1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Convertible Sedan, Series 40-7529; 4-dr., five-passenger
This vehicle has been adopted by Jeff Knapp of Kearney, NE. (Ask how you can adopt a vehicle.)
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original price: $3,945.00 (In 1940: average car cost, $825.00; average household income, $1,725.00; average home cost, $3,920.00; gallon of gas, 18 cents)
Number made: 45
Ours was the first 1940 “75 Series” Convertible Sedan made: “Manufacturing number 1”. It is a rare and valuable car.
Engine, etc.: Ninety degree, L-head, 8 cyl.; 140 h.p., 346 cu. in.; synchromesh manual transmission; 141” wheelbase; 5,110 lbs.
Options: Radio: $69.50; heater: $26.50 – $52.50; seat covers: $8.25/seat; fog lights: $14.50/pair; windshield washer: $6.50.
Cadillac continued its “projectile” or “torpedo” body style of 1939 but in 1940 the grill was slightly revised with fewer bars of bolder, more substantial design and the introduction of a pair of louver bars on the side panels of the hood. By now sealed beam headlights, turn indicators, and running boards were offered as no cost options.
Cadillac offered five different wheelbase lengths ranging from the 127 inch Sixty Special sedan to the 141 inch Series 40-75 town car, the longest.
This was the last year Cadillac offered side-mounted spare tires.
The Cadillac Series 75 was the automaker’s flagship V-8 from 1936 onwards. The Series 80 was similar in appearance but had a V-12 engine. The V-8 produced 135 hp while the V-12 had 150 hp.
Fleetwood was Cadillac’s in-house coachbuilder though it was doing very little custom work by 1940. Fleetwood dated back to 1905 when it was formed in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. In its early years, its best customers were Packard, Pierce-Arrow, and Cadillac. Cadillac purchased the company in 1925 and sales and design offices moved to Detroit. In 1929 a new Fleetwood plant was built in Detroit. Production was eventually absorbed by General Motors Art and Colour and Fisher Body. The Fleetwood name persisted for many decades, however, often referring to limited/low-production styles.
E-mail from Paul Ayres, National LaSalle-Cadillac Museum and Research Center, certifying the car was the first made of the “75 series” and one of only 45 made in 1940. (Copy in Classic Car Collection files.)