1941 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Sedan
Chassis No. 8341999
Body Style: 6229D
Body No. 9
150 bhp, 346 cu. in. L-head V8 engine, three speed transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.
The convertible sedan, essentially a touring car or phaeton with roll-up windows, first appeared in prestige automobile catalogs during the 1920s. The style quickly gained favor, so by the mid-1930s even low-priced makes had them. Ford’s first, in 1935, proved so popular that in the following year it outsold the phaeton, which in turn was discontinued two years later. But the trend was transitory, for convertible sedans were absent in most manufacturers’ catalogs by 1940, save for so-called “catalog customs,” bodies by Fleetwood, LeBaron or Dietrich offered by upscale makes like Lincoln, Packard and Cadillac.
Except at General Motors, that is, where there were convertible sedans through 1941, the final two years in no less than three marque lineups, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac. Built by GM’s Fisher Body subsidiary, they were based on a common understructure but given marque-specific sheet metal where necessary to preserve corporate president Alfred Sloan’s dictum of a “car for every purse and purpose.” They were the last of this rare breed, disappearing after World War II halted production. Post-war, production centered on mass market styles to fulfill pent-up demand. Not until Kaiser and Frazer’s tentative effort in 1949 to 1951, did the convertible sedan return, reaching significant levels only with the legendary Lincoln Continentals of 1961-67.
Still, production was in very small quantities. Buick alone offered them in more than one series; Cadillac’s, like the convertible coupe, came in the Series 62 line. The car being offered is the ninth body built out of 400 for 1941. Ordered through the factory’s New York branch, it was shipped on October 5, 1940. The order sheet specified hidden running boards, pushbutton AM radio with antenna and Cadillac’s Automatic Heating System. The latter features thermostat-controlled temperature as well as outside ventilation and a windshield defroster. The car was also ordered with Accessory Package C, which included wheel trim rings, windshield washers and license plate frames. The customer evidently valued economy of operation, for in addition to the three-speed manual transmission he specified the optional “tall” 3.77 to 1 axle ratio.
Restored some 20 years ago, the car is finished in Valcour Maroon with red wheels and a red leather interior. The top is tan canvas. Since 2004, it has had the fuel system fully reconditioned, a new master cylinder and brake lines, front and rear springs, king pins, control arms and fittings, and a new stainless steel exhaust system. The tires were replaced with Diamond Back steel radial whitewalls, balanced and aligned. The car tracks perfectly and steers easily.
The battery and battery box were replaced, the defroster and heater rebuilt and the cooling system flushed and new steel-lined installed. The car now runs cool at all speeds and in all conditions. Other items checked and replaced or adjusted include windows and operating mechanism, door latches, radio, all gauges, weatherstripping, belts, starter and universal joints. It has provided trouble-free driving, including a trip from Ohio to Florida.
A thorough detailing, including new paint, would make the car a concours contender. As is, however, it presents well and runs and drives exceptionally. Recognized by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic, it is eligible for all Club activities and CARavan tours. The optional 3.77 rear axle, combined with its roominess and convenience, make it especially suited to touring.