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 ManufacturersArrow PictureCadillacArrow Picture370A V12 (1930 - 1931)Arrow Picture1931 Cadillac 370A V12 
 

1931 Cadillac 370A V12 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Fleetwood Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Henry M. Leland formed the Cadillac Automobile Company on August 22nd of 1902. When the Henry Ford Company faltered, Leland was brought in to evaluate the leftover assets. He persuaded Ford's remaining partners to continue the automobile business using Leland's proven 1-cylidner engine. They named the company in honor of Leland's distant ancestor, 17th century French explorer Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, founder of Detroit.

Cadillac earned a reputation early on for precision manufacturing and reliability. The company also perfected the interchangeability of parts as well as many other early innovations. General Motors acquired the company in 1909 and positioned it as the prestige division. Cadillac's introduction of V12 and V16 powered cars in 1930 kicked off the 'cylinder wars' among the American luxury marques leading Packard to introduce their line of Twelve's.

The V12 engine was introduced in October of 1930, just nine months after the V16 and rode on a 140 inch wheelbase chassis shared with the V8 models. The 368 cubic-inch L-head engine with dual carburetors produced 135 horsepower. Hydraulic shock absorbers, synchromesh transmission and vacuum assisted brakes made for comfortable driving. The car was designed to make a statement and all engine wiring and plumbing was hidden from view.

The 5-passenger phaeton model was priced at $4,045 and 5,725 cars were built.
Fleetwood Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 10-2034
Engine Num: 1004197
 
Sold for $192,500 at 2008 RM Auctions.
Cadillac's sixteen-cylinder vehicles were an engineering phenomenon and the pinnacle of luxury at the time. The V12 Cadillac's were positioned to contend with a very impressive field of cars such as the Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Lincoln and Chrysler. In many respects, Cadillac had a car for every segment of the luxury car market. The V12 Cadillac's shared many similarities with their sixteen-cylinder siblings including massive headlamps and detailed bright work and trim throughout. To distinguish the other Cadillac models from the V12 and V16 models, an array of exclusive options could only be found on the upper-level models.

This V12 example is a Five-Passenger Phaeton with coachwork by Fleetwood. Its original owners resided in Los Angeles, California and had left the factory equipped with metal tire covers, a Goddess radiator ornament, and an export-type windshield that can fold down. It still wears its original Fleetwood body though the car has been restored to period correct standards in the late 1990s. It has received First Place honors in 2002 at a Grand National meet, was awarded a Senior badge by the Cadillac LaSalle Club and is a CCCA Premier winner.

In 2008 this 1931 Cadillac V12 Series 370-A Five-Passenger Phaeton with coachwork by Fleetwood was brought to RM Auctions 'Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook' where it was estimated to sell for $225,000-$275,000. Though bidding did not reach those estimates, it was high enough to satisfy the vehicles reserve and the lot was sold. A high bid of $192,500 was enough to secure new ownership.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2011
 
The Cadillac V-12, and its sister engine the V-16, were the logical outgrowth of the popularity and technology of the well-built Cadillac V-8, and the necessity of more powerful mechanisms to move increasingly larger and heavier automobiles. Simply enlarging the V-8 bores were ineffective as it caused certain thermal problems, and superchargers were only practical in racing machines. By process of elimination, more cylinders, a larger displacement, and higher compression became the solution. The V-12 and V-16 engines helped propel Cadillac into competition wîth the most expensive cars in the world. Although the timing of the production of these cars may have been less than ideal (the v-16 was introduced less than two months after the Wall Street crash), the cars are some of the best ever built by Cadillac.

The V-12's, introduced just nine months after the V-16's, were built on a 140 inch chassis that was also shared by the V-8 that was the mainstay of Cadillac's line-up. The smaller engine was known for free revving and smooth, even power. Twenty different models were available in the V-12 as opposed to over 50 in the V-16 model. The Roadster, the sportiest vehicle in the lineup, was one of the most desirable of the V-12 cars available. Cadillac's current 2003 prototype V-16 takes styling cues from the V-12 and V-16's of this era.

