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Selling on Saturday Evening

Coachwork by Fleetwood

1931 Cadillac V-12 Dual Windshield Sport Phaeton

  • Beautiful comprehensive restoration
  • Documented with a copy of its build sheet
  • Well-equipped with an abundance of accessories
  • Formerly of the Sid Craig Collection

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In 1931, Cadillac introduced the V-12 which was essentially a shortened sixteen. The V-12s were manufactured to extremely high-quality standards and differed only in details of trim and, of course, engine size of the V-16 line which cost nearly twice as much.

Cadillac now had offerings for the connoisseur of the venerable V-8 for the most discerning elite clientele which were offered on chassis from the 134-inch V-8 to the massive 148-inch V-16. Catalog coachwork was available from Fleetwood and Fisher and, under the direction of Harley Earl, the smallest details of fit, finish, and function were attended to. Indeed, it was only a genius like Earl that could conceive of styling under the hood, which was applied by the Art & Color Section and gave both models a particularly attractive presentation. Luxuriously trimmed interiors for both of the in-house bodies were supplied by Fleetwood and, of course, any Cadillac chassis could be ordered bare and fitted with bespoke coachwork from any of the world’s finest coachbuilders. Despite the financial downturn caused by the crash of the stock market in October 1929, the V-12 still had an innate appeal among the shrunken pool of prospective buyers. For 1931, alone, a total of 5,733 examples were built, half as many as the V-8 despite costing over thirty percent more.

This Fleetwood Five-Passenger Dual Windshield Sport Phaeton is beautifully proportioned on its 140-inch wheelbase and has benefited from an extremely high-quality restoration performed in the mid to late 2000s. Documented by a copy of its build sheet from the GM Heritage Center media archives, Chassis 1003698 is fitted with abundant accessories including a rear folding windshield, wind wings, dual enclosed side-mounted spares, a pair of remotely operated Cadillac Lorraine spotlights, chrome center-lock wire wheels, luggage rack, dual Pilot-Ray driving lights and radiator stone guard. It is attractively presented in two-tone blue-gray with gray coach lines which complements and enhances the lines of its Fleetwood coachwork. The interior is upholstered in black leather. A tan cloth top bound in black leather piping completes the Fleetwood-coordinated ensemble. The quality of the restoration is superb with little use since completion. The chrome is still excellent, and the body displays only very minor wear to the paint finish, which could easily be returned to a more competitive level of presentation.

Before the current owner acquired Chassis 1003698 in the fall of 2011, it had received some very thorough freshening for its mechanical systems and cosmetics. In 2010, the entire fuel system was sorted including a rebuild of the fuel tank by Roppel Industries which also included treatment with Gas Tank Renu. The fuel-sending unit was rebuilt by John Wolf, and the carburetors were both rebuilt and painstakingly tuned using dual vacuum gauges. Very recently, the exhaust manifolds were removed and restored by Prairie Auto Porcelain and reinstalled with new gaskets. The cooling system was also serviced, which involved removing and extensively flushing the radiator and both cylinder blocks. The water pump was removed and rebuilt with a new stainless steel pump shaft, new packing, and new flex couplings. All six wire wheels were removed and restored by Dayton Wire Wheels of Dayton, Ohio.

This example is superb and is recognized as a Full Classic® by the Classic Car Club of America. Many regard the '31 Cadillac V-12 Phaeton as one of the best driving open cars of the early '30s. The very well-balanced, 135-horsepower V-12 engine will propel its lightweight Fleetwood coachwork on parades or on tours at modern highway speeds securely, silently, and rapidly and will still be ready at the end of the day to be displayed with pride.

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