Written by Nicole Ellan James
At the onset of 1941, World War II was in full swing. Despite the global chaos, American trends in the 1940s focused on comfort and glamour. Nowhere was this more evident than with the styling of the 1941 Cadillac Series 62.
The Series 62 served as the successor to Cadillac’s Series 61 and came in four different body styles, two of which were produced for the single year only: the two-door convertible Coupe Deluxe and the convertible Sedan Deluxe. Fisher Body in Detroit, Michigan, bodied each convertible. When the Series 62 made its debut, raw materials such as steel, rubber, nylon, silk and oil faced supply shortages, which changed how things were designed. Buildings became simpler and more efficient, while furniture became less elaborate and more functional. The Big Three had gradually stopped producing vehicles and utilized their factories to build airplanes, tanks and other military vehicles.
Bill Mitchell was head of the Cadillac studio then and worked with GM Design Chief Harley Earl to create the 1941 Cadillac, one of the marque’s beautifully executed prewar designs. The car’s rectangular grille, credited to stylist Art Ross, was a radical departure from the sharp vertical grilles of preceding models. The new grille, featuring an “egg-crate” texture, would become an essential part of the Cadillac DNA moving forward.
The 1941 models also saw Cadillac balance form and function in new ways. For example, the sculpted “flying goddess” hood ornament lifted to provide access to the hood latch, while a taillight housing concealed the fuel filler cap. The bumpers on the Series 62 also became more integrated into the overall design, and the interior was just as opulent as ever, with a lavishly detailed wood-grain instrument panel.
In 1941, Cadillacs were among the best-equipped and most modern cars on the road. They came standard with features that included sealed-beam headlamps, 15-inch wheels and turn signals.
To many drivers’ delight, Cadillac’s 346ci L-head V8 engine, capable of 150 horsepower, delivered smooth acceleration, quiet operation and strong torque. The 1941 model year also represented the first time Cadillac offered its customers a choice of transmissions: the standard 3-speed manual or the new fully automatic GM 4-speed Hydra-Matic, a $125 optional upgrade.
While the Series 62 offered with No Reserve during the 2023 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction retains all its classic prewar stylings, the Cadillac has received significant upgrades during its comprehensive restoration, which was completed in November 2021.
The heart of the custom Cadillac has been swapped for a new GM 6.2-liter V8 LT4 supercharged crate engine capable of producing 640 horsepower. An 8L90E 8-speed automatic transmission backs the power plant, along with a with a Drive Junky accessory belt drive system and a custom aluminum radiator.
To bring this prewar classic into the 21st century, the original chassis was swapped in favor of an Art Morrison chassis complete with power rack & pinion steering. Strange adjustable coilovers, a 9-inch Strange rear end with 31-spline axles, a sport IFS front suspension and triangulated 4-bar rear suspension give the Series 62 modern handling performance, which makes it more comfortable to drive by today’s standards. Stopping power is courtesy of a set of Wilwood Pro Spindle 13-inch rotors, along with an SL6 brake kit in the front and an SL4 brake kit in the rear.
Matching the level of comfort is a level of glamour accomplished with the car’s Bentley Hallmark exterior paint, complemented by a black Stayfast power top. The interior features Classic Instruments gauges and luxurious creature comforts like a Vintage Air system, heated front seats, power windows, cruise control and an Ididit tilt steering column with a custom Nardi steering wheel. According to the consignor, the radio was customized by R&B Vintage Auto Radio and includes Bluetooth with voice command capabilities, a hidden auxiliary input and a USB drive.
This 1941 Cadillac Series 62 exemplifies modern comfort and classic glamour with every detail. Register to bid today for your chance to take it home from the 2023 Scottsdale Auction, January 21-29 at WestWorld.