The Cadillac Series 370 had many similarities to its V-16 counterpart but was outfitted with a twelve cylinder engine. Most of the body-work was constructed by Fisher with Fleetwood providing the interior coachwork.
During the close of the 1920's General Motors noticed luxury manufacturers such as Duesenberg and Auburn were rapidly become the prestiqious name-plates for many familys. To compete in this expanding marketplace, Cadillac bought Fleetwood, a custom body building manufacturer. Fleetwood was tasked with building custom bodies using various designs and bodystyles to accomodate a wide customer base.
The twelve cylinder engine had a reputation for its dependability, durability, and smooth and quiet ride. The 90-degree, L-head eight cylinder engine with cast iron on an aluminum crankcase was capable of producing nearly 100 horsepower. The hydraulic shock absorbers and large, low-slung rear springs gave the occupants a level of comfort that was unmatched. The transmission was synchromesh with three gears and the large mechanical drum brakes provided excellent stopping power. There were plenty of optional equipment that could be purchased to suite the buyers needs such as a trunk, tire covers, mirrors, heater and more.
Unfortunately, the Great Depression was responsibly for the low production numbers of Cadillac's most prestigious automobiles. Many manufacturers, especially those that catered to the wealthy clientele, were affected and many went out of business.
This example is of 74 1931 370-A, V-12 Fleetwood Roadsters built and one of seven known survivors. Bodied in the Fleetwood, Pa plant prior to GM moving entire Fleetwood Body Works to Detroit. This car was delivered to Don Lee Cadillac, Inc. Dealership in San Francisco on 10/29/1930. This car has been given a restoration which took 8,000 man hours to complete.
In 1931, a V-12 Roadster was used as the Indy Pace Car. Original price was $3,945.
First Place AACA National Winner- #W17611, CCCA Premier Winner- #2689SPAlso photographed at :
Unemployment nearly doubled to 16.3 percent in 1931 and America began to realize the long-term economic effects of the stock market crash of 1929. Despite the economic downturn, Cadillac, like other prestige manufacturers, found itself in the middle of the 'cylinder wars.' After introducing a V-16 in 1930, it added a V-12 model for 1931. The Twelve and Sixteen shared parts as well as dimensions and angles, so production didn't have to proceed from scratch. While the horsepower of the 368 cubic-inch, 135 horsepower V-12 was well below that of the 452 cubic-inch, 175 horsepower V-16, its performance was similar with 285 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of more than 80 miles-per-hour.
A bright white Series 370 V-12 roadster like this one was driven by Willard 'Big Boy' Rader and paced the 1931 Indianapolis 500. As the flagship, the V-12 and V-16 garnered all the fanfare, but the V-8 powered models sold in steady numbers helping Cadillac's bottom line during difficult economic times.
This particular car was bodied in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania and shipped to Don Lee Cadillac in San Francisco on October 29th of 1930. It is one of 91 Model 370 roadsters built by Cadillac in 1931, and one of only eight known to have survived. It is the beneficiary of an 8,000 man-hour restoration completed in 2004.