In 1947, International Motors of Los Angeles, a Cadillac distributor, asked Pinin Farina to design some special coupe and convertible bodies for General Motors models for Hollywood stars and magnates.
Pinin Farina gladly accepted. He knew that the US was the largest automotive market in the world, and getting a strong toehold could be very lucrative for his company. One of the concept show cars produced by Pinin Farina was this, an extraordinary 1954 Cadillac Cabriolet. The car was exhibited on the show circuit but only this single version was ever built. And so, today it remains a spectacular one-of-a-kind. It's a very cool car!
I grew up, until the age of ten, in Pasadena, CA from the years 1947 to 1954. As a young "car nut" I was lucky to see a wide variety unusual cars , both in Pasadena, but also in L.A. and Hollywood. During those years there were several dealerships selling both porduction and coachbuilt cars from both the U.S. and Europe.
My favorite agency was Peter Satori Foreign Cars which was located on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena. Satori was one of the first post-war importers of British and European cars. The agency was an authorized dealer for Rolls-Royce and Bentley as well as Jaguar, Aston-Martin, M.G., Austin, Hillman Minx, Sunbeam Talbot, Austin Healey, Rover as well as the Italian makes of Alfa Romeo and Fiat. It was one of the treats of my early life to get to visit this agency and take in the so many different cars and of course become addicted to the scent of Connolly leather!
I also got to visit some of the foreign car dealerships over in Hollywood, where my dad worked. In the 1950's there was a multi-brand dealership that sold Mercedes, Delahaye (with ***oni and Falschi coachbuilt bodies) and European exotica. At this time the lesser Mercedes were not really sold in the U.S. and this agency gave me first glympse of the Mercedes 300 models (top of the line costing in the same range as factory bodied Rolls of that time).
There were also several used car lots specializing in the sale of foreign cars. Somewhere I have pictures of me standing next to Jaguar Mark V sedans and cabriolets and XK 120s not to mention lovelly Simca roadsters and M.G.s. My dad's boss had an Aston-Martin DB2. Betty White bought her first new car, a "tomato soup pink 1952 Ford Sunliner with a continental kit (Betty was a friend of mine in those days), Lee Liberace got his first car a 1952 red Oldsmobile 88 convertible that he and his brother George would sometimes drop by our house on a Sunday afternoon.
In the early fifties it was not uncommon to see a Cord 810 or even a Duesenburg on the used car lots along Colorado Blvd. Packards were all over the place. Pasadena had been a prefered Winter resident of many of the very wealthy Mid-western industrial families and the home of several cutom coachbuilders so the custom bodied cars showed up on the used car lots quite occasionaly as their owners went on to the more modern styles of the 1950's. They were just "used cars" not yet recognised as highly desirable "classics" of the "Golden Thirties!"
The 1950's were the years of the annual styling change and a period of extreme "keep up with the Joneses" in general, but particualarly among the Hollywood set. So car turnover was very quick, custom bodied cars, like the Pininfarina Cadillac seen here were not common, but certainly were around. A little later on the Chrysler powered Italian Dual Ghias were the car of choice, as well as French Facel Vegas.
All this is why Southern California became so well known for its' car loving culture!
I just saw an ad on the inHD channel last night describing this car - quite a sight to see in high def. I don't recall who it was made for but it was for a film director in LA, the car went onto be displayed at that Paris car show that year, quite an interesting story.