Eagle Ottawa prove they can still make them like they used to

1 September 2013

When car collector Steve Plunkett came into possession of one of only three privately owned 1949 Cadillac Coupe de Ville prototypes in the world, he wanted to be as true to the car’s heritage as possible. That’s why he turned to Eagle Ottawa, the original suppliers of the car’s leather interiors over 60 years ago .

To call the original Cadillac Coupe de Ville a good-looking car would be an understatement. The prototype was first shown during the 1949 Autorama, built on a Cadillac Sixty Special chassis and featuring a dummy air-scoop, chrome trim around front wheel openings and a one-piece windshield and rear glass. It was equipped with a telephone in the glove compartment, a vanity case and a secretarial pad in the rear armrest, power windows and highly decorative chrome interior trim. The interior was black and trimmed in gray leather, including the headliner, to match the roof colour. Car fanatics have been talking about it ever since.

When renowned car collector Steve Plunkett discovered the classic Cadillac he was restoring had been originally outfitted with Eagle Ottawa leather, his restoration team requested that the global manufacturer of leather solutions for the automotive industry recreate the luxurious leather interior.

Eagle Ottawa designers, scientists and artisans replicated the uniqueness of the original leather and re-imagined the opulence the car brought to enthusiasts 64 years ago. The iconic Cadillac Coupe features a replica of the unique luxury leather Eagle Ottawa supplied to the original vehicles. The restoration includes Eagle Ottawa's pearlescent 'gunmetal' premium leather, created specially for this vehicle.

"As with all Eagle Ottawa luxury leather, we used premium hides, enhanced by our proprietary crusting process to create the supple, soft hand and fine pebble appearance," said Nathan Mullinix, Eagle Ottawa vice-president global product development and Innovation. "The key to its natural appearance is a semitranslucent finish that lets the true beauty of the leather shine through."

Displayed for the first time at the 1949 Waldorf Astoria Motorama, this Cadillac Coupe de Ville prototype was gifted to former General Motors CEO Charlie Wilson upon his departure to serve as United States Secretary of Defense in 1953. It disappeared from public view until this year, when Plunkett completed its restoration and is now only one of three privately owned Cadillac prototypes in the world.

"I have restored many cars over the years," says Steve Plunkett, "but the Coupe de Ville restoration has been among the most challenging and exciting. Working with Eagle Ottawa and being able to outfit it with the closest match to its original leather upholstery was a high point in the process."

Created in 1865, Eagle Ottawa have a longstanding heritage of blending traditional craftsmanship and innovative technology. The company design, engineer and manufacture genuine leather solutions for all automotive interior applications and vehicle market segments.

Their global capabilities include design, research and development, product validation, tanning, finishing, cutting and sewing.

Eagle Ottawa leather solutions are featured in more than 100 vehicle models globally, but it would be fair to say that none of them match the uniqueness of the 1949 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.

There are only three privately owned 1949 Cadillac Coupe de Ville prototypes
Eagle Ottawa supplied the original leather for the car more than 60 years ago

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