A 1941 Cadillac custom-built for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor goes under the hammer at RM Auctions and Sotheby’s exclusive Art of the Automobile sale, scheduled for November 21, in New York City. This one-of-one limo, affectionately known as “The Duchess,” is estimated to fetch between $500,000 to $800,000. This stunning automobile is one of the most famous Cadillacs ever produced, and is an important piece of automotive and society history. Long thought to be destroyed, this bespoke car has been missing from the public eye since 1952. General Motors delivered the car to the Windsors at the Waldorf Towers on Park Avenue, New York, where they had a suite. The Duke paid an astonishing $14,000 for the masterwork of Art Deco design, an extravagant sum in 1941.
“The Cadillac is understated and decidedly European in its elegance, from the limited use of chrome to the Windsor “W.E.” monogram and crown on the door.”
One of the first Cadillacs to have power windows, fitted with satin privacy curtains, the limousine also features some special fixtures such as four brushed stainless-steel jewelry cases, each lined in velvet, to carry the Duchess of Windsor Jewels and three cigar lighters and two ashtrays, along with a humidor and custom rack for the Duke’s favored Sasieni pipes.
Alain Squindo, Vice President, RM Auctions, says, “This Cadillac is an exceptionally important part of both automotive and social history, and it is particularly appropriate that the car should be offered for sale in New York, the city to which it was delivered new and in which it has not been seen in many years. From front to back and throughout the entire interior, it is a design statement unlike any other to come from Detroit in those years.”
The current owner is a Birmingham, Ala., food critic and Cadillac collector. Morgan Murphy found it in a barn next to a tractor in Texas in 2005. It comes to auction in outstanding, restored condition, and it is accompanied by copies of original historic photography from General Motors, press clippings, and newsreels of the era.