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Lot 19: 1940 CADILLAC SERIES 40-75 V8 TOWN CAR

Exceptional Motor Cars, Christies (16 August 2006)

Engine: 90 degree V8, 346ci, 150bhp at 3,600 rpm; Gearbox: three speed selective, synchro transmission; Suspension: front coil and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drum. Left hand drive.

The 1940 production line saw Cadillac continue their 'projectile' or 'torpedo' body-styling of the previous year, but on the V8s the grill was slightly revised with fewer bars of bolder, more substantial design and the introduction of a pair of louver bars on the side panels of the hood.

By now sealed beam headlights were standard as were turn indicators, running boards were offered as no cost options, and the engine inlet manifold was set at a five degree angle to cancel its rearward tilt and give more balanced fuel supply.

As ever, Cadillac offered a host of V8 models on five different wheelbase lengths, ranging from the 127 inch Sixty Special sedan to the 141 inch Series 40-75 town car. It is believed that Cadillac built just fourteen town cars to this Fleetwood style designation #7553 in 1940. They were by far the most expensive eight cylinder model offered, priced at $5,115, and so may be considered the top of the range. This example is very much the definitive pre-war V8 Cadillac with available options including twin side-mounts, which would be discontinued after that season.

As the story is told, this Cadillac once belonged to a wealthy woman whose family owned a coal company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During the early 1940s, she sold the car to a pharmacy for their use as a delivery vehicle. The young deliveryman, who at the time was attending medical school, purchased this Cadillac as a graduation present to himself. He kept it garaged throughout his ownership and many years later after he passed away, the car was discovered and ultimately purchased from the estate in 1987 by well-known Los Angeles collector Harris Laskey.

Shortly after acquiring the car, Mr. Laskey decided to undertake a full, frame-off restoration which was carried out with meticulous detail; work only began after tireless searches for each and every item, such as the correct running board end pieces, the special Fleetwood etched side mounted rear-view mirrors, even including the careful choice of special-blended blue paintwork and the dyed grained leather for the driver's section top and rear covering.

The interior, both front and rear compartments are beautifully appointed. On the front split seating is deep blue leather with matching deep blue carpet. The dash is beautifully wood grained with various unique features, including a radio and a clock placed in front of the passenger seat. The Bakelite steering wheel and gearshift knob, the black ebony insert in the door handles add to the fine details that took place during the restoration.

The rear interior, the twin occasional seats and footrests are sumptuously trimmed in blue-gray cloth with a matching headliner. The carpet was specially matched too. The Cadillac has a host of fittings, such as side heaters, a central Fleetwood clock, and to each side of the passengers are pop-out companions in period Art Deco style with green topped cigarette lighters. There is also a working intercom to instruct the driver. For privacy, blinds are fitted to each rear window. Wood veneer trims complete the presentation. With no expense spared, the results are simply stunning, as the vehicle was restored to the concours order it presents today, a true example of luxury.

Harris Laskey showed the Cadillac at numerous concours events, winning the 'Most Elegant' at the Santa Barbara Concours d'Elegance and at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where it won a Second Place in its Class. A Premier Senior Winner and a National First Prize Winner CCCA Award badge are permanently affixed and are a testimony to the fine restoration.

When acquired by Laskey, the odometer registered 32,000 miles and it has covered only a limited mileage under the current ownership (the vendor purchased the car from Christie's in 2004 and has recently changed direction with his collection.)

As one of the most desirable examples of Fleetwood Town Cars, the opportunity to purchase this rare and beautiful car is ideal for someone who wants to relive the glorious days.

Lot Details
Auction Exceptional Motor Cars
Christies, Monterey Jet Center, California, U.S.A.
TypeCar
Lot Number19
Estimate$80000-$120000
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)$91650
Year1940
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number3320647
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors