1937 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 Limousine / Photos and Specs

Featured in this article is an automobile you don't see too often these days...a 1937 Cadillac Limousine. The automobile has a 346 cubic inch V-8 with a three speed manual gearbox, suicide doors and can carry seven passengers.

1937 cadillac fleetwood

37 Cadillac Fleetwood

Cadillac's Series 75

Introduced in 1937, Cadillac’s new Series 75 included eleven Fleetwood body styles ranging from coupes and convertibles to a seven-passenger touring sedan / limousine. This new Series 75 unveiled by Cadillac caught on fast with luxury car buyers and gave Packard some stiff competition. By 1941 the Fleetwood Series 75 was Cadillac's flagship automobile.

A new, broader, die-cast “ egg crate ” grille was fitted. This type styling  would become a standard feature on Cadillac models for many years. Two sets of three small horizontal chrome trim pieces placed in the catwalk area between the fenders and the grille added emphasis to the Cadillac’s wider stance. In addition to this, there were newly styled, large bullet-shaped front fenders that provided a sophisticated yet aggressive look. The Cadillac Series 75 were considered solid, well built automobiles.

cadillac series 75

Cadillac Series 75

The Story of Fleetwood Body

Fleetwood Metal Body Company was founded in 1909 in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. The best description of the work done and the popularity of the Fleetwood Metal Body Company was printed in a February 1920 issue of the Reading (PA) Eagle. See the excerpt below...

"The Fleetwood Metal Body Company, makers of strictly high grade custom automobile bodies, is justly the pride of the Borough of Fleetwood. It furnishes employment to 375 people. The pres­ent force is inadequate to the demand of the output of the plant. In the past five months orders to a total of more than $2 million have been re­fused by the company owing to the fact the out­put of the plant is already contracted for well into '21. Almost daily letters are received from firms, corporations and individuals offering a creditable bonus for the acceptance of an order of high grade automobile bodies.

"The chassis of a Packard, Pierce Arrow, Cadillac or some other superb make is sent to them accompanied by complete instructions as to the kind of body wanted. In many cases, no de­tails are omitted. The selection of color and the material to be used in the luxurious upholstery of the interior being chosen with the greatest of care. The great. proportion of the cars are built for those whose abundant means justify the grati­fying of any whim and the special touch of ex­clusiveness has always been the aim of the Fleet­wood Company as time and again it has won unstinted praise and approval. Andrew Carnegie, the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers have all been users of Fleetwood cars while Mary Pickford, Theda Bara, Harold Lockwood, Andrew Pierson and other shining lights of motion picturedom have been loud in their praise of the lines and the finish of the cars built especially for them. Their product has been sent to every part of the world including California, South America and Europe".

Fleetwood was acquired by Fisher Body in 1925 and relocated to Detroit, Michigan. Fleetwood was made a part of General Motors in 1931 and eventually became a Cadillac model itself. The Fleetwood name continued for many decades, often referring to limited and low-production styles.

1937 Cadillac Series 75 Limousine Specifications

The 1937 Cadillac Series 75 Limousine had a  346 cubic inch Monobloc Flathead V-8 engine that delivered 135 horsepower. As an historical side note, Cadillac was the first automaker to mass produce the V-8 engine. At this time Cadillac was also producing V-12 and V-16 engines.

Transmission was a three speed manual.

Wheelbase was 156.0 inches, length 240.0 inches, width 77.8 inches and height 69.4 inches.

Cadillac production for 1937 was 14,150 vehicles out of which 4,230 were Series 75 models.

You may also enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

1931 Cadillac 452A V-16

The Classic 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

Vintage and Classic Car Serial Numbers

1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville / A 50's Classic

cadillac limousine 1930'sCadillac Limousine enthusiasts will want to find the book...Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Series Limousines 37-87 by authors Thomas A. McPherson and Walter M.P. McCall. Another good book is..Cadillac: 100 Years of Innovation by Angelo Van Bogart.

Cadillac Series 75 Collector Automobiles

As mentioned above, the Cadillac Series 75 models were popular and well built automobiles. They remain popular collector cars and the 1937 Series 75 Limousine featured in this article is rare.

cadillac series 75 fleetwood

If you locate one of these Cadillac limousine models for sale, and they are indeed very rare, the asking price will vary greatly due to originality, condition and degree of restoration if any. Originality would obviously be one of the rarest attributes for an automobile from 1937.

