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by Jay Traugott
This is what wealthy looked like back in the 1930s - and they both sold for an average $1 million each at auction today.
The annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Carmel, California has always been a display of beautiful cars and plenty of other examples of that are more than likely worth more than your house and your neighbor's combined. But Cadillac is bringing something quite special. More specifically, it'll be a pair of 1930s Depression-era Fleetwood V-16s that were never sold. Set to be on display beginning today until Sunday, Cadillac will show these two gems along with the 2011 Ciel Convertible concept.
Back in the 1930s just before the Depression hit everyone hard, anyone who was anyone with enough cash wanted to own a custom coachbuild car. The Cadillac Fleetwood Collection was featured in "build books" that customers used to select options for their cars. Specific body styles were built to order, but these two units were never selected. They are a 1934 rumbleseat roadster and a 1937 Phaeton, both built on a Cadillac chassis and each powered by a 185-horsepower 452 cubic inch overhead-valve V16 engine. Both were recently sold at auction with the Phaeton going for $962,500 and the Roadster taking in $1,001,000.
However, it was in 1984 when the Phaeton underwent a restoration that included the addition of the mighty V16. The Roadster was restored with the same engine not long after. So why weren't the cars built and sold back in their day? Fleetwood probably wouldn't have built them on spec due to the high costs involved and they also didn't believe they could find buyers because they'd have to wait 15 months for delivery.