Joe Cocuzza

Need help on 1949 Cadillac purchase

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I am looking at a 1949 Cadillac series 61 4-door sedan.

It has been a family-owned car from 1949. It has 53K original miles. Always garaged...

The car is 100% original - paint, interior , engine, etc.

Never been in an accident.

The interior is in mint/perfect condition.

No rust on anything anywhere.

Has not been run in 4 years.

Needs tires, brakes rebuilt...

I don't know ANYTHING about Cadillacs so I am asking for help in establishing a fair

market value if I want to purchase it.

 

Thanks in advance

 

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I'd like to help, as I follow the '49 Cadillac market at least a little bit.  With that said, I think it's a little hard to give a good answer from the information you have given us.  For example, you say the car isn't running, but we don't know why or what problems there may be in getting it running.   It's also hard to assess condition from what you've said.  For example, you say the interior is "mint/perfect," but the cloth on the doors look badly stained and the seats are covered so we can't see their condition.  We don't know the condition of the chrome, or how good the paint is when cleaned up and buffed. Similarly, as a 1949 Cadillac owner myself, I'm skeptical that you could have an original car with no rust. :)    With all those caveats,  I'll at least start off the estimates with a ballpark figure:  Maybe $6K-$8K?   Happy to be corrected by others who may have a better sense of things.

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Can't help with the value, but that is a great old Caddy. Hope you can put a deal together at a reasonable price.

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19 minutes ago, 1935Packard said:

I'd like to help, as I follow the '49 Cadillac market at least a little bit.  With that said, I think it's a little hard to give a good answer from the information you have given us.  For example, you say the car isn't running, but we don't know why or what problems there may be in getting it running.   It's also hard to assess condition from what you've said.  For example, you say the interior is "mint/perfect," but the cloth on the doors look badly stained and the seats are covered so we can't see their condition.  We don't know the condition of the chrome, or how good the paint is when cleaned up and buffed. Similarly, as a 1949 Cadillac owner myself, I'm skeptical that you could have an original car with no rust. :)    With all those caveats,  I'll at least start off the estimates with a ballpark figure:  Maybe $6K-$8K?   Happy to be corrected by others who may have a better sense of things.

Thanks for the reply. I really appreciate your help. Your "guesstimate" to value was pretty much what I was thinking but not knowing Cadillacs I just want(ed) to be sure.

The reason the car is not running is that it was parked in the garage and the owner had health problems so the car sat.

I am going to check to make sure the engine is free and not locked up.

As far as the interior goes:

There may be some stains on the door panels - I will double check - but they are not ripped or torn.

Also, the seats have been covered since new and from what I can see they are like new underneath.

Maybe I should not have said mint/perfect condition but as far as an all original interior goes it is darn nice for being 70 years old.

The paint looks like it will clean up nicely as seen by the front hood. The rest of the paint looks to be in similar condition.

Condition of the chrome looked to be in very good condition - did not notice any heavy pitting - only "bad" spot I noticed is the front grille - has some wear on the top bar. 

If I was to purchase this I would only do what it would take to get it roadworthy. I would want to keep it as original as possible.

I looked at the car top to bottom - there is no rust. I know it sounds crazy but it is possible. The body is straight as can be.

I once owned an all original 1949 Pontiac sedan which also came from the original family. It had low miles, too. The paint, chrome, interior, etc were very similar in condition to this car.

Also, that Pontiac had NO RUST anywhere either. As a matter of fact the flatbed truck driver commented on that fact when he unloaded the car for me.

 

Thanks again for your input

 

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23 minutes ago, GregLaR said:

Can't help with the value, but that is a great old Caddy. Hope you can put a deal together at a reasonable price.

Thanks. I made an offer and there is another guy supposed to look at it today.

Have to wait to hear back

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1949 Cadillacs are wonderful cars. I have owned 4 of them. This seems to be a 62, not a 61. And it even has the optional fog lights. I think it will be very impressive when cleaned up. The steering wheel and plastic knobs are in rather nice condition, FAR better than most  you see. Keep the car out of the sun as much as is practical. As you know, these days such an original '40s car in this condition with such low miles is not often available. I am not an expert at pricing things, but with the known un-knowns, I do think 1935Packard is in the ballpark. Could be worth a bit more, as it IS a '49 (a desirable year, great clean styling, drive that 331 overhead all day at freeway speeds on synthetic oil if you want), and that interior really will be nice when you unwrap it. The door armrests testify to it being well kept. They, and the rug and pedal wear are commensurate with the indicated miles. Get the Cadillac, Joe. You enjoy cars of this vintage, and every buck and hour you spend detailing and sorting THIS original car will be justified. Don't let a grand or two deprive you of this car. You know the routine of fully resurrecting a sleeping beauty like this. Usually plenty to do on them, radiator, shocks rebuilt, belts, hoses (don't forget the underseat heater hoses), and so many things we all do when we are fortunate enough to find a car like this. Engine ? Transmission ? You COULD spend a lot of money there. Front end and steering ? How well do you know the sellers ? How much do they REALLY know about the car ? Service records ? As 1935Packard points out, we forum folk are at a disadvantage. 20 or 30 more detailed pictures including undercarriage could help give a more accurate evaluation. You can be pretty confident in this car because of the low miles and state of preservation. But in the end,  with your obvious enthusiasm, judging from the few pictures we have, I think your characterization is indicative of a man justifiably falling in love with a worthy car. 

