The Wayne Davis Collection

19 April 2008

Lot 264

1947 Cadillac Series 75 Seven-Passenger Imperial Sedan

To be auctioned on Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sold for $231,000

  • Chassis no. 486049371


Specifications:

150 bhp, 346 cu. in. L-head V8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 136"

The Cadillacs produced following World War II benefited from the company’s wartime experience producing defense materiel. When passenger car production resumed in October 1945, advertising boasted that cars were “Battle Powered” with “Victory” engines. Cadillac had built M5 tanks powered by two V8s with Hydra-Matic transmissions, one driving each track. In all, the division produced six types of tanks and gun carriers, some 12,000 fighting vehicles in all by the time hostilities ended in 1945. Of even greater benefit was the real world stress-testing of engines and transmissions in combat.

Although the 1946 Cadillac engines were of the same 346 cubic inch displacement as the prewar powerplants, and were rated at the same 150 horsepower, many internal parts had been re-engineered for greater strength and reliability as a result of the wartime experience. The Hydra-Matic had been beefed up as well.

Bodies, however, particularly on the top-of-the-line Series 75 Fleetwood cars, were carried over from 1942. Built on the same 136-inch wheelbase as the earlier cars, the Series 75 line offered fewer body styles than before, the five-passenger model with division partition having been dropped. The Formal Sedans with blank rear quarters and leather-covered roofs were eliminated as well. As before, Imperial sedans with the division window were offered in seven-passenger configuration. Nine-Passenger Business Sedans, both with and without division, were offered, primarily for funeral and livery markets.

These Series 75 bodies remained in production until 1949, by which time all-new bodies had been adopted for all other Cadillac series. Production was never great, the most popular style barely exceeding 1,000 cars, and only in 1947. Fewer than 900 seven-passenger sedans, of which this car is an example, were built that year. All Series 75 Cadillacs featured Hydra-Lectric window lifts. The Hydra-Matic transmission, while a very popular choice, was a $186 option. Like other 1947 Cadillacs, the Series 75 received a new five-bar grille, script logos on the front fenders and a new winged crest on the deck lid. Postwar inflation had boosted prices, now some $200 per car greater than in 1946, although the differential for 75s was less. The Seven Passenger Sedan sold for $4,517, about the same as the comparable model from rival Packard. For only the second time, however, Cadillac’s model year sales surged past Packard’s, reaching 61,926 units, the highest total ever.

Purchased in the basement of a Texas hotel from an arts group, this Cadillac Seven-Passenger Sedan has been the subject of a complete restoration and exterior upgrade. When found it was being used as a traveling sales vehicle, having been driven from New York to Fort Worth, the artists selling their work from the back of the car. Despite its checkered past, it was in good condition with original paint and appointments.

Mr. Davis embarked on a complete restoration – with a twist. In the late 1940s Maurice Schwartz, former partner in the coachbuilding firm Bohman & Schwartz, had built a number of wood-bodied Cadillacs for Hollywood luminaries and studios. Schwartz and partner Chris Bohman had worked at the Walter Murphy Company in Pasadena, California, during the Classic Era. When Murphy closed in 1932, Bohman and Schwartz formed their own company, building cars for the stars in small numbers, Duesenbergs for Clark Gable and candy heiress Ethel Mars, the Topper movie car and Rust Heinz’s Phantom Corsair among them. After World War II, even that limited custom business faded, but Schwartz continued fulfilling orders for special cars, often on Cadillac’s long-wheelbase commercial chassis. Among these were a fastback six-door woodie for cowboy star Gene Autry, a similar car with conventional trunk for one of the studios and a 1949 station wagon for President Miguel Aleman of Mexico. Some of these customs were also built on the normal 136-inch wheelbase Series 75 chassis.

This car is finished in Schwartz’s style, with mahogany panels outlined in maple. The wood is all new and is sanded and varnished to a high luster. The car was given a full restoration, with body off and completely refinished. The dark blue paint is gorgeous, and rubbed out to a mirror-like finish. All glass appears new and is flawless. The chrome has been replated, stainless items refurbished and all buffed to concours standards.

The interior is done in dark blue mohair with matching pile carpet, lavish wood trim and window moldings. The passenger compartment has forward-facing jump seats, comprising the seven-passenger configuration. The dashboard has been restored to correct woodgrain finish and all instruments have been restored and their bezels replated. The steering wheel appears new, and the horn ring and other interior brightwork have been refinished. All control knobs have been restored.

The trunk has been restored to perfection, fully lined with a tan burlap-type material. A new Firestone wide whitewall spare is mounted in its proper location, and the underside of the trunk lid is finished in body color.

Mechanically the car was given a nut-and-bolt restoration. The chassis frame is professionally finished in beautiful gloss black. Floor pans, which are factory undercoated, have been refinished over the undercoating in body color blue. The driveline components are painted in black, although not completely to concours quality. All mechanical systems, including brakes and suspension, have been completely rebuilt.

The original engine had a cracked block. The current engine came from a 1948 60 Special parts car, a rollover with only 22,000 miles. It has been completely rebuilt, along with the transmission. The complete engine compartment is detailed to concours standards, with new wiring harnesses, new ignition wires, tubing, hoses, and clamps. The engine is painted correct Cadillac green with gloss black ancillaries. Inner fenders are painted in gloss black.

Series 75 Cadillacs through 1948 are recognized as Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America. This is an outstanding automobile with fabulous craftsmanship evident throughout the car. It is one of the top cars in the Wayne Davis collection.

Addendum

Please note that this vehicle is titled by the engine number 486049371.

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

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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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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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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

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+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

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+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

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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

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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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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

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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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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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

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California, USA

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