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Presidents or Plants? 1940 Cadillac Parade Car


At this time of Thanksgiving, it’s natural for one’s mind to wander to thoughts of floats and festivals as events like the annual Thansgiving Day Parade unfold on our televisions screens. It also reminds me of a time when parade vehicles were a “thing,” as examples like this 1940 Cadillac Fleetwood parade car here on craigslist remind us. It’s in Western Massachusetts for $16K, and it could be used in parades or possibly as a truly unique Home Depot hauler! 


I can’t quite tell who the cardboard cut-out is of in the backseat, but the American flags in the front reminds me of a presidential parade car I used to search for as a kid at the Hudson River mansion of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He had an old Ford Phaeton in his collection that the museum overseer’s took great care of. This Cadillac Limo is said to be fresh out of long-term dry barn storage and looks like a well-loved survivor.


This Series 72 Cadillac has been converted in the rear to hold waving dignitaries, prom queens and I guess anyone who pays enough to sponsor the local parade route. The concept of a parade car is quickly becoming a vestige of the past, as political dignitaries are kept locked away in highly secure and seriously fortified limousines, and even the Pope has a special vehicle that protects him from undetermined threats. The backseat looks surprisingly intact for being exposed.


Would it be a shame to use this Cadillac as a pickup truck? Probably – but if you wanted to create a domestic homage to the Subaru Brat, all you’d have to do is switch those jump seats around and add a light bar! OK – that would be borderline sacrilegious, and this Caddy is far too well preserved for modification. I’d love to know the history of this Cadillac and whether it carted any royalty at one point in time. Would you use it in the local Thanksgiving Day parade or to pick up a few shrubs?


  1. packrat

    Offered in Hemmings for 15k… Someone here will be able to tell me if this was something infrequently offered as a new conversion, or someone picked up a twelve year old Cadillac to turn into a ‘twice-a-year’ thing, and stored it in the extra service bay at the funeral home between times.

  2. S Ryan

    New meaning to Black Friday?

  3. Ron E Bee

    saw this awhile back, this is a pretty cool car, I assuming that there is no folding top? Still really Cool

  4. Neil G.

    That’s George W. in the back seat

  5. RJ

    The cardboard cut out looks like George W. Bush.

  6. Capt Doug

    Looks like it may have been a flower car originally. this is a 1941 Cadiilac

    • Trickie Dickie Member

      I am pretty darn sure it is a converted flower car. What else could it have been?

    • Mark S

      Judging by the rear doors my vote is this is a suicide door limousine with the roof cut off. I’d be willing to bet that the back of the cab would fit right on to the back of the car where it came from. If this was mine I’d do just that and after it was I place I’d fabricate a new roof to fill in the gap I’d then custom build some new window frames and pillars or grab them out of a donor car if one could be found. Now that this is already a hack job ( and I do mean that literally ) this from hear on I a prime candidate for a restomod ( not a hot rod or a rat rod …… A restomod ) starting with upgrade steering, suspension, brakes and drive line, including a modern crate motor. The next thing would be to modernize the interior with plush leather seats out of a newer caddy that was wrecked. I’d loaded it up with cruse, a/c, tilt wheel, ps, pb, and any other goodie I could think of. Door panels and roof liner would all be custom as well with hidden stereo speaker through out. On the outside I’d keep it looking bone stock with a cream coloured body and dark chocolate brown fenders and to finish things off a set of Coker radials that look old style with big white walls. A Home Depot pickup truck mod would be lame this car deserves so much more. JMHO.

  7. ACZ

    This belongs in someone’s El Camino collection.

  8. RickG

    Great for hauling coonhounds

  9. charlie Member

    Conversion – if only because it does not have fender mounted spare tires – any Parade car of that vintage would have them, you could even get them on the bottom of the line Buick Specials.

  10. Woodie Man

    If I had stumbled on this as a kid in the early seventies I would have bought it on the spot…….. for a grand . The way the bottom of the roof sits on the beltline suggests that the roof came from the rear……its not faired in the way you would assume a designer would design it. I’d love to know who converted it, if converted, and when….still a super neat ride. I’d still buy it today but not at the asking price..just for the novelty…

  11. Harley

    Not a factory original car and not worth anywhere near the ask!

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