 

In closing, I repeat  : ALL SYNTHETIC LUBRICANTS, OIL AND GREASE, IN THIS OLD CAR. This is a "modern" (in that it is a short stroke, OHV), high speed V8 with flat tappets, and if a very early '49, may have soft cams. I sure can't tell you that,  but the smartest oil to use will be Amsoil Z-Rod, in the 10W/30. The only connection I have with Amsoil, is that of being a customer. If I could get a better oil, I would use that. Treat your cars to the best, and treat yourself to this one. GOOD LUCK, JOE !    -  Carl 

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1 hour ago, Joe Cocuzza said:

Thanks for the reply. I really appreciate your help. Your "guesstimate" to value was pretty much what I was thinking but not knowing Cadillacs I just want(ed) to be sure.

The reason the car is not running is that it was parked in the garage and the owner had health problems so the car sat.

I am going to check to make sure the engine is free and not locked up.

As far as the interior goes:

There may be some stains on the door panels - I will double check - but they are not ripped or torn.

Also, the seats have been covered since new and from what I can see they are like new underneath.

Maybe I should not have said mint/perfect condition but as far as an all original interior goes it is darn nice for being 70 years old.

The paint looks like it will clean up nicely as seen by the front hood. The rest of the paint looks to be in similar condition.

Condition of the chrome looked to be in very good condition - did not notice any heavy pitting - only "bad" spot I noticed is the front grille - has some wear on the top bar. 

If I was to purchase this I would only do what it would take to get it roadworthy. I would want to keep it as original as possible.

I looked at the car top to bottom - there is no rust. I know it sounds crazy but it is possible. The body is straight as can be.

I once owned an all original 1949 Pontiac sedan which also came from the original family. It had low miles, too. The paint, chrome, interior, etc were very similar in condition to this car.

Also, that Pontiac had NO RUST anywhere either. As a matter of fact the flatbed truck driver commented on that fact when he unloaded the car for me.

 

Thanks again for your input

 

 

Glad what I said was roughly what you were thinking.  If the car looks like it will clean up nicely, maybe closer to $8K than $6k.  :) 

 

And agreed with Carl that '49 Cadillacs are wonderful cars.  I have had mine since 2002 and I hope I never sell it.   Mostly/all original sedans aren't unheard of, in my experience, as the cars are really awesome but then they're not valuable enough to restore;.  Given that, I have seen a handful of what look like completely original cars among '49 sedans.  But original cars that are cleaned up, reasonably shiny, and running well can be (say) $17K-$20k cars, at least from what I have seen.

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14 minutes ago, C Carl said:

1949 Cadillacs are wonderful cars. I have owned 4 of them. This seems to be a 62, not a 61. And it even has the optional fog lights. I think it will be very impressive when cleaned up. The steering wheel and plastic knobs are in rather nice condition, FAR better than most  you see. Keep the car out of the sun as much as is practical. As you know, these days such an original '40s car in this condition with such low miles is not often available. I am not an expert at pricing things, but with the known un-knowns, I do think 1935Packard is in the ballpark. Could be worth a bit more, as it IS a '49 (a desirable year, great clean styling, drive that 331 overhead all day at freeway speeds on synthetic oil if you want), and that interior really will be nice when you unwrap it. The door armrests testify to it being well kept. They, and the rug and pedal wear are commensurate with the indicated miles. Get the Cadillac, Joe. You enjoy cars of this vintage, and every buck and hour you spend detailing and sorting THIS original car will be justified. Don't let a grand or two deprive you of this car. You know the routine of fully resurrecting a sleeping beauty like this. Usually plenty to do on them, radiator, shocks rebuilt, belts, hoses (don't forget the underseat heater hoses), and so many things we all do when we are fortunate enough to find a car like this. Engine ? Transmission ? You COULD spend a lot of money there. Front end and steering ? How well do you know the sellers ? How much do they REALLY know about the car ? Service records ? As 1935Packard points out, we forum folk are at a disadvantage. 20 or 30 more detailed pictures including undercarriage could help give a more accurate evaluation. You can be pretty confident in this car because of the low miles and state of preservation. But in the end,  with your obvious enthusiasm, judging from the few pictures we have, I think your characterization is indicative of a man justifiably falling in love with a worthy car. 

