This is where it all began. The fins that became synonymous with 1950s American confidence and, later, self-indulgence first sprouted demurely as the upper apogee of the rear fenders of the 1948 Cadillac. The famed Cadillac Ranch in Texas begins its Neolithic-styled chronicle of Cadillac excess with a ’49 fastback coupe, reaching a high-water mark with the 42-inch fins of the ’59 Coupe de Ville and continuing through the eventual diminution of these iconic appendages, closing with a ’63 sedan. How fitting that the all-new postwar Cadillac was the first befinned car and that the streak ended in the wake of the Kennedy assassination and Vietnam, marking a loss of the innocence and optimism that begat those fins in the first place.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/Articles/2003/04/15/Collectible-Classic---1948-49-Cadillac-Fastback-Coupe