26 July 2014
1931 Cadillac V-12 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood
- Engine no. 1002411
- Body no. 152
Sold for $220,000
- Offered from 32 years of ownership
- Restored by Harry Sherry, with further sorting by Brian Joseph
- CCCA Premier award winner
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 the design and construction of bespoke bodies. Its origins go back nearly as far as the history of General Motors, which acquired Fleetwood more than three quarters of a century ago.
The Fleetwood Metal Body Company was formed in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, and came into being in 1909. The company was not the result of an evolution of a carriage-building company, but rather, 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 to a former Fisher Body plant. From this time on, work was focused on GM, particularly Cadillac. 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’s Art and Colour Department. Cadillac promised delivery of their Fisher-Fleetwood catalogue customs within seven weeks, and while full-customs were also available, they took significantly longer to complete.
The Convertible Coupe shown here is documented by its original build sheet, a copy of which accompanies the car, as having its original engine, number 1002411. The same build sheet records the car as having been supplied by New York distributor I.M. Uppercu to Bayers Auto Sales, of Long Island City, with financing drawn, amusingly enough, through the Corn Exchange Bank.
For 32 years the car has been a prominent part of one of the Midwest’s finest collections of classic cars, which is owned by a long-time CCCA member. It was acquired in New York, where its life had begun, in 1982. After two decades of ownership, the owner elected to have the Cadillac restored by Harry Sherry, of Sherry Classic Autos in Warsaw, Ontario, a shop which is well known and highly regarded for its fine quality of work, painstaking attention to detail, and for often investing as many as 8,000 to 10,000 hours to achieve such astonishing quality. More recently, following the retirement of Mr. Sherry, the car was updated and detailed by respected restorer Brian Joseph, whose work included the installation of Cadillac-specific nuts and bolts. It is no surprise that the owner recalls showing the car three times in CCCA competition since the completion of its restoration, where the car scored 100 points every time and reached Premier status.
The body is finished in two shades of crimson and comes with a tastefully understated tan leather interior and Burbank cloth top. Other equipment includes chrome wire wheels shod in wide whitewall tires, a Goddess hood ornament, dual horns, dual mirrors, a luggage rack with trunk, and a radiator stone guard. In every way, this car looks the spectacular part of a sportsman’s automobile, and it is the perfect car for waterside drives, be it on Long Island or in Grosse Pointe.
It is ready for continued concours and CCCA Grand Classic showings or for simply being admired and enjoyed in one’s garage or on the road.
Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.