Cadilac 1949 Series 62 Club Coupe


With their competitors slow to react after WW2, Cadillac seized the initiative. Introduced in 1948, the marque's aeronautically inspired 'tail-fin' motif was the work of Harley Earl-trained stylist Franklin Q. Hershey. An immediate trend-setter, it was joined some twelve months later by an all-new overhead valve V8 engine. Engineered by Ed Cole, Jack Gordon and Harry Barr, this 331 cu in (5.4 litre) unit was smaller, more powerful and almost 200lbs lighter than its predecessor. Boasting wedge-shape combustion chambers, 'slipper' pistons and hydraulic valve lifters, it developed 160bhp in standard tune and soon found favour among the competition fraternity. Distinguished by their more imposing radiator grilles and simplified dashboard architecture, the 1949 model year Cadillacs were underpinned by a surprisingly competent modular chassis design. A massive cross-braced affair equipped with independent front suspension, a 'live' rear axle and potent drum brakes, it proved its mettle / metal during the following year's Le Mans 24-hours when a near stock Sedan entered by Briggs Cunningham came home an incredible tenth overall at an average speed of 81.5mph! Rather more exclusive than its Series 61 sibling, the Series 62 sported grooved stone guards to the trailing edge of its front wings and a more cosseting interior. Priced at $2,966, the elegant Series 62 Club Coupe accounted for 7,515 sales and was one of the models which inspired Motor Trend magazine to make the '49 Caddie its very first 'Car of the Year'.

Finished in blue with blue cloth upholstery, this particular left-hand drive example is variously described by the vendor as being in "very good" (electrical equipment, automatic transmission, bodywork), "good" (interior trim) or "excellent" (engine, bodywork) condition. Reportedly treated to "an extensive body-off, chassis-up restoration and engine overhaul" the previous year, 1997 saw the Cadillac finish 3rd-in-class on 'The Second Peking to Paris Motor Challenge'. Considered by the seller to be "an exceptional car for use on long distance historic rallies", the Club Coupe is further understood to have contested La Carrera Panamericana in 2000. Said to be surprisingly standard / original despite its past competitiveness, this handsome and well traveled Cadillac is offered for sale with MOT certificate valid until February 2011 and a selection of spares.

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions

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