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D'Agostino, John (USA) Special "chopped" 1954 Coupe de Ville, below, in shining chrome and gold sparkle. I believe this You Tube video shows the same car.

dr54cstm.jpg (11220 bytes)

Photo: Internet 1/2001, 10/2002


Barris (USA) Parisienne Town car; this "half-top" landau conversion is featured also in Motor Trend, August 1958, p.41. The photo captions read as follows: "One of the most beautiful, chauffeur-driven customs to come out of the Barris shop is this Parisienne Cadillac, originally a '54 Eldorado. Bulky mass of the body has been decreased by taking metal out of the side all around ('sectioning'). Length has been increased by extended rear fenders, and the car has been neatly continentalized with the rear tire molded into the rear deck. Top is de ville type, half removable. Barris started out by building customs for himself without any body or fender experience. Luckily, he was taught many tricks of the trade by the late Harry Westergard, an early customizer with considerable talent in his own right. Today George first sketches his ideas on paper, sometimes making detailed drawings to be sure the end result is what he is after." See also special issue CCON, p.23.

     54barri2.jpg (6546 bytes)     54barri3.jpg (4378 bytes)
Note how the fish-tail fins have been blended into the rear fenders in a single horizontal sweep

Found in this condition in the sixties, the Barris Parisienne was
painstakingly restored and returned to her former beauty

     54pari~3.jpg (4623 bytes)

54pari~4.jpg (6508 bytes)     54PARIS2.JPG (8851 bytes)     54PARISI.JPG (6586 bytes)
The car has survived and is on show at a museum [2003-04]


Darrin, Howard (USA) Cadillac-powered sport roadster.

[ image CCI]


Fleetwood (USA) Prototype 1954 [future Series 62 sedan]; the photo was taken in1952, on the roof of the GM tower in downtown Detroit.  All the distinctive features of the coming '54 models are there.

54proto2.jpg (14492 bytes)
[ Photo: ©1952 GM - Self Starter annual, 1998 ]


Fleetwood (???) (USA) Special Cadillac Eldorado HT coupe built for President of Reynolds aluminum (photo MH book)

[ Photo:  © 1972, Maurice Hendry's Cadillac - The Complete History ]

54Reynolds2.jpg (8774 bytes)     54Reynolds1.jpg (7445 bytes)     54Reynolds2x.jpg (36247 bytes)
These rare shots are from an original   GM-Cadillac photo album from the fifties
that was found in a dumpster, behind the Clark Avenue plant, in the nineties

These 3 photos show an amateur conversion  of a Series 62 coupe made to lool like the Reynolds car ... which is believed did NOT survive


Fleetwood (???) (USA) pre-production prototype of 2-door hard-top coupe [factory photo]. To my knowledge this interesting 2-door hardtop never went into production.   What a pity.

54cushtp.jpg (8851 bytes)
Photo: Cadillac styling archives, 9/1994


Fleetwood (???) (USA) pre-production prototype of 2-door convertible, similar to the preceding car.


Fleetwood (???) (USA) Cadillac El Camino 2-passenger coupe (special order # 1929) presented at the 1954 GM Motorama. El Camino is short for the Spanish el camino real, the Royal Highway, alias US highway 101. The exhaust configuration, windshield, roof saddle, spoked wheels, quad headlights, fluted side panel, gull-wing bumpers with bullet tips all turned up the following year on the production prototype for the Eldorado Brougham; the shape of the tail-fins [as used also on the Cadillac La Espada roadster, below], turned up on the production Eldorado models of 1955, 1956, the Eldorado Brougham of 1957-1958 and the standard 1958 Cadillac production models. The pointed bullet-shaped, gull-wing front bumper was shared with many Cadillac show cars of the period; the bullets were sometimes rubber tipped; these rubber tips [I call them the Dagmar bra] appeared on stock Cadillac models in 1957 and 1958. El Camino was finished in silver-gray and featured a brushed stainless-steel roof.

