1941 Cadillac: Luxury from the WWII era

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Prior to World War II most American automobile manufacturers were not really interested in making their products streamlined or fuel efficient. Producing luxury cars in that era meant making them heavy for a smooth ride and spacious for passenger comfort.

Cadillac introduced a series 62 model in 1941. One of the fastback four-door sedan models left the factory wearing a two-tone coat of paint labeled Fair Oaks over El Centro separated by Ivory pin-striping.

The handsome Cadillac was sent to the Scott-Smith Cadillac dealership in Philadelphia. With a base price of $1,495, the sedan was snatched up by a local resident. For the next several decades the Cadillac was to be seen in and around the Philadelphia area.

Upon the owner’s death the 1941 Cadillac remained under cover in a garage until the son who inherited it decided to offer it for sale. And in the late 1990s, the Cadillac underwent a professional restoration.

It was at that time that Bill Thomas had been searching for a Cadillac. He and his wife had chased down several likely cars that proved to be disappointing. Thomas saw this 1941 Cadillac advertised and convinced his wife to make yet another trip to inspect yet another old Cadillac.

The pristine condition of the Series 62 model amazed Thomas and the experience of driving it sealed the deal. The 4,030-pound Cadillac riding on a 126-inch wheelbase was all the convincing Thomas needed.

A trucking company delivered the 18-foot-long Cadillac to his Warrenton, Va. home. Once the car was safely at his residence, Thomas discovered a couple of delightful hidden details on his acquisition, such as the concealed running boards and the concealed gas cap under the left taillight. Designers attempted to make the one-piece rear window appear as three pieces.

Under the hood is a 346-cubic-inch V-8 engine that delivers 150 horsepower to the rear drive wheels that are wrapped with 7.00×15-inch tires. The engine runs cool thanks to 25 quarts of coolant while 7 quarts of oil keep the moving parts lubricated. The big V-8 drinks regular grade gasoline from a 20-gallon fuel tank. A few cars in 1941 had automatic transmissions, but not this one. It is equipped with a clutch pedal which is needed to operate the three-speed manual transmission.

The “Flairflow Streamlined” Cadillac features vacuum-operated windshield wipers and retractable radio antenna. Fender skirts and a free standing backup light are optional extras. Like all closed General Motors cars in 1941 this one featured an all-steel “turret top” and knee-action front suspension.

The spacious interior offers a 60.5-inch-wide front seat and a 54.7-inch-wide rear seat with a center armrest in addition to the two outboard armrests. Plush upholstery is broadcloth and Bedford Cord. Woodgraining on the metal parts finishes the interior look beautifully. The speedometer is limited to 100 mph. The trunk has a capacity of 18 cubic-feet.

As a reminder of the war era in which the 1941 Cadillac was built, an “A” sticker, indicating the lowest priority of gasoline rationing the owner was permitted to purchase, is still pasted on the windshield.

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