“I’ve always loved any kind of car,” Keith Williams confesses. The make, model or year of a car is irrelevant to him. What really matters is that a car has a certain intangible quality that reaches out to him.
In November 1994, a classified ad for a 1931 Cadillac in a newspaper captured his attention. Williams went to inspect the car and found a dust-covered, long-dormant, close-coupled town-sedan that was more-or-less complete. The once-handsome body of the five-passenger Cadillac was in terrible condition due to a leak in a pipe above the car that had dripped fluid down onto it. Williams says, “It looked like something I could fix.”
The Cadillac was winched onto a rented trailer and Williams towed it 50 miles home. Williams remembers that the 353-cubic-inch V-8 engine was running, but just barely. More that six decades of use had deteriorated the cork floats in the carburetor. “The carburetor needed to be cleaned out,” Williams says.
The decision was made to strip the car down to bare bones. As the 1931 Cadillac came apart Williams found it had no rust. “It was a perfect car to restore,” Williams says.
Near the 100-mph speedometer the odometer in the dashboard had registered about 65,000 miles, a figure Williams has no reason to question. When new the 4,675-pound Cadillac had a base price of $2,845.
In the process of stripping the town-sedan, Williams learned that the Cadillac had originally worn a coat of Saddle Tan paint with a Chocolate Brown top and black fenders. As the ’31 Cadillac was being reassembled Williams kept the fenders black, but painted the body Blood Red with the top Black Cherry. Typical of cars from that era, a fabric insert occupies the center of the roof. A gray mohair fabric that matches the original was located in Massachusetts.
At the rear of the 1931 vehicle, on the adjustable luggage rack, is the original black trunk. Williams is quick to point out a notch in the right corner.