Press Photo in B&W

Press Photo in (faded) color (greens gone gray)

54CamFacAlb.jpg (17816 bytes)
This series of original photos of El Camino   is from an original factory  photo album that  was discarded
(in error?) and found  in a  dumpster behind the Clark Street plant; it turned up for sale on e-Bay

54ElCa2.jpg (20250 bytes)     54ElCa4.jpg (18709 bytes)

    ELCAUNLD.JPG (9242 bytes)     54ElCa1.jpg (11518 bytes)     54ElCami.JPG (6517 bytes)

     54Camino.jpg (16941 bytes)

    Dr54elc3.jpg (8771 bytes)          54MRAMA.JPG (9289 bytes)

elcam2a.jpg (6110 bytes)          ss307_CamWald2.jpg (6448 bytes)
El Camino on display at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York
[ Photos: courtesy Self Starter ]


(Right) Close-up of advertisement in LA Examiner for March 7, 1954, showing all GM "Motorama"  Show Cars for 1954


Compare the tail-fins on this car, as also on the Cadillac La Espada roadster [below], with those on the production model Eldorado Brougham; the exhaust configuration, windshield, roof saddle, spoked wheels, quad headlights, fluted side panel, gull-wing bumpers with bullet tips all appeared the following year on the Eldorado Brougham prototype. The fluted lower body panel on the front fender and door was duplicated on the rear fender of the Brougham prototype for 1955; the pointed, bullet, gull-wing front bumper was shared with many Cadillac show cars of the period; the bullets were sometimes rubber tipped; these rubber tips appeared on stock Cadillac models in 1957 and 1958. Some 1957 prototypes had white ones. The El Camino and La Espada were the first Cadillacs on which quad headlights appeared; these became an industry standard in 1958.

I have seen two press releases for this experimental model, with only slight editorial differences between them [text in square brackets appears in one text but not in the other. Cadillac exhibits advanced coupe design at GM Motorama [THE 1954 CADILLAC EL CAMINO]: Companion to the rapier-like La Espada is the El Camino (Royal Highway). [Regally styled to blaze across the highways of our great land, it is also prominently displayed at the General Motors Motorama]. The El Camino has pioneered in automotive design like its namesake, the original Mission Trail, now grown to a king among highways. Incorporating styling and engineering features identical with La Espada, the fiberglass bodied El Camino is unusual in that it incorporates front and rear fiberglass roof saddles supporting a hand-brushed aluminum top (compiler's note: shades of the 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham?). Unique from a material and finish standpoint is the lightweight and structurally strong hand-brushed aluminum top. Forming a bubble-type aircraft canopy, is curved tinted glass conforming to the roof contours enhancing the crisp, clean lines of this car and providing aero-dynamic qualities. Powered by the Cadillac 230 horsepower overhead valve V8 engine, the El Camino has an over-all length of 200.6 inches and an over-all height of 51.6 inches. Its maximum over-all width is 79.9 inches. Like the striking La Espada, the two aircraft type seats are high backed and built into headrests which flow back to the rear window. A distinctive pioneer in its exterior color as it is in its styling, the El Camino is strikingly attired in a pearlescent Silver color. The instrument panel is covered with a gray leather as are the door hang-ons. The lower roll and cover of the instrument panel cluster area is chrome plated. The insert area behind the instrument dials is hand-brushed aluminum. The tunnel pedestal's upper surfaces are hand-brushed aluminum and the convex shoulders and sides of the pedestal are leather covered as is the armrest. Seat inserts, the bolsters and facings, as well as the upper side wall of the interior and the triangular armrest on each fluted aluminum door panel is graced by distinctive Gun Metal Gray leather. The steering column, horn button and horn ring are bright chrome plated. The wheel rim is wrapped in gray nylon cord. The headlining for the hand-brushed aluminum top is perforated gray Naugahyde which provides an acoustical effect further reducing any operational sound that might be evident. The rear shelf is pearlescent silver fiberglass. The carpet is of gray nylon loop frieze. Instruments and controls for the El Camino are aircraft type and are identical with those used in the La Espada. In the El Camino, Cadillac has again pioneered the ultimate in motoring design and performance and achieved in this car the link of today with the future.

54camia.jpg (7408 bytes)     54camib.jpg (8082 bytes)
These artist's drawings are from a unique color album of the 1954 GM Motorama
prepared for then GM President and CEO,  Harlowe H. Curtice
[ Original drawings courtesy Cadillac Styling Studio - photos:  © 1994, Yann Saunders  ]

