Cadillac may have been “Standard of the World” but, until the 1940s, Cadillac played second fiddle to Packard. That’s not to say Cadillac was a lesser brand, because it wasn’t − Cadillac was among the most prestigious brands in the world. Cars like this 1935 Series 370D Fleetwood Town Cabriolet are a rolling testament why Cadillac is a storied brand.
Back in 1935, Cadillac offered three engines: its traditional V8, the super-silent V12, and a V16 that lent Cadillac instant prestige among the world’s best. Even with the V8, Cadillacs could be toys for the rich − all it took was the choice of a proper bodystyle, especially when built by a coachbuilder instead of in-house (Fisher). In this Town Cabriolet’s case, it was Fleetwood, which General Motors owned at the time and handled most of Cadillac’s custom-bodied cars.
The Town Cabriolet was the name of Cadillac’s town car, which had a temporary roof for the chauffeur (hence the “cabriolet” part). Powering this particular Caddy is the 368ci V12, one of 377 V12 Cadillacs built on what appears to be an infinite number of bodystyles available for its clientele. Like most V12 Cadillacs, this one rolls on a massive 146-inch wheelbase.
Starting at $6295, the Cadillac Town Cabriolet was among the most expensive Series 370D V12 Cadillacs available to the public (contrast it with a Chevrolet, which topped out at a tenth the cost). This is what it looked like to be rich in America in 1935 during the Great Depression. We caught this Caddy sitting among many million-dollar cars at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance show.