Has the interest in pre-war Cadillac and LaSalle faded away?

Started by z3skybolt, April 25, 2017, 09:26:24 PM

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Big Apple Caddy

Over the many many decades, classic enthusiasts have expressed doubts about "modern cars" being restored or being considered desirable classics in the future; modern cars from back then that today do have collector/classic interest.   It's the cycle of the classic hobby just as one time interest in what have become "very old" cars can fade.   Looking back at decades old classic car price guides, the 45+ year old classics like Cadillac and LaSalle of that time which are now 75+ years old have largely decreased in value (inflation adjusted) while the newer classics of that time which are now 45+ years old have largely increased in value.

As far as replacing parts on modern cars in the future, advancing technologies (e.g., 3D printing) may make that even easier and cheaper to do down the road.  I think a bigger issue regarding current and future classics could be how potential environmental regulations, safety regulations, etc. may impact the hobby overall and ability to enjoy old(er) cars on the open road.  Of course, that too has been a concern of some for a long time and one that may never have the degree of impact people think.  Time will tell.

Bill Young

I do not have much to add to the respected Members who have already responded. However I would say for my self. I own a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood  Eldorado Convertible. I Love the car it is eminently usable on an everyday basis in traffic safely. I have now got close on $14,000.00 total invested in it and on a great day I think getting $12,000.00 for it would be all the money in the world for it. That said , I have replaced or repaired all the major systems in it to make it as reliable a driver as I can and I have done as much cosmetic work to it to make it as presentable as I can with in reason. My intention as a person on Social Security and a small pension is to drive it and enjoy it for as many years as I can. I don't care how many miles I put on it or it's resale value other than not putting stupid money into it that I do not have anyway. When I die if that date be some years in the future My three surviving kids can dispose of it or keep it as they see fit. I intend to Live and enjoy the money put into it , out of it with my Wife.


With all due respect to those who have posted their thoughts, this thread has been the most toxic I have ever followed.
It is so full of doom and gloom and projections of hopelessness, I have a hard time breathing.

If I took all of the hopeless views expressed about our aging cars as a prediction of the future - solely value orriented, I might as well cancel my membership, as I want to be associated with folks of a positive nature - not myopic car value mongers.

Please forgive me, I had to stop - take a deep breath and get my gyro back out of its tumble.

As most who know me and or know how I write about things, I just want to say that I enjoy my cars, not because they will last the test of time or value, but because they bring me happiness, while I work on them or drive them - and especially drive them.

I joined the hobby and this forum for perhaps not the same reasons others have, and that was for the joy the cars give me, and I thought others felt the same.
I am convinced that living ones own life is superior and more fulfilling than worrying about what others think or the following of car value lemmings.

Conclusion: I will relinquish the soap box, and I hope more folks would enjoy their cars - daily, and let their heirs worry about the values, after they have passed away.

Have fun,
Steve B.
S. Butcher


Hi Bill, nice pictures of your Eldorado.

Scott, 1970 Fleetwood 75s did come with the 6 way power seat and T&T wheel. I think they were optional, but they were available. My brother's 1970 FW 75 Sedan had the power seat, but not the tilt wheel. My 1970  FWB had both.

As for me, I'd really like an early 1930s dual cowl Phaeton convertible, but can't afford one, so there it is.....
"Cadillac" Mike

Scot Minesinger


Yes the 1970 Cadillac series 75 could be ordered with some comfort items for the driver, such as an especially the 75 series sedan.  It was not uncommon in the limo with divider window that the driver compartment was not set up for driving enjoyment, this 75 series would be set up for the passengers.  Just saying post war luxury cars were more for the driver, prewar luxury cars more for passengers, and the 75 series could be set up more for the passengers more like a pre war car.