The following detailed write-up on Cadillac's El Camino was featured in Motor Life for April, 1954: This is a two-passenger hardtop coupe, bearing a Spanish name which means "the highway", and features what its designers term "aircraft styling" and "supersonic" tail-fins on the rear fenders. The car has a 115-inch wheel base and the Cadillac V-8 engine is similar to the 1954 production type which has a power output of 230 [HP]. Overall length of the body is 200.6 inches, while the height is 51.5 inches. Highly streamlined, the silver-gray El Camino has a brushed aluminum roof top coated with clear lacquer, tinted glass panoramic windshield, twin tail lights with side slots for a warning effect [these would become mandatory equipment on all American cars starting in 1968] and a keel below the tail lamps for extra protection when backing. The tail lights are mounted in cylinders of bumper material. Below the trunk is a spare tire compartment with a concealed, hinged door. Horizontal flutes sweep along the sides to provide both fresh air intake, by means of a compressor, and a hot air exhaust from the engine compartment. Four hooded headlights have been incorporated into the front end - an outer pair for normal city driving and an inner pair for long range, pencil-beam use. The latter set are put out of action automatically by an Autronic-Eye when in traffic. Below the headlights are a gull-type front bumper, sharp and slim, with two "bombs" projecting forward. On the hood is a recessed "V" crest, flush with the surface. Inside the car has a cluster of instruments around the steering wheel. Between the two leather-covered seats is a tunnel housing the Hydra-Matic gearshift selector lever. This lever is of the "aircraft stick" type with a locking button on top that is pressed when the lever is to be moved into reverse position. Behind the gear lever is a radio and vanity compartment. Heater and air conditioning controls are forward of the gear lever.

More details about this car may be found in articles that appeared in Car Life (5/55), Motor Life (9/55) and Modern Motor (9/55), as also in the Brooklands book Cadillac 1949-1959, pp. 38, 43, 46 and 47.

Other facts in ML (4/54), CL (5/55), ML (9/55) and MM (9/55). Photos in SSA 1989, p.24-25, CS12, p.104.

Fleetwood (???) (USA) prototype of 1954 Eldorado built in 1953 [factory photo].

Fleetwood (USA) special Eldorado convertible with continental kit [photos taken at Hershey].

Fleetwood (???) (USA) Cadillac La Espada (Spanish for the sword), (special order # 1928); this was the 2-seater roadster, companion car to the Cadillac El Camino coupe [see above] during the 1954 GM Motorama; body sheet-metal was identical, including the rear deck with its camel-humped tonneau cover [the latter was copied, much later by Ford on their T-Bird models in the early sixties]. La Espada was finished in Apollo Gold, a very light cream color with a metallic golden hue. The cockpit of La Espada featured a central console, bucket seats, horseshoe-shaped instrument cluster. The special, inner door pull-knob appeared 2 years later on the production Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. The dash-mounted rear-view mirror, that appeared also on the Eldorado Brougham prototypes in 1955 and 1956, was moved up to the windshield header bar in the production models. Across the center console was the word Caution warning the driver not to use the large knob below the ventilation controls to operate the plastic canopy top while the car was in motion! The press release for this car, issued on 5 April 1954, read as follows: Thrusting a bright and shining challenge before the motoring public with its sword-like design, the La Espada (named for the sword) is Cadillac's answer to - "What will cars be like in the future?". This fiberglass experimental model is Apollo gold in color and trimmed with bright chrome and aluminum on the exterior, and brushed chrome, bright chrome, aluminum and high luster black leather on the interior. Powered by Cadillac's 230 h.p. overhead valve V-8 engine, wheel base is 115 inches, height of 51.7 inches, this is one of three cars for the G.M. Motorama for 1954. In the rear, a special compartment holds the spare tire, hidden by a bright chrome-trimmed door [like the Park Avenue]. The gleaming brightness of Cadillac's V and crest, accepted symbol of motoring perfection, is recessed in the foremost position of the hood and trunk lid. Concave in design, these ornaments were specially executed by an internationally famous jeweler [who?]. The circular insignia on the left tail [that of GM's Air Transport Division] swings forward to provide access to the fuel filler. No feature has been overlooked to provide the ultimate in driving comfort. Even though the aircraft-type transmission range selector is located on the tunnel, its indicator is in the center of the instrument cluster and is operated electrically. Indicative of the exploratory nature of its design is the spectrum lighted rheostatic heat and air conditioning control never before used in an automobile. High temperatures are noted by red and lower by shades of blue. With the rapier-like La Espada, Cadillac designers and engineers have blazed across the styling lines of America to challenge the fulfillment of the motoring public's desires. See SSA, 1978, CS12, p.104.

