1979 Courier Cadillac
This unique car is one of the most sophisticated and artfully-proportioned neo-classic roadsters ever built. It’s a quantum leap over more familiar ‘recreations’ such as the Panther Deville and Clenet because it’s widely considered part of Cadillac history. Its flowing contours and authentically executed details draw on the distinctive design of the Mercedes-Benz 540K – yet it behaves and performs just like a slick 1980s luxury car, with automatic transmission and power steering on tap.
The Courier Cadillac is, in effect, the prototype for a small series, constructed at a vast cost that reflected the complexity of the task. It was tested at the high-speed bowl at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, where a maximum of 125mph was attained, and its handling was refined – including up-rated suspension, stiffer rear anti-roll bar, and better braking – in shakedowns at the Goodwood circuit, where a leading test driver from the renowned Mithril Racing praised the finished car’s neutral handling in fast corners, and compared it favourably to a Bentley Brooklands. It comes with supportive correspondence from the Cadillac division of General Motors, and featured heavily in John Heilig’s book The Cadillac Century. This combination of integrity drew us to the Courier, together with the knowledge that it would have wide appeal.
The painstaking construction work commenced in the UK in the late 1980s, using experienced contractors and experts. It was built on the perimeter frame structure of a 1979 Cadillac Seville, chassis number 6S69B8Q493526, with a 6.6-litre fuel-injected V8 engine boasting a useful 400lb ft of torque. The fully coachbuilt coupe bodywork was in hand-beaten aluminium throughout, finished in a discreetly stylish Royal blue with Navy blue mudguards, together with a black mohair fixed roof.
All exterior parts, including glass and lighting, window frames and front grill were custom-made or selected to keep every aspect deliciously 1930s. Inside, meanwhile, the Seville’s adapted dashboard and steering wheel are part of the ‘normal’ driving characteristics that make this such a thoroughly usable everyday car. Seats and trim are beautifully handcrafted in black leather. Other modern luxuries have been deftly adapted from the Seville, including electric windows, power-operated seats and boot release, air-conditioning, and an ingenious control to switch the stainless-steel exhaust to a straight-through setting that gives the usually silent Seville powertrain a throaty growl.
This is a handsome, driveable machine with full MoT and a huge file charting a fascinating history. It’s covered just shy of 48,000 miles and is mechanically as robust as any contemporary Cadillac. As a single investment, or an always-enjoyable contrast to other cars in your collection, we can guarantee there’s nothing else quite like it.
And if you’re wondering why the Courier never entered production, the answer is simple. There was no way a car of this quality could possibly make sense financially which, ironically, makes it excellent value at our asking price (available on application) today.
Price £ POA.