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Classic AutoRAI 99: pre-war cars:

Buick, Cadillac & CitroŽn

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Buick_Opera_Coupe_1922.jpg (58880 bytes)A very fine example of Buick's pre-war peak period (1919-1926): the Standard Six based Opera Coupť. Buick was the originating marque of General Motors and formed the cornerstone of William C. Durant's empire. Buick helped the car conglomerate to survive the storming success of Ford's Model T, and as the sales of this car slowly diminished in the early '20s Buick took over the lead in the American car market by offering more sophisticated and luxurious yet affordable cars.

Cadillac_Series_370-B_1932_f3q.jpg (37335 bytes)Cadillac is another member of the General Motors stable. It aimed at a much higher segment of the market than Buick and acquired the name of being "the Rolls-Royce of the U.S.A.".
This beautiful "gangster-style" 370-B boosted a V12 engine that shared many components with Cadillac excellent but unprofitable V16 that was introduced in 1930.

Cadillac_Series_370-B_1932_r3q.jpg (35889 bytes)The bodywork of the V12 and V16 models resembled each other, this one was called the "four door five passenger sedan". The 370 designation stands for the engine displacement in cubic inches: 370 cid is about 6 litre engine displacement. The V16 had 7.4 litre displacement, also 452 cid, but it was simply called V16.
The exhibitors told me that the owner of this car was very reluctant to put this car on the show. They convinced him by placing it on a rotating platform to avoid people touching it. I'm happy they did: rare cars in excellent condition like this one make this kind of shows much more worthwhile and enjoyable.

Citroen_B12_1925.jpg (52488 bytes)Something completely different is this CitroŽn B12 from 1925. It has a pressed steel bodywork following an agreement with the American Budd Company. It made car production more efficient and Andrť CitroŽn was one of the first industrialists to introduce this process in Europe.
The design of the car followed the lines of the preceding B2 Conduite Interieure models and was rather conservative. Its engine is a modest 4 cylinder in-line unit of 1628 cc producing about 30 hp @ 3000 rpm.

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