19-20 January 2017

Offered from a Private Collection

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Lot 245

1955 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado

  • Chassis no. 556250969

Sold for $110,000

Model 6267SX. 270 bhp, 331 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 129 in.

  • Offered from a private collection
  • Originally delivered to silent film legend Norma Talmadge
  • Cadillac’s most luxurious, top-of-the-line model
  • A high-quality sympathetic restoration of an excellent original car
  • A prestige Cadillac with genuine star power!

General Motors scored a hat trick with its 1953 Motorama traveling show. All three of the upscale divisions, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac, had prestige convertible “idea cars,” dramatic in design but close enough to the production models that they were ready to manufacture. Named Fiesta, Skylark, and Eldorado, respectively, they entered limited production during the year. Based on the Series 62 convertible, the Eldorado differed in having a wrap-around windshield, a portent of GM’s future, as well as a distinctive dipped cockpit contour and a hard “parade boot” to cover the top when lowered.

For 1954, all Cadillacs had wrap-around windshields, and the Eldorado adopted the standard 62 body contours. Distinctive side trim now distinguished the car, and at just $1,300 more than the 62 convertible, it was much more affordable. For 1955, the Eldorado previewed the “rocket ship” tail fins that would eventually be adopted across the board, and Sabre Spoke cast wheels replaced the wire wheels of earlier Eldorados. A higher-performance engine with dual four-barrel carburetors was now standard and exclusive.

Dr. Carvel James, a Beverly Hills physician, took delivery of this car on 8 March 1955, for his wife Norma. Born Norma Talmadge on 2 May 1894, she was pushed by her mother into acting, and by 1912 she had played bit parts in more than 100 films. Her big break came in 1915, with Vitagraph’s The Battle Cry of Peace, an anti-German propagandist drama. After 250 more films, she returned to her East Coast birthplace and met Broadway and film producer Joseph M. Shenck. They were soon married, and in 1917 they established the Norma Talmadge Film Corporation, for which she was the brightest star. Transitioning to talking pictures in the late 1920s, she saw her acting career ebb, and Norma retired in 1932. After divorcing from Schenck in 1934, she married comedian George Jessel; the couple parted in 1939 and in 1946 she married Dr. James.
Alas, Talmadge did not enjoy her Cadillac Eldorado for long. In ill health for most of her later life, she passed away on Christmas Eve, 1957. Her widower, however, kept the car for many years. He died in 1980 and the car passed though one more long-term ownership before acquisition by the consignor more recently.

As offered, it is a well-cared-for original car, repainted in the original Alpine White. It has its original black-and-white leather interior, showing use but no significant wear. Features include power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, windshield washers, and a Wonder Bar signal-seeking radio. A Clardy air conditioning system has been added for passenger comfort. The engine compartment is clean, but has not been detailed, and shows use commensurate with the displayed mileage, now just slightly more than 32,000.

This beautiful Eldorado boasts a wonderful Hollywood history and sympathetic restoration. What could be better?

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

+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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

+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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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