As of this writing we see one Series 75 limousine with an automatic transmission and Chevy 350 engine and an asking price of $17,500. Restored and highly original 1937 Fleetwood models might have asking prices in the $30,000 range to the six figures range depending on the body style. One example would be a totally restored 1937 Cadillac Fleetwood 7539 Town Sedan with an asking price of $70,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

1939 Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton

 

In many ways, the very rare car shown in this article, the Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton, was all about the 1939 World's Fair held in New York City. In fact, it's said that the car was created for the World's Fair.

1939 Chrysler Custom Parade Phaeton

1939 Chrysler Custom Parade Phaeton

The Derham Body Company

The Chrysler C-24 Phaeton was a seven passenger limousine. The coach builder was Derham. Three different cars were built on the C-24 frame. These were the Convertible Town Car, the Convertible Sedan and the Turing Phaeton such as the one shown here. The Derham Body Company was founded in 1887 in the western Philadelphia suburbs by Joseph Derham, an immigrant from Ireland. His first custom car body however wasn't built until 1907, some twenty years later. Some of his very first customers were wealthy residents of north Philadelphia.

Derham Body Company had such a great reputation for quality that they even built auto bodies for some of their competitors. Derham's popular slogan was "Your choices are limited only by your imaginations and desires. What you want, we will build."

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine

Chrysler and the 1939 World's Fair

The Transportation Zone at the fair was a popular area. As with all commercial exhibitors at the fair, one goal was to sell the company's products. Another aim was to introduce potential customers to new methods of production as well as new materials used. Automakers utilized the 1939 World's Fair as both a selling and educational venue.

Chrysler was very involved and noticed at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Remember, this was the tenth year after the infamous 1929 stock market crash. The country was limping through the 1930's with high unemployment and various civilian government work programs. Chrysler, for it's part, survived the toughest of the Great depression years by doing a good job selling it's lower cost Dodge and Plymouth models.The Chrysler models were perceived as mid-size automobiles which competed against Cadillac.

1939 Chrsyler C-24 Limousine

1939 Chrsyler C-24 Limousine

Several automakers had elaborate exhibits at the 1939 World's Fair. General Motors had a 36,000 square foot pavilion called "Futurama" . Here visitors were taken over a large diorama of part of the U.S. which highlighted highways, towns and homes, all in miniature. The Ford Pavilion featured race car drivers on a figure eight track on the building's roof top. The driving went on continuously.

Chrysler embraced the World's Fair with several unique exhibits. One was a 3-D film requiring the viewers to wear the special 3-D glasses. It was estimated that some one and one-half million people saw the film that was titled, "In Tune With Tomorrow". The special eyeglasses were in the shape of a Plymouth automobile. The film was recognized as the first time that a mass audience was exposed to a 3-D film. Viewers of Chrysler's film were also sitting in air conditioning which was rather new for the time.

1939 Chrysler Phaeton Limousine front end grille work

1939 Chrysler Phaeton Limousine front end grille work

The 1939 Chrysler Custom Phaeton shown here was on display at the World's Fair at the Chrysler Pavilion. Total Chrysler production for the 1939 model year was 67,749 units. Out of this number there were 117 limousine sedans built. 95 seven passenger sedans and only one of the C-24 Custom Phaeton Limousines which is the one shown in this article. The most popular selling model during Chrysler's 1939 model year was the six cylinder Royal 6. More than 50,000 of these were built. The average Windsor Royal 6 sold new for between $1,000 and $1,300 depending upon options. Manual transmissions were standard equipment. The six cylinder engines provided 100 horsepower.

Chrysler C-24 Limousine side view

Chrysler C-24 Limousine side view

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine Specs

The 1939 C-24 Chrysler Custom Imperials had essentially the same trim lines as the C-23's. The car was powered by a 324 CID L-Head Inline Eight Cylinder Engine. This produced 132 horsepower. The engine had a total of sixteen valves, two per cylinder. The transmission was a three speed Fluid Drive and the brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum. The C-24's had larger tires than the C-23's and also had better inside trims and features.

