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Photos by Norm Pabst

Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 Cadillac limousine was offered for sale in the Newport Beach area. The Fleetwood "75" had been in storage for most of the last 35 years and remained in pristine original condition - pot metal was perfect, upholstery impeccable - even the door handles were sag-free. We don't know the details of the sale, or who acquired it, but, as you can see, deMille's limo is now a heavily customized Carson-topped bad dream. As one enthusiast put it, "someone spent $40,000 (or more) to convert a $27,000 ultra-classic into a $10,000 street rod that will ultimately be salvaged for its brightwork." Dick "Mr. Mercury" Dean did the conversion, so the workmanship is OK (top was completely removed, interior gutted, etc.). Losing a great original Fleetwood in this manner is a catastrophe. If the presidents holding in the rest of the collectors' arena hold true, in fifty years strictly stock 2Oth century Cadillacs will stilll be standing tall, and most of these whimsical customs and cartoonist street rods will, in my opinion, have been to the crusher.

The other Fleetwood in these photos is SoCal member Norm Pabst's 1949 limousine. Norm has been working on this Derham-type towncar conversion for quite a few years, and is about finished. The Derham coachworks in Philadelphia completed 6 towncar conversions of this type in 1942, and did create six-window "75" towncars before and after WW2.

Roy A. Schneider





 

 

 





 

 

 



 

 
 
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Date Last Updated: July 14, 2017
 
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