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Cadillac History

1949 Cadillac Series 75

Chassis number : 4975542

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Sold for $297,000 at 2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions.
It is not unusual for movie stars and professional athletes to have a production car taken and modified to fit the owner's desires and purposes. It is also not too surprising that well known people will create a custom series of cars that will have certain hallmark touches. This is all very well known. Forgotten is that fact that during the golden age of filmmaking many of the movies were done on sets either at the studio itself or within a reasonable distance to the studio. In order for the film-studio to keep up its own appearance, actors, producers, directors and other important staff would be chauffeured around in the studio's own specially constructed series machines. The 1949 Cadillac Series 75 Custom Limousine that crossed the block at the RM Auction was one of those custom-built cars made for MGM.

MGM placed an order for six series 75 Cadillac chassis between 1947 and 1949. The order was placed with the local Beverly Hills dealer, Hillcrest Cadillac. The cars were then sent to famous craftsman Maurice Schwartz.

Schwartz, of the famous Bohman & Schwartz company, made a living at taking and building custom cars for famous movie stars and wealthy individuals throughout that time period. He had designed custom-built Duesenbergs for Clark Cable and Ethel Mars. He had even made special designs for Barbara Hutton and Rusty Heinz. Schwartz was also employed by the film studios to make special cars for films and other events. The Austrian born craftsman was especially adept to wood carpentry and fashioning beautiful wood-framed bodies and trimmed automobiles. It is for this special skill Schwartz was employed by MGM and Hillcrest.

The car offered at the 2011 RM Auction in Arizona is the last of the six MGM Cadillacs custom-built by Maurice Schwartz and it is believed to be the only one still in existence. From a distance, the car appears to be similar to that of the Fleetwood-bodied production cars, but, Schwartz's craftsmanship was to a whole different level. Following the lines of the original bodywork of the Cadillacs, Schwartz styled heavily customized and contoured wood paneling that blended beautifully with the rest of the car's design.

While it is different than other works by Schwartz, it does have hallmarks of his work. The fenders of the car are similar to another of Schwartz's works, specifically Gene Autry's six-door wood-body fastback limo. In addition, another of Schwartz's hallmarks is the roof rack, which this car also has.

This car has undergone a good deal of restoration throughout its life to get it into the condition it is today, for it did not sit idle during its life, at least not idle in a climate-controlled building. The car suffered an accident and rested abandoned in the brush for more than a decade until it was rescued. The beautiful wood had deteriorated badly.

In the 1980s five Sacramento men bought it with the intention of restoring it. Al Robbins headed up the group and was skilled in wood craftsmanship. He began fashioning new body panels out of ash and mahogany. Originally, the car was refinished in a red paint scheme. Robbins repaired the roof of the car and installed a roof rack reconstructed from parts from another car. The car had rolled a couple of times during the accident decades back and the roof was badly damaged.

The project was taking a good deal of time and was also costing a good deal of money. This led to each of the Sacramento men, with the exception of Robbins, to drop out of the project. This led to the car being purchased by John White for his Ramshead Collection. While part of the Ramshead Collection the car went through meticulous restoration work until it was completed into its present form.

The interior was almost entirely redone, using Hogshead carpeting and Bedford cord with alligator trim. One of the many little details the Ramshead staff performed on the car was having MGM logos placed on the interior of the rear doors.

The car also went through a thorough rebuild of all of its mechanical components. The car's 160 bhp, 331 cubic inch V-8 engine went through an entire overhaul. Its four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission also went through a thorough overhaul. The red finish remained, however.

In the mid-1990s the car was purchased from Ramshead and was re-finished in a beautiful dark green color. Though not in its original black finish, overall, the car is a very attractive Series 75. A lot of hard work and love has been poured into this rare custom car. Much of its intriguing history and custom features makes it an eye-catcher. It is a wonderful canvas in which to reflect, remember and enjoy the genious and craftsmanship of Maurice Schwartz and the golden era of film-making.

