10-11 October 2013

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Lot 220

1931 Cadillac V-12 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood

  • Engine no. 1001934

Sold for $231,000

Series 370A. 150 hp, 368 cu. in. overhead-valve V-12 engine, three-speed selective synchromesh transmission, three-quarter floating rear axle, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes with vacuum assist. Wheelbase: 140 in.

  • Built for the Montreal Auto Show
  • Documented original body and engine
  • Highly regarded Cadillac V-12 performance and durability
  • Ideal AACA tour and CCCA CARavan car

Of all the custom coachbuilders who built on Cadillac chassis, none is more closely linked to the marque than Fleetwood. While today the name is associated with the top model of Cadillac, in the past it represented design and construction of bespoke bodies. Its origins go back nearly as far as the history of General Motors, which is the corporation that Fleetwood has been owned by for more than three quarters of a century.

The Fleetwood Metal Body Company came into being in 1909. Formed in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, it was not an evolution of a carriage-building company, but it was created specifically to build automobile bodies. Fleetwood was particularly known for quality interior woodwork.

In 1925, the Fisher brothers, who had sold out their body company to General Motors, bought Fleetwood outright. This gave Fleetwood capital to expand and modernize, and it gave GM a ready source for high-quality coachwork. Some work continued for non-GM customers, including many bodies for Chrysler. In 1930, the Fishers moved Fleetwood to Detroit and closed the Pennsylvania operations, relocating the construction operations in a former Fisher Body plant. From this time on, work was focused on GM and Cadillac in particular. Fleetwood’s president and chief designer had moved with them from Pennsylvania, and he provided continuity, even while also working with members of Harley Earl’s staff at GM Art and Color Department. Cadillac promised delivery of their Fisher-Fleetwood catalogue customs within seven weeks; full-customs were also available, but they took significantly longer.

A copy of this V-12 Cadillac’s original build sheet, on file, confirms it to be an original Fleetwood-bodied Convertible Coupe, and it has its original engine still installed today. Interestingly, the Cadillac was delivered through General Motors of Canada Ltd., and the build sheet notes, “Tag Montreal Show,” indicating that the car was to be shown at the Montreal Auto Show that year. It was specified with six wire wheels, including dual side-mounted spares and tire-mounted side mirrors.

The car was later the recipient of a body-off restoration, resulting in its present appearance: A rich maroon body with black fenders, door “saddles,” and outlining. Steel covers hide the side-mounted spares, and the wire wheels are painted a slightly lighter shade than the body color. Other interesting accessories include wide whitewall tires, the famous Goddess radiator mascot, an opening windshield, a cowl-mounted spotlight, a golf bag door, a trunk rack, dual Pilot Ray driving lights, and dual horns.

The Cadillac V-12s of this era are well-known for their superb performance, with the lighter engine over the front axle, making them easier to drive than the larger, heavier V-16s. Still presenting very well overall, and reportedly in good running and driving order, this example would be a very pleasurable early Classic to enjoy. It would be accepted in all CCCA CARavans, and it has a fascinating history that would make fine dinner conversation at the end of a day’s drive. It could also be presented at local concours with the same pride that it must have brought Cadillac in Montreal 82 years ago.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more