Jump to content

Recommended Posts

After a lengthy search I stumbled upon a beautiful looking '37 Cadillac Series 70 Fleetwood Phaeton (I know,  it's a convertible sedan,  but Cadillac called it a Phaeton). It is a car that has been off the road at least 30 years but is a AACA Senior winner from about 1964. After talking at length with the family about the relative merits and demerits of the car, and agreeing that it would never be turned into a streetrod, I submitted a lowball offer which was accepted. 

 

Upon learning about the car I have found some things were already on their way to streetrod status including a '48 engine (not uncommon in these cars), a dual battery setup and some rather strange hidden lighting.

 

The car needs the works mechanically.  Despite looking beautiful it needs a complete overhaul of the electrical system,  the cooling system,  fuel system and brake system.  I haven't ruled out issues with the exhaust and bearings either. 

 

My order of operations will be make it stop, make it run, make it safe, make it drive, get it competent for travel make it pretty.  

 

Attached are some photos of the car as I received it and where it is now

 I  will post some updates as I go.

20200730_214225.jpg

20200802_115705.jpg

20200922_133543.jpg

  • Like 15
Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks very interesting, a beautiful car.  I look forward to hearing more as you sort through the systems and get the project going.  Your description of how you came about it is encouraging to me.  I too am looking at an older project car that was once very nice but the last 20 years have been hard on it.   It was stored inside but not being regularly driven has likely taken a toll.  The owner is an older gentleman and his asking price doesn't reflect the work and risk that a new buyer would be taking on.  I have contemplated making a lower offer that I would be comfortable with, but it is about 60% of his asking price and he may be offended.  I'd be interested in hearing how your lowball offer was received......obviously they took it, so it must not have been to bad of a reaction.  

 

John

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Given the quality of your work on the Model T, I'm very excited to see where this one goes. It should be a fantastic tour car. I had a similar car in inventory a few years ago and was very tempted to keep it. Just about ideal for tour use: powerful, fast, comfortable, top that goes down but it seals up with windows, strong brakes, plenty of storage space. Great choice!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the progress on the car so far. The manifolds are off and will be repainted but I have no intention of trying to put porcelain on them right now. 

Specific to John's point, one of the things that I did was appeal to the spirit of the previous owner. I am a psychologist for a living so I used some of my professional skills in my interactions with the family. To be clear, that doesn't mean I used tricks. Indeed,  part of the problem the family had with other potential buyers who seemed to be trying to trick them. 

Instead, I simply listened and gave them honest answers.  It was very important that their dad's car would not be turned into a streetrod. Sharing photos of my '26 Touring before and after restoration helped a lot.

Next, I was honest with them, my wife, and myself about the price I proposed to offer for the car, transportation of the car to Michigan and then a realistic rehab budget.  That the car was 20k less expensive than any other open Classic 5I have considered helped a lot, though I had to keep my wife informed that the purchase price merely reflected a down payment. 

When talking with the owners of the car they mentioned they heard of similar cars in the $85,000-125,000 range but knew enough to realize that while that was true, those cars were likely the product of a $250,000 restoration and were cars with correct engines, carburetors, fresh chrome, new tires and on and on and on. 

To Mike's point,  I have the correct carburetor for a '41-48 engine but not for a '37. Fact is, I don't think there is much '37 anything other than accessories and the horn under the hood.  If a correct '37 powerplant came along at a reasonable price I certainly wouldn't hesitate to buy it but for now my goal is to have a usable car with same era Cadillac power. I look at this in a similar vein as a Model T Ford in that regard; flatheat Cadillac power just as a T engine is a T engine (I know, I know; there are HUGE differences there too). As West said, it will be a great tour car when all sorted out but I really don't see myself showing the car. I have something else in the works for that...

20200924_134801.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Given the quality of your work on the Model T, I'm very excited to see where this one goes. It should be a fantastic tour car. I had a similar car in inventory a few years ago and was very tempted to keep it. Just about ideal for tour use: powerful, fast, comfortable, top that goes down but it seals up with windows, strong brakes, plenty of storage space. Great choice!

I appreciate your vote of confidence.  I know you are a fan of open GM products of this era, as am I,  for all the reasons you mentioned.  Naturally I have some cognitive dissonance specific to what I did not buy but I still think I have selected a good car for me and the family. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, John Bloom said:

That looks very interesting, a beautiful car.  I look forward to hearing more as you sort through the systems and get the project going.  Your description of how you came about it is encouraging to me.  I too am looking at an older project car that was once very nice but the last 20 years have been hard on it.   It was stored inside but not being regularly driven has likely taken a toll.  The owner is an older gentleman and his asking price doesn't reflect the work and risk that a new buyer would be taking on.  I have contemplated making a lower offer that I would be comfortable with, but it is about 60% of his asking price and he may be offended.  I'd be interested in hearing how your lowball offer was received......obviously they took it, so it must not have been to bad of a reaction.  