ORGMRM2.JPG (6963 bytes)
Behind this production Cadillac sedan, on show at the 1954 Motorama,
you can see in the center La Espada in her protective enclosure.
This original photo was found in an old factory album  that had been discarded;

found, later  in a  dumpster, in MI, the album was subsequently sold on e-Bay

     ss607_Espa.jpg (8637 bytes)     Dr54esp1.jpg (6393 bytes)
Unveiling La Espada
[ Photo: courtesy Charles Barnette and Self Starter ]







La Espada made an appearance at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show; president Reagan even took a seat at the wheel

Left: Another view of the 1954 Auto Show (venue unknown)
Center: a young King Gustaf of Sweden visits the 1954 Auto Show
Right: Possibly the Paris Auto Show, October 1954

Birds-eye view of La Espada - 1954 Auto Show (venue unknown)

Press Photos in (enlargement is faded) color (greens and blues gone gray)

54espa1.jpg (7104 bytes)     54espa2.jpg (7627 bytes)
These artist's drawings are from a unique color album of the 1954 GM Motorama
prepared for then GM President and CEO,  Harlowe H. Curtice
[ Original drawings courtesy Cadillac Styling Studio - photos:  © 1994, Yann Saunders  ]

I have photos showing the tonneau-type deck moldings. The cockpit of La Espada featured a central console, bucket seats, a horseshoe-shaped instrument cluster; although not clearly visible, the inner door pull knob is the same as the one used 2 years later on the production Cadillac Eldorado Brougham; on the other hand, the dash-mounted rear-view mirror, that appeared also on the Brougham prototypes in 1955 and 1956 was moved up to the windshield header in the production Brougham models. I have never seen any pictures of "La Espada" with the canopy in place.

Both La Espada and El Camino had steeply raked windshields. They were the first Cadillacs on which quad headlights appeared; these became an industry standard in 1958.

Motor Life for April 1954), described La Espada in the following concise terms: A Fiberglas experimental convertible finished in Apollo gold and trimmed with chrome and aluminum is the La Espada. High lustre black leather and brushed aluminum is the interior theme. Wheel base is 115 inches, with overall length running to 200.6 inches. Engine, of course, is the 1954 Cadillac V-8 of 230 hp.

Fleetwood (???) (USA) Cadillac Park Avenue, a special 4-dr. pillarless HT sedan (special order # 1930) in the Orleans vein; built on the 133" wheelbase chassis of the 60 Special it had a fiberglass body and was presented at the 1954 GM Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria, starting January 26, 1954. Just as the crowds had thronged to view the Cadillac Le Mans roadster at the 1953 GM Motorama, they crowded again around La Espada and El Camino in 1954. Nevertheless, the buying public paid much closer attention to Cadillac's experimental 4-door hard-top models [the Orleans, in 1953, and the Park Avenue, in 1954. Noticeable was the return to dual instead of quad headlights on the Park Avenue. Quads were still illegal in many states until 1958. The tail-fins on the Park Avenue are copied directly from GM's 1951 Le Sabre experimental roadster; the windshield, front bumper, wheels are all carried over from previous Motorama models and seem to be traditional of GM show-car styling; the brushed aluminum roof and rear roof saddle appeared again the following year on the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham prototype. The Park Avenue sedan had the same exhaust ports and seven vertical louvers acting as the car's rear, as used earlier on Le Mans, La Espada and El Camino. The vertical louvers appeared as a design feature on the rear of all Cadillac models in 1955. The dummy air-scoop on the rear door reappeared on the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham town car prototype in 1956.

54ParkAv.jpg (11504 bytes)     PkAvei.JPG (9207 bytes)
Vanities in the rear seat arm-rest were retained for the production Eldorado Brougham models of 1957-58

PkAveFRT.JPG (12809 bytes)

The press release issued on the occasion of the 1954 Motorama read as follows: Seizing the imagination of even the most conservative, Cadillac presents the fiberglass body Park Avenue four-door sedan at the General Motors Motorama for 1954 to all those who desire the finest in futuristic automotive design. Enhanced by a dark Antoinette Blue exterior trimmed with a bright chrome, the Park Avenue is topped with a hand-brushed aluminum roof. Having an exciting quality of beauty gained from a restrained yet dynamically futuristic styling, this sedan is 230.1 inches over-all in length, 58.3 inches in over-all height and 80 inches in over-all width. Unlike Cadillac's other two futuristic cars at the Motorama, the La Espada and the El Camino, which have dual headlights and tail lights, the Park Avenue, in keeping with its restrained functionalism, has two sealed-beam chrome-bezeled lamps protruding slightly from the forward tilted line of the integrally rounded sweep of fenders and hood. An extended bubble canopy crafted from hand-brushed aluminum is supported by fiberglass pillars and headers. Compound curved window lites for the Park Avenue are outlined with bright chrome reveal moldings. Sweeping in width and lowness is the rear trunk lid with V, crest, and license frames recessed into the flowing line. Drive, stop and park lights extend like set jewels mounted in tiered fashion from the trailing edge of the forward-tapered, upswept rear fenders. Adding weight and balance to the rear fenders are twin exhaust ports trailing from their lower end in massive bright chromed steel housings reminiscent of contemporary jet plane after-burner stacks. Below the rear deck lid is a special compartment housing the spare tire, removed by lowering a bright chrome-trimmed door. A structural part of the car, this door also serves as a bumperette and a license-plate mounting. Aluminum alloy turbine blade, whitewall tired wheels complete the exterior design. Single-tone gray leathers, including imported English calf with an unusual grain and suede-like nap texture are employed on the interior together with brushed and bright chrome trim. Seat inserts use the imported English calf which is grained and napped by a special hot stamp process. Instruments set in a gray leather covered panel are clustered with studied effect about the chrome and brushed aluminum steering column using a black plastic wheel rim trimmed with a chrome horn ring. The interior of the hand-brushed aluminum roof is covered with perforated gray Naugahyde. Covered with a gray loop frieze even the floor of the car is in keeping with the over-all color decor. Interior and exterior are a unity presenting a theme of restrained futurism.

