1954 Cadillac Series 62
Used for the wedding of King Baudouin to Queen Fabiola in 1960
1954 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible 'State limousine'
Chassis no. 5562377947
Founded by Henry Leland and Robert Faulconer, the Cadillac Automobile Company of Detroit, Michigan completed its first car in October 1902, the firm's superior precision manufacturing technology soon establishing it as the foremost builder of quality cars in the USA. Cadillac was among the pioneers of the V8 engine and introduced the first synchromesh gearbox on its 1929 range. Always innovators in automobile technology, the company continues to produce cars recognised everywhere as symbols of wealth and prestige.
Styled like a contemporary jet fighter, the 1955 Cadillacs were little changed from '54 but featured a redesigned front grille, parking lights beneath the headlights and, of course, tail fins. General Motors' chief stylist Harley Earl had introduced fins on the 1948 Cadillacs and the device would reach its zenith in 1959 before fading away. All '55 Cadillacs came with a 331ci (5.4-litre) V8 engine producing 250bhp (standard trim) or 270bhp (Eldorado), plus GM's excellent Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. A landmark collectors' car, the 1955 Series 62 Convertible is one of the most sought after of post-WW2 Cadillacs.
Long, low and elegant, this wonderful Series 62 Convertible dates from the middle of Cadillac's spectacular 'fins' period. A classic Cadillac 'rag top', the car was first owned by the Belgian Royal Family, belonging to King Baudouin and his wife, Queen Fabiola. Ordered in 1953, it was delivered in 1954 and is a 1955 model. Serving as an official 'parade car' the car was delivered with some unique features including the split front bench, and the handle on the windscreen pillar. On 15th December 1960, the Cadillac served as the Royal couple's wedding car when they were married in Brussels, and over the years it participated in many more state occasions. It also served as the official 'parade' car of the City of Brussels for some 12 years. Newsreel footage showing the Cadillac participating in these various events may be found online, and it also comes with a substantial quantity of related press cuttings.
After it left official service, the Cadillac passed through the hands of various Belgian dealers before passing to an enthusiast. The current vendor bought the Cadillac in Luxembourg in 2012; he is a Cadillac enthusiast and collector, and this car has been regularly maintained as part of his Cadillac collection. The car was in need of restoration when acquired, and this was undertaken at great expense by specialists L'Atelier Des Coteaux in France, we are advised that the restoration totalled more than 50,000. The engine, mechanicals and electrics were overhauled and the interior completely re-trimmed, while the soft-top and carpets are new. Original and well-preserved, the body did not require any serious attention. A very rare feature, the 'Bubble top' or Plexiglas roof that was made to measure by Duchatelet from Liege by the end of the 1950's as requested by King Baudouin, was professionally restored to the specification it was in at the time of the royal wedding in 1960 and cost a small fortune to do. It should be noted that the Serie 62 has been adapted to also run on LPG, a modification that is easily reversible. The vendor advises us that the car is very reliable and that it will be driven to the auction in Knokke. A set of chromed wheel discs is included in the sale.
Offered with a French Carte Grise, this spectacular Cadillac Series 62 Convertible represents a unique opportunity to own a state car that served the Belgian Royal Family for many years, featuring prominently in the newsreels and press reports of the period.