Cadillac Models & History 1946

1946 Cadillac Sedanet

Endinga hurried production run that had begun four years earlier, just after Pearl Harbor, the last M-24 tank rolled off the Cadillac assembly line on August 24, 1945. Amazingly, the first ’46 Caddy was produced on October 7, 1945.

By necessity, the ’46 Cadillac was a quickly thrown-together rehash of what Cadillac had offered in 1942, and only Series Sixty-Two four-door sedans were built at first. Cadillac ads made much of the fact that their “Battle-Proved” engines and transmissions were the only automotive components continually produced without interruption during the war, and improved along the way to boot. A major modification, however, was the adoption of a negative battery ground.


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1946 Cadillac Sedanet

Styling changes were minimal, though noticeable. Rectangular parking lights resided on the upper portion of the slightly modified grille (with fewer vertical bars), and wraparound bumpers were adopted front and rear. The front of the hood and the decklid now sported the Cadillac crest nestled in a “V,” which would become a long-standing trademark, so the Cadillac block lettering was moved to the front fenders.


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1946 Cadillac Sedan

Model offerings were pared to just 11 for 1946. Gone entirely were the Series Sixty-Three and Sixty-Seven, while the Sixty Special lost its division-window model, as well as the vertical chrome strips on the fenders. The latter were replaced by five hash marks on each C-pillar. Series Sixty-One and Sixty-Two continued with the coupe and sedan, and the later boasted the only convertible in the lineup as since 1941. The Series Seventy-Five, meanwhile, was pared to five models, down three, although five-, seven-, and nine-passenger models were still listed, as were the Imperial models with divider windows. Seventy-Fives traded the hood louver decorations and triple fender speedlines of ’42 for an almost full-length chrome strip starting at the front of the hood, and gained stainless steel running boards. Cadillac block lettering was moved to the lower front fenders.


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1946 Cadillac Interior

Strikes and materials shortages, particularly of sheet steel, were major industry-wide problems during the ’46 production year. Thus, some Cadillacs went through the assembly lines with only brackets to hold temporary wooden bumpers — the real ones had to be installed by dealers as they became available later.


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1946 Cadillac Coupe

Pressure on Cadillac to produce was intense. Even in 1947, there were still almost 100,000 unfilled orders for what one division sales manager, D. E. Ahrens, called “. . . one of the most sought-after, and most scarce items in the world today.” People knew Cadillac’s value and prestige, and that was what they wanted, but due to the early postwar difficulties only 29,214 customers got to drive a ’46 Caddy home.


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1946 Cadillac back seat

And those that managed to get one paid for the privilege, as the price-leader Sixty-One fastback now started at $2052, up a whopping 41.5 percent over 1942. The Business Imperial nine-passenger sedan, the most expensive 1946 offering, listed at $4346, up $1266, or 41.1 percent. Of course, pricing was a problem for all automakers in the inflationary days following the war.


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1946 Cadillac Sedanet

In 1946 four models were offered:


1946 Cadillac Notes


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1946 Cadillac

  • Division windows between front and rear seats were available on Fleetwood models for limousine use
  • Commercial chassis were provided for makers of hearses and ambulances.
  • A limited number of dual-cowl phaetons were also constructed on Cadillac chassis this year.
  • The Classic Car Club of America recognizes all 1946 Series 75 models as classic cars.
  • Nicholas Dreystadt leaves Cadillac to be general manager of Chevrolet
  • John “Jack” F. Gordon (1900-) had been chief engineer, in June he becomes general manager of Cadillac until 1950
  • Edward N. Cole was chief engineer in June
  • William Mitchell was chief designer (Cadillac Studio)
  • Don E. Ahrens was general sales manager
  • Cadillac production figures
Series 613,001
Series 6218,566
Series 605,700
Series 751,927

1946 Automotive Notes

  • Charles E. Wilson was president of GM
  • Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. was chairman of the board at GM
  • Prices of cars are almost double the 1942 prices
  • Over two million cars built in 1946
  • Because of strikes and shortages, production is not as high as it could be
  • Only Studebaker and Kaiser-Frazer introduce new models
  • Other manufacturers offer “warmed over” 1942 models
  • William Stout develops a fiberglass prototype with a rear-mounted engine
  • Chevrolet is first to advertise on TV
  • Tucker Corp. announces its plan to issue $20 million in common stock
  • 82 million tires are produced
  • Oldsmobile’s Self-shift Hydra-Matic transmission becomes popular
  • In the craze for cars, kit cars and creative 3-wheelers are introduced
  • Top American Automobile Corporations for 1946
1. General Motors836,132
2. Chrysler578,360
3. Ford571,275
4. Others240,106

  • Top model year production for 1946
Super Deluxe371,857
Series 40 Special3,000
Series 50 Super118,884
Series 70 Roadmaster31,743
Torpedo Six26,636
Streamliner Six43,430
Torpedo Eight18,273
Streamliner Eight49,301
Special 6628,860
Dynamic Cruiser 7653,456
Dynamic Cruiser 7820,953
Custom Cruiser 9814,364
Super Six61,787
Commodore Six17,685
Super Eight3,961
Commodore Eight8,193
Clipper Six15,892
Clipper Eight1,500
Clipper Deluxe 85,714
Super Clipper4,724
Custom Super Clipper2,763
Series 613,001
Series 6218,566
Series 605,700
Series 751,927