Dr54pkv2.jpg (6477 bytes)

In its issue for April, 1954, the auto magazine Motor Life gave this summary description of the Park Avenue: What Cadillac stylists have in mind in the four-door sedan field is pointed up in the Park Avenue model. Constructed of Fiberglas, design is more restrained than the sports models - yet it is undeniably futuristic. Exterior is dark blue trimmed with bright chrome and topped with a hand-brushed aluminum roof.

Illustration from Self Starter annual, courtesy CLC member  Larry Steig


Dr54pka6.jpg (7025 bytes)Dr54pka7.jpg (4516 bytes)
The smaller, color versions are from a unique album of the 1954 GM Motorama
prepared for then GM President and CEO,  Harlowe H. Curtice
[ Original drawings courtesy Cadillac Styling Studio - photos:  © 1994, Yann Saunders  ]

An advertisement for the 1954 GM Motorama carried this further statement: Its long, low lines, the dramatic sweep of its fenders and rear deck, the unusual windshield treatment, and its dramatic use of color and chrome will give you a revealing glimpse into the future of motor car design.

The caption to a 1954 press photo for this car reads: Enhanced by the dark Antoinette Blue exterior trimmed with bright chrome and topped with a hand-brushed aluminum roof, Cadillac's Park Avenue fiberglass bodied four-door sedan has an exciting quality of beauty gained from a restrained yet dynamic futuristic styling. A dealer advertising piece published in Spring 1954 reads "The Cadillac Park Avenue, on display in our Showroom, June 16 through June 19 - The spectacular Cadillac Park Avenue, featured show car of the great General Motors Motorama, will make its only appearance on the above dates in our showroom. Built on a standard Cadillac chassis, the Park Avenue is an exciting exploration by Cadillac engineers and craftsmen into advanced styling and futuristic construction. Its long, low lines, the dramatic sweep of its fenders and rear deck, the unusual windshield treatment [wraparound windshield], and its dramatic use of color and chrome will give you a revealing glimpse into the future of motor car design. It is finished in a striking Dark Antoinette Blue, with a hand-brushed aluminum roof. Its magnificent interior features imported gray leather upholstery with a soft suede finish. We know you won't want to miss this exclusive showing of the fabulous Cadillac Park Avenue. You'll be welcome at any time you find convenient." See SSA, 1978, inside rear cover, CS12, p.103, MC Autumn 1974, p.5; Ant Farm, p.34 [erroneously captioned El Camino].

Dr54pkv3.jpg (10290 bytes)


The trim and the simulated air-scoop on the fenders of the Park Avenue model appeared again on the Eldorado Brougham Town Car prototype for 1956. As for the brushed aluminum roof, the turbine-blade wheel discs, the gull-wing bumpers and the wraparound windshield, all were incorporated in the Eldorado Brougham prototypes for 1955 and 1956. All of these features with the exception of the wheels were retained for the first production Eldorado Brougham model of 1957.

Fleetwood/Fisher (USA) Although not officially termed "mood cars" until the 1956 model year, Cadillac exhibited at the annual car shows, like the Motorama, some specially painted and trimmed cars to complement  the year's quota of concept vehicles, prototypes and effective "Dream Cars" that were not usually slated for production.  Three such cars were shown to the public at the 1954 Motorama: (1) a Fleetwod 60 Special sedan painted pearlescent gold with a long-grain leather landau top; the interior was a combintion of  gold fabric seat and seat back inserts with white leather bolsters; (2) a Series 62 Coupe de Ville painted pearlescent Peacock Green paint on the lower body and a lighter shade of green for the top; seats and seat back inserts were light green nylon silver-threaded fabric featuring a "V" and Cadillac Crest pattern, combined with Peacock Green leather bolsters; (3) a Fleetwood 60 Special sedan painted metallic Caprice Blue (roof) and Jorden Gray for the lower body; seats and seat back inserts were a light blue nylon with a black "V" and Cadillac Crest pattern; this was combined with dark blue broadcloth bolsters.