59-in pieces,

Yesterday it was a beautiful sunny day in the Washington, DC area and I drove my red 1970 DVC top own and enjoyed one of the most awesome days of 2017.  Drove to a construction site inspection 50 miles away, back, post office, bank, a long lunch with a hot date (newly divorced), then to the GN hotel to meet Ronnie.  The car really help make it a great day.  A classic car really can add to the enjoyment of life that is for sure, it is just a matter of what one you select.  It was about 85'F or so and I was kind of amazed at how many other convertible drivers had the top up.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Tom Boehm

Hello, This is an interesting topic. I have a 1940 Lasalle. Interest in prewar cars is waning because that generation is fading away. But I guess I buck the trend. I am 52 and pre war cars are not the cars of my youth. I like cars of the late 1930's because they are the first cars with modern "driveability". They have enough horsepower to be driven the speed limit on interstates. They have synchronized transmissions. They have hydraulic brakes. They have automatic spark advance. They have independent front suspension. They have all steel bodies. They were the first cars to be styled purely for the sake of appearance. The Art Deco styling is distinct from the cars of the 50's and 60's and on up. (i.e. cars I remember from my youth).
     On the other hand, I do have an interest in the cars I remember from when I was young. I would love to have a 1980 Cadillac Seville in two tone blue. That is on my bucket list of cars. Tom Boehm

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

I really wish this issue would stop being raised because the question is based on a generalization - and a very poor one at that.

Does anybody posing these queries have any idea just what the category "prewar" encompasses? Are we talking a glamorously & fastidiously restored 1930 V16 Transformable Town Brougham w/Canework, a 1933 V12 Roadster (similarly restored) or are we talking a humble 1939 LaSalle sedan in condition 4? 

In the case of the former two, yes there's interest - BIG interest; in the case of latter, eh - to some extent but not nearly as much. (Unless it was owned by the King George VI or FDR)

So when discussing collector interest in this particular grouping of collector cars, it is important to know exactly what particular car we are talking about. 

A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

Bobby B

Quote from: 59-in-pieces on April 28, 2017, 03:48:48 PM

As most who know me and or know how I write about things, I just want to say that I enjoy my cars, not because they will last the test of time or value, but because they bring me happiness, while I work on them or drive them - and especially drive them.

I joined the hobby and this forum for perhaps not the same reasons others have, and that was for the joy the cars give me, and I thought others felt the same.
Have fun,
Steve B.

I agree with you 100%. I probably have more than double in the car than what it's worth, but I Love the stye of the '47 Convertible, and actually enjoy just looking at it when it's parked. Kinda like rolling art to me. I also feel like a King when I cruise that thing around and it puts a smile on my face every time. Really doesn't matter what anyone thinks. No one has ever refused taking a cruise with me, so there must be something about the car....Enjoy your life and stop worrying about Money or what other people think. Stay off the phone also  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
1968 Mustang Convertible
1973 Mustang Convertible
1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
1971 Datsun 240Z
1979 H-D FLH


IMHO, I think that cars from the 20s, 30s, and 40s are still admired and cherished. However the later cars have come into their own spotlight.

It seems to go in very fickle waves. For a time Eldorado Broughams were "it." Right now, I think that certain 59/60 cars are "it."  Great. Truly.

However, if a particular year is the one for you, then THAT is the "it" car. If you love your 40s Cad, then that is the one for you.

I've been in love with 70s Cads from the time they were new. I'm fortunate that I can still find good examples at reasonable prices.
1975 Superior Crown Sovereign Landaulet 3-way Hearse
1976 Sayers & Scoville Centennial Edition Landau Hearse
1974 Superior Crown Sovereign Landaulet Hearse
1976 Ford Thunderbird
1997 Ford Thunderbird

-Douglas J. Rizzo


I have owned many 50s & 60s cars. I started buying them in the mid 1970s at junkyard prices. I have fixed them, and restored them and driven them. I am bored with them. I still have many from these era but after a 'life experience' in 2013 I decided that I should experience an "OLD" car. I mean an old car.

To me that meant something 'driveable' (1920s to early 30s) I am not ready for a single cylinder Cad. So I made a deal for a 1929 Cad Town Sedan on ebay.  Nice original. 'Restored' in about the late 60s to early 70s. (NOT to today's restoration standards)  It was clean shiny and while the seller told me it ran, I could see that it would take some wake up repairs to get it going reliability.  After getting it home I concluded that the seller lied of course and it would not run. (stuck valves)
I have now rebuilt the engine and all the other stuff. (clutch, water pump, generator, starter, distributor, radiator, etc, etc)  I am FINALLY finishing up the brake system and I might attempt starting the new engine this summer.

