1942 Cadillac–Finish The Job?


This is a wartime Series 61 fastback four door sedan, one of few that were manufactured for 1942 private citizen purchase or military use. I suppose it could have been a military staff car, and that’s how the current owners wanted to restore it. However, despite it now running and driving after some work, they have decided to pass it on to someone else. The car is up for sale here on eBay with a buy it now price of $5,995. It’s located in Kent, Washington.


Although almost all the trim has been removed for the start of body work, none has been done that I can tell. While there is some surface rust, the shell does look fairy solid. I’m sure there are some rotten spots hiding, but the car could certainly be restored if you wanted to.


I like the four door fastback shape–it’s a little unusual in my recollection, but I’ll bet one of you readers can tell us if they are really common or not now.

The original owner’s card is with the car, and the seller has identified the lady as a partner in a clothing firm that is still in business. Apparently the company has expressed interest in using the car in advertisements if it were ever restored. Wouldn’t that be cool!


As it is, though, you’re going to have a lot to do before that could happen. The interior is pretty tatty and would require a full restoration if you want it to be in that ad. However, if you like the well-used look, I suppose you could ride as is cosmetically.


Here’s most of the missing trim. The car actually needs two rear fender spear trim pieces, one rear fender skirt, and one windshield wiper blade. It is also missing the air filter.


You’ve got a major decision to make where the engine is concerned. Apparently the car was left outside for a long time, and freezing does bad things for engine blocks. Yes, it’s cracked. The crack has been patched with JB Weld, and the seller says it has held up well but that you should plan to have it repaired properly by welding. The seller says you can have that done without pulling the engine. What do you think about that? Is this a worthwhile project?




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  1. Jesper

    With a damaged engine??
    Keep dreaming about 6000$.
    1500 sounds more realistic.

    Like 1
  2. unclehotrod13

    You can weld or “knit” the block, but if there erent that many made, it could be worth the fix up, the clothing company should buy it

  3. unclehotrod13

    You can weld or “knit” the block, but if there werent that many made, it could be worth the fix up, the clothing company should buy it

  4. ags290

    As soon as I saw the location, I guessed that this was a Filson Car. Just like the company motto: ” Might as Well Have the Best”

  5. charlie Member

    Not many of the 4 door fastbacks were made in the first place, and it was not, as far as I know, carried after the war into the ’46, ’47 line up, while the very attractive 2 door (Sedanette) went through 1949. There was a ’42 Sedanette in Mount Desert, ME, for many years, most of what would have been chrome was painted black. Owned by old man, summer car, then by a teenager who probably drove it into the ground. Alas. Those who bought with the black trim were told they could bring it back after the restrictions on chrome were over, but that man did not, or maybe GM went back on its promise.

  6. Ck

    This car looks alot like my 47 series 62 but the back is diferent .the dash looks pretty much the same as well as the rest of the car.Good luck trying to get 6K for it The 4drs are a tough sell I know this cuz it doesnt seem like anyone wants mine. I’ve had it on the front lawn for almost 2 months and only had a few guys stop guess I’ll decorate it for Christmas Then after the holidays I’ll try crags list and EBay.

    • JCW Jr.

      Why not try listing get it on Barnes Finds. Cheaper than Ebay.

  7. Mark S Member

    I’ll put my welders hat on first, in order to get a proper job done on the engine block Its going to involve firstly a clean oil free surface. Second its not absolutely necessary but greatly increases the chances of success and that is to have the surface to be welded face up so that a flat weld can be preformed. Thirdly the crack needs to be ground out in the form of a (v). Fourthly the block needs to be preheated to 400 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Before welding. Then wrapped in insulation to slow it cool as slowly as possible. If it cools to fast it is likely to crack next to your weld. Now I’m going to put on my mechanics hat the procedure to accomplish this weld correctly will require removing all parts from the block then the block will need to be steam pressured cleaned. Ideally the block needs to be brought up to temperature in an oven to make sure it heats evenly. Even the welding rod needs to be heated up to make sure there is no moisture in them and they will need to be a cast iron rod as well. Now the whole block will need to be checked for distortion and reboring with new parts might need to be done. This sounds like a lot but a weld shop with the right equipment will have no problem getting this done. If your a DIY guy you’d be able to cut your cost of this repair by doing your own mechanical work. Finally your going to want to have that block xrayed after the weld work is done, because you don’t want to find another leak after its all back together. Because this is such a rare and unique engine unless you can find a replacement this is still worth doing and doing right. This used to be a fairly common practice back in the day but it is slowly becoming a lost skill.the car is very cool and I love how cool that engine is so I wish the buyer well on his endeavour to get this car restored, after all anything 1942 is rare.

