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Ex-King Leopold III of Belgium
1955 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado Convertible
Coachwork by Fleetwood
Chassis no. 556286347

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. Most expensive model in the Series 62 line-up, the Eldorado Convertible came complete with its own unique rear body styling, customised interior, power brakes, power seats, power windows, radio, heater and whitewall tyres. Only 8,150 were made out of a total Cadillac production of 140,777 units for the 1955 model year. A landmark collectors' car, the 1955 Eldorado Convertible is one of the most sought after of post-WW2 Cadillacs.

Long, low and elegant, this wonderful Series 62 Eldorado 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 Leopold III and his second wife, Princess Lilian. It participated in the opening of the Atomium in 1958; the marriage in Brussels of Prince Albert and Princess Paola in 1959; King Baudouin's return from the USA in 1959; and King Baudouin's marriage in Brussels to Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón in 1960. Newsreel footage showing the Cadillac participating in these momentous events may be found online.

In 1962 the car was sold to Mr Armand Blaton, a wealthy Belgian industrialist, by the 'administration des biens du Roi Leopold III' (documentation available). The aforementioned late owner registered the Cadillac in 1962 (cancelled 1968) and again in 1994, and also registered it with the Cadillac Lasalle Club of Belgium. The current owner has recently carried out extensive refurbishment to make the car roadworthy after a long period of storage with the Blaton family, and he himself has driven it past the 100,000 kilometres mark on the odometer.

A superb example of 1950s American automotive styling, this spectacular car with great history is offered with copies of the aforementioned documentation; a copy of the 1994 Belgian registration papers (cancelled); assorted correspondence; and owner's notes.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department