Founded in 1902, Cadillac is one of the oldest of all surviving American automobile brands. By 1909, when they were acquired by General Motors, Cadillac had already established itself as a leader of innovation and luxury. Many features that we take for granted on today’s cars can be traced back to Cadillac – the first electric starter, the first electric lamps, the first synchromesh transmission, the first dual-plane crankshaft V8 and even the first V16 engine. Cadillacs were renowned for their exceptional build quality and elegant style, and Cadillac designers and engineers strove to live up to their slogan: “The Standard of the World”.
The 355 series was an 8-cylinder model manufactured between 1931 and 1935. It was available in variety of standard body styles that ranged from a formal limousine to a sporting 2 door convertible coupe. Cadillac had previously had a naming system where the model name coincided with the engine size, but for some reason that changed in 1931 and the 355 carried over the Series 353’s 5.8 liter, 353 cubic inch V8 L-head engine. Output was a stout 95 horsepower, plenty enough to give the big Cadillac very respectable performance for its day and earn Cadillac strong sales, with more than 10,000 examples built for ’31.
Featured here is a very desirable Convertible Coupe from 1931. This series 355A is a beautifully prepared car that, like many cars of this era, was fully restored approximately 20 years ago. While it is an older restoration, it has held up very well and has been exceptionally well-maintained since. It is still quite attractive enough to be shown and shown well, and displays only a few light signs of use since being restored. The car has been finished in attractive deep maroon on the body sides, with black fenders and a black belt line. The paint is in very good condition, with little to detract from the overall quality. The exterior is well accessorized with a stainless steel stone guard on the radiator, a Goddess mascot, Pilot Ray spot lamp, trunk rack, dual tail lamps (it was an option to have two) and chrome landau irons. It’s also graced with dual side-mount spares and chrome hood louvers. The wheels are correctly finished with painted wires, large chrome center caps and chrome trim rings. It all makes for a very attractive and imposing package.
As this is a convertible-coupe, the main passenger compartment is a cozy two-passenger arrangement, with a rumble seat out back for occasional extra passengers. With the top up, it has a very elegant look. When the top is folded, it takes on a more sporting character, particularly with the rumble seat open. It is quite simply a delightfully attractive car, whether the top is up or down. Inside the cabin, the exterior color scheme is echoed with maroon leather and carpet, while the tan folding top is piped with a maroon accent. Again, it has been restored to a high level and very lightly used since, having taken on just a bit of character. The mechanicals are also well-presented with correct finishes in the engine bay and on the undercarriage, and everything appearing tidy and fastidiously maintained since the restoration was completed. The L-head V8 of the 355-series returns very good performance, and the synchronized gearbox makes it a very approachable and usable car for enjoying on the road. This is a car that, when restored was restored to a very high standard. Thankfully, it has been cherished and carefully used since, and remains in wonderful condition throughout.