Cadillac 370-A V-12 Roadster by Fleetwood

Of all the custom coachbuilders who built on Cadillac chassis, none is more closely linked to the marque than Fleetwood. While today the name is associated with the top model of Cadillac, in the past it represented design and construction of bespoke bodies. Its origins go back nearly as far as the history of General Motors, the corporation by which Fleetwood has been owned for more than three quarters of a century.

The Fleetwood Metal Body Company came into being in 1909. Formed at Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, it was not an evolution of a carriage-building company but created specifically to build automobile bodies. Early on, most work was for Packard, with about 10 percent for Pierce-Arrow and about half that for Cadillac. Most of the designs were conservative, but some of the more stylish ones were actually the work of Raymond Dietrich, then at LeBaron. Fleetwood was particularly known for the quality of interior woodwork.

In 1925, the Fisher Brothers, who had sold out their body company to General Motors, bought Fleetwood outright. This gave Fleetwood capital to expand and modernize, and it gave GM a ready source for high quality coachwork. Some work continued for non-GM customers, including many bodies for Chrysler. In 1930, the Fishers moved Fleetwood to Detroit and closed the Pennsylvania operations, relocating the construction operations in a former Fisher Body plant. From this time on, work was focused toward GM and Cadillac in particular. Fleetwood’s president and chief designer had moved from Pennsylvania and provided continuity, while working also with members of Harley Earl’s staff at GM Art & Color. Cadillac promised delivery of their Fisher-Fleetwood catalogue customs within seven weeks, full-customs were also available but took significantly longer.

Priced new at $2,845 was Fleetwood’s Style 4502 roadster body for the 370-A chassis. Chassis 1002070 sports a fresh nut and bolt, body-off restoration. With virtually zero miles registered since the restoration, the dark blue and gray Cadillac is simply outstanding. The car is very nicely appointed with a blue Hartz cloth top and complementing light blue leather interior. Both are in excellent condition. Desirable accessories include dual side-mounted spare tires with mirrors, stainless spoke wheels, wide whitewalls, wind wings, a set of Trippe lights, a golf club door, radiator stone guard, and a luggage rack fitted with a metal low boy trunk. The current owner states that this car starts and runs very well, and that the next owner will discover that this roadster drives wonderfully, cruising along with the finesse and flare that can only be achieved by a multi-cylinder Cadillac.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2012 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan.

135 bhp, 368 cu. in. overhead valve V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and live rear with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 140"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Matt Hughes

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