1935 Cadillac 355 D Phaeton

For the 1934 model year, Cadillac began a dramatic shift toward streamlined design. The first hints of streamlining appeared in 1933, as the headlights became more bullet-shaped, the grille gained a deeper Vee and the front fenders more curvaceously fill-figured. By the following year however, Cadillac debuted a stunning new design theme that would guide future models through the end of the decade. Most notable changes included new smaller headlights with long, tapered bullet housings which were now tucked closer to the radiator grille, which itself was dramatically canted back with a deep-vee shape. Fenders were also completely reworked, now more fully formed and with a beautifully curved profile. The following model year, 1935, saw a few minor refinements to the beautiful new design.

Under that lovely new skin, more significant changes came for 1934 and 1935. The 355D chassis was an all-new design that featured independent “Knee Action” front suspension. Hydraulic dampers provided a controlled ride and the frame’s design allowed for lower body height; effectively lowering the center of gravity for improved handling. Even W.O. Bentley once complemented the 355’s exceptional ride quality, citing its remarkable composure over the Booklands bumps at 80mph. The venerable V8 engine remained essentially unchanged, retaining its reputation for easy, reliable power delivery.

Bodies for the 355D series of 1935 were provided by GM’s two coachbuilding subsidiaries, Fisher and Fleetwood. Fisher bodies were fitted to the Series 10 and Series 20 (128” and 136” respectively) while Fleetwood bodies were reserved for the 146” wheelbase Series 30. Regardless of series and body, all 355Ds were powered by the same V8 engine and shared the same robust running gear. Today, Cadillacs of this era are highly prized by enthusiasts for their excellent road manners as well as their stunning good looks.

Our featured 1935 Cadillac 355D is a 136” wheelbase Series 20 wearing one of the most dramatic of all designs from the Fisher catalog; the four-door, five-passenger Convertible Sedan, style number 35-671. According to build sheet data, this extremely handsome example was ordered in April of 1935 via Capitol Cadillac Co. of Washington, DC. The build sheet also indicates it was originally finished in Diana Cream (20768) with cream wheel discs fitted to brilliant green wheels and a tan top. The car was built for the 1935 A.A.O.N.M.S. Shrine Convention (known today as The Shriners) where it would serve as transport for the leader of the organization – Imperial Potentate Dana S. Williams. The build sheet indicates the car was to be lettered before delivery, and included period press photos confirm that as they show the car displaying the Shriner’s logo and the Potentate’s name, as well as showing Mr. Williams arriving at the event, standing proudly in this very Cadillac.

Today, this fabulous Cadillac 355D presents in fine condition, wearing a high-quality, ground up restoration that while older, still shows extremely well. It is finished in a stunning bright red livery with a natural tan interior, and cream colored wheels covered in body-color discs. The rear fenders feature painted wheel spats which are a fabulous detail – giving the car a long, sporting appearance and calling to mind the Custom LeBaron Packards of a year or two earlier. The body is well accessorized with a pair of driving lamps, winged goddess mascot (as original) and optional painted metal side-mount spare wheel covers topped with Cadillac mirrors. This Fisher body features an integral trunk, and a folding trunk rack is also fitted for additional carrying capacity. The presentation is very good overall, making this car an attractive prospect for touring or mid-level shows.

The tan leather interior remains in very good condition, with finely presented seating surfaces and a warm, inviting appeal. Door panels and carpets are likewise very well presented, and the interior as a whole is lavishly appointed with fine quality chrome fittings, textured ash trays, a robe rail for rear passengers and lovely wood door caps. In the dash reside the restored original gauges and the rare original Banjo steering wheel (indicated on the build sheet) remains fitted to the car. As this is a convertible sedan, the doors feature roll-up glass windows which seal tightly against the full folding top for all-weather touring ability.

Mechanically, the robust 355 series V8 engine is in fine order, appearing very nicely detailed and tidy in the engine bay. It runs well and delivers a delightful driving experience, thanks to the well-preserved restoration as well as the inherent qualities of the advanced 355D chassis and drivetrain. This breathtaking Cadillac is one of just a handful to have been delivered with this fantastic Fisher body. With interesting early history and exquisite style, this 1935 Cadillac 355D Convertible Sedan is a wonderful choice for regular enjoyment on CCCA CARavan Tours, or similar AACA or Cadillac LaSalle Club events.

Through our consignment program we are able to cater to the buyer’s individual needs with respect to financing, long and short-term storage, trades-ins, shipping, mechanical and cosmetic preparation.

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