As GM’s top tier brand, Cadillac never had too many models in their lineup. Cadillac’s faithful customers were somewhat limited given the price Cadillacs commanded. With that in mind, volume was never luxury automaker’s intended business concept. Unlike its stablemate Chevrolet who’s had a number of forgotten models over the years. Still, even with limited range of products, some classic Cadillac cars have managed to fall through the cracks. They got forgotten quickly after disappearing from the scene, consigned to occasional appearance on lists similar to this one.
Given Cadillac’s business strategy that differs from other fellow American brands, even some of their recent models are now obscured. Especially given the transformation Caddy went through a decade and a half ago, or so. I’ll try and refrain from listing limited run and/or special edition models, but you’ll have to forgive me if I resort to cheating. Believe me, it’ll be worth it. Let’s all wish Cadillac a happy 115th birthday today (August 22, 2017) by perusing through these almost forgotten models of theirs.
I’ll start with a bang. Cadillac Mirage is arguably one of the coolest and most peculiar Cadillacs ever produced. This refined DeVille coupe-derived pickup is like El Camino’s long lost brother that – at one point – just appeared at family’s Thanksgiving table out of nowhere. Even its name is rather suggestive. But unlike the optical phenomenon native to this world’s hot spots, Cadillac Mirage was very much real.
It was a limited offering for 1975 and 1976 model years. Reason you probably never heard about it – apart from it being extremely scarce – is the fact Mirage was actually a third party Coupe DeVille conversion done by Traditional Coach Works Ltd. based in Chatsworth, California. The company was established by James Kribbs, while Mirage itself was conceived by none other than Gene Winfield – automotive customizer of the highest pedigree who worked there between 1974 and 1977. Furthermore, the very first model was ordered by our favorite stuntman artist Evel Knievel. The level of genius behind and around this car is enough to blow anyone’s mind, really.
It would seem that only 204 Cadillac Mirages were built before the company got dissolved in 1977. However, not all of them were pickups. Mirage lineup also consisted of Mirage Sport Wagon and Castilian Fleetwood Estate Wagon. Maybe around 120 of them were Mirage pickups, 16 were Fleetwood Castillans and the rest were Mirage Sport Wagons. Biggest reason behind such low production numbers was their exorbitant price tag. Conversion cost about $9,000 which almost doubled the donor car’s original sticker.
All were equipped with 500 cu in V8’s capable of putting 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque to the ground via Turbo-Hydramatic 400 trans and Caddy 12 bolt rear. Apart from being plushy 5 star hotels on wheels, Mirages also boasted great attention to detail when it came to TCW-produced bits like the side golf bag door. The only way proper conversion should be built. That’s the reason Mirage could have been ordered through select participating Cadillac dealers.