  8. Lee

    perhaps a visit to see Earl Shieb

  9. Wagonmaster Member

    Looks to be an interesting project. There sure is enough there to try to save it. That engine was, I think, the same model that was fitted to the M3/M5 Stuart Light Tank during WWII. I’ll wager there’s a block sitting in cosmoline somewhere that would work!

    • Ck

      Wagon master you are rite about the motor being used in the tanks. As a mater of fact cadillac built tanks for the war effort in detroit and california. They also used these motors in some other armored vehicles that were being produced by GMC .They even supplyed parts for airplane engines and even used some of their older V16s in bigger tanks that were produced by other mfgs. I’ve learned alot about these old caddys over the past 10 years. From a few old timers that I’ve met at swap meets and cruise nites and doing a little research on the history of my 47. I really do love these cars.Thats probably why I’m not really trying to sell mine.LOL.I have such a hard time letting stuff go.

    • Bill McCoskey

      In the mid 1970s a friend of mine bought one of the surplus tank engines for his 1947 Cadillac fastback, as his car’s engine had overheated way too many times. So he puts this brand new, never used tank engine, a complete motor with all accessories, into his car. The only part he changed was the carb.

      He starts the car and puts the Hydramatic trans into reverse to back it out of the garage. He depresses the gas pedal and, looking back over his shoulder, makes sure nothing is in the way. Problem is, the car lurched forward into the workbench and his tool boxes!

      As he related the story, he didn’t know the tank engines, while based on the Cadillac V8 & looking exactly like the automobile engine except for the carb, had one serious difference: they had an opposite direction of rotation!

      Said he had to obtain a new crankshaft and camshaft to make the tank engine run the right rotation, and change the starter motor. As I recall, he had to change the crank because the bolt in the front end of the crank was threaded the wrong direction too, and could loosen once the engine was running in the corrected direction of rotation.

      • Dave Wright

        We have the same issues with common Detroit Diesel engines, they were built in both right and left hand turning configurations. You have to know what you have and need for your application. Other manufacturers (Chrysler in particular) would drive off the front of the engine to make a left turning and the rear to make a right running so the engines were actually the same. Today, we change the direction in the gear box solving the problem.

  10. Jim

    It’s a rare car but it would be a labor of love project. I’ve done plenty of eng block, trans case and axle hsg repairs, clean clean clean, prep, preheat and cool down are all mandatory but you need access, if the crack starts in some out of the way place it’ll still leak.You could always source a replacement engine and continue the restoration, it would be nice to see it on the road, maybe drop the body on a later model GM chassis and have a more reliable car too. Big job either way to do it right.

  11. RicK

    I looked up 115 Maiden Lane, Seattle on Google maps and its almost directly across the street from the infamous Kurt Cobain house, how weird is that?.Of course it is a really nice (read $$$) neighborhood with sweeping views of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountians, very fitting place to live if your name is Filson. Oh and the “E” on the old Washington license plates means they are Yakima County issue, which means that car spent most of its life on the other side of the mountains from Seattle in the dry desert-like Yakima Valley, may be why its so solid compared to other unrestored cars of that vintage that lived their life sitting outside in soaking wet Seattle.

  12. charlie Member

    Some of the big tanks had two engines, so maybe one rotated the regular way, and the other the opposite? No idea if this is true, but it makes a certain amount of sense mechanically.

    • Dave Wright

      I think that is correct……….they were connected by a combining gear box.

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