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The ex-London Motor Show
One off, Coachwork by Vanden Plas
Chassis no: 702297
‘The sum total of the V16’s features was so impressive that even the Europeans found it impossible to describe its super silent operation without using terms such as “magnificent” and “outstanding”.’ – Robert C Ackerson, Standard Catalog of Cadillac.
Right-hand drive chassis number ‘702297’ was completed in 1930 with ‘Saloon Landaulette De Luxe’ coachwork by Vanden Plas and sold new via Messrs Lendrum & Hartman of Albemarle Street in London’s West End, the UK’s official importer for General Motors’ makes Buick, Cadillac, LaSalle and Marquette. ‘702297’. It was originally shown at the Olympia Motor Show in 1930 and ordered by her majesty the Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. She later decided, out of sensitivity to the Great Depression and her subjects’ own plight, that the car was too grandiose and declined the delivery of it. It went to the stand at Earl’s Court the following year in 1931 and was sold to its first owner the Hon Arthur Earnest Guinness of the eponymous brewing dynasty.
Noteworthy features on this car include a flat windscreen, slender window uprights, ‘suicide’ rear doors and ‘trafficator’-type turn signals. There is an internal division and intercom, and the interior also features extensive inlaid walnut woodwork, rear-compartment speedometer and the rare, split instrument panel found in the so-called ‘Madame X’ Cadillacs bodied by Fleetwood.
The Cadillac’s immediately post-Guinness history is not known but in 1959 it was advertised for sale in the Cadillac & LaSalle Club’s magazine ‘The Self Starter’ by Mr Jeffrey Watts of Levittown, Pennsylvania. ‘702297’ next appeared at a ‘Movieland – Cars of the Stars’ auction in 1974, by which time it was in need of extensive restoration. Later the car passed to ‘Cadillac Jim’ Pearson of Kansas City, who sold it on to collector James C Leake of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid/late-1970s. The V16 was restored while in Mr Leake’s ownership, the odometer reading at that time being circa 56,000 miles. It later made the journey back across the Atlantic, finding a new home in a European private collection, and is presented in generally very good condition, running exceptionally well.
This one-off Euro bodied V-16 is extremely significant and will appreciate as collector cars continue to go through the roof in value. An excellent car to own and drive while representing money in the bank.