The 1939 C-24 had a wheelbase of 144 inches.

The Chrysler limousine's weight was about 4,600 lbs.

Links to two additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll be interested in are the 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Business Coupe and the 1933 Duesenberg Model J.

(Photos from author's collection)

 

1942 Packard Limousine

 

1942 Packard Limousine

1942 Packard Limousine

The 1942 Packard Clipper models, including the limousine shown here, were produced over a matter of just a few months. As it turned out, this was the last year in which Packard would offer a rolling chassis for limousines and it's custom coachwork on such extended chassis. After that, limousines were built by simply stretching a sedan's chassis.

The Packard Clippers had a very short production lifespan during the Pre World War Two years. The 1942 models began production in August of 1941 and stopped in February 1942 due to President Roosevelt's prohibition of civilian car production during the war years.  When America entered World War Two, the Packard Motor Car Company built military vehicles in it's factories.

1942 Packard Clipper Limousine

1942 Packard Clipper Limousine

The Packard Motor Car Company

The Packard Motor Car Company was formed in 1903 by Ward Packard. By the year 1909 Packard was considered among America's major automakers. Packard had built a reputation as a luxury auto builder and was one of the premiere luxury automakers prior to 1937. In fact, by 1925 Packard was the American leader in luxury automobiles. The company which actually built it's first car in Warren Ohio in 1899 as the Ohio Automobile Company had outlasted several of their competitors during the 1930's. The Great depression nevertheless had a strong impact on Packard. To give you an example, Packard sold about 7,000 vehicles during the 1934 model year compared to more than 50,000 during the 1928 model year. Big vehicles took a big hit during the Depression years.

The Start of the Popular Packard Clipper Models

In 1941 Packard introduced what was called the "Clipper" model with the most powerful production engines of the time. The Packard Clipper was one of those models introduced mid year in April of 1941. There were only a bit over 16,000 1941 Clippers built and then with the start of World War Two and the civilian vehicle prohibition put into effect by President Roosevelt, only a few thousand of the 1942 Packards were produced.

 

1942 Packard Clipper Limousine front grille design

1942 Packard Clipper Limousine front grille design

To give you an idea of the pent up demand unleashed after the war, there were over 30,000 Packards built for the 1946 model year with over 1,200 of these being Packard limousines. The sales of the Clipper series were very successful. Clipper outsold both LaSalle and Cadillac. That was quite an accomplishment.

The 1942 Packard Custom Limousine shown in this article is on display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque New Mexico. This particular car was built between August 25, 1941 and February 7, 1942 at the Packard factory in Detroit Michigan. This car was the sixty-sixth of the Clipper Six Twentieth Series. The automobile was then sent to the Fitzjohn Coach Company in Muskegon Michigan to be made into a limousine. Fitzjohn cut the Clipper in half and added six feet to it's length using ash wood. The coach builder added three bench seats and side doors. Out of the very few 1942 Packard models built prior to the war, the Fitzjohn Coach Company converted one hundred into limousines.

1942 Packard Limousine wood grain dashboard

1942 Packard Limousine wood grain dashboard

The Fitzjohn Coach Company was founded in 1919 for the purpose of building bus and truck bodies. The company offered an eight door limousine as early as 1935. The company had also built the coach works for a twenty-one passenger bus built on a Ford AA truck chassis. The bus had a wheelbase of 157 inches.

1942 Packard Limousine Specs

The 1942 Packard Clipper had sleek modern lines which was a carryover from the new styling that took hold in 1941. The body of the Clipper had been designed by the legendary automobile designer Howard 'Dutch' Darrin. The limousine models had a fixed divider with a retractable privacy window. The front seat had leather upholstery for more durability. The back had a fixed bench seat as well as a jump seat. The interior typically had wood grain paneling. The 1942 Packard Clipper was the most luxurious of Packard's pre-war models.

The Packard Clipper limousines had a 148 inch wheelbase and a length of 236.5 inches. The 1942 Packard Clipper had an eight cylinder inline engine. Vehicle weight came in at about 4,900 lbs.

Links to two additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll also enjoy are the 1941 Packard Darrin Victoria and the story of the Stutz-Bearcat.

(Photos from author's collection)