Auburn Fall | Lot 2031
1919 Cadillac Type 57 Phaeton by Brewster
The Walter Miller Estate
$28,600 USD | Sold
| Auburn, Indiana
3 September 2020
- Offered from the Walter Miller Estate
- Fascinating, unique coachwork on an extended 145-in.-wheelbase chassis
- Originally delivered to Senator Peter Gerry of Rhode Island
- Handsome older restoration
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
Bearing the sill plates of prestigious New York coachbuilder Brewster, this handsome and unique Cadillac was built for Peter Gerry, a multi-millionaire U.S. Senator for Rhode Island and descendant of founding father Elbridge Gerry, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and Vice President under James Madison. The elder Gerry is best remembered for the politically advantageous redrawing of his Boston district in an amorphous shape resembling a salamander— hence the popular term of a “gerrymandered” district.
The car was built on a 1919 Series 57 chassis with a massive 145-in. wheelbase, some 20 inches longer than standard, as ordered by Senator Gerry from the Cook & Stoddard Company of Washington, D.C., all clearly noted on the Cadillac build documents. Along with the rather sporting open phaeton body, with its “military”-style sharply angled fenders, custom radiator shell, and Victoria top with elaborate tendelet and side curtains, it resulted in an automobile of great impressive elegance. Interesting features include numerous custom storage compartments within the interior, and an access panel for the rear axle under the rear seat.
According to the late Walter Miller, the car was acquired in 1943 by early collector Hans Hinrichs of St. Louis; a photograph showing the car as-purchased accompanies in the file, depicting it in solid and complete original condition and, importantly, very much appearing as it does today. Mr. Hinrichs and his family maintained the Cadillac for forty years before it was sold in 1983 to collector Fred Weber, also of St. Louis, who performed the present restoration. Later the car was acquired by Trevor R. Roycroft of Citrus Heights, California, who is believed to have sold it in 1992 to James F. Cotter of Oklahoma. Mr. Miller purchased it from the Cotter Estate via a Midwestern intermediary early in its 100th year, as one of the final acquisitions for his collection, and subsequently exhibited it at The Elegance at Hershey 2019.
Now a mellowed older restoration, the car retains its original generator/starting system, Kellogg tire pump, and wooden artillery wheels, as well as a storage bag for the top and side curtains, several tools, and an owner’s manual. It is also filled with charming period hardware and accessories, including nickel-plated drum headlights with Monogram lenses, Delco Dayton horn, Boyce Moto-Meter, Waltham dash clock, and the clever “fat man” steering wheel. An electric fuel pump has been fitted for ease of use, bypassing the original vacuum system.
This most unusual Cadillac would be a conversation piece in any collection of “The Standard of the World.”