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Lot 371: Cadillac 40/50hp Model 30 Tourer

The Beaulieu Sale, Bonhams (7 September 2013)

Founded by Henry Leland and Robert Faulconer, the Cadillac Automobile Company of Detroit, Michigan completed its first car in October 1902, and the firm's superior manufacturing technology - precision gear cutting was Leland and Faulconer's first speciality - soon established it as the foremost builder of quality cars in the USA. In 1901, Olds Motor Works had contracted for the supply of Leland-built engines and when unforeseen circumstances frustrated the plan, Leland and Faulconer formed their own company using funds supplied by two of Henry Ford's ex-backers, taking its name from the great French 17th Century explorer who had founded Detriot in 1701. Cadillac's first automobile was simple runabout powered by single-cylinder engine - known as 'Little Hercules' - that was an exemplary performer by the standards of its day. From these humble beginnings Cadillac rapidly expanded its range, adding a large four-cylinder luxury car at the opposite end of the scale yet within a few years was heading for bankruptcy. Faced with decreasing demand for both its main products in the wake of a nationwide economic slump, the company responded with a new medium-priced car - the Model 30 - which was introduced in December 1908. Offering luxury and performance at a relatively modest price, the 'Thirty' was produced within budget constraints that were as exacting as the engineering tolerances set down by company head Henry Leland, the 'Master of Precision', who dictated that it should be built to a tolerance of a mere thousandth of an inch, using a system of 'go' and 'not go' gauges that guaranteed absolute accuracy. This degree of manufacturing control - only possible since Cadillac made virtually every component of its cars in house - enabled Leland to cost the manufacturing process precisely. The profit margin had been set at just $25 per car and the company was rewarded by record sales in the new model's first year. By the time this example was built, the Thirty's four-cylinder engine had already undergone enlargement and for 1913 was increased in size yet again, on this occasion to 5,996cc. The 1913 Cadillac also featured a chassis 4" longer in the wheelbase (at 120") and for 1914 adopted a Timken two-speed rear axle, making six forward speeds in all. This particular car was imported into the UK from the USA in 1990 and acquired by the current owner's late husband in 1998. The accompanying VCC Dating Committee letter (dated April 1999) states that it is a 1914 model built around September 1913, production of the 1914 range having commenced in July 1913. 'SV 4965' is described as in generally good condition, apart from a non-functioning self-starter, but nevertheless is said to start readily 'on the handle' and tick over smoothly. Noteworthy features include original lamps and fittings; a 'Fat Man' steering wheel; and a compressor and tyre gauge. The jack and tool kit are present and 'SV 4965' comes complete with hood, side screens and a quantity of spares to include an engine crankcase. The car is offered with instruction manual, sundry bills, VCC Dating Certificate and Swansea V5 registration document.

Lot Details
Auction The Beaulieu Sale
Bonhams, Hampshire, UK
Lot Number371
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating2
Registration numberSV 4965
Chassis number92668
Engine number92668
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors