If you want a powerful, reliable, striking Full Classic touring car, there's an argument to be made that a Cadillac is the best possible choice. Cars like this 1937 Cadillac Model 75 Imperial limousine represent the pinnacle of GM's engineering might, a car designed to be reliable, smooth, and competent, all virtues that are doubly prized today. With a few clever upgrades and a nice restoration, this is a car that you can drive with confidence.
In Cadillac parlance, "Imperial" means "divider window" and this limousine was the top-of-the-line in the V8 model range. It sits on a massive 138-inch wheelbase that allows for a commanding presence on the road and incredible space inside. It's beautifully proportioned for such a mammoth car, with a long hood befitting a Cadillac and a rounded, art-deco style that looks sleek without being bulky. Looking closely, you find exquisite little details like the stylized "flying lady" hood ornament, ornate egg crate grille, and beautiful little taillights that are works of art all by themselves. The black cherry paint shines up beautifully but doesn't call too much attention to itself, giving the car a very traditional look until the sun hits it just right. A quick polish would really wake it up, but as it sits, this sucker's pretty impressive. All the chrome was probably restored at some point save the grille, which appears original and shows some age, but not so that it needs any work today.
The handsome interior is outfitted in traditional limousine style: black leather up front for the driver (who might have grease on his clothes) and luxurious cloth in back. The gauges appear to have been recently rebuilt and they're all fully functional, and there are beautiful wooden garnish moldings around the windows, even up front where they're for the chauffeur's eyes only. Plush carpets, an effective heater, and a big banjo steering wheel mean that the driver never feels like he's working too hard. In back, it's palatial, with a luxurious rear bench with a drop-down center armrest, plus two folding jump seats for extra passengers. The divider window cranks up using the winder on the back of the front seat back and there are more beautiful garnish moldings here, too. With dual sidemounts, there's no spare in the trunk, leaving you with a big, usable space that's great for touring.
Cadillac's 346 cubic inch flathead V8 became a mainstay until it was replaced by the OHV V8 in 1949, and if you want a reliable pre-war tour car, you can scarcely do better. This is actually a 1946 block, benefitting from a long list of war-proven improvements, but it's fitted with correct 1937 heads and intake, so nobody will ever notice the swap. It has also been upgraded to a 12-volt electrical system, but there's no obvious alternator, just a 12V generator taking care of business invisibly. It's painted the right shade of olive green, the factory Stromberg carburetor still handles the fuel mix, and it's nicely finished with only a few modest signs of use. The 3-speed manual transmission shifts smoothly, clutch take-up is effortless, and the car rolls from a stop as if it were electric, which was entirely the point of the limousine. The suspension and long wheelbase smother all bumps and the hydraulic drum brakes are reasonably powerful. Short-ish gears out back mean it's happy cruising at 55-60 MPH and thanks to a set of new wide whitewall radial tires, it tracks and handles superbly.
This is a lot of first-class comfort for not a lot of cash. Welcome at virtually any event and easy to drive despite its size, this Cadillac is an excellent choice if you actually like to drive your old cars. Call today!