 

John

 

If he is offended it just may be because another car is out there waiting for you.  I would make the case for your offer and back up your reasons in writing.  You may be surprised. Time may also be on your side. Personally,  I took an offer on a car that was painful to accept but I recognized that it was what I needed to do to achieve my goal. Good luck!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The vacuum advance was used 1940-48, with improved intake manifolding 1940-forward.  If you're interested in touring rather than future judging, I'd put an AAV-26 carb on it and fix what's needed.

 

The glass rear light is the wrong shape for 1937 but is more practical.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Grimy said:

The vacuum advance was used 1940-48, with improved intake manifolding 1940-forward.  If you're interested in touring rather than future judging, I'd put an AAV-26 carb on it and fix what's needed.

 

The glass rear light is the wrong shape for 1937 but is more practical.

So...you thinking a carburetor sort of like this?

20200925_132937.jpg

20200925_132947.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ericmac said:

To Mike's point,  I have the correct carburetor for a '41-48 engine but not for a '37. Fact is, I don't think there is much '37 anything other than accessories and the horn under the hood.  If a correct '37 powerplant came along at a reasonable price I certainly wouldn't hesitate to buy it but for now my goal is to have a usable car with same era Cadillac power. I look at this in a similar vein as a Model T Ford in that regard; flatheat Cadillac power just as a T engine is a T engine (I know, I know; there are HUGE differences there too). As West said, it will be a great tour car when all sorted out but I really don't see myself showing the car. I have something else in the works for that...

20200924_134801.jpg

Eric, you will be happier with the 41 Carb set up with the Stromberg AAV-26 unit with the matching air cleaner - we ran one on the 1936 75 Series Town Cabriolet  (and it may have lost points, but car was a National Winner in AACA, CCCA, and Cadillac Club - matter of fact it won everything in all those clubs that you could possibly win).

 

I do not think you can put 37 heads on a later engine, but possibly.  The engine has a lot of subtle differences, but heads are the largest difference and rest is relatively minor block casting differences. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Watch the base of an AAV26 for a control for the hand throttle which was not used after 1940.  You can use an earlier base.  IIRC only the 1940 base has both the hand throttle connection AND the drilled hole for vacuum advance.

 

I *think* (please confirm) that the plain LaSalle heads 1939-40 (maybe earlier) will give the appearance desired.  BUT the giveaway to 1941-48 engines is the serial number boss near the water pump, and unless you fill the serial number, that number will tell the year and model it came fro--e.g., serial begins 4862....

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Grimy said:

Watch the base of an AAV26 for a control for the hand throttle which was not used after 1940.  You can use an earlier base.  IIRC only the 1940 base has both the hand throttle connection AND the drilled hole for vacuum advance.

 

I *think* (please confirm) that the plain LaSalle heads 1939-40 (maybe earlier) will give the appearance desired.  BUT the giveaway to 1941-48 engines is the serial number boss near the water pump, and unless you fill the serial number, that number will tell the year and model it came fro--e.g., serial begins 4862....

Misnomer:  A 1941 Cadillac still has a hand throttle on it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Grimy said:

 

I *think* (please confirm) that the plain LaSalle heads 1939-40 (maybe earlier) will give the appearance desired.  BUT the giveaway to 1941-48 engines is the serial number boss near the water pump, and unless you fill the serial number, that number will tell the year and model it came fro--e.g., serial begins 4862....

Very possibly !!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Grimy said:

  BUT the giveaway to 1941-48 engines is the serial number boss near the water pump, and unless you fill the serial number, that number will tell the year and model it came fro--e.g., serial begins 4862....

??? The serial number is on the drivers side of the block at the rear by the bell housing (at least on a 1941 and older).

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Grimy said:

 

I *think* (please confirm) that the plain LaSalle heads 1939-40 (maybe earlier) will give the appearance desired.  

You are on the right track here and I would definitely be looking how to make the heads look more appropriate.

 

Eric, in speaking of heads - whatever they cast the block out of has a tendency to flake as far as rust and it will will the lower water passages and then tends to collect badly around the drivers side cylinder closest to the block.  If the car has been sitting, you often need to pull the heads and the freeze plugs and start cleaning the rust out.  There is a lot of discussion about evapo-rust and that may work, but the ones I have done the rust is so compacted/settled that  it takes some poking at it. The blocks also crack at that rear most cylinder on the driver's side - I assume from overheating. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree wholeheartedly with John's comments on the tendencies of these engines to accumulate rust which is difficult to dislodge.  IMHO, Job One is to do the best possible rust removal including replacing all the core plugs, followed by using coolant filters on the two entrances to the top tank of the radiator.  I've tried Gano but greatly prefer stocking filters.  I use the calf-high stockings used with women's slacks because the material is heavier duty.  After 300 miles (or less), drain and save any coolant, remove stockings and rinse under a tap, and reinstall.  Replace stockings anytime you have used a chemical flush.  The amount of debris found during the first inspect-and-rinse will inform you for scheduling the next inspect-and-rinse interval.  Any debris caught by the stockings has been prevented from occluding the radiator passages.  Even for boiled-out blocks, these filters are necessary:  the gray coating from the tank will begin flaking off and making its way to the radiator after 20 or 30 heating-cooling cycles.

