Bill Spurling has one of seven 1930s Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupes left in the world. Now, it has another accolade.
His car earned third place in the Pre-War American Classic Open class on Aug. 20 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held on the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California. Evansville Living caught up with Spurling, the founder of Spurling Properties, after his recent podium placing.
“I’m so honored. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have this car,” he says.
The V-16 Convertible is one of four of its kind made in 1931 and was shown at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Cadillac made only 94 V-16 Convertible Coupes between 1930 and 1931 because, as Spurling explains, not many people could afford these cars during the Great Depression. Also, during World War II, many cars were melted down and turned into weapons for war efforts. It makes having a car like this special.
Before the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native got into a 40-year real estate career, Spurling made a living while a student at Evansville College (now the University of Evansville) by buying, restoring, and selling old cars. He sold cars for 20 years.
“I’ve always been interested in cars,” he says.
Spurling added the V-16 to his collection of 70 antique vehicles in January 2022 from the Mecum Auction in Kissimmee, Florida. He is the 10th owner of the car, painted the same color as it was in 1931 and featuring original parts. It’s Spurling’s favorite car and has won a trophy at all five shows he has taken it to.
“They made stuff pretty well back then,” he says.
Just 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.”
Once selected, owners have to get their vehicles to Pebble Beach from around the world, often by transporting them by plane. Spurling says he’s never seen so many private jets in one location before. 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.”