In the muscle car world, rebodies are frowned upon by purists because it basically is using the pedigree of one car and placing it onto the chassis of a lesser version − for example, a basketcase big-block Chevelle could have its data plate (and, in rare instances, its VIN) transferred to a primo small-block Chevelle and then sold as a more expensive Super Sport to an unsuspecting buyer. That’s a big no-no, but when it comes to custom-built 1930s cars, there’s a bit more wiggle-room.
This 1931 Cadillac V16 Roadster that will be sold at RM Auction’s Scottsdale event on January 15, 2015 is touted as being “in the style of Fleetwood.” What that means is that this vehicle has an authentic 1931 V16 chassis and engine, but the body is not the one that was born with the car. What happened to the original? Perhaps it was recycled during the war effort a decade later. Perhaps it was a worthless car at some point and converted to a tow truck for a junkyard (yes, that’s happened) . . . whatever the case, the original body is missing. The restorer in this case rebuilt the Cadillac based on existing Fleetwood-bodied cars and drawings. Among the group of collectors into cars from this era, this is considered acceptable but, of course, its value will be affected.
RM Auctions states, “Its bodywork was crafted to exacting original specifications, rather than using a V8 roadster body, as is common for these cars. The V-8 body is very similar to the V16, but it will not mate perfectly with the V16 cowl, resulting in a rather awkward appearance. By carefully building a body from scratch, the result is a wonderful car that is essentially the “106th of the 105” original Roadsters built by Cadillac from 1930 to 1931.” RM estimates that it will reach $300,000-$375,000 − value affected indeed!