Hershey | Lot 247
1904 Cadillac Model B Touring
$75,000 - $100,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
8 October 2021
- Offered from the Collection of Les Holden
- Delivered new to Mexico; now sold by its first American owner, ever
- Meticulously restored by Mr. Holden during 24 years of ownership
- Superbly researched and extremely correct
- AACA Senior National First Prize winner
This striking Cadillac Model B boasts a most unusual history, having been shipped directly to Mexico City, Mexico, on 7 November 1904, and delivered to the Mexico Electric Vehicle Company, which may well have been the actual selling dealer. According to Mr. Holden, he was told that the buyer was the mayor of the city of Monterrey, and it remained in his family until 1990. A Colombian man then bought the car, imported it into the United States, and made an unsuccessful attempt to sell it to a Dallas Cadillac dealer. It was eventually offered to Les Holden, who acquired the Model B in 1997. In 2005, he began undertaking a painstaking restoration.
In the 15 April 2020 issue of Old Cars Weekly, Mr. Holden noted, “It was a bare chassis, but a complete bare chassis...It had a front axle, an engine, rear end, sprocket, gas tank, transmission, linkages. The hubcaps were there, which was great because it’s a Federal axle and their hubcaps are a little different than American Ball Bearing.” The entire driveline remained in good condition, complete with the original chain, and even the piston was free.
Mr. Holden’s painstaking attention to detail involved finding both the front and rear body sections from other original cars, so that the body would be “original Cadillac,” while the fenders and water tank were fabricated, and other components sourced at flea markets. Research into original cars enabled recreation of the correct upholstery and pinstriping patterns. When the restoration was completed, Mr. Holden took the car for a test drive he recounted as being somewhat poignant—as this was the first drive the Cadillac had taken on American soil, with an American owner.
The restoration’s excellence was awarded an AACA Senior National First Prize in 2009, and the car shown at Amelia Island the following year. It won its class at Pinehurst in 2013 and in 2020 was featured in Mr. Holden’s own words in the Wall Street Journal. It remains in superb overall condition, accompanied by a reprinted manual and the exhaustively detailed invoices and starting instructions typical of the Holden cars. It may well be the most exceptional restoration on a Model B Cadillac.