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1931 Cadillac V8 Five Passenger Sedan

In October of 1931, this car was bought new by Bernard J. Gaetze (1877-1951), a rancher in Mitchell, South Dakota. He was then 54 years old and last registered the car in 1942. It was a gas guzzler (still is) and wasn't suited for wartime rationing. In 1993, Bob Reeve, then of Golden, Colorado, found it stored in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Gaetze's Granddaughter, Paula, relocated there and took the car with her. Bob bought it from Paula. The car had 26,325 miles on it. See the CCCA article below. Jerry Wagner (me) bought the car in 2016 with 27,875 miles on it. I spoke with Paula, and she said she would send along any old photos that she found.

It was originally Black with Ivory pin striping. Now it's two-tone Maroon with Silver pin striping.

Here is why you call the trunk of your car, the trunk.

Six lights in the front. Two parking lights, two headlights, and below a pair of "Pilot-Ray" driving lights that move in the direction your steering.

Year-of-Manufacture license plates. Note the tires mounted on the wall. Mr. Gaetze had never used the side-mount spares. So I have a pair of brand-new 1931 Goodyear tires with their original tubes and liners that keep the ends of the wheel spokes from damaging the tube. Tire size is 7:00-18. Diameter is 30.39 inches, so engine speed is 3,000 RPM at 60 MPH. That's about top speed as the 5.7 Liter engine is rated as 95 HP at 3,000 RPM. For modern touring you'd need to add overdrive or replace the 4.55 differential.

The interior is original and pristine. Look at this door panel.

The rear seat has a movable arm rest and a movable foot rail. The ashtray assembly has a cigar lighter.

The silk window shades are original. The rear ash tray on the driver's side has as a ladies vanity set (hand mirror, etc.). The vertical strings hanging down are attached to the car body and keep the shades from flapping around if a window is open.

I have correct original hose clamps to replace these modern ones.

The clock still runs and keeps time. You have to wind it once a week (note the vertical knob to the left of the key fob). Top center is a cigar lighter that glows Green when it's hot. The extra switch added to the steering column is for the heater fan.

Here is an article from the Autumn 2002 issue of the CCCA's "The Classic Car" magazine about finding this car. The car had six headlights, four horns, and large bumper guards. South Dakota still had open country in the 1930's. Blow the critters off the road!

The car has all of its original number-matching parts as listed on its build sheet. Note that it was to go from Detroit to Chicago by boat, but was diverted to Minneapolis when Mr. Gaetze ordered it. Cadillac made 16,814 cars in the 1931 model year. I estimate that 3,300 of them were V8 five passenger sedans like this one.

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