The automobile featured in this article is like one you may have never seen. It’s a 1947 Cadillac along with a converted trailer. The automobile is, as of this writing, exhibited at the San Diego Automobile Museum. There’s a few things special about this car and trailer.. Life Magazine called the car…” A Car that has Everything“.

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Louie Mattar’s 1947 Cadillac

Many people who have owned cars and trucks have always thought of modifying their vehicles. What you’ll see in this article is about the most modified and converted automobiles of all time.

Soon after purchasing his 1947 Cadillac, a man named Louie Mattar, a San Diego California garage owner, began the process that resulted in the creation of this dream car. The result took five years to build.

Just for starters, this 1947 Cadillac which has been modified and converted (modified might not be as strong a term) allowed it’s owner to cook meals, iron clothes, have a cocktail, take a shower and much more. Storage for many appliances were under car seats. Mattar even put a microphone next to the driver with a speaker under the hood. This allowed the driver to speak with pedestrians and other vehicles. None of these by a long shot were of course dealer accessories. The several aforementioned accessories were on the car portion itself.

1947 cadillac louie mattar san diego
You can see the ironing board and stove in the back seat

Louie Mattar saved money in this conversion by doing most of the work himself. For instance he curved the water pipes for the shower around the exhaust manifold for hot water. Mattar put the pumping system under the hood and next to the tail light was a drinking fountain. This is about as creative a man could get with an automobile.

If you think the car is really something, here’s more…

The car was designed to hold 50 gallons of water, with a reserve tank of 30 gallons in the trailer.

The trailer, which has a dining area in it’s rear end, also holds 230 gallons of gas and 15 gallons of oil.

The car automatically refills the radiator and changes the oil, and the axles are drilled, which allow the tires to be inflated while turning. Hydraulic jacks allow the wheels to be raised for changing while moving. Interestingly enough, after all of these modifications, Louie Mattar’s Cadillac has a stock 1947 Cadillac Engine.

Louie Mattar’s Endurance Record

In 1952, Mattar and two other men achieved a cross-country. endurance record by driving the 47 Cadillac from San Diego to New York and back without stopping. Their trip totaled 6,320 miles and required refueling from a moving gas truck, much like an aircraft refueling from a flying tanker plane. This would have been quite a challenge alone and it was all accomplished in 1952. The round trip for the three drivers took only one week.

mattar 47 cadillacThe car also made a non-stop trip from Anchorage Alaska to Mexico City later in 1952. This was again accomplished  with Louis Mattar’s unique refueling while moving system. This automobile was obviously a one-off.

Here are additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

See This 1941 Chevrolet Fleetline Convertible

The 1948 Buick Custom Super Sedanette

The 1940 LaSalle

1931 Cadillac 452A V-16


A very good book about Louie Mattar and his 1947 Cadillac is…Louie and the Fabulous Car by George M. Barrack.

Visit the San Diego Automobile Museum

Louie Mattar’s automobile has been displayed at the San Diego Automobile Museum. This is an excellent auto museum located in beautiful and historic Balboa Park, home to the 1915-16 Panama-American Exposition visited by many well known individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt. Attractions in San Diego California are plenty and this museum is certainly one of the better.

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A view of the dining area on Louie Mattar’s trailer

The San Diego Automobile Museum is not large but it is totally cool. Each vehicle on display there, including the motorcycles, have an interesting history. The car’s there are really wonderful vehicles and your visit to the museum can easily take one hour. Some displays change about every three months. As mentioned above, check out the museum website for the latest news on displays and upcoming special events.

The Louie Mattar Cadillac exhibit has a video to watch explaining the history of the car and it’s creator. You’ll also find plenty of information on all the vehicles displayed there.

(Article and photos copyright AutomuseumOnline)