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1919 Cadillac Model 57 Phaeton - Sold
VMC Stock ID: 132233
Mileage: 45465
VIN: DD-57-690
Engine: 314.5 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.44
Wheelbase: 125 inches
Wheels: 25-inch wooden artillery wheels
Tires: 35x5 Lester blackwall
Exterior Color: Light Yellow
Interior Color: Black Leather
  • Vehicle Details & History
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1919 Cadillac Model 57 Phaeton

This 1918 Cadillac Model 57 phaeton has been owned by the same family since the early 1950s, and it was a regular tour participant throughout the 1970s and ‘80s following a very high-quality restoration.
J. J. Best Banc & Co.

In the ‘teens, Cadillac was known for cutting-edge technology. With innovations like standardization and the self-starter, not to mention a powerful V8 engine, owning a Cadillac demonstrated that you were not only a person of means, but that you appreciated advanced design. By 1918, Cadillac had secured its position as a luxury carmaker, and offered a wide variety of bodies on three separate chassis to cater to every aspect of the high-end market, with the most sporting offerings being the roadster and the 4-seat phaeton like this lovely yellow example. Powerful, reliable, and very drivable, these cars were for owner/drivers who appreciated driving themselves and the cars delivered sparkling performance, then and today.

This 1919 Cadillac Model 57 phaeton has been owned by the same family since the early 1950s, and it was a regular tour participant throughout the 1970s and ‘80s following a very high-quality restoration. The sporting 4-passenger bodywork is a marked contrast to the more upright styles of the period, but there’s still no question that this is a massive car. Paint and bodywork, despite being more than three decades old, are still quite good and the car has a lovely patina that only time can create. We are not positive whether the light yellow finish is this car’s original color, but it looks fantastic on the sporty phaeton and certainly qualifies as period-correct.

For many old car fans, these are simply the best kind of cars to own, as their owners have long since sorted out any mechanical maladies and there is no longer any worry about damaging sparkling fresh paint. While this car has been enjoyed, it has also been expertly maintained so it shows no issues and still presents quite well. All four doors fit well and close easily, the hood aligns correctly, and all the details are correct, including a Boyce Moto-Meter on the radiator and nickel-plated headlight rings that are the only bright work on the front of the car. The running boards feature proper battleship linoleum and bright step plates for all four doors, and the twin spares out back add to the car’s imposing presence on the road. Other neat items include the front fender mounted rear-view mirror, headlights that can be adjusted using a steering-column-mounted lever, and accessory taillights that add safety for touring.

Black leather was standard equipment on all open cars, and this phaeton wears correct long-grain material that’s exactly right for the period. As usual, black upholstery proves to be a challenge to photograph, and the upholstery is actually in better condition than the photos would indicate, with modest wear that’s appropriate to its age. There are no splits or tears in either the front or back seat, and the matching door panels (with map pockets in back) are still quite good. The steering wheel is a “fat man” style swing-away unit that’s probably mandatory, even for thin drivers, but once you’re behind the wheel, the position is commanding and comfortable. More linoleum on the front floorboards gives it a no-nonsense feel, but note the ornate aluminum plate around the brake and gear levers which reminds us that Cadillac knew its buyers demanded something special. The instruments are all functional (except the clock, of course), including the interesting “gasoline pressure” gauge that helps with starting, as the system must be primed using a dash-mounted hand pump. Otherwise the controls should be familiar to anyone who’s driven an old car and the car starts with ease once the technique is mastered. The black top is in excellent condition and the car includes a full set of side curtains for inclement weather.

Mechanically, the Model 57 featured an advanced 314.5 cubic inch V8 engine that was the talk of the industry just a few years earlier. With a gorgeous cast aluminum crankcase and iron blocks with removable heads, it was thoroughly modern for the period and makes fantastic power and torque to move the car with ease. Priming cups are included but not needed as it sits today, and the Delco self-starter works as advertised, spinning the big V8 to life quickly. The original Johnson carburetor handles the fuel mixture and with dual exhaust it sounds impressive at idle and going down the road. Ornate castings throughout the engine bay are designed to be shown off, and Cadillac made no attempt to hide their pride in the car’s many advanced features.

The transmission is a 3-speed manual that requires quick double-clutching, but it was an all-new design that improved on shift quality and feel, so once you master the technique, it’s easy to manage. The rear end is positively massive and features rather tall 4.44 gears inside, but combined with the 35-inch tall tires, this car is capable of cruising at 50 MPH without strain. Two-wheel external contracting brakes are as strong as such brakes can be, but it’s always wise to remember that this car goes a lot better than it stops and to plan accordingly. The chassis shows signs of use, of course, but no trouble spots save for some moisture at the usual joints, which is hardly surprising for any old car. The tires are correctly sized blackwalls that look right on the beautiful wood-spoke wheels.

A splendid tour car that’s ready to go, and that’s really where this car belongs. Quite roadworthy and powerful, big Nickel Era cars like this represent tremendous value. Turnkey touring cars don’t get more substantial than an early Cadillac, and the spare parts alone (below) are probably worth a significant amount of money all by themselves. If you like the era, there are few finer machines than a Cadillac.

This Cadillac Model 57 includes a massive collection of spare parts collected over several decades of ownership:

1 rear wheel with brake drum
1 pair exhaust manifolds
1 Cadillac horn
1 coil
1 engine oil pan
1 round muffler
4 phaeton door sill plates
1 drum spotlight, 4.5 inches
Miscellaneous bearings
Miscellaneous muffler clamps
3 Model 57 heads
1 clutch
1 distributor
1 set of spare transmission gears and shafts
1 drive shaft end
1 rear end cover
Trailering lights
Spare brake lining material
Spare set of engine rods
Spare foot pedals
Spare transmission-mounted air compressor
Stromberg carburetor
1 Doray taillight
Water pump gears
2 hubcaps
Timing chain and gears
Carburetor and intake manifold
Drive shaft
Crankshaft
Starter/generator unit
Transmission housing (empty)
Rear end housing with pinion gear
Ring gear
Water pump base
Misc. engine parts
2 pairs of head gaskets
1 Kellog air compressor head

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