Motor City

26 July 2014

Lot 140

1931 Cadillac V-12 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood

To be auctioned on Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sold for $220,000

  • Engine no. 1002411
  • Body no. 152


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.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

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

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

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

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more