Collection of Art Engle

Source - SDAM
Fleetwood Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Engine Num: 1004534
 
Sold for $187,000 at 2007 Christies.
This 1931 Cadillac V12 Roadster with coachwork by Fleetwood was offered for sale at the 2007 Christie's auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It's twelve cylinder engine is aligned at a 45-degree angle and capable of producing 135 horsepower.

For 1931 Cadillac reinforced their slogan 'The Standard of the World' by offering four passenger car choices powered by eight, twelve or sixteen cylinder engines. There were a total of twelve body styles and included customer specified designs by some of the most prominent coachbuilders of the era, including Fleetwood and Fisher.

With Harley J. Earl employed as General Motors head of the Art and Color styling department, Cadillac was able to produce impressive designs that put many of their competition out of business, with some help from the Great Depression of the time.

This Roadster carried a sticker price of $3,945 in 1931. It features a rumble seat and side access door to the rear bodywork. It is well equipped with many optional features such as goddess mascot, directional following auxiliary lights, spare tire with cover and rear view mirror to each running board and set into the fenders. It has been treated to a comprehensive restoration in the 1980s and has been well preserved since that time.

At auction this car was estimated to sell for $80,000 - $160,000 and offered without reserve. The selling price exceeded the estimated value and sold for $187,000.
Fleetwood Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
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- #2689SP
Fleetwood Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 1001774
 
Sold for $214,500 at 2009 Worldwide Auctioneers.
Most of the V-12 Cadillac's were bodied by Fisher in catalogue designs. They were more economical than the Fleetwood coachwork, which were now being built in Detroit rather than in the original Fleetwood factory in Pennsylvania. Discerning clients could specify a Fleetwood body to individual specifications on any Cadillac chassis.

This particular 370-A V-12 Cadillac is a Fleetwood-bodied Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton resting on a 140-inch wheelbase. It has a gently raked one-piece windshield, and compact close-coupled passenger compartment that blends the dual cowl with an ample rear passenger compartment. Both the front and rear doors are hinged at the front. The hood is a mere four-inches shorter than the one found on the V-16. This car has been given a restoration and finished in emerald green with chrome hood side vent doors, beige leather upholstery with beige carpets, and a beige cloth top. The car rides on chrome spoke center-lock wire wheels with body color hubs and rims. There are dual side-mounted spares with chrome enclosures, wide whitewall tires, a luggage rack, wire mesh radiator stone-guard, dual Trippe driving lights, a goddess radiator cap mascot and wind wings. In the rear body deck is a small door and luggage compartment for short trips when added luggage trunks were not required. Inside, there is a Jaeger clock and a dashboard that features engine-turned inserts on either side of the instrument panel.

In 2009, this 370-A DC Phaeton was offered for sale at the Houston Classic Auction in Seabrook, Texas, presented by Worldwide Auctioneers. The lot was estimated to sell for $220,000 - $270,000 and offered without a reserve. It was sold for the sum of $195,000, not including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
Fisher Coupe
Coachwork: Fisher
Designer: Harley Earl
 
This 1931 Cadillac Model 370A Roadster by Fisher is one of only about 85 examples that were produced. It was last titled in 1958 and has just completed a seven year restoration when it was put on display at the 2009 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance.

