For most of Cadillac’s early history, The Standard of the World was more than merely a marketing slogan used to sell cars. From its earliest days, the company went to great lengths to live up to that claim by building highly innovative motorcars of exceptional quality. In the 1930s, Cadillac’s V8 and entry-level LaSalle models were selling well, and confidence was high. Cadillac decided the time was right to show the world precisely what they could do. At the 1930 New York Auto Show, they shocked the motoring world with the introduction of a ground-breaking overhead-valve V16 engine.
As if that weren’t enough, Cadillac followed up with an all-new V12. Both engines were designed simultaneously by engineer Owen Nacker, and they shared a common layout and many internal components. The V16 stole the headlines with its 175 horsepower output, yet the V12 was still highly competitive at 135 horsepower. While the sixteen served as the undisputed flagship, the Model 370 V12 held certain advantages over its big brother. For one, it was lighter and offered better handling and drivability for the owner/driver. The twelve was cost significantly less than its sixteen cylinder sibling. At $3,795, it was $2,000 less than a comparable sixteen – the difference almost equal to the price of a new LaSalle. Custom and semi-custom coachwork were offered through Fisher and Fleetwood, with styling courtesy of Harley Earl, following up on his success at LaSalle. The luxurious and versatile V12 was a strong seller, with 5,733 sold in its first full model year of 1931. However, a new economic reality meant that sales of the V12 fell steadily throughout its six year production run.
Wearing highly desirable Convertible Coupe coachwork by Fleetwood atop a 140” wheelbase chassis, this 1931 Cadillac 370A V12 is the subject of a no-expense-spared restoration with absolutely stunning results. Finished elegantly in dark green with black feature lines and fenders, it is a truly gorgeous example of Cadillac’s multi-cylinder masterpiece. The Fleetwood-built convertible coupe coachwork suited the sportsman of the era, with its rumble seat and golf doors. The body is believed to have started life on a V8 model, and fitted to this V12 chassis before restoration. Green painted wheels with polished stainless steel spokes, and wide-whitewall tires round out the appropriately sporty visuals. The concours-quality restoration is exemplary and appears fresh both inside and out since its completion just a few years ago. Paint quality is excellent, and the extensive exterior brightwork has been treated to the same level of attention. Accessories include a stainless radiator stone guard, dual chrome trumpet horns, goddess radiator mascot, dual side mount spares, and a luggage rack.
Gorgeous tan leather, carpets, and woodwork are highlights of the luxurious two-seat cockpit. Contrasting the exquisitely stitched leather seats and door panels is a bright alloy instrument panel and richly restored woodwork. Occasional passengers ride in the rumble seat, which features the same beautiful tan leather as the cabin. Compared to the Fleetwood roadster, the Convertible Coupe offers a similarly sporting style but with the benefit of additional weather protection from the lined soft-top and roll-up side windows. With that added comfort and insulation from the elements, the convertible coupe is a fabulous choice for touring; sporty yet comfortable for a variety of weather conditions.
Cadillac’s exquisite 368 cubic-inch, OHV V12 engine delivers a healthy 135 horsepower with sublime refinement. The distinct ribbed valve covers and black-enamel finishes are courtesy of Harley Earl, marking one of the first occasions of a stylist influencing engine design. For the touring enthusiast, the V12’s lighter weight over the front axle translates into a superior driving experience compared with the sixteen. As with the rest of this superb Cadillac, the engine is beautifully detailed, showing slight signs of use since the restoration. Four-wheel brakes, a smooth-shifting synchronized transmission, and hydraulic shock absorbers make it an absolute delight to drive, while the powerful and refined twelve-cylinder engine affords respectable performance in modern traffic.
Beautifully finished and ready for enjoyment, this gorgeous Cadillac is suitable for display in virtually any concours at home or abroad. Similarly, the exquisite looks are backed with outstanding performance, making this car a welcome participant in CCCA CARavan tours or Cadillac-LaSalle Club events. With elegant style and performance to match, this 370A Convertible Coupe is a truly outstanding example, fresh and suitable for the show field or open road.
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