Kaiser-Darrin (USA) roadster with Cadillac engine; probably more than one built. Article in CA, 12/94. Owner Dr. Hector Giancarlo of Jersey City, NJ. Andrew Wyderka, a visitor to the Cadillac Database in June 2003, wrote: I do not believe that the top two photos are the Kurtis sports car. Consulting The Complete Book of Collectible Cars, it is my opinion that they are the Kaiser-Darrin roadster of 1954. The distinctive grille shape seems to confirm my suspicions, and the car in your photos may be wearing the detachable hardtop. The book states that the bodywork of the Darrin was also Fiberglass, and the 435 examples produced were initially fitted with inline six engines and unique sliding doors. At a selling price of $3668, it did not sell well, and the designer Howard "Dutch" Darrin purchased about 100 leftovers and fitted some with Cadillac V-8s. Whether all this is true or not, I don't know, but the Kaiser-Darrin is described in other books. I am no expert on these ersatz Cadillac sports cars, so it is quite possible that Mr. Wyderka is right. I have added his comments also in the 1955 Dream Cars section, under Frank Kurtis. Another (anonymous) Database user wrote (in June, 2006): I can validate the correction provided by Andrew Wyderka. The photos are definitely of the unique Kaiser "Darrin" sliding door sports car designed by Howard "Dutch" Darrin (note the trademark Dutch Darrin "sweetheart dip" running from inboard the headlights and under the grille).  As Andrew states, These cars were designed by Darrin for the Kaiser automotive line (as were all of the "bread and butter" Kaisers). When the US Kaiser Automotive company was failing in mid 1955, there were approximately 100 leftover, unfinished, rolling "Darrins" without their Kaiser 6 cylinder drivetrains. Howard Darrin purchased these pretty little cars and fitted them with current Cadillac and Lincoln engines. These Cadillac and Lincoln powered "Darrins" were very potent sports cars indeed. As far as I know, there are no exact figures as to how many of the leftover cars were fitted with the Cadillac engine versus the Lincoln. I believe that the cars were fitted with the V8 engine of the buyer's choice (Cadillac or Lincoln).  As I recall, the Cadillac powered "Darrins" sold for approximately $4600.00 new. No matter what power plant, the Darrin was a very expensive sports car for the mid fifties, which did not particularly help sales. Thanks for the info, whoever you are.

kurtis1.jpg (4333 bytes)     kurtis2.jpg (6997 bytes)


Kurtis Kraft (USA) 500K, Cadillac-powered (?) sports car. This one was for sale in Santa Barbara, CA, in the 70s.

KurtisCad2.jpg (7913 bytes)


Muntz "Jet":   Earl Madman  Muntz, a TV manufacturer, built a total of  258 Cad-powered sports cars out of  394 [349 ???] cars bearing his name that were manufactured between 1950 and 1954.  These 4-pass. cars used a Kurtis chassis stretched by 3"; they were powered by the Cadillac 331.1 ci Cadillac motor giving 160HP at 3800 rpm; they had the Hydra-Matic transmission; wheel base was 113" for an overall length of 178"; tires were 7,60 x 15.  Muntz built 28 of these fast, Cadillac-powered cars in 1950, and another 230 spread over 1951 and 1952. 

Dr54mntz.jpg (9446 bytes)     54muntz.jpg (9154 bytes)
A fine preserved example may be viewed [1998]
at the Imperial Palace Museum, Las Vegas
[I don't believe it is the car in either of these image]


[Private coach builder] (USA) I am in touch with a private coach builder who (in the Fall of 2003) was working on a replica Le Mans [below].  More information and photos may be added here later, with the consent of the builder.

54MANCUS.JPG (7521 bytes)
The car has been freshly painted a gold hue;
note the GM "Showcar"-styled spoke wheels


Spohn (Germany Die Valkyrie [see, "Stevens", below]

