Fleetwood Auto Body
The company began business on April 1, 1909 and continued as an independent automobile body builder until acquired in 1925 by the Fisher Body Company, a division of General Motors. The company continued in Fleetwood until 1931 at which time General Motors moved the entire operation to Detroit.
Long before acquisition by Fisher Body Company, the Fleetwood Metal Body Company had established its reputation as a builder of fine wood and aluminum auto bodies. Its built-to-order product was sought after by many notables both here and abroad, some of whom were royalty from India and Japan, presidents of Poland and the United States and some well known American movie idols. One, built for silent screen star Rudolph Valentino, was recently on sale for $1,600,000.00.
Unique, was the magic word that attracted the wealthy. One could purchase a chassis with wheels and motor from the best builders abroad, Isotta Fraschini, Bently, Mercedes, Rolls Royce or Fiat. American makers were Duesenberg, Packard, Cadillac, Pierce Arrow or Stutz. There were also Reading makers of the S.G.V., the Chadwick and Daniels. The purchased chassis with engine and wheels was shipped to Fleetwood while the purchaser met with one of the company’s designers, usually in New York, to put onto a drawing the customer’s ideas of what the finished design should be. Once accepted, the plans were sent to Fleetwood where the body would be created, mounted on the chassis and finished in the colors, upholstery, and appointments chosen by the new owner. The car was “unique” to the likes of the proud possessor.
Eventually, under Fisher’s directives, the company also made production models with the celebrated Fleetwood name. General Motors’ most notable Cadillac model was the “Fleetwood” until it was recently discontinued.