1931 Cadillac 355 Eight

Henry M. Leland's automotive career included working with Henry Ford and building engines for Oldsmobile. In 1903 he created the Cadillac Company with their first offering being the Model A, a vehicle similar in design to the Ford. Production of the Model A continued until 1908.

In 1915 Cadillac introduced an 8-cylinder engine in 'Vee' configuration. In 1916 over 13000 examples were created. In 1930 Cadillac shocked the automotive world by introducing a V16 model. This undoubtedly made the Cadillac brand of automobiles one of the most respected luxury automobiles produced by an American company. A new division had been created, called the Art and Color Department, under the direction of the famous Harley Earl. The success of the Cadillac brand persisted during the hardships of the 1930's due to their established dealer network, the diversity of the General Motors brand, and impressive styling and engineering. Other great marques of the era, such as Marmon (who also had a V16 model), Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, Duesenberg, and Stutz lacked the financial resources, diversity, and deep pockets of General Motors. Additionally, Cadillac offered no less than four different passenger car lines for 1931 on a variety of wheelbase sizes that were powered by eight, twelve-, and sixteen-cylinder engines.

The engineering arsenal of Cadillac included an 8, 12, and 16 cylinders. This meant they had the right car no matter the customer or demand. Although the 1931 Cadillac resembled the 1930 models, they incorporated several changes including a longer hood with ventilation louvers on each side, and a subtly lower design. Other visual changes were standard dual horns and single-bar bumpers.

The wheelbase measured 134 inches and a length of approximately 203 inches which was shared with its companion LaSalle. It was six inches shorter than the 1930 models. The commercial 355-A chassis were larger with a 152-inch wheelbase. The 90-degree L-head engine was cast-iron with an aluminum crankcase. There was a 3.375 x 4.9 bore and stroke with a displacement of 353 cubic-inches. The three-main bearing engine with mechanical valve lifters and single Updraft carburetor delivered 95 horsepower at 3,000 RPM and was backed by a three-speed manual transmission with a twin-disc clutch. The standard ratio was 4.75:1 with several other ratios available depending on needs and use. Semi-elliptical leaf springs were in the front and back and braking was handled by four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wood artillery wheels were standard with wire, disc, and demountable wood available as optional equipment. The standard size was 19-inches; 18-inch versions were available.

Cadillac offered six Fisher and seven Fleetwood bodies with prices ranging from $2,800 to $3,800. Next in the Cadillac hierarchy was 370-A V12 which had prices beginning at $3,800, allowing buyers the option of buying a well-equipped V8 All-Weather Phaeton or an 'entry-level' V12 Coupe. The factory Fisher and Fleetwood V8 bodies were comprised of 2- and 4-door options with seating that ranged from four to seven passengers, and open and closed configurations.

The 1931 Cadillac models continued the company's reputation as being a hallmark of American luxury and despite the Great Depression, continued to offer higher-priced (yet reasonable) automobiles that were mechanically and stylistically advanced and modern.

For 1931, Cadillac produced 10,717 examples of the V8 models, 5,733 V12s, and 363 of the V16s.


by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008

Related Reading : Cadillac 355 History

The Cadillac 355A appeared in September of 1930 and shared some similarities to its predecessor of 1930, the Series 353. In the front the radiator had a screen. The raditor had been mounted lower. There was a single bumper bar and dual horns. The hood was longer with five hood ports on the side. Under the hood was a V8 engine that displaced 353 cubic-inches and produced just under 100 horsepower.....
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Related Reading : Cadillac 355 History

The eight-cylinder Cadillac Series 355 was in production from 1931 through 1935. Just like the other Cadillac models at the time, they came in a variety of body styles including 2- and 4-door versions. The 1931 Series 355A was similar to the Series 353 except that it was lower and longer. It also had a longer hood with five hood ports. Power came from the 353 cubic-inch powerplant found in the 353.....
Continue Reading >>

1931 Vehicle Profiles

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood

It was 1915 when Cadillac introduced its very first V-8 engine. Later, in 1930 they would introduce the V-16, not only did Cadillac offer a variety of body styles over the years, but also a full complement of available drive-trains.....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood

The body for 1931 was longer and lower than previous models. It had a longer hood with five hood ports. Oval sunburst brass instrument panel, radiator screen, battery and tool compartments under front seat and an enclosed trunk. The Cadillac masco....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Chassis Num: 803-644

This 1931 Cadillac V8 Phaeton is mostly un-restored and a wonderfully preserved example of the Series 355. Its 5785cc V8 engine produces 95 horsepower which is sent to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual gearbox. ....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Chassis Num: 808721

This 1931 Cadillac Series 355-A Phaeton is a former AACA Senior Award winner. It has been giving a restoration since new, and is finished in a white exterior with gleaming brightwork and a black folding top with red piping. There is a top boot, sid....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Town Sedan
Coachwork: Fisher

Chassis Num: 84991

This 1931 Cadillac 355 Eight was once in the collection of noted California-based collector Art Astor, who acquired the car in the early 1980s. It has been given a full restoration, after which it was invited to participate in the Pebble Beach Conco....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood

This classic 1931 Cadillac Fleetwood V-8 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton 355-A Series by Fleetwood was purchased by the current owners in 2008. The car has been renovated twice in the past five years. For the 1931 model year, 10,717 355 A-Series were produce....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Town Sedan
Coachwork: Fisher

Engine Num: 800667

This Town Sedan features blind rear quarters offering privacy for the rear seat passengers. This is an original car that wears an older restoration in two-tone blue. The interior is upholstered in tan wool broadcloth and trimmed in walnut and pewter.....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood

The 1931 Cadillac's were given deft styling improvements and engineering changes including ventilated doors that replaced hood louvers and a chrome plated screen that covered the radiator. The deepening Depression prompted a reduction of some of the....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Sedan
Coachwork: Fisher

Chassis Num: 808127

In 1931, the V-8 Model 355-A replaced the Series 353 with a decidedly sleeker, sportier design. The 355-A had a 5-port hood, metal floorboards, a single-bar bumper, smaller headlights, an oval instrument panel and other slight deviations setting it a....[continue reading]

1931 Cadillac 355 Eight vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Chassis Num: 8-10655
Engine Num: 810590

The 1931 Cadillac was the only car company to offer V-8, V-12, and V-16 models, wheelbase sizes of 134-, 140-, and 143-inch wheelbases, and bodies by Fisher and Fleetwood.....[continue reading]

Roadster by Fleetwood
 
Phaeton by Fleetwood
 
Phaeton by Fleetwood
Chassis #: 803-644 
Phaeton by Fleetwood
Chassis #: 808721 
Town Sedan by Fisher
Chassis #: 84991 
Phaeton by Fleetwood
 
Town Sedan by Fisher
 
Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood
 
Sedan by Fisher
Chassis #: 808127 
Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood
Chassis #: 8-10655 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$72-$2,700
1931 355 Eight
$3,800-$18,000
1931 Cadillac 355 Eight Price Range: $2,700 - $3,800

$3,800 - $5,855

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Cadillac
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)12,913
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)6,655
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)4,740
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)16,813
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)13,892
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)18,103
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)20,001
1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)8,599
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)27,771

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