1939 Brunn Cadillac Body #1 Town Car Built for Joseph E. Widener

Price: US $420,000.00 Item location: Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Cadillac
  • Model: 75
  • Type: Town Car
  • Trim: Brunn
  • Year: 1939
  • Mileage: 2100
  • VIN: 3891879
  • Color: Black/ Burgandy
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: 3 speed column
  • Interior color: Gray
  • Drive side: left
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1939 Cadillac 75 Brunn

For Sale is what was considered to be the best car ever built by Brunn and Company. I say this because I had many conversations with Mr. Brunn in 1966 when I purchased this car in Philadelphia. Mr. Brunn stated that this was the most elegant town car which was even more unusual due to the timing of the commission, a period when completely hand made town cars were few. Most cars were augmented or customized. He was extremely happy to hear that the car was still in existence and offered any help that I would need to restore the car. He was quite resourceful and quite the gentleman. It was always a pleasure speaking with him. Mr. Brunn sent me a very descriptive letter describing this car and a large amount of black and white 8 by 10 photos of the car from the wooden frame to one of the Brunn workman who is forming chestnut molds to hand hammer the rear fenders, one for the left and one for the right, and also interior and finished photos of the exterior from his archives. This beautiful car was commissioned by Joseph Early Widener of Elkins Park Pa. Mr. Widener ordered 2 identicaltown cars, body # 1 was sent to his 110 room mansion in Elkins Park, Lynnewood Hall, body # 2 was shipped to Hialeah where Mr. Widener owned a smaller winter house, 65 rooms, and he owned and operated the Hialeah horse racing track. The Widener family also owned controlling interest in the White Star Lines which owned the ill fated Titanic, on which he lost his nephew Harry, his older brother George Dunton Widener, and his valet. Georges wife, Eleanor and her maid survived. Joseph Widener was a founding benefactor of the creation of the National Gallery of Art donating his massive collection of master paintings and decorative arts. Harry's mother, Eleanor, commissioned Horace Trumbauer to design the Harry Elkins Widener library at Harvard to honor her son and house one of the most important collections of books and manuscripts that Harry had collected and was formerly housed at Lynnewood.

Mr. Widener was not pleased with the design of cars from the late pre war era and wanted a standout, statement automobile, and he got it. I look at this car and am consistently amazed at how well the transition is to integrate a 1939 front seamlessly in to the sleek design of the custom built body. There was a clear reason why Brunn cars were of such high regard. The 2nd car was destroyed in the 1950's while still in Florida. Mr. Brunn stated that this particular order was the financial driving force that kept the Brunn Co. in business for the next few years. No expense was spared on this car. The Chauffeur compartment is finished in Italian leather the rear comapartment is the finest dove gray English broadcloth. The carpeting is from the Woolton factory in England. The silver Saint Christopher Medal mounted in the wood work behind the division is from the Hermes store in Paris, the swing out winding clock is Jaeger. The car is painted in Jaguar black and burgundy which was the Widener colors. I used single stage DuPont enamel.While other millionaires were keeping a very low profile due to the still negative effect of the great depression, Mr. Widener was not concerned about being seen in his car. The cost was approximately 27,000.00, a major amount of money in 1939. The restoration of this car was extremely expensive and lengthy. The car is a pleasure to drive. The restoration is not quite Concours, but very close with aminimal extension of minor work.

This is a model 75 Cadillac chassis which was shipped to Brunn and Co. in Buffalo N.Y. A copy of the bill of laden from Cadillac motors will accompany the car stating that it was only the front of the body. The design was created and approved by Mr. Widener. The body is oak and chestnut, covered in 18 g aluminum. The door handles and main door pillar, along with multiple partsare solid bronze, specifically designed for this car. The vanity on the left of the car contains a cigar lighter and matching holder, there is a matching ash tray in the arm rest and a document holder inserted in the arm rest. Theright hand vanity has a stunning Art Deco stand which holds a signed sterling silver and gold compact, lipstick, and perfumer with pave rubies. Both of the vanities have beveled mirrors and they are lit individually by switches in the arm rest, this switch also lights the opera light behind each occupant. The call button for the intercom is on each arm rest and is mother of pearl. The 2 jump seats allow plenty of room for extra passengers. All of the chroming in the back of the car is platinum finished, a technique that reduced the plain chrome to a more satin finish. I do own the original lap robe which is mink and will be with the car. Also the ivory Brunn labels are now back on the car, one on each door at the bottom and one on the trunk lid. The exterior Bruun silver labels are mounted on the cowl visible around the side mounts.

The identification plate is located under the right side chauffeur seat mounted on to the seat frame. Every part on this car has the corresponding design number followed by a 1. The radio is located in the floor in the same area and there are speedometer cables which run to the right arm rest controls. The power source is in the trunk area along with the power for the intercom system. There are 2 speedometers, the standard dash, and one in the rear of the car, very interesting. I have had this car for 52 years and to part with this important piece of history is very difficult. It has never been exposed to the public, through shows or publications. I have an extensive amount of photographs from Mr. Brunn of the car being built, some of which I have included in the listing, and also a portfolio of original society photographs of Mr. Widener in Florida. A very detailed letter from Mr. Brunn is also included. This is a once in a life time purchase for the discerning collector. Any information that I have neglected to add will be answered, however I do think that the photos in this case speak for themselves. Thank you for looking, if you wish to contact me please use my E-mail clockman1700@comcast.net