The May L. Luchsinger
1937 CADILLAC V12 LIMOUSINE COUPE
COACHWORK BY FLEETWOOD, Body No. 1
Chassis No. 37-8589
Engine No. 4130469
Burgundy, with burgundy and grey cloth interior
Engine: 45 degree V12, 368 cu.ins., 150bhp at 3,600 rpm; Gearbox: three speed selective, synchro transmission; Suspension: front coil and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drum. Left hand drive
This unique, one-off Cadillac was a special order by May L. Luchsinger, wife of a banker of Madison, Wisconsin. She was one of the wealthiest women in Madison that had an independent spirit and was active in many social events. Ms. Luchsinger wanted an automobile that she would drive herself and along with her friends in the backseat, rather than be chauffeured during the time of the Depression. The car was to be elegant and luxurious, but manageable in size. Her V12 Cadillac was built with this in mind.
May Luchsinger's order was placed at the Pyramid Motor Company of Madison, Wisconsin on 28th December 1936. She requested that Cadillac Fleetwood build a five passenger Coupe Limousine, on the 138 inch V12 chassis. The term coupe limousine was to mean that the car have the lines of the Fleetwood limousine at the front and rear, but that the center section be shortened. In order to accommodate her request for the backseat, Cadillac took the front bench and divided it into two separate seats, a standard seat for the driver and a smaller passenger seat to "fold down under the dash", so that the backseat was unobstructed to enter. The result was this supremely elegant car.
Beyond the actual concept of the car, there were various detail features recorded on the 'Special Body Order'. To honor May L. Luchsinger's order, Cadillac placed an inscription on the horn button with her name on it. They also inscribed her name on a special plate, placed on the glove compartment door. Other special features included a master radio with an oval speaker located in the headliner above the rear view mirror, a hot air heater and defroster and skid chains for Wisconsin's harsh winters.
The chosen livery of the Cadillac was burgundy with matched interior wool broadcloth, with gray piping, carpets were light gray, and were to correspond with the headlining and instrument panel. Naturally in the rear seating section, the accoutrements were all in keeping with a luxurious limousine and included pull down rear shade, ashtrays with lighters, and walnut window frames with inset burled panels.
The finished car would have been delivered to her at her mansion 'Idle Hour', and was used by Luchsinger for the next 4 years. By 1941, with the austere Wartime limitations of rationing, the Cadillac was placed in storage and she bought a more humble Chevrolet Coupe to drive. The Limousine Coupe remained in storage until 1956 when she died, at the time it was listed as an asset of her estate, and by then had covered just 18,000 miles.
Purchased from her estate by Tom Barrett, the car later came into the ownership of Dick and Roberta Be Guhn and was naturally, an interesting find for Harris Laskey, who acquired the car in mid-1990s.
In Harris Laskey's ownership, there has been some light cosmetic refurbishment of a sympathetic nature, but ostensibly this unique car remains highly original from end to end. The Luchsinger limousine became a valued asset within the Bettina and Harris Laskey Collection. In their ownership, the car has been campaigned at various events and caravans. It is a Premier Senior Winner and a National First Prize Winner of the Classic Car Club of America, this badge is permanently placed on the car as a testimony to the quality of the car.
The new owner of this lovely, May L. Luchsinger 1937 Cadillac V12 Limousine Coupe, will have the pleasure, pride and privilege to own, drive and enjoy this legendary classic car.