The Cadillac That Followed Me Home

Memoir of a V-16 Dream Realized

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About the Book

The Cadillac V-16 was conceived in secrecy in the middle of the Roaring Twenties, when incomes were rising, prosperity seemed endless and the car business was beginning to break from a traditional emphasis on function over form. But by the time the Cadillac V-16 reached showrooms in 1930, the nation was falling headlong into the Great Depression, and it soon became a rare relic of the boom before the crash.
That is why in the mid–1960s, when Christopher Cummings was an adolescent car enthusiast, the oldest Cadillac V-16s were a dream just out of reach. This memoir tells the story of a boy who grew up loving cars, learned everything he could about them, and acquired quite a few impressive models for himself, while always looking forward to the day he would, by surprising circumstance, find the automobile of his dreams. Early chapters reveal the adventure Cummings underwent renovating his first car at age 13. Over the course of his teenage years he would work to acquire three classic Cadillacs: a 1941 Cadillac Series 7523 seven-passenger touring sedan, a 1941 Cadillac Series 61 coupe, and a 1931 Cadillac Series 355A Fleetwood Cabriolet. Later chapters recount the painstaking effort he put into renovating and maintaining those coveted vehicles. The story culminates with Cummings’ unexpected acquisition of the car that earned the motto “Standard of the World,” the 1930 V-16 Imperial Sedan limousine. In all, this memoir bears witness to an elegant sample of the best that the Classic era of automotive history had to offer.

About the Author(s)

Classic automobile lover Christopher W. Cummings is an attorney. He lives in Manassas, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Christopher W. Cummings
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 243
Bibliographic Info: 59 photos (11 in color), index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2808-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       vii
Introduction      1

1. Beginnings      7
2. 1941 Cadillac Series 7523 Seven-Passenger Touring Sedan      18
3. Please Don’t Call Them Junkyards      25
4. Comings and Goings      30
5. Some ’41 Cadillac Adventures      37
6. 1931 Cadillac Series 355A Fleetwood Cabriolet      42
7. The ’41s, Neglected and Recovered      58
8. Getting the Limousine Running      65
9. The Interconnectedness of Things      87
10. Getting Serious About the Fastback      94
11. Freeing Up the Engine      103
12. I Finally Got Around to…      114
13. A Sleepy Engine Wakes Up      137
14. A New Wiring Harness—and By the Way, the Dashboard      147
15. Windshields, Weatherstrip and Worn Gears      168
16. The Fastback Lives!      184
17. Still Smitten by the ’31s      191
18. A Dream Comes Within Reach      195
19. Acquiring the Car of My Dreams      201
20. Musing About the Meaning of Things      228

Index      231

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “worthwhile…the most inspirational book on classic car restoration ever published”—Hemmings Classic Car
  • “interesting, enjoyable and easy to read”—Classic Car Club of America Bulletin
  • “if you enjoy working on vintage automobiles, then this is the book for you”—Skinned Knuckles
  • “read Christopher Cummings’ two books for enjoyment. Then keep them to consult again due to the depth and breadth of information they contain”—SAH Journal