Stevens, Brooks (USA) Die Valkyrie built by Spohn coachworks of Ravensburg, Germany. Romantic name comes from the opera Siegfried; Cadillac-powered prototype Coupe with removable HT; 2-tone [black & white], the car was shown at the 1954 Paris salon [in an article published in SIA for Jan.-Feb., 1974, the authors assert, in a photo caption of this car, that six were built and shown at the Paris Salon of 1952; the correct show date was 1954 and it is quoted correctly in the actual text]. The press release attached to the photos in the 2nd row, below, and the RH photo in the 4th row, both dated October 6, 1954, reads [in French]: "THE VALKYRIE" WILL BE AT THE SALON - Here is "The Valkyrie", created by the American stylist, Brooks Stevens, who started off with the chassis and mechanical components of a Cadillac, of which he retained the V-8 engine. Hood vents allow hot air to be evacuated from the engine [compartment]. The panoramic windshield extends quite far back. Also of note is the "V"-shaped grille that acts also as the bumper, and the wide doors that carry the wind vents and main door glass.  ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO, CHWE 6/10/54, 1535HRS, LEV A.  A second press release #PR43340 that accompanied the LH photo in the 4th row, below, and also dated October 6, 1954, reads [again in French]  (PARIS BUREAU) - VALKYRIE AT THE SALON - PARIS, the latest Cadillac creation presented at the automobile Salon is not a "futuristic" car. It's a chassis fitted with a V-8 motor, having coachwork by the German coach-builder, Spohn, from a design by the American designer Brooks Stevens. Its notable feature is the "V"-shaped  grille. The (roof) dome is removable; it may be replaced at will with a convertible top, stored in the rear. Seats 3 or 6. UNITED PRESS PHOTO , PA PRO, (DP = Date of publication) ... A third press release from the French monthly magazine, l'Automobile, for December 1954 reads: No other car has attracted as much curiosity at the last Salon as the VALKYRIE CADILLAC, designed and built according to the plans  of the American stylist Brooks Stevens. The VALKYRIE, says the legend, poured beer and hydromel [mead] to the heroes who died for their country. Under the Salon's huge glass dome, she [Valkyrie] poured bitter beer or sweet ambrosia (according to individual tastes) to the visitors who stood divided, causing a mini Battle of Hernani to rage around the car [Victor Hugo's "Battle of Hernani" was one of the most outrageous and outspoken examples of rebellion against classical ideals and French bourgeois hypocrisy].Admired or spurned, in any event Brooks Stevens' creation had the merit of bringing its author to the attention of the French public; he is considered in the United States as one of the leading industrial designers.  Another clipping of the time reads: GM turncoat and Alfa Romeo consultant, the American Brooks Stevens is currently discussing a job proposal with a well-known French manufacturer. As an architect, designer of locomotives, refrigerators, household wares,  automobiles, outboard motors, lawn mowers,  etc., Stevens is considered  in the USA as the first heir to Raymond Loewy. Among his accomplishments are: the design of the body of the first civilian jeep, the Cadillac "Valkyrie" (star of the  last Paris Show), and of the "Excalibur"... awarded in New York the title of most beautiful "reasonably priced" sports car.  For more info see MC Autumn 1974, p.23; six Valkyrie's were subsequently built by Spohn to special order, SIA20, p.42; also CA 10/1989{***}. (CA 10/89, p.2 + pp.26-29, survivor shown with wrong wheel covers off   '57-60 model). The Database archives include many original photos from the Brooks Stevens Museum.  This car was offered for sale at auction in Auburn, IN, in 1997 where it was bid up to $71,000 but not sold. In July, 2000 I was informed by Mr. Charles Barnette of  Texarkana, TX, that Die Valkyrie currently is owned by Joe Bortz of Highland Park, IL. Mr. Bortz claims that only ONE was built, the one in his collection.  Unless and if another one turns up somewhere, we'll take Joe's word on it. Late Extra [Jan. 2008]:  a second "Valkyrie" has turned up in a barn, in Maryland.  It was brought to my attention by Cadillac enthusiast and automotive journalist, Chip Lamb. Now, I wonder where the other four (if any) are hiding???

Dr55vlk1.jpg (7670 bytes)    
Brooks Stevens designer drawings, courtesy of Mr. Stevens

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The Paris Salon model photographed on the Champs Elysées, October 1954
[Photo: © 1954,  Associated Press]

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Die Valkyrie on the esplanade before the Palais de Chaillot, in Paris


     dr54valx.JPG (6980 bytes)        
(Left) The Paris Salon car en route to the show, © 1954,  United Press
(Right) On the Spohn stand at the Paris Salon,
© 1954, Images de Paris

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valk08.JPG (7026 bytes)     valk05.JPG (9070 bytes)
A second Valkyrie was built in 1955 for the private use of  Mrs. Stevens, wife of the
designer; the above four photos of that car are from Mr. Stevens' private collection;
this car was on auction in Auburn, IN, in 1997 (below), where it was bid to $71,000
but not sold; it is owned at this time (1/2001)  by Joe Bortz of Highland Park, IL
[ Note the 1959-60 Cadillac Fleetwood wheel covers on this one ]

