Monterey

17-18 August 2012

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Lot 126

1931 Cadillac Series 452 V-16 Special Dual Cowl Phaeton by Fleetwood

  • Engine no. 702677
  • Body no. 25

Sold for $465,000


Style 4260. 185 bhp, 452 cu in 45 degree overhead valve V-16 engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers, and four-wheel vacuum assisted mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 148"



• One of three examples originally built with dual cowls

• Original engine, body, and chassis

• Single ownership since 1988



Although it is known that there were 85 of Fleetwood’s Style 4260 Sport Phaetons built on the Cadillac V-16 chassis, it is significantly less known that three of these examples were actually built to order with folding rear cowls. They are chassis 702682 with body number 8, 702691 with body no. 7, and the example offered here, chassis 702677 with body number 25. Mounted on the rear cowl, instead of the typical crank-down secondary windshield, is a folding windshield, which has delicate profiles cut out of the bottom of its wind wings, which allows for it to be folded at quite a rakish angle. It is also interesting to note that the 4200 series cars had elegant curved bottom coach sill doors, a styling cue not seen on other less expensive series V-16 bodies. According to a copy of the original build sheet, 702677 was ordered on April 30, 1930, through the famous Don Lee Inc. distributorship of San Francisco, California. “Double Cowl” can be seen specified under the “Extra Equipment” field. The car was also originally ordered with fender-mounted spare tires and wire wheels, and the new owner took delivery on August 30, 1930.



This car next surfaced as advertised for sale in a national automotive magazine in the mid-1950s, being offered by an engine rebuilder who was stuck with an unpaid bill. It was acquired by a pea farmer from Opportunity, Washington, who intended to use the car for Shriner’s parades. To facilitate this, he removed the rear cowl, although he retained it, along with all of the corresponding hardware. Its next owners, Ray and Dorothy Radford, were also from the Evergreen State in Portland. The Radfords acquired the car in 1962, and his historical interest is documented by a letter from the parts department of the Cadillac Motor Car Division to Mr. Radford, in response to an information request about the car. Early on in their ownership, the Radfords properly reinstalled the second cowl and continued to enjoy the Cadillac for the next two decades and toured it extensively through the United States and Canada, until selling it to legendary auto show promoter and SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Robert Larivee Sr., of Pontiac, Michigan, in 1979. Larivee was alerted to the availability of the car by Jim Brucker, who also was a partner in its purchase. It was displayed at Brucker’s Movie World Cars of the Stars Museum, still mostly original and never having been fully restored.



An article written by Bob Larivee in a 1986 article for the CCCA Michigan region magazine Torque, documents the entire experience of finding the car, showing it as is at Pebble Beach in 1981, as a preservation example, and then moving forward with the decision to pursue a restoration, which was performed by the legendary workshop at Harrah’s Automobile Collection, which did restore cars that were not owned by the collection. The total cost for the work performed was a then-staggering $115,000, and the process is documented in a set of photographs, which will accompany the car.



Larivee’s article goes on to describe various decision points throughout the restoration process, as well as the excitement in preparing the nearly-completed car for its second showing at Pebble Beach in 1983. He notes that the car was scored then at 97 points, because the restoration was not fully complete, and the car lacked side curtains, but it still managed to garner Third in Class. After the concours, it was returned to the Harrah workshops for final completion and detailing, ultimately garnering 99.5 points and Best of Show at the Grand Classic at Hudson, Ohio in 1985. The article is a wonderful piece of the history of this car, as it documents the provenance, in addition to conveying the emotional experience involved with acquiring, restorating, and displaying an important collector car. Another authoritative article by historian and noted expert cutaway artist David Kimble was also published in Volume 23, No. 1 of Automobile Quarterly, along with a detailed, illustrated cutaway of the entire car. 702677 was then sold to noted collector John Mozart, followed by a Mr. Paul Quinn, of Boston, Massachusetts. It was purchased by the current owner in 1988.



In addition to the rear cowl with its folding windshield and interesting wind wings, this Sixteen is equipped with Pilot-Ray steering headlights, a radiator stone guard, dual Klaxon horns, a trunk rack, dual taillights, fanned tips on the dual exhaust, and full metal covers with pedestal mirrors on the side-mounts. The quality of the fit and finish of the restoration performed by the Harrah workshops is evident, though it has been a quarter century since the work was completed. It has been well-maintained in its current long-term ownership and has been recently fully detailed and freshened. Of the Style 4260 phaetons built, fifty-two were constructed in 1930 and thirty-three in 1931; a mere three of these were originally equipped as dual cowl examples, making this a unique acquisition opportunity for a car that has good pedigree, touring potential, or, of course, a more thorough freshening to allow it to be shared on the concours field with a new generation of enthusiasts.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more