: 1939 Cadillac found locally - what to look for?



RodneyB
07-22-11, 01:58 PM
My dad called me today saying he found a 1939 Cadillac for sale locally and the guy was willing to let it go for $5000. It needed some interior and paint work, but from my first glances from various googling, it seems like it would be a good investment. Most seemed to sell for 5 figures.

He said it was a manual shift and had just about all the original chrome.

Should he go for it? Any things he should look out for?

sven914
07-22-11, 02:33 PM
Just check for the usual body rot and mechanical issues (if the engine runs).

The price at $5,000 is pretty reasonable considering that full restoration projects sell for upwards of $10,000. If it is a rare model (Sixty-Special or a Limousine) it would be worth a lot of money in any condition.

77CDV
07-22-11, 10:18 PM
Be very careful about body rot and mechanical issues, but the most important thing is to make sure the car is 100% complete. Trim parts for these cars are hard to come by and expensive when you do. Also, unless he plans to do a lot of the work himself, he can very easily spend far more on the car than he'll ever get back. The demand for pre-WWII cars is declining, mostly because the people who remember them are dying off and younger collectors by and large are not familiar with them. If he does buy it, I strongly recommend membership in the Cadillac & LaSalle Club. It will make the restoration a lot easier if he has people he can turn to who already own these cars and are familiar with them.

DouglasJRizzo
07-23-11, 03:31 PM
Floor pan and trunk/frame rot are going to be the things to look out for. Old gals like that can harbor a lot of corrosion and there is almost nothing to do other than fabricate new parts, even junk yard rarely have anything that old anymore.

PRdeVille
07-25-11, 03:13 PM
GO FOR IT!! :D

And post pics!!

RodneyB
07-29-11, 02:48 PM
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!



If it is a rare model (Sixty-Special or a Limo) it would be worth a lot of money in any condition

How would he be able to tell what model it is?

HUF
07-29-11, 06:18 PM
1939! Must be OBD-I. lol

RodneyB
07-29-11, 06:24 PM
1939! Must be OBD-I. lol

What's OBD-I?

sven914
07-29-11, 08:33 PM
How would he be able to tell what model it is?[/INDENT]

If there is no build plate on the firewall, then you need to look at the body style and wheelbase.

Here is an excerpt from my History of Cadillac thread (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/rwd-19xx-1984-deville-fleetwood-1985/226504-history-cadillac.html):


1939:

The series 65 was removed from the line and a series 61 was added. The series 60 was renamed Series 60 Special.

Series 61:

126 inch wheelbase with the 346 engine. Models offered were a Sedan, Sunroof Sedan, Imperial Sedan, Convertible Sedan, Coupe, Convertible Coupe

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/9/33720004251_large.jpg

Convertible Coupe

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/9/33720004253_large.jpg

Coupe

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/9/33720004254_large.jpg

Sedan-All Series 61 Sedan Models were variations of this body style

Series 60 Special:

On a 127 inch wheelbase with the 346 standard. Models offered were a Sedan, Sunroof Sedan, and Imperial Sunroof Sedan

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/9/33720004250_large.jpg

Fleetwood Sixty Special-All Series 60 models were variations of this body style

Series 75:

No change is drive-line or chassis, over the 1938 year. Models included several variations of the Sedan, Formal Sedan, and Town Sedan, as well as a Town Car, Coupe for 2 and 5 passengers, and a Convertible coupe.

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/9/33720004255_large.jpg

Convertible Coupe

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/9/33720004256_large.jpg

Imperial Sedan

Series 90:

Same as the 1938 model year.

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/10/33720004677_large.jpg

Convertible Coupe

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/3489/10/33720004676_large.jpg

Imperial Sedan

The Series 75 and 90 are both on a 141 inch wheelbase. The Series 90 would be most valuable because it has the Cadillac Sixteen engine, where all other '39 models used a V8.

As to your question about HUF's post... OBD-I was an on board diagnostics system, first introduced on the 1980 Eldorado, and made standard on all 1981 Cadillac models.

RodneyB
07-29-11, 09:13 PM
The Series 90 would be most valuable because it has the Cadillac Sixteen engine, where all other '39 models used a V8.

Thanks Sven! I don't think it's a series 90 because he did mention that it *didn't* have the suicide doors (which I always think are cool.

Looking at the pictures, my guess that it's a Fleetwood Sixty Special

HUF
07-29-11, 09:23 PM
What's OBD-I? OBD is for on-board diagnostics. Just kidding... :)

sven914
07-30-11, 12:26 AM
Thanks Sven! I don't think it's a series 90 because he did mention that it *didn't* have the suicide doors (which I always think are cool.

Looking at the pictures, my guess that it's a Fleetwood Sixty Special

The Sixty Special was a lower priced model in '39 and there were about 5500 produced (as compared to 5900 Series 61's and 2000 75's). It did not have as many luxury features as the 75 or the 90, but the Sixty Special featured unique futuristic styling (forward hinged rear doors and no running boards) that eventually became standard on all cars. Even though it wasn't a low production vehicle or wasn't as luxurious as the 75 and doesn't have the Sixteen engine, the Sixty Special is still very collectable because it doesn't have that same generic body that the 61, 75, and 90 used.