1931 Cadillac 355A Convertible Coupe

As the world slid into economic depression after the stock-market crash of October 1929, most of America’s many automobile manufacturers maintained an optimistic outlook on their future prospects. Of them all, luxury-market Cadillac was especially well-positioned to meet the challenging new economic times as the 1930s unfolded, given the vast financial resources commanded by General Motors, its giant corporate parent. However, with its renowned engineering prowess and the stylistic genius of Harley Earl’s Art and Colour Section, Cadillac was more than able to prosper on its many merits. In fact, with the wide reach of its updated V8 models, supplemented by the arrival of the V16 in 1930 and two V12 model lines by 1931, Cadillac caught archrivals Lincoln and Packard off guard and embarked on a methodical, long-term plan to dominate America’s luxury-car market.

At the core of Cadillac’s three-pronged model strategy, the updated Series 355-A V8 models featured updated styling for 1931 with a lower and longer chassis with a generous 134-inch wheelbase. Hoods were longer and now fitted with five side vents. Coach sills were modified with battery and tool compartments relocated under the front seat. Other choice updates for the 1931 Cadillacs included metal floorboards, an oval instrument panel motif, a radiator screen,  a new single-bar bumper design, and dual horns. Headlight diameter was now reduced by one inch. Underneath, the 1931 Cadillac models rode atop new chassis frames with rear springs now mounted directly below the frame rails and fitted with metal covers for a clean appearance. Up front, radiators were repositioned lower within the chassis and a condenser tank was added. Cadillac’s highly regarded V8 engine retained its 353 cubic-inch displacement and standard 95-horsepower factory rating for 1931, with a new intake silencer and 5-point engine mounts adding further refinement. As before, power was delivered by Cadillac’s refined driveline, including a synchromesh 3-speed manual transmission and several available rear-axle ratios.

General Motors’ coachbuilding subsidiaries Fisher and Fleetwood supplied a wide array of open and closed body styles ranging from sporty to formal for Cadillac’s updated Series 355-A V8 chassis for 1931. Eight bodies were available from Fisher and from Fleetwood, a focused selection of four was available. Among Fleetwood’s most sporting bodies was the dashing and versatile Style 4535 2/4-Passenger Convertible Coupe, priced from $2,945 on the Series 355-A V8 chassis.

Exuding a pure ‘Jazz Age’ presence, this 1931 Cadillac Series 355-A V8 Convertible Coupe is a CCCA Full Classic® automobile that continues to benefit handsomely from an older restoration that garnered National First Prize honors in Classic Car Club of America judging, evidenced by Badge 2976 duly affixed to the vehicle. Supremely well maintained through the years, it is resplendent in silver with black fenders, complemented by a black convertible top equipped with a glass backlight and formal landau irons. The lovely and highly inviting light gray leather-trimmed passenger compartment is accented by wood grain dash trim and door capping, engine-turned dash inserts, and a wonderful Art Deco-themed instrument panel. The paint, chrome, and overall presentation are all simply excellent. In addition to the jaunty rumble seat for two and golf bag door, this Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac is very well accessorized with chrome depressed-beam headlamps, Trippe Safety Lights, a chrome radiator-grille guard, “Goddess” radiator mascot, twin side-mounted spares mounting chrome mirrors, and a rear luggage rack. The 353 cubic-inch V8 engine, surrounding engine compartment, and chassis are all very well-finished and detailed, consistent with the rest of the vehicle. Desirable and correct ‘HC’ high-compression (5.5:1) cylinder heads heighten performance and presence. Silver wire-spoke wheels mounting period style wide whitewall tires provide an ideal finishing touch.

With their many stylistic and mechanical refinements, Cadillac’s Series 355-A V8 models of 1931 are widely regarded as outstanding driver’s cars, and they remain a popular choice among classic touring enthusiasts. Sharp in presentation and highly appealing with its open body style,  this very fine example will surely turn heads on enjoyable CCCA CARavan® tours and shows alike, and it will certainly serve as a favorite within virtually any collection of prewar greats with its abundant style and mechanical sophistication.


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Stock number 7435

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