King Edward VIII gave up his throne for American Wallis Simpson and nearly caused a constitutional crisis. He became the Duke of Windsor, she the Duchess, and they took up residence in a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, the most glamorous and fashionable address in New York. Their personal transportation outshone it all.
Their Cadillac limousine dripped with every possible luxury and an inventory of opulent options created specifically to please a king and the lady who might have been his queen: four jewelry cases for her, a cigar humidor and three lighters for him. Also included were a power radio antenna and hydraulic power windows.
All interior appointments are hand fitted. The upholstery is custom made rose-colored broadcloth and the handmade body was a collection of graceful curves exclusive to the car they called "the Duchess." Eventually custom coachbuilder Hooper borrowed the Duchess's sweeping lines for its Rolls-Royce catalog and the Duchess' styling cues made their way to 1950's Buicks.
The crowning touches were a gold plated rendition of Cadillac's iconic Goddess hood ornament and, of course, the Windsor "W. E." monograms on the rear doors.
"There is a unique elegance to the line and form of the 'Duchess' that is at least a decade ahead of its time'" said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. "This is a hand built Cadillac; stunningly restored and unique. 'The 'Duchess' was created by two auto industry legends, General Motors Chairman and CEO Alfred P. Sloan and his styling chief Harley Earl. They outdid themselves."