1931 Cadillac Series 355 (V8) Custom RoadsterSOLD
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Estimate: $60,000-$80,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

$48,400 Sold

Series 355. 95bhp, 353 cu. in. L-head V8 engine, three-speed selective synchromesh transmission, front and rear semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 134"

By 1931, Cadillac had become the leading American manufacturer of well-priced and stylish automobiles. Its advantageous position in the market could largely be credited to the Creative Art and Color Department headed by Harley Earl, established in 1927. Over the next fifteen years, its ascent to the top of the fine car market further elevated the company ’ s reputation in the eyes of its American clientele and validated the classic Cadillac slogan, “ Standard of the World ” .

It is somewhat ironic however, that one of the greatest eras in motor car history directly followed the stock market crash of 1929 – a time when Americans experienced unprecedented hardship. In fact, it could even be deemed ludicrous that during the Depression years Cadillac moved away from mid-priced car production and toward manufacturing luxury autos fitted with sixteen-cylinder engines. Nonetheless, the stylish V8 models remained the bread and butter of Cadillac ’ s operations. For 1931, subtle design changes increased their resemblance to the big sixteen, including hood vent doors that replaced louvers and a pleasing swept coach sill. As before, its 353 cubic inch V8 produced upwards of 100 horsepower, but now resided under a longer and lower hood. What ’ s more, metal floorboards, a new frame with divergent side rails, an oval instrument panel, a single- bar bumper, dual horns, and slightly smaller headlights ensured a continuous evolution in design and conception. Prices for the V8-powered Cadillacs crept upwards of $2,700, which secured a degree of exclusivity.

The 1931 Cadillac presented here finished in maroon and silver with a fine red pin stripe was converted from an unknown body style and is reminiscent of the styles offered by Cadillac. It found its way to the Wiseman Collection in 1997. Despite the car ’ s older restoration, its condition is generally show quality throughout. The paint has been professionally applied and polished to a smooth, glass-like finish with no apparent defects or damage. The glass is also fault-free, while the brightwork, for the most part, remains excellent and seems to have been replated during the restoration. A black Haartz cloth top has been nicely fitted and retains a very new appearance.

Both the passenger compartment and the rumble seat area are upholstered in burgundy leather, which has aged somewhat but is still in presentable overall condition. The wood dash also shows minor signs of ageing, although the instruments, with the exception of minor flaws, have held up well.

Professional detailing is readily visible under the hood; the various components in the engine compartment have been refinished and detailed, though minimal road use is apparent. Nevertheless, the overall appearance is very presentable, as is the undercarriage, where the suspension, running gear, and frame have all been refinished in red and retain a lovely shine. Interesting features on this Cadillac include optional wire wheels, popular Pilot Ray driving lamps, dual side mounted spare wheels with Haartz cloth tire covers, rearview mirrors, a chrome luggage rack, and a passenger-side golf door.

With original roadsters commanding substantially higher prices, this customized example offers exceptional value. It has aged gracefully and continues to exude those sophisticated qualities that make it an ideal gentleman ’ s roadster.

Reference Number 15004

as of 11/4/2007

Car 1931 Cadillac Series 355 (V8) Custom Roadster
VIN 85627 
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