What have I learned? I was completely B-O-R-E-D with the 50s & 60s stuff. Learning the engineering and technology inherent in a car of this age is like learning a foreign language!!  In the course of fixing it I have many times walked away in a state of rageful frustration. BUT I wanted to learn about OLD cars and having this 1929 has forced me to do so.

I am beginning to understand how mechanical brakes work. How a 1920s dual point distributor works. How 1920s motor mounts work. Everything I have had to do to repair the 1929 was common knowledge for guys who were born in the teens and twenties but all that knowledge has unfortunately now been lost. I have a dent in my head from beating it against the wall but as the project goes on I also have a better appreciation for these OLD cars. Even finding where to get the parts has been a challenge.

On this board 20-30 year old people ask how to fix their 1970s car. The answers come quickly and accurately. Sadly there are few if any people left that I can ask about how to fix a really old car. And most of them dont use computers  :(

Why has interest waned related to prewar cars?
1. People are attracted to cars they saw while growing up. This means cars that they saw on the streets when they were about 8-15 years old. In the realm of prewar cars this means that those kids are now in their 80s and they are way past participation in the car hobby.

2. If you do want to get into truly old cars (Outside of Ford model Ts & As)  you basically have to want to teach yourself because there are no longer any local car friends that know these cars that can come over and hang out in your garage on weekends. This aspect can take the fun out of having an old car real fast.

How do I cope with the frustration? Along with the 29 Cad I am co-currently restoring a 1959 Lincoln and a 1966 Mercury. Two cars I can work on with little thought and little need to consult with anyone for advice. And when I get bored when working on them, I then return to the 29 Cad for some intellectual stimulation.

1929 341B Town Sedan
1971 Miller-Meteor Lifeliner ambulance
Other non-Cadillac cars
Near Los Angeles, California

CLC #29634

Jay Friedman

I really like pre-war cars, including '29s.  Was once outbid when trying to buy a '29 LaSalle.  How about a photo of yours.
1949 Cadillac 6107 Club Coupe
1932 Ford V8 Phaeton (restored, not a rod).  Sold
Decatur, Georgia
CLC # 3210, since 1984
"If it won't work, get a bigger hammer."

Jim Stamper

     There are people in the club who have driven their old Cadillacs and LaSalles many 10s of thousands of miles. I don't think any have spoken up yet, but I think they might agree, driving the cars  is how to get your money out of them.

     People buy new cars everyday and the time clock on depreciation starts when the car leaves the lot. In five years the investment has lost much of its value, made worthwhile by use. A well maintained though heavily driven old car is unlikely to lose its value at the rate of a newer car.

     Many older cars have good parts supply and the cost compared to the modern cars equivalent part replacement is often far less in comparison with often far less labor involved. Jim Stamper  # 14370

Chuck Patton



If you want a question answered ask Eric DeVirgilis.  He is analogous to Plato.

(Humble 1939 LaSalle)
Past CLC National Board Director
Past CLCMRC Director
Past CLC Motor City Region President
CLC 1959-60 Cadillac Chapter Director
CLC Life Member #23147


M-mman as much as I love the '50s car, (and always will), I can certainly see myself behind the wheel of your '29. Lovely car, thanks for posting. Clay/Lexi


Learning about OLD cars . . .
I am always amused when people around here are fearful about the brakes, steering and operation of a 1950s-60s car. They fear the treadlevacs, the drums the <gasp!> C-A-R-B-U-R-A-T-O-R-S (because a carb car might need a little cranking to get started. . . .)

While I have yet to drive my 29 I am 'thinking' about the 90 horsepower, updraft carb, vacuum tank <gasp! NO FUEL PUMP!!> and more importantly M-E-C-H-A-N-I-C-A-L brakes. (But I am going through them to make them as functional as they were when new) and then LEARNING how to operate a 90 year old car. WITHIN ITS LIMITS!!