Sources:
'Buy: Featured Lots (Lot 253: 1949 Cadillac Series 75 Custom Limousine)', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r215). RM Auctions Arizona. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r215. Retrieved 4 January.

By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $297,000 at 2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions.
Between 1947 and 1949, MGM Studios ordered six Series 75 Cadillac sedans from Hillcrest Cadillac, in Beverly Hills. The cars were then dispatched to Maurice Schwartz, for custom coachwork. This 1949 model was the sixth. Like other MGM cars, it was used to transport actors and support staff to-and-from location shoots.

Sometime in the late 1950's, while on a trip to Big Bear Lake, near San Bernardino, the driver missed a turn, the car left the road, rolled over and sustained body damage. It was abandoned and sat in the brush for a decade, the wooden portions of the body deteriorating.

Believing it was the last of the six, a Los Angeles collector bought the car who managed to reconstruct the ash framed doors, the B-pillars and repair the damaged body. It was finished in dark red, as opposed to the original black. In the late 1980s, it was sold to John Waite in Sacramento, where it was upgraded and refinished in the current color. The current owners acquired the car in 2011.

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2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $300,000-USD $400,000 
Sale Price :
USD $297,000

1949 Cadillac Series 75 Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Cadillac Series 75

(Data based on Model Year 1949 sales)
1949 CADILLAC FLEETWOOD 4 DOOR
Sold for USD$15,370
  2019 McCormick's - # 67
 
1949 Cadillac Fleetwood
Sold for USD$14,400
  2017 Silver Auction - Arizona in January 2017
 
1949 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Sedan
Chassis#: 497520412
Sold for USD$50,048
  2016 H & H Auctions - Chateau Impney
 
1949 CADILLAC FLEETWOOD
Chassis#: 496016620
Sold for USD$13,500
  2016 GPK Auctions - Atlantic City
 
1949 CADILLAC SERIES 75 LIMOUSINE
Chassis#: 497520498
Sold for USD$49,500
  2014 Barrett-Jackson - Reno Tahoe
 
1949 Cadillac Series 75 Limousine
Sold for USD$18,500
  2013 Auctions America - Fall Carlisle
 
1949 Cadillac Fleetwood
Sold for USD$16,000
  2013 Mecum Auctions - Kissimmee, FL Auction
 
1949 Cadillac Series 75 Custom Limousine
Chassis#: 497525542
Sold for USD$297,000
  2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions
1949 Cadillac Series 75 image  1949 Cadillac Series 75 image  
1949 CADILLAC FLEETWOOD
Sold for USD$19,500
  2010 Silver Auction - Arizona in January
 
1949 Cadillac Fleetwood
Sold for USD$9,000
  2010 Kruse Auctions - Glendale, AZ
 
1949 Cadillac Series 75
Chassis#: 497505590
Sold for USD$66,000
  2009 Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey by RM Auctions
1949 Cadillac Series 75 image  
1949 Cadillac Fleetwood
Sold for USD$19,250
  2009 The Old Car Heaven Museum Auction
 
1949 Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine
Sold for USD$32,100
  2006 The Florida Collector Car Auction
 
1949 CADILLAC FLEETWOOD LIMOUSINE
Sold for USD$34,750
  2002 Kruse Auction - Las Vegas, NV
 

Cadillac Series 75s That Failed To Sell At Auction

1949 Cadillac Series 75's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1949 Cadillac Fleetwood 2003 Toronto International Spring Classic Car Auction$22,000  
1949 CADILLAC SERIES 75 MALCOLM FORBES 2002 Kruse Auction Auburn, IN$27,600  
1949 CADILLAC SERIES 75 MALCOLM FORBES 2002 Kruse Auction Auburn, IN$30,000  
1949 CADILLAC SERIES 75 MALCOLM FORBES 2001 Kruse Auction Scottsdale Arizona$28,000  

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1949 Cadillac Series 75 Profiles

1949 Cadillac Series 75 vehicle information
Custom Limousine
Coachwork: Schwartz
Chassis #: 4975542