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October 7, 2018

By: Sinjin

CARS

1931 Cadillac Series 355 Is One Of The Hallmarks Of Luxury

Although the early 1930s were a time of desperation for the American car industry, Cadillac was in far better shape with the deep pockets of General Motors at its side. This was not the case for such greats as Stutz, Marmon, Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, or Duesenberg, who would all vanish before the decade was over. Sensing an opportunity, Cadillac threw caution to the wind and pulled out all of the stops in an effort to establish itself as the undisputed leader in the American luxury car market. In particular, 1931 saw Cadillac offer no less than four different passenger car lines that were powered by eight-, twelve-, and even sixteen-cylinder engines. These were large cars that offered a body in every style and enough power to run with the best. In an era where one’s place in society was determined by the number of cylinders in one’s car, Cadillac had a car that anyone who had enough money to afford something a little better than the average Ford or Chevrolet.

Cadillac has always represented the hallmark of American luxury and this fine 1931 Cadillac Series 355 eight-cylinder Convertible Coupe with coachwork by Fleetwood is a car that anyone would have been proud to drive in 1931, but only a lucky few actually could. Riding on a 134-inch wheelbase, this is an impressive car from any angle with a long nose and shortened rear deck whose lines are only broken when the rumble seat is open for rear passengers. Cadillac’s development and engineering program was working overtime for 1931 as the eight-cylinder series cars may have resembled the previous year at a glance, but through the magic of design was actually lower with more styled and toned proportions. So subtly different was Cadillac’s V-8 car for 1931 that hardly anyone knew that it actually used a redesigned frame. Five ports in the hood gave an elongated appearance and single-bar bumpers were elegant and streamlined. Cadillac actually retooled a smaller headlamp for their V-8 cars and we can only wonder if this was done to make the car itself look bigger. The convertible coupe offered here is finished in white with red pin striping and the convertible top is finished in tan. With its nicely styled proportions this is a convertible coupe that looks just as nice with the top up as it does down. This Cadillac wears an older restoration that has been well maintained since. It comes from long-term ownership and in that time, it has been driven very little, but always properly cared for. As a convertible coupe, this Cadillac holds two or four passengers in a level of comfort that only a Cadillac can. It rides on chrome wire wheels that carry wide whitewall tires and its beautiful lines are nicely enhanced by dual side-mounted spare tires. The interior is finished in tan leather and all upholstery is perfectly and accurately recreated to factory standards. At the rear, the rumble seat is spacious and is easily accessed through a step plate on the passenger side rear fender. Power for this Cadillac comes from a 353 cubic-inch L-head V-8 with 95 horsepower mated to a three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission. The engine compartment is clean and tidy but could use some detailing for show duty. With its V-8 power, this is a car that has no trouble holding modern highway speeds.

Cadillac had a car for everyone in 1931 and perhaps this was the pivotal year that moved the company into the future. In the mid-1930s, rival Packard began to reach into the mid-priced market with their 110 and 120 cars, but Cadillac held the course as a premier luxury car builder with cars like this convertible coupe. This Cadillac is also a First Prize winner from the Classic Car Club of America. For fine motoring in a ride that only Cadillac can offer, this convertible coupe stands at the ready for you to bid on now via AuctionTime.

 

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