1931 Cadillac Series 355-A Convertible Coupe
Year of manufacture1931
Charles Gillet loved stylish, well-built automobiles, and was passionate about them being at their best. He was vocal about it—having shown up at the offices of burgeoning Road & Track in 1954 with a copy of the magazine that he had edited for typographical errors, and suggested boldly to editor John Bond that he make his publication “The New Yorker of the automotive press.” Bond made Mr. Gillet an associate editor on the spot, and he held that role until 1957 before returning to Maryland and other business ventures, most prominently a very successful Volkswagen dealership.
Reflective of that catching passion for quality is the Gillet 1931 Cadillac V-8 Convertible Coupe, one of the longest-term denizens of the collection, bought in the late 1980s in Olathe, Kansas, ahead of a planned auction. It had, however, begun life here in Pennsylvania, with its factory build sheet indicating it was born with this coachwork and engine, finished in Hessian Maroon with dual sidemounted spares and Burbank cloth top, and delivered through the Royston Cadillac-LaSalle Corporation.
For Mr. Gillet, Al Prueitt & Sons undertook a full cosmetic restoration, including the paint, interior, and top. After this work, the process of what its owner referred to as “campaigning” the car began, a full-out assault on the concours and club events, including winning an AACA Grand National First Prize, CCCA Senior Premier honors, and Cadillac-LaSalle Club Senior awards in a career that lasted through 2011 at the Chesapeake Bay Region Grand Classic. In 2001 it was among the automobiles featured in the CCCA’s book, The Classic Era, by Beverly Rae Kimes.
The restoration has been, typical of this collection, very well-cared-for, and the paint is still very good. Mechanically very little work has been required over the years, and the Cadillac is reported to still run and drive very well.
This is a lovely Cadillac, offered from its superb long-term home to another where it will continue to be appreciated, valued, and, perhaps, “campaigned.”
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf21.