The 370 Series was introduced in October of 1930 and powered by a 368 cubic-inch V12 that offered 135 horsepower. The roadster bodystyle rested on top of a 140-inch wheelbase and had similarities to the larger V16 bodies built by Fisher. All interiors were built by Fleetwood. The hood was four inches shorter than the V16 and five inches longer than the V8. The instrument panel was similar to the V8. The headlights were one inch smaller in diameter than the V16 and the dual rear lights were ball shaped like the V8. A roadster was used as a pace car in Indy and model year sales reached 5733 units.
Fisher Coupe
Coachwork: Fisher
Designer: Harley Earl
 
In October of 1930, Cadillac introduced its 370 series powered by a 368 cubic-inch V12 engine that offered 135 horsepower. The roadster bodystyle rested on a 140-inch wheelbase and had many similarities to the V16 cars built by Fisher and all interiors built by Fleetwood. The hood was five inches longer than the V8 and four inches shorter than the V16. The headlights were one inch smaller in diameter than the V16 and the dual rear lights were ball shaped like the V8. A roadster was chosen to pace the Indy 500 that year and total production reached 5,733 units.

In 1931, Cadillac produced only two V12 roadster with rear mounted spare tires. This example is believed to be the only one left in existence.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2009
Fleetwood All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 1004245
 
Sold for $99,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
This 1931 Cadillac V12 All Weather Phaeton 370A with coachwork by Fleetwood is powered by a 368 cubic-inch twelve cylinder engine that produces 135 horsepower. It sits atop a 140 inch wheelbase which is held in place with front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs.

The term 'All Weather Phaeton' was Cadillac's way of saying a convertible sedan with roll-up windows. This 370A was awarded a First National Junior Award at the 1969 AACA meet in Hershey, PA. It scored 96.5 points at the CCCA meet in Indianapolis in 1969. It has won twice at the Concours d'Elegance in Cincinnati, Ohio.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2011
Fleetwood Sedan
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
This 1931 Cadillac Sport Phaeton is one of six surviving examples of the 128 produced. The Fleetwood body was designed by GM styling chief Harley Earl and Ernest Schebera, and sits on a 140-inch wheelbase. 1931 was the year that Cadillac introduced the V12 engine. Rated at 135 horsepower, the V12 was essentially the V16 minus four cylinders. Many automotive historians consider the V12 to be the better of the two powerplants. Cadillac exhibited this particular car at the 1931 auto shows held in Detroit, Chicago, New York and St. Louis. On December 31, 1931, it was sold by the Oliver Cadillac Company to Millard Smith, in St. Louis. In 1968, the car became part of the Harrah's collection, in Reno, NV. In 1992, when the Harrah's collection was auctioned off, the car underwent a complete restoration. The car has a total of 36,383 original miles.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2011
Fleetwood Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
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.
Fleetwood Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
The Cadillac's biggest selling point was precision manufacturing and reliability based on winning the British Dewar Trophy for the most important advancement of the year in the automobile industry. General Motors acquired the company in 1909. Cadillac's introduction of V12 and V16 powered cars in 1930 kicked off the 'cylinder wars' among the American luxury marques leading Packard to introduce their line of Twelves.

The V12 engine was introduced in October 1930, just nine months after the V16 and rode on a 140 inch wheelbase chassis shared with the V8 models. The 368 CID L-head engine with dual carburetors produced 135 horsepower. Hydraulic shock absorbers, synchromesh transmission and vacuum assisted brakes made for comfortable driving. The car was designed to make a statement and all engine wiring and plumbing was hidden from view.
Fleetwood All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 1004792
 
Sold for $192,500 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
Eleven months after the stock market crash of 1929, Cadillac introduced their new V-12 vehicle. This 370-A Phaeton was shipped on June 24th of 1931 as a 'chassis with powerplant' to Fleetwood Medal Body of Pennsylvania to be equipped with a phaeton body. Upon completion, the car was finished in black and given special options such as the rear bumper and unique taillights that were normally seen on the V-16 Cadillac. The car was sold by a Detroit dealership to a wealthy family in upstate New York. It is believed the original family kept the car until June of 1964 when it was purchased by Philip Wichard.

