it for leaks and makes sure it mounts square.

CADforce69
08-14-11, 09:14 AM
Totally agree with Sven. Check carefully which kind of top is used, reinforcement -In this case seems to be made on frame under the car-, door alignment and drive it on a road with as much curves as possible to check how much body is twisting in these conditions. Frame rust should be specially checked as a 4door body without its top is specially fragile. In fact no manufacturer has ever made this kind of bodies as it´s difficult keeping a warranty. I remember JFK Lincoln had 4 door but was a special transformation using a reinforcement arch between front and rear doors.

cadillac_al
08-14-11, 10:14 AM
I think frame reinforcement for convertibles is over rated. These old cars had pretty stout frames and may be boxed anyway. If a person is just going to drive easy there should be no problems at all. It sure is a nice looking ride and there is nothing like the fresh air at night time. I have an Impala convertible and I don't see a lot of difference between the convertible and coupe frames. There is a couple extra body mounts but they are both boxed frames. I am curious what kind of top it has though.

jayoldschool
08-14-11, 12:19 PM
I don't know what year your Impala is, but the 60s ones have different frames. Fully boxed compared to C channel on the coupes/sedans. I have a 65 Impala convertible, BTW.

Polaris, it is a car with the roof cut off. Pay whatever your good times driving are worth. It won't be worth anything other than parts to anyone else. You'll know right away if the frame is strong enough. Look at the gap between the front and rear doors. If the gap is the same at the bottom and the top, you have nothing to worry about. If the gap is tighter at the top, the car is sagging.

brougham
08-14-11, 10:39 PM
I think frame reinforcement for convertibles is over rated. These old cars had pretty stout frames and may be boxed anyway. If a person is just going to drive easy there should be no problems at all. It sure is a nice looking ride and there is nothing like the fresh air at night time. I have an Impala convertible and I don't see a lot of difference between the convertible and coupe frames. There is a couple extra body mounts but they are both boxed frames. I am curious what kind of top it has though.

On those cars the body isn't as structural as a newer car. Like al says if it hasen't been abused or won't be it isn't much of a problem. Just check it over good before you buy it. Those years aren't worth a ton of money so if it checks out and you like it just have fun with it.

77CDV
08-14-11, 10:50 PM
Ditto on the above advice regarding checking the frame and body. The immediate past president of the CLC has a 1965 SDV that was professionally converted into a convertible when it was new. It's a beautiful thing, well done, with a manual top IIRC. If the car you're considering doesn't have a top, it's likely an amateur chop job and I'd give it a pass. Also remember to check all the usual areas for rust, as it's very common on these cars.

csbuckn
08-15-11, 12:44 AM
I think it would be cool. I dont know much about frames but I think if it was taken care of, you should enjoy it. Like Jay said, just check the gaps but if you're still unsure, find a shop and put it in the air before you buy it. I've always wanted a four door vert myself.

HartfordGuy
08-15-11, 09:16 AM
I had a body shop cut the top off my 67 hardtop Sedan Deville. They said the box frame was more than sufficient to handle the load. In fact, if you talk to the owners of factory made 2-door convertibles, they will tell you that the frames bend and twist on them even with being designed as convertibles. If you jack the car up to change a tire the car flexes enough that you can't even open the doors! So the comments that factory convertibles are beefed up to handle flex are bunk.

My 67 4-door didn't sag. I won't say it didn't flex as their were tell-tale chips in the paint between the door tops. But when you measured the gap between the doors it was always spot on.

Obviously you want to make sure the car has a safe frame to begin with. But otherwise these cars had sturdy frames.

The bigger concern is the top if it has one. Even the best crafted ones for sedans can leak somewhat. So be warned to watch the weather channel before parking it outside.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3292/2944529353_92a89979bd_z.jpg?zz=1

robb257731
08-15-11, 10:08 AM
That car is awesome.....

polaris26
08-18-11, 11:11 AM
Hello - thank you to everyone who responded. I was unfortunately unable to even look at the car since it was sold before I could even contact the seller. Believe it or not the car was listed with a price of $995 so I wasn't expecting too much from it but it sure sold quickly. So my search continues... thanks to everyone again!

Dave

CADforce69
08-18-11, 11:18 AM
This car was not destined to you. Never mind; go on with your search and you´ll find the caddy that will make you happy. :)

brougham
08-19-11, 02:49 AM
For that price I would have bought it without even thinking about it. Could easily re-sell it for the same price or part it out if it was junk and at least get that money back. Hopefully you'll find the perfect car.

shrike77
08-19-11, 09:03 AM
They are not that expensive?
I think these cars (not talking about custom convertibles) are really beautiful. I am suprised they don't go for higher prices than these. I'd like to get one of them (in my dreams!)