 

Rust removal is *best* done with the engine out on a stand.  I used "wiggly wire," a piece of heavy twisted fence wire stock, chucked into an electric drill, and bent as necessary to get around corners.

 

To clarify my earlier comments:  Memory fades--I sold my 1939 75 over 10 years ago after owing it for 42 years.  About 1970 I replaced the unrepairable original block with an entire 1948 engine from a car that had been rear-ended.  (When I removed the heads to do a valve job, I found that some time in the past the engine had apparently swallowed an exhaust valve, and the seat was cut deeper into block at least half an inch, and the valve stem shortened commensurately.) The 1948 engine's serial number was preceded by the year and series (4862...) that it came from.  So back to the book--Motor's Repair Manual.  From that reference, 1948 was the first time that the year and series preceded the engine number, but earlier engine numbers were coded less obviously to reflect the year and series in which they were originally installed--although the engines were identical within the same year.  Motors Manual also states that beginning with the *1942* model year, the engine number was moved from the location John described to the (new and distinctive) boss near the water pump. 

 

With less certainty, I recall that 1939 75 series heads (maybe 1938 and 1940 as well) lacked the reinforcing external bosses that other V8 series through 1948 had.  I recall using the heads from my trashed 1939 engine on the "new" 1948 block to improve *that* aspect of visual authenticity, but no one can overcome the almost glaring existence (to Cad people anyway) of the engine number boss near the water pump--which we now know began in 1942.  The car was a driver, so not an issue for me that the time.  The owner after me found and rebuilt a proper 1939 engine, and the car is only two blocks away, and I'm allowed to drive my old friend from time to time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the progress on mine so far. The radiator hoses are only in place temporarily as I am going to have filters in line for the foreseeable future to address potential rust issues. If anyone knows of a good set of heads, I would definitely be interested as I would like to achieve a more authentic under-hood appearance.  For now, however,  it is looking better.  I haven't attempted to start it but hope to do so by the end of the weekend. 

72925.jpeg

72926.jpeg

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Eric, looks good !!!

 

You may find it adventitious to wrap the very center point of sat 4 inches of the exhaust manifold cross over (I have seen people install heat shields too).  

I also wrapped the tailpipe at the rear hump for the back axle as a lot of hot air was being retained under rear of car and heating up my gas tank on long enough drives (vapor lock at tank) - 1941 60 Special though with fender skirts.

I also had neoprene tubing replacing the metal line over the rear axle hum

Grounding is a flathead issue - ground the battery to the frame and the frame to a starter bolt

As to the starter - it needs a clean face and the bell housing too - metal to metal contact without paint

A 4 bladed 1941 fan is not real great - I switched over to a V-16 fan, but they are needle in haystacks and last car I installed a 6 bladed fan from I think a 1954 Pontiac.

 

PM me anytime or through Facebook as well - I am not the most successful 41 Cadillac driver, but I did go from 17.5K miles to 97.5K miles over 30 plus years. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/23/2020 at 11:55 PM, ericmac said:

After a lengthy search I stumbled upon a beautiful looking '37 Cadillac Series 70 Fleetwood Phaeton (I know,  it's a convertible sedan,  but Cadillac called it a Phaeton). It is a car that has been off the road at least 30 years but is a AACA Senior winner from about 1964. After talking at length with the family about the relative merits and demerits of the car, and agreeing that it would never be turned into a streetrod, I submitted a lowball offer which was accepted. 

 

Upon learning about the car I have found some things were already on their way to streetrod status including a '48 engine (not uncommon in these cars), a dual battery setup and some rather strange hidden lighting.

 

The car needs the works mechanically.  Despite looking beautiful it needs a complete overhaul of the electrical system,  the cooling system,  fuel system and brake system.  I haven't ruled out issues with the exhaust and bearings either. 

 

My order of operations will be make it stop, make it run, make it safe, make it drive, get it competent for travel make it pretty.  

 

Attached are some photos of the car as I received it and where it is now

 I  will post some updates as I go.

20200730_214225.jpg

20200802_115705.jpg

20200922_133543.jpg

Wow!!!! Such a beauty baby!!! 😍 Thank you. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/1/2020 at 2:49 AM, Haisley said:

Wow!!!! Such a beauty baby!!! 😍 Thank you. 

