Cadillac Custom Convertible – 1940

By the late 1930s, the practice of supplying a rolling chassis to external coachbuilders that characterized the first decades of auto manufacture had been all but abandoned by mass market car companies, many of whom used in-house body shops to create different styles.

So when Cadillac replaced its Series Sixty-One with the longer-wheelbase Series Sixty-Two in 1940, there was no intention of encouraging the outside production of custom-built bodies.

However, Pasadena’s Bohman & Schwarz company knew a good thing when they saw one, having prospered in the 1930s by putting luxury bodies on Duesenbergs for Hollywood players. They decided the Sixty-Two provided a perfect base for their design-and-build skills, swiftly going to work on basic Cadillac coupes. The happy result was an all-time great, with emphasis on the ‘an’ (only two were made, one of which vanished from sight 50 years ago and may or may not still exist).

Lower, wider and rounder were the adjectives generally applied to the eye-catching Bohman & Schwarz Cadillac Custom Convertible – which was notable for its forward-looking ‘torpedo’ styling with curvaceous lines that gave this ample beauty an undeniably sexy look. The body was gently sectioned and a sloping cast-bronze split windscreen fitted. The door tops curved downwards before joining the beltline, paralleled by a chrome strip that ran from headlamps down to the skirted rear bumper with chrome gravel shield. This curving line separated two subtly different shades of rich red.

Detail included a diecast grille with bold horizontal bars, twin vents on each side of the bonnet, bullet headlamps and large tail lights. Lest street watchers might doubt this handsome machine’s origins, Cadillac script adorned the bumpers. The Cadillac Custom Convertible still appears at concours meets, allowing admirers to see (but sadly not drive!) this stunning machine.





 ENGINE: 5.7 l (346 cid) V8

 PERFORMANCE: Top speed was around 95 mph (153 km/h)

YOU SHOULD KNOW: The surviving Cadillac Custom Convertible was the subject of a full ground-up restoration in 1990 and this beautiful piece of automotive history is now in immaculate concours-winning condition.


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