 

In closing, I repeat  : ALL SYNTHETIC LUBRICANTS, OIL AND GREASE, IN THIS OLD CAR. This is a "modern" (in that it is a short stroke, OHV), high speed V8 with flat tappets, and if a very early '49, may have soft cams. I sure can't tell you that,  but the smartest oil to use will be Amsoil Z-Rod, in the 10W/30. The only connection I have with Amsoil, is that of being a customer. If I could get a better oil, I would use that. Treat your cars to the best, and treat yourself to this one. GOOD LUCK, JOE !    -  Carl 

Thanks for the reply and advice.

I do not know the sellers personally. They are in their 80's and the car was bought new by the Grandfather. So they know everything about the car from when it was new. 

I am always trying to keep a level head about cars I find and that is why I am asking for advice here. It is best to get opinions from the outside looking in.

I am drawn to original cars more so than restored ones. One reason is because I cannot afford restored ones but the main reason is that I like cars that have not been boogered with. I much rather prefer fixing/repairing original facets of a car than fixing/repairing someone else's attempt(s) at restoring one. 

 

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I will call the owner today and see what he wants to do.

I now know (thanks to you guys) the car is worth what I offered.

Maybe we can close the deal before the other guy gets there

You guys got me all worked up about it now.....THANKS

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Wazzamatterwitchooguys ? Don't you ever sleep ? Get some sleep, and go see those folks with a stack of greenbacks before that other guy gets there. Stuff another grand in your back pocket just in case. Go to their bank to get the title signed and let them deposit the money. Please keep us in the loop as you breathe life back into this old Cadillac. You are particularly fortunate that the interior doesn't need more than unwrapping and cleaning. You know we want to see good pics of everything. What time zone are you in ?  -  Carl 

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5 hours ago, Joe Cocuzza said:

I now know (thanks to you guys) the car is worth what I offered.

 

How much was that? When the question is "How much is it worth?" how can those asked for advice have any idea the next time they are asked?

 

"I made an offer and we came to an agreement" is about as close as a buyer ever gets to giving feedback after asking for advice.

Bernie

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The stack of cash in hand is the most affective way to get someone to take an offer.  The other guy may come in with a close offer or want to think about it, but seeing all those green bills in front of someone is hard to pass up. 

I bought a similar all original 1950 Caddy sedan a few years ago.  It was just like this,  parked and non running. I believe the mileage was around 50K on that as well.  The exterior was in identical condition and the chrome cleaned up amazingly well as did the paint.  Unfortunately The rear interior had been damaged by a raccoon.  I put a new fuel pump on it and got away with just filling the brakes up,  but it really needed a brake job to be 100 percent road ready.  I put a new exhaust system, battery , rebuilt the carb and a new fuel pump on it.  It ran so smooth and was so quiet.  All the power windows seat and even radio worked.  It was a really nice car. 

I got lucky and bought it for 3500.  Sold it for 6500.  This wall about 10 years ago though and I imagine the market on all original cars like that has come up a bit. 

I ave a photo of it somewhere I'll post when I find it. 

Good luck. 

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6 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

How much was that? When the question is "How much is it worth?" how can those asked for advice have any idea the next time they are asked?

 

"I made an offer and we came to an agreement" is about as close as a buyer ever gets to giving feedback after asking for advice.

Bernie

Bernie,

I made the offer again this morning (in the $7K range) and it was accepted.

I drove as fast as I could and gave a deposit on the car. It is now mine. My biggest problem is now trying to make room for it - trying to sell some other cars. It HAS to go inside. Luckily the owner said I can leave the car where it is for a while until I make room.

I took some more pics.

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You did good. That is a good balance between what to pay and what the owners probably expected. And the advice was confirmed by the action.

 

I didn't mean to single you out. Over the years car collectors and the prices paid or sold for get downright entertaining in the way they try to avoid anyone knowing. And they do it with such pompous authority.

 

You have another $2,000, maybe $3,000 in immediate expenses, and an equal amount over the next two or three years. Then you will have a real rewarding car to own.

 

When I serviced cars in the 1990's an original 1949 Cadillac was THE best car I drove out of 40-50 cars I took care of. Just a great driving car.

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Oh, never use the shift knob. Only grasp the metal lever.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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Seems like a fair price for the seller as well. There is a lot of unknowns and expenses before you have a turn key car that you have to cover where they get to walk away from it and not have to worry about hiring someone to do any of that work. 

Good luck.

I finally found those photos,  though the quality is crappy you can get an idea.The first two are before and the last three are after. 

