Chassis Number: 486237307
Engine Number: 486237307
- 1 of 2 Built
- Built for New York socialite Louis Ritter
Some of the most flamboyant, and expensive, coachwork ever to come out of France was created, or caused to be, by expatriate Russian cabinet maker Jacques Saoutchik. Although firmly established before the beginning of World War I, it was not until the twenties that Saoutchik rose above most of his contemporaries. After World War II, more lavish and flamboyant designs were built by Saoutchik. This car is one of two 1948 series 62 Cadillac chassis that received similar coachwork.
Underneath the exquisite Saoutchik-styled and -built body, the pair featured a standard Cadillac Series 62 chassis. This meant that despite their exotic appearance, that they could indeed be serviced by any local General Motors dealership. Like most cars of the day, the Series 62 was built around a steel ladder frame with double wishbones at the front and a live rear axle. The Cadillac was powered by 346 CI V-8, which, fitted with a two-barrel carburetor, produced approximately 150 HP.
In 1948, noted New York City furrier Louis Ritter commissioned Saoutchik to create this special convertible on a Cadillac chassis. When the Series 62 chassis arrived in Paris, Saoutchik probably looked at it as an opportunity to try some new ideas he also applied on a Delahaye and expose his work to America. He borrowed only few styling cues from the Cadillac line and used them in a distinctly French way with hopes that the car would gain attention from some of America’s major players. This car was displayed at the Paris Salon of 1948 where it stole the show.
The Cadillac subsequently entered the ownership of Paul Kassoff, long rumored to have been a Ritter associate, and to this day the car bears Kassoff’s initials emblazoned on its radiator shell. From the 1950s until the 1980s it was the property of a family in New Jersey. It was then acquired by the late, collector Rick Carroll, whose private shop restored it in its current dazzling black and violet color scheme around 1989. Subsequently it passed in 1994 to Jerome Sauls, then several years later to Melvin Olshansky. More recently part of a distinguished private collection, its restoration has been superbly maintained and is still in very fine overall condition.