Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mae West: V-12

During her career, gutsy MAE WEST never took a back seat — — except when she was being driven by her chauffeur.
• • Here's what Mae was doing seventy-five years ago on 16 April 1934, during the height of the Depression: the Paramount Pictures star had ordered and signed for a 1934 V-12 Cadillac Town Cabriolet. The specifications indicated: a black chassis; wire wheels; the top (or roof) in Landau black leather; upholstery in black leather.
• • In the summer of 1995, that well-preserved luxury Cadillac starred in the All-Car Shootout Show Sunday at the Long Island Arena, Veterans Memorial Highway, Commack. In 1995, Newsday reporter Lynn Petry announced that the vintage vehicle was then owned by Joseph Amodei of the Long Island Dream Cars Club, who had purchased it two years before.
• • The newspaper noted that the famous Hollywood car recently had a role in the film, "Batman Forever."
• • After owning it for four years, Mae West donated it to a convent in Sacramento, California.
• • She replaced the 1934 Cadillac Town Cabriolet model with a 1938 Cadillac Fleetwood V-16 Limousine. [Ownership papers for Model 9033F noted this vehicle was also purchased new by the actress.]

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1934 • •
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Mae West.

3 comments:

Robert said...

Mae West and a host of other Hollywood celebrities, used to frequent the now abandoned Redbanks Hotel near Woodlake, CA. West broke down in Woodlake once and a local man helped her driver get the Cadillac going again. West later gave the car to him and it is still in his collection to this day...

Anonymous said...

If you check the Caddilac archives, you will find that Mae West didn't take delivery of the 1934 V12 Town Car Cabroliet until 1935, and the car was registerd as such for many years. They corrected the registration mistake when it was pointed out that Caddilac made 4 of this particular cars (V12)only in 1934 and that the body styling changed drastically beteewn '34 and '35. This car resided in a private home in Eugene ,Oregon from 1972 until 1983, where it was sold to Troutman's Emporium, that later went defunct.Troutman also owned a 1942 Lincoln that had once belonged to Barbara Striesand.

MJ Madden said...

The private home in Eugene were my parents.

Here is a copy of email segments sent to current owner, LMClassics, about vehicle as they represent the vehicle as non restored on their webpage.

That is inaccurate. My family spent nearly 10 years retoring this beauty before selling to the Troutman brothers who were family friends.
Here is a link to the newspaper article from 1974 substantiating my claim as to the car being restored.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1243&dat=19740824&id=2TlYAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VPcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2954,1711042


Dear Larry or whom it may concern,

I find distress in your article describing the Mae West 1934 Cadillac as virtually unrestored on your webpage.

This car took nearly 10 years of our family life as my father, Brick P. McKelvey painstakingly restored from the bottom up. I personally wet sanded, as did my siblings, between ever one of the 12 coats of hand rubbed lacquer on the car’s exterior. Months of waiting for the blemish free leather to arrive from England for the Chauffer’s compartment. Let alone getting the pink hued Mohair from it’s original manufacturer still in business in the 1970’s. (NOT velour as stated in the article)

It was a complete top to bottom restoration to Cadillac specs at the time the car was delivered to Mae West. Like I said, 10 years of my Dad’s life and our families was devoted to this car.

After my brother’s passing in August, I located more documentation and a photo album (many autographed) of Mae West which I have in my position.
Including a letter from Cadillac confirming delivery of vehicle to Don Lee, INC for Mae West.

My Father did sell the car to Robert and Dallas Troutman in 1983 in 100% completely restored condition. They were the owners of Emporium Clothing Chain...eventually the car found it’s way to Joe Amodei,Sr of New York. I have had correspondence with Joe Jr. about the car.

This blurb was forwarded to Larry Wolfe in 2009.....from my brother Jeffrey Arnold
" Brick went down to Reno to see it, then it was taken to Eugene by auto transport. It was off loaded at the Shell station, and once we connected the battery, Brick was able to drive it home. The only significant pieces missing were the Jaeger clock and a mother of pearl dome light cover. Brick was anonymously contacted by some guy in California about the clock, and he bought it sight unseen for a very reasonable price. The mother of pearl dome light cover was found at a swap meet in Albany, Oregon. Brick was able to locate and acquire the Trippe driving lights and the attached trunk shortly after purchasing the car. The radio actually worked too. The exterior was in fair condition no major rust or damage. The interior was completely shot.
Mom was able to do some research, but by lucky happenstance, the Director of Research for GM wanted Brick to look at a 48 Cad in Eugene, to see if it was worth purchasing. It was, and the guy was very pleased. So as a return favor, he provided the documentation for the vehicle, including that it was originally delivered to Don Lee Cadillac in Los Angeles for Mae West. The interior was custom finished in LA and the upholsterer was still in business and had records about the car. The car was restored to to original specs, including getting the English mohair from the same manufacturer as the
original."

I would appreciate the address/contact information of CLC Magazine so that the record can be corrected on the current LMClassic Website. If anyone knows about this CLC magazine, I would appreciate their info.

Credit deserves to go to my father, Brick P McKelvey for his meticulous restoration
to original factory specifications of this of this car.

Thank you Sincerely,
Molly Madden
Eugene, Oregon
email: veryprettywoman@hotmail.com