Me & My Car: Cadillac Man finds his fave — a ’48 convertible – San Jose Mercury News

The 1948 Cadillac was General Motors’ initial all-brand-new postwar model. It was the auto that started the tail fin craze as soon as GM stylists were motivated after viewing the Lockheed P-38 fighter plane. The 1948 Cadillac was the design setter, as a lot of of the cars built by American manufacturers in the 1950s and 1960s had tail fins complying with Cadillac’s lead, even the rather inexpensive Henry J built by Kaiser-Frazer.

A photo is taken of a 1948 Cadillac Convertible owned by Bob Miller from San Rafael. Miller bought this Cadillac Convertible in 1995 for $23,000 (about

A photo is taken of a 1948 Cadillac Convertible owned by Bob Miller from San Rafael. Miller bought this Cadillac Convertible in 1995 for $23,000 (concerning $36,000 in today s dollars). (Photo by David Krumboltz)

If you drove a brand-new 1948 Cadillac convertible, you were probably a quite darn wealthy individual too as a pillar of the community as well. There was zero much more prestigious available. It was rather reliable too. The auto was available along with the very same 346 c.i. flathead V8, 150 hp engine paired along with a four rate HydraMatic automatic transmission that was used in U.S. tanks throughout Globe War II. The base list rate of the Cadillac convertible was $3,442, or concerning $34,800 today. There were just 5,450 of these convertibles built for the shorted 1948 model year, and it included some features that were unique to that year. Probably the a lot of noticeable was the complex and expensive “horseshoe” or “rainbow” instrument panel along with a magnificent speedometer.

San Rafael resident Bob Miller bought his Cadillac convertible in 1995 for $23,000 (concerning $36,000 in today’s dollars). He is a real Cadillac man, owning several models from 1947 to 1970. This auto joined great form as soon as he bought it, yet obtaining portions for the engine and transmission was difficult, and along with the age of the car, his assurance in the auto waned.

At the very same time, he had an old Chevy van he had used in his building contracting firm that seemed to be love a magnet to various other vehicles. It kept obtaining strike and had a great deal of physique damage, so very compared to junking the van he used the engine and transmission from the van in the Cadillac. So now it has actually the popular and dependable 350 c.i. Chevrolet V8 and matching transmission. To look under the hood nowadays along with the Chevy engine, there is enough space between the radiator and the grille to place two suitcases.

He installed disc brakes to much better avoid his 5,000-pound Cadillac. He additionally switched the six-volt electrical system to a modern 12-volt system.

“I simply place on electricity steering. As I’m obtaining older I’m finding it also difficult to steer,” Miller told me.

I did note that the large 18-inch steering wheel still had the “necker’s knob” attached, and as nice and beneficial as they are, it is no alternative for electricity steering.

This Cadillac came along with fender skirts, which adds to the sleek and streamlined look. It has actually a beautiful black complete along with a tan leather interior. “I believe the auto was repainted in the 1960s,” Miller stated. The auto has actually a two-piece curved windshield, quite advanced for the day. “This auto is a driver. I drive it rather a bit, much more in the summer months.” He has actually steered this eye-catching auto much more compared to 20,000 miles because acquiring it.

“The auto is quite standard. a lot of every little thing works,” he said. Even the radio works, yet he had it converted to AM/FM. He laughed and added, “Of path in a convertible you can’t hear the radio anyway.”

The standard hydraulic-powered windows in front have actually been replaced along with a manual window crank, and Miller converted the rear windows to electric. The top is additionally hydraulic, yet Miller couldn’t grab it to work. He and his wife raised and lowered the top manually for the initial twenty years of ownership, not an basic task.

“every little thing was hooked up, yet zero would certainly happen,” he said. “I finally took it to a friend after 10 years, yet he couldn’t grab it to job either. Last year I took it to an additional friend. He had it for concerning a month. We had no instructions or diagrams for the top, yet exactly what we located out was there is a little cap that was installed upside-down. We turned it over, and every little thing works. Including every one of the engine job — not the cost of the engine, as I would certainly have actually junked the van — I’ve got concerning $40,000 invested,” Miller said. “I believe it’s probably worth concerning $45,000 today.”

It was time for a ride. The Cadillac started right up, and we headed for a spot to take some pictures. It is a big car, concerning 18 feet long. It’s a truly comfortable six-passenger convertible along with two bench seats. The auto is tight and quiet, except as soon as Miller tromped on the accelerator to demonstrate its power. The Cadillac Man has actually had 15 collector Cadillacs, yet he says this is his favorite. It’s a keeper, and he has actually no plans to ever sell it.

Have an interesting vehicle? Contact David Krumboltz at