HomePick of the DayDawn of the tailfins: 1949 Cadillac DeVille Sedanette resto-mod

Dawn of the tailfins: 1949 Cadillac DeVille Sedanette resto-mod


Cadillac surged ahead of American luxury cars in 1948, partly because of a new overhead-valve V8 but primarily because of its eye-popping new styling, which featured the debut of the signature tailfins that would set the tone throughout the 1950s and into the ’60s.

The tour de force body design continued for the following year, including the Pick of the Day, a 1949 Cadillac DeVille Sedanette that has been lusciously restored and resto-modded with newer mechanical components.

Long and low, the Cadillac established a new styling trend

The Sedanette was essentially a two-door fastback model with a B pillar and full rear seat, also know at the time as a club sedan and known today as a 2-door post. Whatever, the Caddy is a remarkably sleek rendition of the post-war look pioneered by General Motors’ innovative styling department.

Sedanettes were made only for 1948 and ’49, according to the Cadillac, Michigan, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.

The DeVille features lots of shiny trim

“This Cadillac Sedanette is one of the most beautiful cars ever built,” the dealer opines in the ad. “This Cadillac was restored back in the early ’90s and has been always kept in a climate-controlled garage.

“This is a solid Texas Cadillac with no rust issues. The chrome is great. All glass is nice and intact.”

A brawny 472cid V8 engine, produced by Cadillac from 1968-69, has been installed, delivering 375 horsepower and a hefty 525 pound-feet of torque, which should provide plenty of gusto. The car also has been updated with power steering, power brakes and power windows.  The air conditioning has been converted to 134a refrigerant, and a new compressor comes with the car, ready to be installed by the new owner.

The stylish interior looks to be in nice shape

The body is straight with original sheet metal and in good condition, the seller says, although there is some minor paint bubbling in one area and one of the hood hinges is busted, “an easy fix,” the seller advises. The interior is also very nice, with “no tears or bad smell,” according to the ad.

The Cadillac is priced at $42,995.  While the ad notes that the car is not at the Cadillac, Michigan, dealership, there is no clue as to where the car is actually parked.  Texas, maybe?  A prospective buyer would have to ask.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.


Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. BOB’
    Love your car stories. Great looking CADILLAC they but the LINCILN car to shame in engineering and designs. At many of the car Cruises my sons and I due in the SPRING we see the best of the best for over 34 years. Stay safe and have fun Spring is around the corner for all the car lovers.



  2. First thing that caught my eye, those are not the beautiful, graceful, understated ’49 tail lights. They are the bigger, taller ’55 or ’56 ones grafted on. Kind of spoils the look for me, but to each his own.

    • They do look wrong, although the seller doesn’t say anything about them being from a later model. I agree that the correct taillights are much better looking. Thanks for pointing that out, Joseph.

  3. I agree with Ron Taylor, if it’s such an easy fix then why don’t you fix it before selling the car? $43,000.00 isn’t exactly "giving it away". And those are not 1949 tail lights either. The 472 was manufactured from 1968 until 1974 as well. The 472 was about 80 lb. heavier than its predecessor. It was used through 1974. It was designed with potential for a 500-cubic inch displacement. A lot of misinformation by the dealer who didn’t do his homework. But it’s al good!

  4. Gawd, a 472. My 1970 Coupe DeVille had a 472 as well, It was a very fast car, that you steered with the throttle, like an old Type C Auto Union. This ’49 I’m sure weighs a lot less, so straight line performance must be thrilling. That old Hydramatic must be in tears. Beautiful Caddy.

    • I have bought this Cadillac, it is on its way to the uk, and at 19000 dollars it is a steal, yes I only paid 19000 dollars.

      • I take that back the vehicle has arrived in the uk and it is scrap, the body has been grafted onto a 1970s chassis in such a way as to render this vehicle extremely dangerous, the chassis has been cut, it does not have power steering, the bodywork is damaged nothing works on the vehicle and the interior is a disgrace, I think you should be very wary when buying a vehicle from CERTAIN sellers, this situation will now have to be resolved by the professionals.


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