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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Cream of the Crop

Bill Spurling is triumphant at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Bill Spurling has one of seven 1930s Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupes left.

Now, it’s earned another accolade: third place in the Pre-War American Classic Open class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This year’s contest was held Aug. 20 on the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California.

Photo of V-16 provided by Brent Stevens

“I’m so honored. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have this car,” Spurling says.

The V-16 Convertible is one of four of its kind launched in 1931. Cadillac made only 94 V-16 Convertible Coupes between 1930 and 1931 because, as Spurling explains, not many people could afford them during the Great Depression. Cars also were melted down and turned into weapons for World War II efforts, further dwindling the V-16’s stock.

Before the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native got into a 40-year real estate career with Spurling Properties, Spurling made a living while a student at Evansville College (now the University of Evansville) by buying, restoring, and selling old cars. He sold vehicles for 20 years.

“I’ve always been interested in cars,” he says.

Spurling added the V-16 to his collection of 60-plus antique vehicles in January 2022 from Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida. He is the 10th owner of the car, which is painted the same color as it was in 1931 and featuring original parts.

“They made stuff pretty well back then,” he says.

Receiving an invitation to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is an accomplishment, Spurling says. The application process is intensive, with the selection committee paring down around 3,000 total applications to about 200 cars. This year, there were 24 classes, with eight cars in Spurling’s class.

“It’s very hard to get an invitation,” he says. “I’ve seen cars here I didn’t even know were made.”

Owners then have to get their vehicles to Pebble Beach, often by transporting them by plane. At the show, five judges per class ask car owners about their vehicle’s history and inspect every car’s elements. The judges noted that in Spurling’s V-16, the analog clock did not work.

Nothing could spoil Spurling’s mood at Pebble Beach, though. He calls his award-winning coupe “the cream of the crop.”

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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