Amazing Vintage Photos Of 1937 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Hartmann Cabriolet

This custom Cadillac is probably the most extreme cabriolet ever built. The car was originally commissioned by wealthy playboy Philippe Barraud. He wanted a custom car constructed on a grand scale and in late 1936 ordered a 452 cu in Cadillac V16 chassis through the Edelweiss Garage in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Cadillac shipped a bare chassis, one of only two that year, around the world to Switzerland and there it was bodied in Lausanne by Willy Hartmann. Barraud wanted to body the chassis in his own home town so he could personally supervise the work.

After two year’s war broke out and the Cadillac was stored for ten years. It was then brought back to life and Phillipe had it repainted white over pale blue to use it over the next ten years. It was again repainted light over dark brown after a crash which destroyed the front end and its lights. New bullet lights were fitted to replace the small driving lights that did little for the grace of the design. Additionally a full width bumper was constructed.

Abandoned by its owner in the mid-sixties, the car was “discovered” 31 years later, in derelict condition, in a field near Geneva, Switzerland. That was in the summer of 1968. It was acquired in April the following year by the 2nd owner, Mr. Jean-Jacques Belet of Lausanne, for just CHF4000 (the equivalent at that time of approximately $925).

The car has changed hands 10 times since then. Restored four times (the last time in 2017–18) and probably owing in a large part to a “tampered” dash-mounted coachbuilder’s nameplate (added around 1985), the value of the Hartmann roadster has soared out of all normal proportions. The actual price paid by the current owner has not been disclosed but may be estimated to be around “a few million” dollars.

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