• Wonderfully unrestored with just two owners since 1935
• Historic example from the first year for Delco self-starting
• Former long-term part of the Buess Family Collection in California
• Sought after four-passenger touring body; lights retain original lenses
• Wonderful candidate for preservation or concours restoration
286.3 cid L-head inline four-cylinder engine, single Cadillac float-feed carburetor, 32.4 HP (ALAM rating), 40+ BHP (actual output), three-speed sliding-gear manual transmission, live front and semi-floating rear axles, semi-elliptic front leaf springs and platform rear suspension with longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs and transverse leaf spring, dual mechanical rear wheel brakes; wheelbase: 116”
While Cadillac enjoyed an immediate reputation for quality and innovation, commercial realities dictated a change in focus from single-cylinder cars to a single four-cylinder model line offering the efficiencies and economies to be reaped from streamlined, in-house production on one assembly line of a moderate-priced, top-quality automobile. The Model D of 1905 was the first Cadillac ‘four’, followed by the Model G of 1907-1908 and the definitive Model 30, which debuted for 1909. Now, as then, the Model 30 continues to be renowned as the best of Cadillac’s foundational era and it clearly benefited from the guidance of Henry Martyn Leland and the growing strength of “Billy” Durant’s growing General Motors empire. Setting a standard for quality, luxury, and performance at a very reasonable price point, the Model 30 firmly positioned Cadillac for the next century of industry leadership.
Model 30 development was swift and continuous, with engine-displacement and power increases, a wide range of body styles, and a growing option list. The Thirty remained the sole model in Cadillac’s catalogue for six years through 1914 and sold briskly throughout its run. In 1912, Cadillac rewrote automotive history with the adoption of Charles Kettering’s Delco electric self-starting/generating/lighting system, a worldwide industry first, which provided a quantum leap in operating ease and safety. Significantly, the Delco system also spurred a bump in Cadillac ownership and operation by growing numbers of women drivers. Advertised as “The Car That Has No Crank,” the Model 30’s success also spurred Cadillac’s enduring “Standard of the World” advertising slogan, first used in late 1912.
Other updates for 1912 included relocation of all controls to the interior of the Model 30. Body choices were streamlined to six, including four open bodies of steel construction and aluminum for the two closed styles. Running board dust shields and easier-to-maintain nickel-plated exterior trim items provided additional refinement. One of precious few examples of the 1912 Cadillac Model 30 surviving today with the close-coupled, four-passenger Touring body style, this wonderful survivor was acquired by Bobby Monical from Sonoma, California’s Buess Family Collection in 2010.
This Cadillac was last licensed for the road in 1923 and it was purchased by Fred Buess, Sr. from a used car lot back in 1935 for the princely sum of $10. The engine was stuck, so Fred towed the car home behind a Model A Ford with his seven-year-old son steering the Cadillac! It remained virtually untouched since then and remarkably, it still retains its original equipment including Cadillac-badged Gray & Davis acetylene headlamps and a pair of matching sidelights, all still with their original lenses. Other features include a folding windshield, the top frame and bows, and a folding footrest for rear passengers. The original 1923 California license plates and a 1915 California registration medallion only add to the historic Cadillac’s wonderful appeal.
While its chassis number does fall within the range of 1910 models in Grace Brigham’s “The Serial Number Book for U.S. Cars 1900-1975,” its documents identify this Cadillac as a 1912 model and it is equipped with the Kettering Delco electric starting equipment which revolutionized automobiles. Sympathetically and carefully preserved original cars like this Cadillac Model 30 Touring are rarely found and are highly prized by smart collectors today. Its preservation – both in the long-term care of the Buess Family and most recently by Bobby Monical – thankfully allows the next owner the exceptional opportunity to return this early Cadillac to mechanical function in otherwise original condition. Alternatively, it will provide an ideal starting point for thorough restoration to concours-quality condition and presentation as desired.
1912 Cadillac Model 30 Four-Passenger Touring
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