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 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Prototype photo

1949 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Prototype

When Mr. Charles E. Wilson accepted President Dwight D. Eisenhower's appointment to become Secretary of Defense, he was forced to retire as General Motors chief executive in 1953. Upon his retirement, Cadillac presented Mr. Wilson with this de Ville Prototype. Mr. Wilson was later misquoted as saying, 'What's good for General Motors is good for the country' during his confirmation hearing.

Mr. Wilson was given the nickname, Engine Charlie to help distinguish him from Charles E. Wilson, the chief executive of General Electric, who served in the Truman administration.

General Motors had built the Fleetwood-bodied Coupe de Ville Prototype for the Transportation Unlimited auto show in 1949. The exhibition would later become known as the Motorama. GM's exhibition of sensational and futuristic vehicles toured the auto show circuit to great acclaim.

Powering the Coupe de Ville was the company's first overhead valve V8 engine. The revolutionary designed prototype had a curved, one-piece windshield glass plus many fancy features. There was a two-way radio/telephone, power windows that included even the vent windows, power seats, chrome wheel arches, a three-piece rear window, a lipstick holder, a perfume atomizer, a rear-seat secretarial kit, and leather seats and trim.

After Mr. Wilson's death in 1961, the car disappeared. It was found in a Connecticut barn in 1978. The current owner, a collector of rare and historically significant Cadillacs, treated the car to a complete and correct restoration.

In 2013, the car was put on display at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, which marked its first public appearance in 64 years.

The prototype given to Mr. Wilson was one of four built and the only one known to survive. It is also the oldest known Motorama vehicle still extant.


by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2013
Vehicle Profiles
1949 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Prototype vehicle information

Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood

This is the original prototype Coupe De Ville by Fleetwood. General Motors Transportation Unlimited Exhibition was the first post-World War II auto show and was the precursor to its traveling Motorama Exhibitions. The first show was staged at the Wal....[continue reading]

Coupe by Fleetwood
 

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