The Cadillac was in need of a 'refreshing' so Mr. Wichard brought it to a Long Island worship to have mild re-painting done. After returning from a three week vacation in Europe, he found the car totally dismantled. Furious, he took the car from the shop and shipped it to the Seaburg Brothers of Sydney, Ohio for a complete restoration. A day after the vehicle was moved, the Long Island shop burned down. The restoration took 18-months to complete. Wichard added a Pilot-Ray light, a Lowbody traveling trunk with luggage, and special-order steel wheel covers for the spare.

Mr. Wichard retained the Cadillac until 1995 when it was sold to Jack Gorman of San Antonio, Texas, who kept the car 12 years before selling it to the present owner.

In October 1966, the car won the Antique Automobile Club of America Junior National Award and then, a year later, the AACA's President Cup in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In July 1967, it went on to take the Grand Classic Award bestowed by the Classic Car Club of America.

The car wears an older (completed in the late 1960s or early 1970s) restoration. It has a 368 CID overhead valve V-12 engine and a three-speed manual transmission.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the Pebble Beach auction presented by Gooding & Company. The car was estimated to sell for $180,000 - $220,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $192,500 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
Fisher Town Sedan
Coachwork: Fisher
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 4000698
 
Sold for $49,500 at 2013 RM Auctions.
Sold for $57,750 at 2013 RM Auctions.
This Cadillac V-12 Town Sedan with coachwork by Fisher was sold once part of the Imperial Palace Collection. It was sold in 1991, undergoing a full restoration some years later. The current owner purchased the car in May of 2004, after which he began an exhaustive four-year restoration to original, correcting many of the errors made in the previous restoration. The car was finished in two-tone maroon and was awarded a CCCA Full Classic in October of 2010.

The car has a restored original Cadillac accessory trunk and folding rack, and it is equipped with Senior Trippe driving lights.

In 2013, the car was offered for sale in Scottsdale, Arizona by RM Auctions. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $49,500 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2013
Fleetwood Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
In 1930 Cadillac started a 'Cylinder Race' by introducing an overhead valve, 452 cubic-inch V-16 engine. Marmon followed suit with a V-16. In 1931 Cadillac introduced a V-12 resulting in its having a V-8, a V-12 and a V-16 engine. By 1932 several other luxury brands, such as Lincoln, Pierce Arrow, Packard and Auburn, joined the race with V-12 engines. By 1931 Cadillac offered more models and body styles than any other make with 3 wheelbase lengths, 3 engines and over 60 body styles both production and custom.

The 1931 V-12 Model 370 has a 140-inch wheelbase chassis with a 368 cubic-inch, 135 horsepower, overhead valve engine. It incorporates unique hydraulic valve lash adjusters, among the first engines with this feature. A Cadillac V-12 roadster was the Pace Car for the 1931 Indianapolis 500. Most enthusiasts who have driven good examples of the V-16 and V-12 feel that the V-12 is a better driving car, partly as a result of much lower weight on the front end, with almost as much acceleration and speed as the V-16.

This Convertible Coupe was purchased by the present owner in June of 2012. After driving it about 20 times for evaluation a complete restoration was started. It is a correct authentic restoration with matching engine, transmission and body numbers.
Fleetwood Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Engine Num: 1001934
 
Sold for $231,000 at 2013 RM Auctions.
The Fleetwood Metal Body Company was formed in 1909 in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. It was created specially to build automoible bodies, rather than being an evolution of a carriage-building compnay. The company was particularly known for quality interior woodwork.

Fleetwood was bought in 1925 by the Fisher brothers, who had sold out their body company to General Motors. This gave Fleetwood capital to expand and modernize, and it gave GM a ready source for high-quality coachwork. Though GM was the primary customer, some work continued for non-GM customers, including 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 point on, work was focused on Cadillac and GM in particular.

When Fleetwood moved to Detroit, not all of the staff relocated. Fleetwood's president and chief designer had moved, and he provided continuity, even while also working with members of Harley Earl's staff at GM Art and Color Department.

Cadillac promised delivery of their Fisher-Fleetwood catalogue customs within seven weeks. Customers who ordered full-customs had to wait significantly longer.