I found for cleaning the chrome,  after the gritty dust was off,  I was able to use 0000 steel wool and a little wd 40 for a lubricant and it didn't' scratch at all. I hand buffed the whole car out using Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish.  I've done it many times and it works wonderful on all types of finishes from Lacquer, Acrylic enamel and even base clear coat urethane. The Lacquer responds the best to it though.  It's best to polish in straight lines if possible as it's easy top leave swirls if you pick up any crap in your rag.  After the initial Polish I use Something like a Meguiar's Show car glaze to keep the shine,  as it doesn't take any finish off like polishes do.  You have original paint so one good buff then that's it, just something to help maintain it after that. 

 

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Based on the Pennsylvania inspection sticker on the car, the last time it was on the road was in the early 1970s.

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Be careful with anything you use on cleaning the upholstery.  It's not only fragile from age,  but wasn't the most durable stuff in the beginning. 

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Well done - great purchase. Looks like a car you can get back on the road without too much trouble and get many miles of pleasure. My aunt had a '49 which I drove a lot as a teenager and I always thought they were one of the best post war Cadillacs. Although I'm sure that the seller is entirely above board, I would suggest that you get it to your garage ASAP.  There is a well known collector on Long Island who will tell you about how he lost a T-Head Mercer raceabout that he had a deposit on.

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1 hour ago, auburnseeker said:

Be careful with anything you use on cleaning the upholstery.  It's not only fragile from age,  but wasn't the most durable stuff in the beginning. 

 

Yes, it would be worth while starting a specific cleaning topic with extremely good pics of the door panels. Also, consulting with professional upholstery cleaners couldn't hurt.

 

Very well purchased, particularly in that the soon to be revealed seats have been waiting, protected just for you all these decades. That it has not been a pest habitat, makes it vastly more valuable than a cage which has served thusly. Good going! I am EXTREMELY happy for you! As the other guys say, these are the best driving cars of the forties. That is why Briggs Cunningham and Miles Collier picked this same platform (in a stock 1950 stick shift coupe, and another stocker with a low drag custom body), to compete in the LeMans 24 hour race. Did VERY well, too. Stock body placed 10th, with The Monster just behind. The Monster became delayed due to an agricultural excursion involving hay bale impact. It would have placed higher. These came off the assembly line, the only mods made were to increase brake ventilation. Impressive validation for these great cars.

 

NOW  :  At this point, from the engine pictures in your second topic, as per my response #6 above, I AM able to confirm this as an EARLY '49. By all means, before trying to start, drain old oil and drop and clean the pan. Oil filter service, and go through the carb'. Heed my oil recommendation. Not only does the Z-Rod contain the right amount of ZDDP,  but also is the current state of the art for corrosion protection during periods of no use. Again my usual disclaimer  : I have absolutely no connection to Amsoil whatsoever. I just use it. 

 

Please post frequently for your thrilled friends here. I am in the lucky group of people who have lived long enough to become sick and disabled. Still able to drive pretty well, but expect I have bought my last car. What a pleasure it is to "go on" the hunt with you guys, look over your shoulders while you work on your "finds", and then ride shotgun through the modern miracle of the internet. ???. Thanks for sharing !   -  Carl 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Joe Cocuzza said:

 

I made the offer again this morning (in the $7K range) and it was accepted.

I drove as fast as I could and gave a deposit on the car. It is now mine. My biggest problem is now trying to make room for it - trying to sell some other cars. It HAS to go inside. Luckily the owner said I can leave the car where it is for a while until I make room.

 

 

Fantastic!  Very excited for you. 

 

You will definitely want to visit and bookmark 1949Cadillac.com, the website of the 49ers chapter of the Cadillac-LaSalle Club that has all the newsletters about '49 Cadillacs from 2001 to 2012.   You should probably also join the CLC and the 49ers chapter, if nothing else to get easier access to '49 experts like Jay Friedman, the longtime head of the 49ers chapter. Jay is super helpful and knows everything about these cars (and if he doesn't know it, he knows who would know it).

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)

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You're going to be pleased with that car. Great drivers, smooth, powerful, and they still look like money today. Enjoy!

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17 hours ago, C Carl said:

Wazzamatterwitchooguys ? Don't you ever sleep ? Get some sleep, and go see those folks with a stack of greenbacks before that other guy gets there. Stuff another grand in your back pocket just in case. Go to their bank to get the title signed and let them deposit the money. Please keep us in the loop as you breathe life back into this old Cadillac. You are particularly fortunate that the interior doesn't need more than unwrapping and cleaning. You know we want to see good pics of everything. What time zone are you in ?  -  Carl 

I am in N.E. Penna

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Carl,

 

 "At this point, from the engine pictures in your second topic, as per my response #6 above, I AM able to confirm this as an EARLY '49"

How can you tell it is an early 49? What distinguishes it from a later one?

Thanks, Joe

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