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April 2013

Coachbuilders Renderings

By Robert McLellan

From the beginning of the last century to the end of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the rich purchased coachbuilt automobiles. While the average person drove a Model T Ford or some other mass assembled make, the manufacturers of the elegant brands created cars to the specifications of the purchaser that stood out as symbols of wealth. Automobiles were still new inventions and while a mansion would impress your neighbors, a luxurious car could be driven around to impress everyone.

When a Model T could be ordered from a local dealer (often the small town general store that sold groceries, seed and tractors), shopping at an early up-scale auto dealership was very different. The city folks could venture into the exclusive establishment and admire the limited stock of cars on the showroom floor but the salesman was there only to keep them at a safe distance to prevent scratches or smudges. A brochure was rarely offered. When a rich businessman called in with an appointment, he received a ceremonial reception of tea or coffee with appropriate snacks and a selection of catalogs to review. A repeat customer could well receive wine and caviar. But best of all, the dealers album of body styles, colors and upholstery was presented to this distinguished gentleman. A car was ordered from numbered coachbuilder designs, many proposed and yet to be built. It would be noted that his competitors or well known individuals had purchased certain body styles. Usually the dealer suggested personal interior and exterior modifications to make the car distinctive and unique.

The drawings shown here are famed originals offered to prospective buyers to take home in hopes that their wives and friends would be in awe and encourage the purchase. Or possibly the car was ordered and the rendering was to keep the owner in suspense while the car was being built. Extremely rare, we offer these at a discount to our Auto Maniac subscribers.

1930 - FLEETWOOD FLEETMERE (Model 3955C)
1930 - FLEETWOOD FLEETMERE (Model 3955)
1930 - FLEETWOOD FLEETWICK (Model 3912)
1931 - FLEETWOOD (Model 4825)


Auto Maniacs Newsletter, April 2013


Editor-in-Chief: Mona Nath  ~  Technical Editor: Robert McLellan  ~  Photo Editor: Anil Nath

9111 Longstaff Drive, Houston, TX 77031-2711
Phone: (713) 772-3285 :: E-mail: Editor@McLellansAutomotive.com

Auto Maniacs — 2013