Mon, 3rd Oct 2005 0:00

Syon House

  Lot 14
Lot 14 - 1931 Cadillac 370-A V12 Fleetwood Roadster

1931 Cadillac 370-A V12 Fleetwood Roadster

Sold for £109,125

(including buyers premium)

Lot details
Registration No: Un-Reg
Chassis No: 100514
Mot Expiry: None

Introduced in October 1930, the Series 370-A was Cadillac's first V12 engined model. Essentially a scaled down version of the marque's magnificent Series 452 V16 range that had been launched the previous year, it was similarly engineered by Ernest Seaholm and Owen Nacker. Available with 140-, 143- or 150inch wheelbases, its massive chassis was equipped with all round leaf-sprung suspension and fifteen-inch vacuum servo-assist drum brakes. Like its V16 sibling, the V12 featured a heavily stylised engine bay in which ancillary components were largely hidden from view and the motor itself presented as a piece of monolithic sculpture. To maintain this illusion even when running the advanced unit boasted hydraulically rotated eccentric bushings to dampen the noise from its overhead valve system. With a bore and stroke of 3.125inches x 4inches, the 45º V12 displaced over 6,000cc. Reputed to develop 135hp @ 3,400rpm together with prodigious torque, it was mated to a three-speed manual gearbox that carried synchromesh on its upper two ratios. Utilising a three-quarter floating back axle housing a spiral bevel differential, it could be had with a bewildering range of different bodystyles by both Fischer and Fleetwood (though the latter were responsible for all interiors). Despite, Cadillac fitting it with one-inch smaller diameter headlamps, lesser horns and single (as opposed to double) running board lights, the V12 enjoyed much the same road presence as its range topping brother while often eclipsing it in performance and handling terms (depending upon the coachwork worn etc). Given the honour of acting as pace car at the 1931 Indianapolis 500, the Series 370-A and its descendants remained in production until 1937. However, Cadillac has singularly failed to produce a V12 since then.

Finished in two-tone red with a rear-mounted luggage trunk, this particular Series 370-A V12 wears two-door Sports Roadster coachwork by Fleetwood (Body Style 4702, Body Number 23). Part of the collection for the last ten years, it is understood to have been a former 'low senior prize winner' and has contested a number of European Concours events including the 1999 Paleis Het Loo (2nd in class), 2001 Fifth East Kent Show (1st in class) and 2002 Schloss Schwetzingen (result unknown). Priced at a not inconsiderable $3,945 when new, this short wheelbase (140inch) car sports 'Depress Beam' headlamps by the C.M. Hall Headlamp Co. (Detroit), twin pillar-mounted Lorraine Corporation spot lights and a luxuriously upholstered dickey seat (complete with arm rests). Riding on optional wire wheels (whilst retaining dual side-mounted spares), it has the further benefit of a golf club locker. Performing well during a recent road test by Michael Bowler (editor of The Automobile magazine), this gently patinated Cadillac is a 1930s technological tour de force. Wonderfully stylish, it would make a worthwhile addition to many a collection.

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