1946 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
I don’t like to call cars ‘perfect’ or ‘flawless’ but this one is pretty darned close.
Following World War II, there was enormous pent-up demand for new cars. However, due to strikes and steel shortages, most automakers, Cadillac included, found it difficult to fill all their orders; even with prices a staggering 45% above their 1942 levels, they sold every car they could build. In a short production year, fewer than 30,000 Cadillacs of all types were built, and of those, only 1343 were Series 62 convertible coupes. Fortunately, 1946 Cadillacs were worth the premium, with numerous upgrades to the powertrain, all learned during the war where the Cadillac flathead V8 and Hydra-Matic transmission were used to power tanks. Styling evolved with a simpler grille and wrap-around bumpers, and thanks to an all-new design in 1942, the look was still fresh and up-to-date.
This 1946 Series 62 convertible coupe offers a recent frame-off restoration to an exceptionally high standard. Finished in its original Madiera Maroon with a tan top and two-tone interior, it’s the epitome of post-war style and performance. The long front fenders that extend into the doors, the famous eggcrate grille, and the restrained use of chrome all make it easy to identify the top-of-the-line Cadillac. Finish quality is quite good, with ultra-straight bodywork and no hidden surprises underneath. The two-stage urethane paint looks both subtle and spectacular depending on the light, but either way, the finish is first-rate. There’s no evidence of large-scale patches or panel replacement, and all the parts fit together quite well. The doors close easily and line up with great gaps, the massive hood opens (and stays open!) on rebuilt hinges, and the trunk seals up with little more than gentle pressure on the handle. 1946 Cadillacs had a revised version of the 1942 grille, and this one offers show-quality chrome that’s about a mile deep, optional fog lights, and beautifully polished stainless trim. I don’t like to call cars ‘perfect’ or ‘flawless’ but this one is pretty darned close.
The interior is finished in beautiful maroon leather with tan Bedford cord details, creating a wonderfully comfortable driving environment. The leather seats show only very, very minor signs of anyone ever sitting in them, with the back seat virtually untouched. Deep burgundy carpets are plus and very neatly fitted, with correct piping around the edges and exactly zero wear since the restoration was completed. In 1946, Cadillac offered cutting-edge technology in the form of hydraulically-operated power windows and seats, plus a power convertible top, all of which are fully functional here. The gauges and their lovely brown faces have all been fully rebuilt, as has the original AM radio and under-dash heater/defroster unit. All the chrome inside has been refinished, including door handles, the speaker grille in the center stack, and the steering wheel, which also offers a freshly cast rim. The tan canvas power top fits well and powers up and down easily, albeit slowly, where it stows under a matching burgundy boot. In the fully upholstered trunk, there’s a full-sized spare and jack assembly, as well as what might be the original tan canvas boot. If there’s a flaw on this car, it’s only in the slight wrinkling of the top on the driver’s side quarter, but otherwise it’s as nice as they come.
As the owner of an early Hydra-Matic Cadillac myself, I will personally vouch for the sparkling performance of the 346 cubic inch V8 and 4-speed automatic transmission. The engine makes wonderful torque and great V8 noises, and thanks to smart gearing (Hydra-Matic cars got 3.36 gears while manual transmission models use 3.90s) it happily cruises at 70 MPH all day. After years of serving in heavy tanks, the powertrain is virtually indestructible, with reliability improvements throughout that are all due to the war effort. Fully rebuilt and detailed for show, the flathead V8 wears Cadillac olive green paint on the block, freshly porcelainized manifolds, and a freshly rebuilt Stromberg carburetor up top. The suspension and brakes have been rebuilt as well, there’s a reproduction exhaust system, a new fuel tank, and the chassis is finished in satin black with new hardware throughout. Little details like the fabric-wrapped hoses and wire hose clamps, correct plug wires, and a fully restored windshield washer system mean that it’s ready to show at very high levels. There’s some minor discoloration at the base of the carburetor that’s inevitable on any old car, but otherwise it’s quite well done and nicely finished. It starts easily, runs superbly, and offers no worries out on the open road. The only real risk in terms of point deductions in competition might be the new Diamondback wide whitewall radials, but after you’ve enjoyed this car on the highway, it’s unlikely you’ll go back to old-fashioned bias-ply tires, correct or not.
We featured a 1947 Cadillac convertible a few months ago that sold for more than $85,000, and it wasn’t this nice. Prices have been on the upswing for these cars, and as recognized CCCA Full Classics, they’re eligible for all the big events and tours. A beautiful, reliable, and powerful tour car, it will win fans everywhere it goes, but none so big as the man behind the wheel, for these are truly outstanding road cars. Only a handful of the 1946 models remain, making it a highly-sought collectable for the discriminating collector.