There are barn finds, and then there are hidden caches of treasure so precious as to attract the descendants of Spanish conquistadors. This is the latter, and it contains gold like a prototype Cadillac V12 convertible. Estimated sale price? Up to $350,000, and that’s just the one car. There are four others, including a V16.
The story behind all these cars is typical of barn finds. Someone buys up a bunch of older cars with the intent to fix them up, restore them, and enjoy them or sell them. Parks them in a literal barn or a garage, ready to get cracking. And then life gets in the way, and before you know it, it’s 40 years later and everything is covered in dust. Which is exactly what happened here, and these cars haven’t moved since the 1970s at the latest.
The 1932 Cadillac Model 370B Convertible Victoria, it’s fitted with a 135 horsepower V12 and a three-speed manual transmission, but this isn’t about the mechanicals of the car. It’s about the history, the style, the story, and the provenance, as auction house Motostalgia explains:
According to the research done by our consignor, this car carries what is effectively a prototype body for Cadillac’s Convertible Victoria. Starting with a Town Coupe, modifications were made to create a rather stunning coachwork where the proportions and lines played well on the multi-cylinder car chassis. This body, which carries serial No. 1, was placed on a 370-B chassis and was used for a number of marketing tests and engineering studies. While 3 other similar bodies would eventually find their way to the V16 chassis, this is the only example ever placed on a V12 car. After its corporate uses were completed it was presented to an executive of the Cadillac Division where it was used for a couple of year before being sold off. Our consignor acquired the car in the late 1960’s, at which time it appeared to have had some cosmetic work done, but the body was sound and solid. When the family moved to Texas in the early 1970’s, this V12 Convertible Victoria followed
But the other four vehicles aren’t anything to sneeze at, either. There’s a 1938 Cadillac V-16 Series 90 Fleetwood Limousine once owned by the Wrigley family (of Wrigley’s gum and Wrigley Field fame), and a 1933 Cadillac Model 370C V-12 Town Coupe, of which less than 1000 were made when it was new, and even fewer exist today. Oddly enough, it actually runs after all this time.
And then there’s the oddball of the bunch, the 1923 Milburn Electric Model 27L. Milburn built electric cars to compete with the original Detroit Electric, and it was the harbinger of things to come nearly 100 years later. But it’s not just weird as an artifact of an earlier electric era, it even looks weird, in a charming way, with a downward-sloping face and enormously tall windows:
Rounding out the collection is a 1908 REO, and though it’s not technically a “car,” a 1937 Kozy Coach travel trailer.
All in, the cars are expected to sell for up to $700,000 at auction on June 12 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
If you want to know more about each one of these exquisite works of art and history, watch this video from Hagerty:
And if you want to know more about what I’d do with them, it’s love them forever and ever and ever. Anyone have a spare 700 grand lying around?
H/t to Ilya!