Monday, October 9, 2017

Cadillac's 1948 Redesign Brand Image Continuity

I point out in my e-book "How Cars Faced the Market" that upscale makes tend to maintain visual brand identification continuity over a body redesign transition.  I dealt here with example of top-of-the-line Oldsmobiles that received General Motors' new C-body for the 1948 model year.  It turned out that Oldsmobile stylists did a good job of carrying over the grille theme and side trim to the new shape.

The only other GM division using the 1948 C-body that model year was Cadillac.  The present post treats how Cadillac made its transition from 1947.


To set the stage, here are two Hyman auction photos of a 1947 Cadillac 62.  Details to consider include the grille, chromed side trim and the backlight window.

I'm also including this Bonhams photo of a '47 62 Cabriolet because this car has the more common running lights that flank the grille.

Front view of a 1948 Cadillac via Mecum Auctions.  Its grille retains egg-crate gridding, a theme used by Cadillac for many decades.  The stacked, two-level profile of the grille is carried over, but the opening is smaller and the design is simplified.  The V-plus-crest theme at the front of the hood is retained, though details vary.  The rectangular flanking running lights are another carryover.

Side trim is quite similar for both model years, especially the rock-guard-plus-strip on the rear fender.  Also, aside from the chrome panel by the front wheel opening, both designs otherwise lack major side brightwork.

The rear has the least brand retention compared to 1947.  Placement of the V-plus-crest on the trunk as well as the hood serves as brand identification (the tail fins became a strong Cadillac symbol, but this wasn't known when the car was styled).  The one aft-end carryover is the three-piece backlight theme.  All things considered, the Oldsmobile team maintained brand consistency somewhat better than did Cadillac stylists.  Barrett-Jackson photo.

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