This Convertible Coupe is an original Fleetwood-bodied car that still retains its original engine. The Cadillac was delivered through General Motors of Canada Ltd., and was shown at the Montreal Auto Show that year. The build sheet indicates the car was specified with six wire wheels, including dual side-mounted spares and tire-mounted side mirrors.

Later in the cars life it was given a body-off restoration. It was finished in maroon with black fenders, door 'saddles,' and outlining. Steel covers hide the side-mounted spares, and the wire wheels are painted a slightly lighter shade than the body color. Accessories include wide whitewall tires, the famous Goddess radiator mascot, an opening windshield, a cowl-mounted spotlight, a golf bag door, a trunk rack, dual Pilot Ray driving lights, and dual horns.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
Fleetwood Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Engine Num: 1002411
 
Sold for $220,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
This Cadillac V-12 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood was supplied by New York distributor I.M. Uppercu to Bayers Auto Sales, of Long Island City, with financing drawn through the Corn Exchange Bank.

For over three decades, the car was part of a prominent part of a collection, which is owned by a long-time CCCA member. It was acquired in New York, where its life had begun, in 1982. After two decades of ownership, the owner elected to have the car restored. The car was shown three times in CCCA competition since the completion of its restoration, where thee car scored 100 points every time and reached Premier status.

The car is finished in two shade of crimson and has tan leather interior and Burbank cloth top. Other equipment includes chrome wire wheels shod in wide whitewall tires, a Goddess hood ornament, dual horns, dual mirrors, a luggage rack with trunk, and a radiator stone guard.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
The Detroit, MI based Cadillac Company offered three different and very distinct chassis and drive trains, a V8, V12 and the massive V16 in 1931. The series 355-A had eight cylinders, the 370-A had twelve-cylinders, and a continuation of the 1930 and 1931 series 452 and 452-A V-16. A total of 10,717 automobile were produced.

Over 5725 370A vehicles were produced from 1930 to 1931. It was available in the two door coupe, 4 door limousine, 2 door roadster, 4 door sedan and the 2 door Tourer. Model year sales were 5,733.

The 370-A series was very similar to the 1930-31 V-16 except some bodies were built by Fisher, but all body interiors were built by Fleetwood.

The hood was four inches shorter than the V-16, and five inches longer than the V-8. The battery was mounted in the right front fender, and the coach sill was modified with a single molding on the splash shield.

The headlights were smaller in diameter than the V-16 headlights by one inch, and the instrument panel was very similar to the V-8 panel. It also had ball shaped dual rear headlights like the V-8 and dual hors that were smaller than on the V-16.
The front tread was the same as the V-8, and the frame had divergent side rails like the Series 355. Rear springs were mounted under the frame rails.

The sedans had two wheelbases, 140' and 143', though the semi-commercial unit had a 152' wheelbase.

Featuring very fine Fleetwood coachwork in standard Fisher bodies, the Fleetwood Body Company was also located in Detroit Michigan.

With a OHV V12 engine, 368 cid and 135 hp, the 370A was priced at $4,895 when new. Able to reach 160km/h, the Cadillac Fleetwood Sport Phaeton came with a narrow-angle V16 power unit.

The 370-A engine had dual intake silencers that were slightly smaller than the single unit on the V-8 engine. The silencers were positioned at the rear were the V-16 vacuum tanks were mounted.
It also had carburetors that were reversed yet very similar to the V-16 so the air inlet was located at the rear.
The V-16 oil filter was mounted on the center of the dash near a single vacuum tank.
The Cadillac V-12 was the official pace car in 1931 for the Indianapolis 500.

By Jessica Donaldson
For more information and related vehicles, click here

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Arrow Right 1931 Cadillac models
Cadillac 355 Eight
Cadillac 452A V-16

Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
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Average Auction Sale: $139,473

 
Cadillac: 1931-1940
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October 201413,615 
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