A gold plated Cadillac

Started by M Hall, October 25, 2010, 06:21:09 AM

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M Hall

Back in the mid fifties, an american filmstar/actress visited london with a gold plated Cadillac. It was featured on the TV news for several days, I cannot find any reference of this today on the internet. Apart from Judy Hollidays `Solid Gold Cadilac' movie (similar period) which was a Caddy with gold plated fittings.trim and as far as I know, didn't come to UK. Can anyone in here throw a light on this and email me?


The Judy Holliday movie you referenced is the only one I can think of either.

Martin Hall

Hi David,
There is quite good coverage on the internet regarding Judy Holidays film, but no mention of a London visit. Back in the fifties, it would have cost a small fortune to ship a car to the UK and back just for a film premier. But I remember the Newsreels clearly showing the cavalcade through the west end. another incident, years later indicates that the car still exsists, as it was mentioned on the news in the late eighties, of this car being auctioned at Christies or Sothebies? for an undisclosed sum, it was refered to as `The Gold Plated Cadilac', there cannot be that many of them for it not to be the same car? It's still about somewhere, but in a private collection, no doubt.

Bruce Berghoff-CLC #1476

I don't recall a completely gold plated Cadillac, however for Cadillac's National press introduction of their all new  472 cubic inch V-8 engine in 1968 , I designed an engine exhibit featuring a 14 ct. gold plated new Cadillac engine contrasted with a 1903 one cylinder copper jacketed Cadillac Model "A" engine . The exhibit was introduced to the international automotive press and Cadillac Dealers nationally at Detroit's Cobo Hall in January of 1968, and later toured the New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles Auto Show circuits.
     My company, Design Origins, Inc. designed and built the exhibit for Cadillac's Marketing Staff under the direction of Bill Lewellen. After the design concept was approved by Cadillac's then General Manager Mr. James Roche, I was under the gun, so to speak , to find that super rare '03 engine. I found it through a chance ad in the Detroit News Classifieds , run by the son of the original owner. He told me he and his brother saved the engine when their father scrapped and buried his Cadillac behind their Dearborn, Michigan barn somtime in the 1940's. The boys bolted the engine to a railroad tie and ran it for entertainment when life got dull on the farm. I bought the engine for $200 and I  offered it to Cadillac for the same price.

Jim Skelly, CLC #15958


What an interesting story and such a sad end to such a rare Cadillac!  Do you have any idea where that barn in Dearborn was?  I grew up in Dearborn and moved back there a number of years ago.  .

Jim Skelly

Bruce Berghoff-CLC #1476

Hey Jim... I never visited the farm where the car was buried, however I did meet the boys at Dearborn Sheetmetal Co. where the engine had been stached under a work bench for over 20 years. It was in pretty good shape and just required a bit of restoration, some dent removal on the copper water jacket and a German Silver paint job on the block and it was ready for unveiling.
   I don't know what ever happened to the gold plated V-8, but the one cylinder '03 ended up at the Cadillac Historical Collection for several years and is now part of the GM Heritage Center Collectiion. bb


I recall photographing a gold-plated 1931 Cadillac roadster at an auction sale in Tulsa, OK, back in 1978.  It reappeared in the last 2-3 years, but darned if I can remember where.
Yann Saunders, CLC #12588
Compiler and former keeper of "The Cadillac Database"
aka "MrCadillac", aka "Veesixteen"


Yann Saunders, CLC #12588
Compiler and former keeper of "The Cadillac Database"
aka "MrCadillac", aka "Veesixteen"

The Tassie Devil(le)

Could this be the Gold Plated V8.

I took the picture in 2002 when I toured the museum as part of the Cadillac Centenary celebrations and the Dearborn GN

There was a One-lunger there, but not gold plated.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Bruce Berghoff-CLC #1476

Bruce...That V-8 doesn't look gold plated, it looks to be gold painted, however if it's a 1968 472cu. in. someone might have repainted over our 40 year old gold plating ? The one lunger was never gold plated. I restored that in my shop to almost original specifications with the exception of the aluminum crankcase color, which I refinished in a satin "German Silver" laquer to contrast with the high luster Gold on the 472.
   When it came time to verify the one cylinder engine as an original 1903, Cadillac Engineering Staff sent an engineer out with copies of the original Patent Drawings plus a list of the serial numbers. It turned out the numbers on this engine were either pre-fixed, or suffixed with one or more letters that initially somewhat confused the engineer. In conversation with someone else they ultimately decided this might have been a very early production , or pre-production engine that somehow got installed  in a production car.
   Another thing that I found amazing was that while searching for this very rare engine, and just by chance lucking into it's discovery within 10 miles of Cadillac's Clark Street Headquarters in Detroit...none of the high powered Sales Promotion, Marketing, or Engineering executives driving factory provided Cadillac vehicles were authorized to spend $200 of the Division's money to purchase this engine on a moment's notice, without going through lots of time consuming routine corporate paperwork that would have lost the engine to other buyers. I  ended up buying the engine to save it from two other buyers.