Motor City

26 July 2014

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Lot 140

1931 Cadillac V-12 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood

  • Engine no. 1002411
  • Body no. 152

Sold for $220,000


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.

  • 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.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

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

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+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

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+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