Edward VIII’s unique Cadillac limousine will take center stage at the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Royal tradition holds that the British Sovereign’s car is a Daimler, but the man who abdicated the throne of England in 1936 for the love of an American girl became a Cadillac man in 1941.
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.”
About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $3.0 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Shop with Cops, and other deserving charities. In 2013 and 2016 the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance won Octane Magazine’s EFG International Historic Motoring Event of the Year award.The 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 10-12, 2017. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org.