Thanks for the compliment.  I am waiting for some parts right now but should be able to see if it runs in a few more days.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is a tour car I wouldn't worry about the heads much.  I have been touring with my 41 for years and have never been asked to look under the hood.  If it will fit your 37 you may wish to use a rear end from a 41 automatic.  Runs much nicer at highway speeds.  I may have a extra V-16 fan lying around.  If you are interested I will check.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Robert G. Smits said:

If this is a tour car I wouldn't worry about the heads much.  I have been touring with my 41 for years and have never been asked to look under the hood.  If it will fit your 37 you may wish to use a rear end from a 41 automatic.  Runs much nicer at highway speeds.  I may have a extra V-16 fan lying around.  If you are interested I will check.

Eric - a good offer (I think I ran a 54 Pontiac with 7 blade, but most Cadillac's of era have a 4 bladed fan and you need to at least go with a V-16 6 blade). 

 

As to a 37 engine - run the 40's engine currently in it, but start shopping for a 37 decent complete block with heads (and then run all the 40's stuff on that) - you eventually want the proper block/heads, but as to all the other engine stuff you will be happier ignoring 37 and going for the upgraded 40's stuff.  As a sidenote again:  We ran the 36 75 Series Town Cabriolet with 40's starter, generator, fuel pump, carb., and .... and that car swept the awards circuit in CCCA, AACA, Cadillac Club, and Concours events. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2020 at 7:04 AM, ericmac said:

Here's the progress on mine so far. The radiator hoses are only in place temporarily as I am going to have filters in line for the foreseeable future to address potential rust issues. If anyone knows of a good set of heads, I would definitely be interested as I would like to achieve a more authentic under-hood appearance.  For now, however,  it is looking better.  I haven't attempted to start it but hope to do so by the end of the weekend. 

72925.jpeg

72926.jpeg

You may already have an upgraded fan ???

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/14/2020 at 10:01 PM, ericmac said:

I just checked and my fan is a 4 blade. I sent a message to Robert and we'll see what he has. Thanks for the suggestions guys.

You need a 6 or 7 bladed fan - car is not new and traffic is different these days

Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

You need a 6 or 7 bladed fan - car is not new and traffic is different these days

YES!  Use a 6-blade fan from a 1938-40 Series 75, which bolts right on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently flogged this '48 manual trans engine. 6 blade fan. With all due respect to the preferences of others, 'twere me, I would enjoy the superior last iteration of the 346 Cad. Quite a bit of internal improvements over the run from 1937, ('36 was the introduction of the monoblock, but it was a 322), through 1948. This includes military service and development in WWll. If you still want every last detail to adhere to the inferior 1937 iteration of the 346, I can offer you for free a 1937 block. These are getting a little difficult to find, but mine is in Seattle. Shipping and handling would have to be factored in. There is some chance I have '37 heads, but I think the odds are less than even. I have to be out of my sold dump in Seattle by the end of April, so I might come across them. Almost 40 years accumulation of all kinds of junk. Whew !!!     -    Carl 

 

 

957C375F-79E0-422C-BA12-18260D06D0B8.jpeg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, C Carl said:

I recently flogged this '48 manual trans engine. 6 blade fan.

If that engine originally came with the 6-bladed fan, Carl, I'll bet the engine number prefix is 4875 or 4876 (the latter is the commercial chassis).  Here's what I know about the post-war mods, from having owned a 1939 75 for 42 years and using a 1948 engine in it for awhile:

 

* 1946-48 are NEGATIVE ground, POSITIVE before that.

* 1946-48 pistons have 3 rings, 4 rings before that.

* 1940-48 intake manifolds have improved flow (per their sales brochures).  1940 was the first year of vacuum advance.

* replacement vacuum chambers are unobtanium, BUT you can buy a Delco chamber for 1942-48 Olds 8-cylinder (inexpensive and reasonably available) and transfer the spring (located under the large hex nut) from your Cadillac vacuum chamber into the Olds chamber--and presto, you're good to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate all the help and advice.  I owe a couple phone calls to some of you so I'll be reaching out soon. 

I thought by now I'd be posting a triumphant first drive video similar to what Ed has done with the White. Alas the master cylinder I recieved from a parts vendor was faulty so I am waiting for another to arrive tomorrow.  Maybe a first drive this weekend?

Thanks again to everyone who has offered help.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I drove the car a lot today. Everything is working now other than the clock and speedometer.  Maybe I have an unlimited warranty? The cable is spinning okay so I think the problem is a bound up speedometer. Anybody have a good solution for that? My windshield wipers work but very slowly.  Maybe a lubrication issue there too? And I seem to have a ground problem with the passenger side headlight.  I still haven't figured out how to put the top down but it certainly looks complicated. So...more to do. That said,  WOW is this a great driving car!

20201106_173848.jpg

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...