Once known as the Cadillac Series 62, the Cadillac Calais was an entry level vehicle. The new name, the Calais, was inspired by the French resort town of the same name. Cadillac offered the Calais in both two and four door hardtop variants in addition to the formal roof four door sedan. The formal roof four door sedan was a frameless version of the car, though it had pillars between the windows. The Calais was first seen in 1965 and was likened to the Cadillac Deville, though the Calais had no covertible offering.
While the Calais was often likened the the Deville, it was not as luxurious. The Calais sported features such as hand cranked windows, though there were powered options available. Eventually the Calais would offer items such as power windows and powered seats, but in the early years the Calais truly was an entry level vehicle with very few bells and whistles. Cadillac powered the Calais with a 7.0 liter V8 engine and had Cadillac features such as the headlight dimmer. Like the Series 62, the Calais was built on the General Motors C platform, which is shared with many other vehicles.
The Calais engine was upgraded in 1968 with a more powerful V8 engine and the vehicle was refreshed and lengthened in 1971. In 1975 Cadillac introduced the biggest Calais engine, the 500 inch V8, which only lasted a year as the Calais was discontinued after the 1976 model year. Not only was the Calais discontinued during this time, the somewhat similar but more luxurious Deville was also outed from the Cadillac lineup during this time.
While many contend that the Calais was a bare bones Cadillac, the Calais wasn’t without any features. Its standard offerings were power brakes, power steering, an automatic transmission, dual backup lights, windshield wipers, dual speed wipers, full wheel discs, remote controlled outside rear view window, an oil filter, five tubeless back tires, visor vanity mirror, a heater, defroster, lamps in the luggage, glove, and rear compartments, as well as front and rear safety belts. While the Calais was thought to be more simple than the Deville, it did feature a more stylized front grille and vertically mounted headlights, which the Series 62 did not. Some great options were an air conditioner, bucket seats with a console, leather upholstery, controlled differential, cruise control, door guards, tinted glass, a lisence plate frame, and a padded roof. You could also opt to buy features such as a power bucket seat, power door locks, power headlight control, radio with speakers, and a remote controlled trunk! Considering that the factory price was just over $5,000, many considered the Calias to be a true deal when you were in the market for a Cadillac!
The Cadillac Calais proved to be a great car for many people, though it was a somewhat simple Cadillac if you compare it to the Cadillacs of today. There are many Calais models still out there, many that are collected, because it was a bit different than other Cadillac offerings.