Not your average Pride & Joy...
In fact it appears to be a step back in time down the time tunnel to a
Cadillac show room, probably in Pitt or George Street in Sydney and it’s
been brought back to 1999 from 1929.
The old movies, black and white variety, have a lot to answer for...
“The Untouchables, “Bonnie and Clyde”, Ma Baker and Her Boys, John
Dillinger, Al Capone and his underworld, etc etc. I think as a result of
seeing all these cars in black and white, I know I grew up believing
that the old cars of the 20's and 30's had no colour schemes.
When you see Mike’s 1929 Roadster and its two tone colour scheme,
burgundy and tangerine with vermillion pin striping everywhere, you
begin to wonder what other exciting colour schemes were available at the
Over a sixteen year period of on and off again work on the roadster, it
has come to fruition. That’s in between a couple of 1929 Dual Cowl
Phaetons and a 1930 V16 Sport Phaeton which is now well under way let me
tell you. It is guaranteed to make us all feel like peasants, unless we
have a good imagination and can dream of owning and driving such an
exceptional machine in fantasy land. It is the ultimate in Caddy land.
The only other car that I covet more than this is the mighty 1932 SJ
Dusenberg or Dusey. That V16 will be the subject of the next pre-1950
article out of Mike’s garage. What do post 50's have to offer that comes
anywhere near this?
With the trouble light in the engine bay turned on and the bonnet
closed, the glow seen through the bonnet louvre vents gives the
impression the engine is running hot.
Mike has fitted blinkers for safety but has added a little something
extra. The blinker indicator lights mounted below the dash but in an
easily visible position, have red and green colouring for port and
starboard turning, that is left and right turns.
The fixed pilot ray lights mounted on the front bumper brackets have
their own built in spirit levels built into the top ornament moulding
for adjusting the lights aim more easily.
Four of the six wire wheels were sourced from the USA. Wheels are always
a problem as they are left out in the weather and allowed to sink into
the ground. The wheels were rebuilt with stainless steel spokes and apparently when
the car is on the move this gives the impression of chromed wire wheels.
The engine has a nice additional touch to it in the form of a dual down
draft carby set up, originally sourced from Ron Ferguson, parts dealer.
This took many years for Mike to relieve Ron of this genuine accessory
item and only came about through swapping an original 1922 Rolls Royce
sales book which sadly didn’t survive the Lidcombe fire.
Driving impressions are naturally compared to the 1929 Cadillac Dual
Cowl Phaeton of Mike’s as a bench mark and even though Mike admits to
not being as fussy about roadsters compared to his Dual Cowl Phaeton, he
was pleasantly surprised by its more zippy performance and turn of
speed. Well it’s the 1929 hot rod, lighter body and dual carbies.
Mike is looking forward to riding in the dicky seat with the section of
rear window and hood opened up to communicate with front seat occupants
and also has the dual advantage of a good flow through ventilation
The Rushcutters Bay Smash Repairs were once again hosts to the paint job
done in burgundy and tangerine with a vermillion pin stripe running
around body bead line, guard bead lines and bonnet louvres etc., a very
nice finishing touch.
The chassis, diff., front scuttle, front guards and original right hand
steering box were sourced from Punchbowl in Sydney while engine and gear
box came from Lismore.
The roadster body is by Fisher/Lamb. That is to say patterns copied from
original bodies in America and reproduced by Peter Lamb of body building
fame. Peter built the wooden frame work and shaped the metal cladding.
The Cadillac upholstery is done in burgundy leather with matching
carpets and Cadillac badges scripted into the door storage pockets by
Bruce Gibbs. The fold down roadster roof is beige in colour. This
upholstery is expertly done by the same upholsterer that carried out the
job on the 1929 Dual Cowl Phaeton.
Engine–90o V8 3 5/16” x 4 15/16” bore of stroke, HP rated @ 35.1 BHP 90
@ 3000 rpm, Torque 208 lbs/ft (net), Pressure feed to piston pins. 3
main brg crank, silent chain camshaft drive and roller cam followers.
Trans– twin disc driven dry clutch plates, 3 speeds forward and reverse,
chrome-nickel steel gears and shafts, faces of gear teeth ground on
special grinding machines for silent operation, copper/alum alloy
crankcase separate to cylinder blocks.
Lubrication–full pressure lubrication from gear pump, float oil level
indicator (no dip stick).
Radiator/cooling system–thermostatically controlled radiator shutters
with vertical balanced shutter blades, 6 bladed fan positively
Rear engine mounts–rubber insulated, torque tube complete seal assembly,
fully floating rear axles.
Wheels–wheels and tyre size 700x20” WB 140.
Story by George GrayPhotos by Mark Bean