1923 CADILLAC Tow Car with WEAVER Wrecker

Discovered accidentally after being misled by GPS directions in Hawaii, this vehicle was a rare find and is an outstanding example of the early beginnings of the towing and recovery industry.  The unit is a true survivor remaining in absolutely 100% original and numbers matching condition after almost 100 years.  Equipped with a 51 HP flat head V8 engine with an aluminum block, it is in running condition and is routinely driven during special events at which it makes appearances.

 

The unit is one of the oldest existing combinations in existence and research is being conducted to determine if it possibly is the oldest documented survivor in the world.   The combination factor being where the original wrecker is still mounted on the original chassis with which it was first combined.

 

Records obtained from the archives of The Cadillac Division of General Motors reveals that the chassis was shipped as a 5 passenger coupe from Detroit, Michigan on Sept. 22, 1922 to a dealer in Omaha, Nebraska.  The original documents indicate that no customer name was associated with the order and it is speculated that it was ordered specifically for conversion to a tow car by the dealer.  The first known wrecker apparatus or tow car was built by Ernest Holmes in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1916 and was also mounted on a converted Cadillac due to it being the largest and sturdiest chassis available.  Holmes modified his Cadillac by removing the rear seat area and refabricating the cab while mounting a rear body upon which to mount the towing apparatus.  This Cadillac follows this style of modification and markings still visible on the sides of the unit indicate that it was operated by B & P (BUICK & PONTIAC) AUTHORIZED SERVICE in David City, Nebraska which is a short distance from the original dealer to where it was first delivered in 1922. 

 

At some unknown date, the unit was retired and subsequently passed through a number of owners before making its way to the island of Oahu in Hawaii  where it was discovered and purchased due to its truly unique and outstanding status as one of the oldest known surviving combinations.  The unit was containerized and shipped by sea from Honolulu, Hawaii to Tacoma, Washington.  It was then trucked to Seattle where it was stored briefly with AIRPORT TOWING before being picked up and transported in an enclosed vehicle hauler to Canada.