Lot 19

2013   |   Scottsdale Auctions 2014

1903 Cadillac Model A Tonneau

SOLD $178,750


$100,000 - $130,000| Without Reserve





Car Highlights

A Stunning Example of Cadillac’s First-Ever Production Automobile
Eligible for the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run
Multiple Award-Winning Restoration
Shown at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
2011 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Award Winner
Original Color Scheme

Technical Specs

98 CID Leland and Faulconer Single-Cylinder Engine
Surface-Style Carburetor 6.5 HP
2-Speed Forward, 1-Speed Reverse, Planetary Transmission
Single Brake on Differential
Solid Front Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

Saleroom Addendum

*Please note that the chassis number listed in the catalogue is actually the body number of the car. Please also note that a bolt on the rear-drive sprocket that is currently missing will be replaced at no additional cost to the buyer.

Register to Bid

Formerly the Property of Stu Laidlaw

This Car

This charming Model A Tonneau was shipped to Halsey Auto Company in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 29, 1903. Assigned invoice no. 428, this was one of four Cadillacs sent to Halsey on that date, all of which were painted black. Records show that there were the only four 1903 Model A Cadillacs that were delivered in black, which suggests that they were a special order. This is also one of only approximately four cars to receive Nickel trim that year.

Twenty-five years ago, noted restorer and collector Stu Laidlaw bought this Cadillac as part of a Midwest collection of “barn finds” that included some very notable American automobiles. Tucked away with this Cadillac were the oldest-known Ford, no. 13, and the only single-cylinder Buick thought to exist. This Model A was complete and original, but its body was quite worn with only small pieces of wood able to be saved for reconstruction.

Laidlaw impeccably restored the Cadillac and sold it to the consignor, finishing it in time for the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded the Dave Holls award for “Most Outstanding General Motors Car.” During restoration, it was discovered that the Model A was incredibly authentic, with an original 1903 engine complete with its original copper water jacket. This powerplant, complete with original carburetor and the rest of the original drivetrain, muffler, frame, steering, suspension, pedals, lamps, and front seat were incorporated in the car’s meticulous and award-winning restoration. Further concours successes include Best of Show at the 2012 Ironstone Concours d’Elegance and presentation at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Eligible for the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run and already a proven concours winner, this Cadillac will offer enjoyable and affordable entry into Brass Era automobile ownership to any owner wishing to enhance a collection with this special early treasure.

The Cadillac Model A

Known originally as simply the Cadillac “Tonneau,” this was – along with a two-seat “Runabout” version – Cadillac’s first ever production model and was introduced at the January 1903 New York Auto Show. This initial offering was later referred to as the “Model A” by Cadillac to differentiate it from the later, but similar, “Model B.” Known for its quality construction and class-leading reliability, the Model A was an instant success with 2,286 orders pouring in the week following its debut.

The Model A featured a simple single- cylinder-engine design and was built by Leland and Faulconer, who also supplied the two-speed planetary transmission and the steering gear. The engine produced a strong 6.5 hp using fully actuated valves and utilized a copper water jacket around its cast-iron cylinder for cooling.

Priced at $750 for the runabout version and $850 for the tonneau, a total of 2,497 cars were built in 1903.