A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac was extra special
Cadillac was a scarce commodity after the war and highly sought
The 1946 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five came in five distinctive models. Each Series Seventy-Five sedan had distinctive bodywork by the artisans at Fleetwood coachcrafters. The Cadillac V8 “L-head” powered this luxury behemoth. Despite strikes and material shortages, Cadillac managed to build 28,144 for the 1946 model year with 96,000 unfulfilled orders. “Cadillac fever” was at epidemic levels.
Cadillac was such a hot commodity after the war that “Cadillac fever” was a great demand for the “Standard of the World.” People wanted them so badly that they would organize “pools” where two, three, and up to six people of moderate means would pool their funds to buy one Cadillac. Ownership rested with the group as a whole, use would rotate per the group agreement.
Cadillac was the only luxury brand to enjoy this unusual tribute. GM Executives could buy them at ‘cost’ then drive them for a year or so and sell them for more than they paid for it. Cadillac had set itself on a production target of 100,000 cars annually. Post-war developments like these carried Cadillac to unparalleled supremacy in the industry.
The last M-24 tank rolled off the assembly line on August 24, 1945. The first 1946 Cadillac was produced October 7, 1945. Only Series Sixty-two sedans were being built first. Cadillac ads boasted their “battle-proven” prowess with engines and transmissions. The 1946 Cadillacs were a version of what was offered before the war. Five versions of the Series Seventy-Five, five-, seven-, and nine passenger sedans were listed and two Imperial sedans with glass partitions.
Strikes and material shortages, particularly sheet steel were major industry-wide issues. Some Cadillacs rolled off the assembly line with temporary brackets with wooden bumpers, the chrome bumpers were installed at the dealer level when they were available. Cadillac was one of the most highly sought-after and scarce items in the world at the time. The Cadillac value and prestige was what the public wanted. Cadillac built 28,144 cars despite all of the post-war issues. The “Standard of the World” was the leader…..
1946 Cadillacs were all equipped with Synchromesh transmissions, hypoid rear axles, dual down-draft carburetors, Torbend disc clutches, Knee-Action wheels, directional signals, double ride stabilizers, permanently lubricated universals, ball-bearing steering, oil bath air cleaners, intake silencers, Super-Safe hydraulic braking systems, sealed beam lighting, automatic choke, front coil springs, Safety-Plate glass, and low pressure tires. The late production start-up in May 1946 featured these standard items: small hubcaps, wider front grille, bullet-shaped front and rear fenders, fender skirts, and chrome plated rear fins.
The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five long wheelbase sedans were distinctive Fleetwood-bodied automobiles which shared no components with other General Motors products. They came in five versions in touring sedan configuration, with auxiliary jump-seats, quarter windows, large wheel discs, hood, side, lower beltline moldings, and stainless steel running boards.
Model code #46-75 7519 5-passenger sedan was priced at $4,298 with 150 built. Model code 46-75 7523 7-passenger sedan was priced at $4,475 and 225 were built. Style code #46-75 7523L 9-passenger sedan was priced at $4,153 with 22 built.
Style code #46-75 7533L Imperial Business sedan was priced at 4,346 with 17 built. Model code #46-75 7533 Imperial Limousine was priced at $4,669 with 221 built. The 1946 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Fives all rode upon a long 136” wheelbase and were the luxury length of 227” with the wide stance of 82.3”.
The Fleetwood Series seventy-Five for 1946 was powered by Cadillac’s 346 CID V8 “L-head” engine. It had a cast iron block and three main bearings, with hydraulic lifters. The engine was equipped with a Carter WCD 2-bbl (595S or 595SA), or a Stromberg AAV-26 2-bbl (380154 or 380871). This engine produced 150 hp @ 3,400 rpm with 353 Nm of peak torque @ 1,700 rpm.
Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 18.7 seconds, 0-80 mph in 39.3 seconds with a top speed of 85 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 65 mph in 21.8 seconds. The engine was mated to a manual 3-speed Synchromesh transmission. A GM Hydra-Matic automatic transmission was optional at $176 extra.
Post WWII lifestyle included a Cadillac. They were so popular that Cadillac could not keep up with supply and demand. “Pools” of anywhere from two-six people would collectively purchase one Cadillac car. Cadillac’s prowess on the battlefield with their indomitable dynamos earned esteem and admiration, reinforcing the durability and quality reflected in every Cadillac.
With five choices available, the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five had a luxurious version for the discerning owner. These regal sedans drew admiration and respect. Their understated elegance made them even more appealing. These fine automobiles were in such high demand when America was readjusting life after WWII which proves that there is always a market for something extra special at the top, regardless of what’s going on in the world.
Cadillac quality, fit & finish are what kept them as number one. The evolution of the reputation as “Standard of the World” was built with automobiles such as the 1946 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five as the foundation. These automobiles were without conjecture, the finest luxury cars in the world….which is simply another jewel in the crown of the leader. This ends still another success in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
Thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars for these lovely photos