As a auto historian I want to learn and experience the car on its own terms, NOT to try and yank it into the 21st century to satisfy my knowledge deficits.
Which is what people are doing when they feel a need to modify their "ancient" 1960s cars and then brag about the fun of experiencing an 'old' car.   :-\
Wish me luck.
1929 341B Town Sedan
1971 Miller-Meteor Lifeliner ambulance
Other non-Cadillac cars
Near Los Angeles, California

CLC #29634


Here are a couple pictures of my lady.....and the impetus for my question concerning pre-war Cadillac/Lasalle. Well.....obviously all LaSalle are pre-war!  Plus the engine removed and being crated for shipment to overhaul shop.
1940 LaSalle 5227 Coupe(purchased May 2016)
1985 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series. Bought New.


M-mman my thoughts exactly on old cars and their equipment. I also wish to experience what they were like to drive back in the day with original equipment, imperfections and all. That is part of their charm. I wish you and your project all the best. Clay/Lexi

Richard Sills - CLC #936

The most active interest will always be in the cars that most currently-active collector car buyers remember from their youth.  Friends who are collector car dealers tell me that the greatest demand among their customer base is for cars of the '60s, '70s and early '80s.  If you figure that the collectors who are most active in buying cars today are in the age range of 35-50 (having been born from 1967-1982), this makes sense.

For the most part, these preferences are not based on the relative characteristics of the '40s cars vs. the '70s cars.  The folks in this age range have fond memories and nostalgia about the cars of their youth, which do not include pre-war cars.  There are always some exceptions, but this has been the general rule as long as I have been in the hobby. 

I remember when 1940 and 1941 cars were considered too new to be of interest to hobbyists.  When I bought my first antique car -- a fine original 1941 Cadillac -- I was told that it was not an antique, just a "good used car".  This was in the late 1960s, when the car was over 25 years old.  The evolution from that day to this is just the natural progression of things.   

Unless you are in the antique car business for your livelihood, you should buy and drive what you like, and not worry about what cars others prefer.  As to the possibility that a vintage car may not bring back the full amount you have invested, consider the fact that for most activities we pursue for pleasure, we get back zero percent of the money we lay out.  When we go on a vacation, or rent a beach house, or join a country club, or buy tickets to sports events, we do so with the understanding that we will get back no part of the money we spend.  The only return is the pleasure derived from the activity.  When you buy a new car -- the second biggest investment to most people -- you often get back one-third or less of the original cost when you trade it in.  So if your favorite collector car will eventually bring back 60%, 80% or 90% of the amount you have spent on it, it's not such a bad deal, considering all the enjoyment you receive from it.

Brett Baird

I have followed this thread with interest.  Many excellent points have been made, and I couldn’t have said them any better.  I can only take exception with one:  the notion that pre-war cars aren’t acceptable in “modern” traffic.  I have driven my ’41 Cadillac to both Grand Nationals in Las Vegas, a 900-mile round trip for me, without any issues.  I admit that I try to keep it down to 65 mph, as I feel that is a reasonable cruising speed for a 75-year-old car, but I did find myself creeping up to 70 every now and then.  Is it the same as driving a new car?  Nope, and that’s the charm of it.   As far as coveting a 1930’s Caddy?  I am emotionally attached to both my ’41 and my ’59, but I might trade them in an instant for the right 1930’s Cad or LaSalle.  And yes, it would be driven in modern traffic â€" that’s what they were made for.
B Baird
'41 Fleetwood 60 S  http://bit.ly/1jwgEWm
'59 Sedan DeVille 6339 "Flat-top"  http://bit.ly/1jwgUF1
'70 Eldorado

Dan LeBlanc

I have to wholeheartedly agree with Richard's point of view. Being born near the end of the era he mentioned, I find myself more able to connect with my 70 deVille convertible than I ever have with any of the 61/62 Cadillacs I've owned. I grew up when these were just used cars, out of my father's reach as he always could afford a Ford. I came home from the hospital in a 77 LTD II Brougham 2 door. We had that car until I was 4 and still remember it's green interior and the little blue dinky toy airplane my dad bought for me at the convenience store near the airport one Sunday after church. I used to put it in front of the vents and the airflow would spin the propeller. To this day, I would still love to have one of these cars.

As time goes by, as Richard said, what will become collectible will become newer because of these memories.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car