Where was she going ... or returning from?
The berets and the bike point to a French port

54Valk1S.jpg (13058 bytes)     54Valk2.jpg (14754 bytes)
These two views were picked up on the Internet in 2007;
the car is now on whitewall tires

Valkaubn.jpg (7881 bytes)          54VALKI.JPG (9740 bytes)

          ValkL6.jpg (7146 bytes)

ValkL3.jpg (4448 bytes)     ValkL7.jpg (5868 bytes)     ValkL5.jpg (4155 bytes)     ValkL4.jpg (4879 bytes)

Valky.jpg (5830 bytes)          valky3.jpg (5297 bytes)

Photo: Amelia Island Concours d'Elégance, 2012

54ValkSec.JPG (8951 bytes)
The second Valkyrie, in a barn in Maryland
[ Photo: © 2008 and courtesy Chip Lamb ]


Stevens, Brooks (USA) Scimitar station wagon powered by Cadillac engine (???), SIA71, p.20.

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DrScimE.jpg (9767 bytes)     DrSvimB.jpg (12447 bytes)
Photos: © 2006 and courtesy Victor Westerling
[ the car is on display in the National Motor Museum, Reno, NV ]


Tucker (USA) Studillac, special Studebaker coupe with Cadillac engine installed by Bill Frick Motors. Article in Car LF, 4/54, pp.50-51

Cadillac aficionado, Erik Calvino who lives in Tokyo, Japan, sent this quote from the James Bond website: The car appears to be a black Studebaker convertible. When Felix talks up the car's performance Bond thinks he's spouting nonsense, until Felix stomps the fuel pedal and reveals to Bond the car's hidden abilities. Leiter's car is under the hood. Cadillacs in the 1950s were real performance cars. When the horsepower of the Caddy engine was put into the aerodynamic, lightweight, Loewy designed Studebaker body it yielded a potent, high velocity, weapon! Special rear axle, brakes and transmission had to be added to handle the extra power.

This car is not the product of Fleming's fertile imagination. Such a car was actually produced by a specialty shop in New York. It was dubbed with the singularly un-mellifluous sobriquet, Studillac.

Tucker, Harry (USA) Custom Studebaker convertible with Cadillac engine; The Studillac (see other entry, above)

54stula2.jpg (6718 bytes)

54stulac.jpg (4696 bytes)     54stula3.jpg (5156 bytes)


[Unknown, USA] Cadillac motor home (SS 10/94, p.20)

[Unknown, USA] special Eldorado for Liberace (special issue CCON, p.22); license tag "JJ-5927".

orglibrc.jpg (8892 bytes)     el54_liber2.jpg (8271 bytes)
Reported to be the Liberace car, the one on the right is no longer original; it does not appear to have the "piano keyboard"
upholstery and, in addition, has been decorated with ornate striping; it has also an ornate "Liberace" name on the door


[Unknown, USA] Cadillac camper [see photos]. These were always backyard built; 90% of the time they were cup up from professional cars (hearses and ambulances).

54cmpr.jpg (10375 bytes)     54cmpr2.JPG (11350 bytes)
[Photos:  Internet, 5/2000]


[Unknown, USA] 1954 Custom low-rider coupe



[Unknown, USA] 1954 Custom low-rider coupe; modern modified engine




[Unknown, USA] 1954 Cadillac-powered pre-war hot-rod

54cusrds.jpg (4657 bytes)


[Unknown, USA] NOT a Cadillac ... but a 1954 Oldsmobile  with a 1954 Cadillac Eldorado rear end!


[Unknown, USA] NOT a Chrysler ... but a 1954 Cadillac Eldorado with grafted Chrysler tail-lights.

[ Photo:  Paul Watts ]


[Unknown, USA] 1954 Series 75 limousine, railroad track inspection car.

55railinsp2.jpg (98926 bytes)     55railinsp1.jpg (67434 bytes)

55railinsp4.jpg (88336 bytes)     55railinsp3.jpg (113479 bytes)


Van der Stricht, Patrick (Belgium) Patrick is a devoted Cadillac enthusiast.  This is his artist's proposal for a 1938-39-40-41-48-49-51-53-54-55-56-57-58 custom Eldorado coupe (...and I may even have missed a couple of years in my speedy examination of this delightful drawing!

38lesuer.JPG (12420 bytes)
Drawing courtesy of Patrick Van der Stricht



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© 1996, Yann Saunders and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club. Inc.
[ Background image: Custom 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville by the late Gordon Glover of Baltimore, MD ]