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This 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 is a big blue beauty

Hagerty logo Hagerty 1/15/2022 Thomas Klockau
© Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

Cadillac has always been special to me—and, well, a lot of people! For decades they made impressive, beautiful, powerful cars. That continues to a certain extent with the CT5-V Blackwing, though that era is sadly drawing to a close as I type. But the lineup of GM’s luxury marque has certainly been whittled down over the years, particularly the last 10 or so. Dealerships that once offered a wide variety of swoopy, swank, finned confections now largely offers rather staid—if still plush—crossovers.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

Crossovers: take a sedan, make it heavier, give it poorer handling and a higher center of gravity, and replace the trunk lid with a hatchback … voila! But I prefer sedans. And I see I am digressing already. But in 1941, the Fleetwood Series 75 was the biggest, finest Cadillac sedan on offer. And if that well-to-do 1941 gentleman looking for a new car didn’t care for a sedan, you could still get two- and four-door convertibles and a myriad of coupes.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

But the Fleetwood Series 75—wow! What a car. While all 75s shared the same basic body with 136-inch wheelbase, today’s featured example is a seven-passenger Touring Sedan. Priced at $3140 (about $60K today), only 405 were produced. There were seven other distinct models, with various five- or seven-passenger configurations. Formal sedans had a padded roof covering with blanked-out sail panels, eliminating the rear quarter window.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

The Series 75s with the divider between the front and rear seats were dubbed Imperial. For ’41, the glass divider was newly power operated. In addition to the divider, Imperials came with a leather-trimmed front compartment since they were meant to be chauffeured vehicles. On the Touring sedans, the front and rear seat upholstery matched.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

1941 was a big year for Cadillac. Model year sales hit a new record, 20,000 more than the previous milestone, set in 1937. This was partially due to Cadillac’s sister marque, LaSalle, being discontinued after 1940. In its place, a new Series 61 series replaced it, and became the least expensive Cadillac.

GM © Provided by Hagerty GM

A total of 66,130 1941 Cadillacs were built. Styling was all new, with a large square eggcrate grille prominent-and a look that would grace Cadillacs for some time. The dual sidemount spares, long an option, were no longer available, and the famous V16 was also discontinued. Despite the 75 being Cadillac’s flagship, the Series 67 sedans actually had a longer wheelbase, 139 inches versus the 75’s 136. The Series 61, 62, 63 and Sixty Special sedan all rode a 126 inch wheelbase.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

With the departure of the dual sidemount spares, all Cadillacs now had a single space mounted vertically in the trunk. The fuel filler was hidden beneath the driver side tail lamp. But the big news for ’41 was the newly available Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

While it had been first introduced on Oldsmobiles in 1939 (for early 1940 model year Oldses), 1941 was the first year it was available on Cadillacs. It cost $110; approximately 30% of 1941 Caddys were so equipped.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

As previously mentioned, there were eight different Series 75 models. In addition to the 7-passenger Touring sedan featured here, there was a 5-passenger Touring Sedan, 5-passenger Imperial sedan, 7-passenger Imperial sedan, 5-passenger formal sedan, 7-passenger formal Imperial sedan, a 9-passenger business sedan and an Imperial business sedan.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

That last one was also the rarest Series 75. With a price of $3,050, only six were built. All of these models were essentially the same, the primary differences were whether jump seats were installed, the padded top with blank quarters, and whether or not a glass divider was installed. All had the same dimensions, engine, and silhouette. And all were imposing luxury cars.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

As you’d guess, 1941 was the last full model year for Cadillac (and everybody else) due to World War II. 1942 models were introduced as usual, but even before December 7, production was starting to move over to war production and defense needs.

1942 Fleetwood Series 75 GM © Provided by Hagerty 1942 Fleetwood Series 75 GM

While most ’42 Cadillacs had the expected trim changes, the Series 75 would carry on all the way through the 1949 model year with only slight changes to the exterior and interior. Like the 1965 Fleetwood 75, in 1948-49 the all new Cadillacs with their fins were distinctly different from the Fleetwood 75 sedans and limousines, though they of course still had a family resemblance.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

This gorgeous blue over tan example was spotted by your author on Labor Day weekend of 2014. Just a short drive from the Quad Cities is the small town of McCausland, Iowa, and every year they have a very good classic car show. I almost always see something extra rare and interesting.

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

This year it was this blue Cadillac that blew me away. It appeared to be a late arrival, as it was at the very end of the show area (which essentially takes up the entire town) and was parked amongst late-model daily drivers. I’m glad I took so many pictures. Not just because it was a beautiful car, but because I haven’t seen it since!

Thomas Klockau © Provided by Hagerty Thomas Klockau

The post This 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 is a big blue beauty appeared first on Hagerty Media.

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