CHASSIS NO: 1201917
• Extremely rare and desirable roadster and one of only two known survivors
• CCCA First Place Senior National Award winner
• Accompanied by a copy of the original Build Sheet, Operator’s Manual and Service Manual
• Highly documented and impeccably restored throughout
353 cid V-8 engine, 115 HP, three-speed manual transmission with free-wheeling clutch, independent knee-action front suspension with coil springs, rear leaf springs, drum brakes; wheelbase: 134”
In 1932, FDR was elected to the Presidency over Herbert Hoover, Route 66 was opened, the winning speed at the Indy 500 was just over 100 MPH, and the U.S. car market was extremely slow. The Big 3 automakers of the ‘20s – Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, and Packard - were all in trouble, with sales about 1/5 of their previous levels. The average new car price was $610, yet a new 1932 Cadillac 355B Roadster cost $2,895 in 1932, definitely a luxury purchase in the day. Cadillac knew they needed innovation, but also needed to rely on the underpinnings of the 355A, introduced in September of 1930. They decided to divide and conquer, introducing the sister line LaSalle, and tweaking the Cadillac roadsters, which were updated with a new lower frame, a sleek lower hood with six vents, a three-inch lower roofline, and a bit more punch from the V-8 with a new manifold design and larger carburetor. There was also a new radiator screen up front, protecting the lower radiator that now incorporated a condenser tank, and stylish new bullet headlamps and dual taillights. The new running boards swept right into the fenders, and inside, the driver's view of the road was improved by 30% when the outside visor was eliminated. Many consider these rare cars to be one of the best-looking Cadillac roadsters ever, and a truly innovative blend of classic and modern design. Unfortunately for Cadillac, the Great Depression threw a wrench in these plans, and just 2,700 total 355Bs were sold, with an estimated 1% being roadsters.
This lovely example is, in fact, one of only two roadsters known to exist of the estimated 30 built, and it is a well-known car. It was purchased in 1981 by Len Emke, a Buick dealer in Columbus, Ohio, and also interestingly one of the founding investors in the Wendy’s hamburger chain. Len restored and enjoyed the car at local events and parades, even giving Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes a ride in one of the school parades just before his passing. The car was comprehensively restored by Dale Adams, who is well-known in Cadillac circles for his quality results. The nut and bolt procedure included a rebuilt transmission, new gasoline tank, and of course a completely rebuilt engine, along with a comprehensive repaint and new upholstery. The Morgans acquired the Roadster in 2003. As they looked to add a Cadillac to the stable, they were waiting for something different, something special. When the opportunity arose to buy this car, a Roadster that almost no one else would have, it was a simple decision. Under the Morgan's care, this 355B has received regular maintenance and was always stored in a climate controlled facility. The results have included a national First Place Award from the Classic Car Club of America, and 1201917 was awarded a Senior badge that same year, scoring 99.5 points. It recently had a brand-new soft top installed by the noted Sharp Brothers, which should ensure a 100-point score the next time it is judged. It has also earned several Best in Class Concours awards, including the Cincinnati Concours. Included in your purchase are the key items that document the car’s originality, including a copy of the original Build Sheet from Cadillac, as well as the original Operator’s Manual and Service Manual.
Pay close attention to the opportunity to purchase a seldom seen true Roadster with an undeniable aesthetic sensibility and a high standard for luxury and comfort. Combining Cadillac luxury and performance with a sleek and sporty new design, the new owner will certainly enjoy the recognition and exclusivity of owning such a rare luxury car, one which will open nearly any door in the world of classic car events. In the vintage car world, the word 'rare' is sometimes unjustly used. With this car, that is simply not the case. It is referred to as one of the best documented and rarest Cadillacs of the Classic Era and presents in outstanding condition. Seldom seen and always admired this roadster offers a unique opportunity for the new caretaker to acquire an open tourer that will be instantly admired by enthusiasts everywhere.