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1937 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 Touring Sedan Movie Star! All Orig! - $35,000 (Canoga Park)

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1937 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 Touring Sedan Movie Star! All Orig! - $35,000 (Canoga Park)

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© craigslist - Map data © OpenStreetMap 1937 Cadillac Fleetwood Sedan

condition: excellent
cylinders: 8 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 83172
paint color: black
size: full-size
title status: clean
transmission: manual
type: sedan

Here we have a magnificent survivor of the period between Art Deco and Streamline; a period from which some of the most magnificent, imposing automobiles in history have emerged. This Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 Touring Sedan was a very expensive limited model between the smaller Series 60 and 70, and the Limousine. Riding on a 138-inch wheelbase and powered by a smooth, torquey 321-cubic inch flathead V8 and backed with a three-speed manual gearbox, it was a favorite choice of tycoons, moguls and mobsters alike.

That said, it was chosen by studio transportation directors for many period films, three of which are especially iconic. It appeared as a background car in The Godfather and The Sting, and as one of the hero cars in Chinatown. It was driven by Hollis Mulwray and Jack Nicholson's character J.J. "Jake" Gittes places a pocket watch beneath the left rear tire of this car to determine when Mulwray left that night. You all remember that scene. The car is seen being driven in several scenes in the movie.

This example was first sold at Don Lee Cadillac in Los Angeles, Calif., on February 4, 1937, as was stenciled on the firewall. Don Lee Cadillac was the largest Cadillac dealership on the West Coast, and the famed "Hollywood" sign is located atop Mount Lee, named after Don Lee, a civic giant of the day. Lee was friends with Harley Earl, the famed General Motors design chief who penned this particular model amongst many other eventual classics.

The car lived its entire life in sunny Southern California, aside from—in 1975—when its owner of 47 years drove it with his wife across country to New Jersey, had it loaded onto a luxury ocean liner and cruised to Germany, where it was offloaded and they toured in the Cadillac all summer, even scaling the Swiss Alps! Imagine the heads turned along European roads when this mammoth American icon motored by! At the conclusion of their tour, they returned to German where the car was loaded onboard and they sailed back to New Jersey and then drove back home to Los Angeles. It performed flawlessly.

The black paintwork is all original aside from the front fenders, and there are areas where the paint is actually worn thin enough to see the original primer showing through. Seen clearly in video. This mark of unmistakable originally is highly prized by collectors and automotive historians (and obviously, movie studios as well). Of course there is a patina of random chips and scratches as expected, but no dings or dents of any meaningful size. It is as rust-free as you'd expected a lifelong California car, and the only noticeable areas of rust are a couple places on the floorboards where the original rubber covering chipped off and water accumulated there. The chrome plating is also original, as are all the trim and fittings.

The longtime owner had all the window glass replaced as the originals were delaminating, and while replacing the glass, all the rubber seals were replaced as well. Inside, he refinished the gorgeous varnished wooden window surrounds. The original mohair upholstery is still in place, with just a small tear on the driver's side of both the front and back bench seats. There is also some wear to the piping on the driver's door panel and the armrest. The mohair headliner is fully intact and in good condition.

The owner was somewhat of a craftsman and designed and built the custom bar in the back of the front bench seat for the enjoyment of his passengers. The bar is mirrored, has automatic lighting when opened and a full compliment of French crystal barware is included, as shown. One of a kind. There is also another locking compartment beneath the bar, presumably for your valuables...or your Tommy gun.

The car is mechanically excellent. The flathead V8 was fully rebuilt in 2002, using a replacement block, new bearings, pistons, rings and timing components. Stainless steel valves with hardened seats were used to run properly on modern lead-free fuels. A new radiator was installed and an auxiliary coolant overflow tank was fitted. Two new Optima 6-volt batteries were fitted in 2018.

The original hydraulic drum brakes and suspension have been serviced as needed over the years as the car was in fairly regular use for tours, club events, etc., and the longterm owner put roughly 40,000 miles on the car. Sixteen-inch Lester whitewall tires were fitted in 2009 and show no dry cracking and have deep tread.

This historic Cadillac starts easily, runs as smooth as a pocket watch (other than the one it backed over in Chinatown) and drives beautifully. The ride is smooth, quiet, the steering is quite good, the brakes adequate for normal use (even in the Swiss Alps!). All the original gauges function properly, except for the clock. An auxiliary water temperature gauge and Blaupunkt AM/FM/Cassette player have been added beneath the dash.

Extensive service records and the original factory jack are included. It comes with a clear California title, and is currently located in the Los Angeles area. This magnificent survivor is ready for its next cross-country road trip! Or its next closeup! $35,000 firm.

Here are three YouTube videos of the car you'll enjoy!

Walk-around inspection: https://youtu.be/glTdYdfBohQ

Engine cold-start, instruments: https://youtu.be/VwjLr36qA3I

Ride-along, drive-by: https://youtu.be/VmABEQAfOmE

Edited by George Smolinski (see edit history)
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There's a subject that I've been meaning to talk about for a very long time. I've mentioned before that I spent much of my life in the apparel business and because of that I have become somewhat familiar with the process of reweaving fabric to repair damage. This beautiful Caddy looks like a good example of a car that could be brought back to fine condition by having the seats repaired by reweaving the holes. I've never gotten into the subject because I've known that it would take a bit of time to explain the art. I don't have time right now to explain much, but maybe by just bringing up the matter, you guys can begin to explore the topic some on your own. The holes in these seat cushions can potentially be repaired without anyone ever knowing the extent of the damage. It's a laborious process involving removing the fabric from the cushion, working on the weave of the fabric from the backside and later reattaching it, but in a case like this, far cheaper than the alternative. There are people who can repair holes in fabric by using a scrap of the fabric, usually obtained from some discreet site. In a case like this, a part of the seat that doesn't show, like some fabric from around the back or the side of the cushion can be used. Fading over the years can play a role in the choice of sites. In the case of a garment, a man's suit, for example, a useable piece of fabric can often be found under or behind a cuff or a hem. The technician, or artist, really, draws threads out from the sides of the "patch" and positions it over the hole in a way that the texture or pattern in the pieces matches and then inverts the two pieces. Then slowly he will draw threads from the patch down into the piece to be repaired from the backside. These threads have to be quite long in order to make for a satisfactory and invisible repair. At this point I'm going to let you guys look at some Google Images on the subject to illustrate what I'm talking about. I can address the subject more later:

fabric reweaving - Google Search


Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)
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