[ last update: 06.23.2006 ]

The (new) Cadillac Database©

The Cadillac V16

Series 452-452A

Part 1f (ii)
Fleetwood's "French Brougham"
, Job #4200


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History, 1929

In an article that appeared in Autobody for October 1929, are mentioned three special designs by Fleetwood, prepared for Cadillac's Paris exhibit, held in October each year at Paris' Grand Palais. One of these was designated as in inside-drive imperial cabriolet, although it was not a convertible [cabriolet is the French term for convertible]. The main body panels were finished in deep maroon and tan and the top was of a fabric-grained tan leather, known as coupienne. It had the fashionable coach sill which, combined with the long hood and cowl and the slanting "A" pillar gave an effect of fleetness and power, characteristic of these cars. A Neutralite visor was used and all windows were of non-shatterable glass. The division window lowered completely and the channels were thus concealed in the pillars and roof so as to give a sedan effect if the car were to be driven by the owner. To make it adaptable for owner driving at any time, both compartments were trimmed with a Wiese tan doeskin, piped with matching leather.

29CusCabri.jpg (16338 bytes)
The curved, sweeping sill on this unique custom creation by Fleetwood, built  in the summer of 1929 on a V-8 chassis stretched to 152"
and known as the French Brougham, provided the basic  sill design for 1930-31 V-16 models with Fleetwood style numbers starting "42.."


According to writer-historian, Richard Burns Carson, writing in The Classic Car, summer 2006 (p.7), ...Fleetwood completed an immense one-of berline-landaulet on Series 341-B 152-inch wheelbase commercial chassis [I don't believe Cadillac made a long-wheelbase commercial chassis until 1936 - I'm guessing this must have been a custom-built, stretched chassis]. Trailing behind Cadillac's relatively short V-8 hood and carrying a tall roofline over extra-spacious doors, this huge body could easily have emerged as overpowering and cumbersome, but it didn't turn out that way. And disciplined control of overall proportions deserves only part of the credit: the rest goes to some well-placed curvature highlighted by a bold color scheme. The designers at Fleetwood had drafted a body sill sweep under the front and rear doors as a unit, achieving a more pronounced 'dip' look than on Stutz's Monte Carlo sport sedan ... and then they applied light 'Paris Gray' to the car fenders and connecting splash aprons, this coming below a dark maroon central body color.

The two other Fleetwood bodies shown in Paris that year, and mounted on 140" Cadillac chassis, were an all-weather phaeton and a 7-passenger berline (sedan), slightly longer than V-8 style #4208, below, but with quarter windows, a metal back and full auxiliary seat equipment.


History, 1930

Included in the displays at the NY Show the following January (1930) was Fleetwood style #4208 designated as a 5p. "inside-drive imperial cabriolet", that is a limousine with division and two small opera seats.  The term cabriolet was used by Fleetwood to designate a closed car having a leather roof covering; this one car had a light colored leather top (this was called coupienne and had been introduced by the French coach builder, Kellner, at the Paris salon in 1928).  Like the 1929 special, this car too was painted a deep maroon; it featured a curved or coach sill, slim, slanting windshield posts, a Neutralite visor and a pillarless division; both front and rear compartments were trimmed in Wiese tan (taupe) doeskin piped with matching maroon Aero leather. 

In his book Fleetwood - The Company and the Coach Craft [ISBN 0-9624958-9-12], pp.131-132, the author, James J. Schild, identifies this car as both Fleetwood job #3208 and 3208-C; the latter job number suggests that the car had a folding roof over the rear seat, although there is no indication to that effect in the descriptive text, despite the use of the word "landaulette" in the title.

30Flt4208.jpg (16900 bytes)
Fleetwood artist's rendering of 1929-30 style #4208, said to have been exhibited,
with two other Fleetwood designs, at  the Paris Salon in October, 1929; eight of

these were built the following year (1930) on the new, 148" wheel base V-16 chassis

4208dgsm.jpg (9774 bytes)    V64208.jpg (10122 bytes)
In this row, revised Fleetwood designer's drawing and factory publicity shot of style #4208, as mounted on the V-16 chassis


The French Brougham, 1930 - Fleetwood V-16 style #4200

The French Brougham, was illustrated and described in the professional publication, Autobody for August 1930 as a special 7-passenger 'imperial cabriolet' (4-window berline) on the Cadillac V-16 chassis. There is no striping on the body, the finish being of such character as to bring out the features. The main body panels are in a deep maroon [just like the 1929 Paris salon car]; saddle and belt panels of polished aluminum [the Paris car was painted tan], the moldings and superstructure in light tan; and the rear quarters and top in leather of the same color,   fabric-grained to imitate Burbank. The visor is of amber celluloid.

4200drg.jpg (14796 bytes)    30Flt4200.jpg (26315 bytes)
Slightly touched up Fleetwood designer's drawing of style #4200 (left), and factory publicity shot (right)
Only one of these superb limousines was built and there is no record that it survived; pity!

The car had a flat, slightly raked windshield and slender windshield posts ą la Madame X. In the advertising photo, above, you can see the broad amber celluloid sun visor, affixed to the forward edge of the roof. In the January 1931 issue of Autobody we are told that the entire rear cushion of the so-called French Brougham was adjustable

As to the interior, it was described thus in the afore-mentioned publication: Interior of the passenger compartment of the special Fleetwood body , on Cadillac V-16 chassis ... The seats, side squabs and door panels are trimmed with a special henna-maroon, tan-figured broadcloth, supplied by William Wiese & Co. The door panel is plain trimmed, but seats and side squabs are in a tufted style; in the armrests there are pockets with flaps, covered with the seat fabric. The lining fabric is a plain henna-maroon  broadcloth. This is also used in the front compartment above the belt; the driving seat and lower panels are trimmed with Radel Aeroleather of a deep maroon color [the 1929 Paris Salon car used the same material and design front and rear]. The swept division frieze1 has a center of amboyna2, with rosewood beading and edges of French walnut to match the garnish moldings; there is a swept smoking case in the center. In the panel above the division window, a vanity clock, in an inlaid case is installed [there was no header in Fleetwood's design for the 1929 Paris Salon car, and therefore no clock]. The swept door friezes are of amboyna and rosewood to correspond with the other wood trim [in both the front and rear compartments], the under-side of the auxiliary seats [visible when folded against the division] and the lower part of the division all were trimmed in plain, henna-maroon.

v64200int.jpg (12796 bytes)

Why the car was described as the French Brougham is a mystery, unless it was intended to resemble the special inside-drive imperial cabriolet, designed and built by Fleetwood for the 1929 Paris Salon (mentioned above).
1 band of painted or sculptured decoration, generally immediately below windows or division glass
or «amboina»: a very hard ornamental wood (Limgoum indicum) exported from the Moluccas (an island and town  of the same name)




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© 1996, Yann Saunders and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club
Background image: full side-view of V-16 Fleetwood Job #4200, from Yann Saunders' collection ]