This 1931 Cadillac 452A Was Named 2024 Best Of Show At Greenwich Concours D’Elegance: The secret lies in one detail

Tran Hanh
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June 07, 2024

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A 1931 Cadillac 452A All-Weather Phaeton won Best of Show in the 28th Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, a three-day automotive event held at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut on the first weekend in June 2024.

Attended by 12,000 car enthusiasts and organized by Hagerty Insurance, the event gave its highest award for the year to a superbly restored 1931 Cadillac All-Weather Phaeton that is just one of four vehicles from the model year known to still survive almost a century after it was produced.

Rear three quarters view of the 1931 Cadillac All-Weather Phaeton.

The 1931 Cadillac 452A is one of the last to roll off the Fleetwood Metal Body coachmakers company assembly floor. Fleetwood, a subsidiary of Cadillac, built just 4,076 Cadillac V16 units over the course of 11 years. This particular vehicle features a glass partition to divide the passengers from the chauffeur, and glass side windows rather than curtains, making it “All-Weather” in the original designation.

The Phaeton (a term originally meaning a sporty and stylish horse-drawn carriage) was part of the classic car collection of Navy SEAL Charles Gillet, who lived to 97 years of age. It is currently owned by Leigh Brent according to the Hagerty announcement of its Concours win.

Dashboard of the 1931 Cadillac 452A.

Features of the model include a body-colored bronze frame for the windshield, chrome-plated hardware, rear-door step lights, and padded spring hassocks for the passengers to rest their feet on. The original interior included real walnut paneling with burl, and folding armrests.

The Cadillac 452A was motivated by a 452 cubic-inch or 7.4L sixteen-cylinder (V16) gasoline engine fed by a 25-gallon gas tank. This engine developed 165 horsepower, and what must have a formidable at the time 300 pound-feet of torque. To achieve this performance, Cadillac built an engine that alone weighed 1,080 pounds without fluids.

The Cadillac Logo.

Historic documentation indicates an All-Weather Phaeton had a base MSRP of $5,750 back in 1931. Taking inflation into account, this would put the vehicle’s price when new at $118,600 in terms of 2024 dollars, highlighting the vehicle’s premium status at the time.

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