100 years after the Great War ended, a piece of history is sitting in Goderich.
It’s no surprise for Ken McGee to have vintage cars in mint condition at his Automobile Shop. One new addition to his garage has a connection to WWI.
McGee who sold his first car at 12–years old remains passionate about cars. Cars have been his whole life and McGee knew this story needed to be shared in the 100 anniversary since armistice.
A 1917 Cadillac was attached by McGee and bridge a dealership from Toronto with a war effort across the pond.
McGee was notified of a car he would be interested in nearly a year ago. He went to Caledonia to take a look at the car and what he found was a 101-year-old Cadillac.
“The original instruction manual was still in the door of the car,” McGee says.
Last registered in 1959, the car only had two owners previous to Ken in 101 years.
Hyslop Brothers Garage in Toronto, which no longer exists, was the distributor for the Cadillac automobile in Canada and where this particular vehicle came from.
The original dealer plate remains on the seat plate of the car that sits in McGee’s shop in Goderich.
“WWI was basically being fought with horses and mules. They wanted transportation so badly, they wanted reconnaissance vehicles, they wanted staff cars and really wanted ambulances,” McGee explains.
“When France, Canada, and Britain checked and tested automobiles, they came to the conclusion that Cadillac was the best option. It was heavy, it was reliable.”
Many of the Cadillac models such as the one sitting in Goderich were shipped overseas and a lot of them were destroyed or were kept over there.
“At this point, there are only two of these Phaetons cars like this. I have the only one in Canada. There are only four in the world [this particular vehicle] and only two of them are Phaetons [convertibles],” says McGee.
“The fact that this was the car of choice out of all the Allies for WWI, is so important.”
After the war, Cadillac wrote a book on their participation with WWI. Within the book Cadillac recounts its involvement in the allied efforts during WWI, including contributions of their vehicles and their men who fought overseas.
In the book “Cadillac Participation in the World War” opening sentiments express an appreciation to all involved with Cadillac during WWI.
Cadillac was called upon to manufacture machines, engines and vehicles for the Great War. They contributed to the industrial requirements of war or served in the military.
Sending cars overseas into action, the Cadillac was the car of choice by the Allies during WWI. It was a war of fighting men, but automotive transportation was an integral piece of the Great War.
McGee reached out to the Signal Star as he believed having a car from 1917 , which models such as the one in his shop, were used by the Allies during WWI.
There are very few models such as the 1917 Cadillac in Goderich that still exist, that survivied WWI.
In Cadillac’s published book it lists Cadillac employees and vehicles or motors that served overseas.
McGee explains that, “This being an American publication, there is only one write up on Canada and it’s on the Hyslop Garage”, which is where the model sitting in his shop came from.
Hyslop Garage in Toronto was a part of the Cadillac involvement in WWI, shipping cars and employees over to France.
The list in the Cadillac WWI book shed light on how many people were killed or injured from that one firm alone.
“The felt that this deserved to be in the book, because their contribution made by the employees of that firm whose name happens to be on that Cadillac car sitting in my shop,” furthers McGee.
It’s all connected – how incredible that a 101-year-old Cadillac Phaeton is sitting in Goderich, dating back to the time when Cadillac was sending cars exactly like this model, overseas as the vehicle of choice by the Allies during WWI.
There was a Cadillac distribution garage in Toronto.
The 101-year-old car sitting in Ken’s shop has th eHyslop Brothers original dealer plate on the seat.
Original dealer plates remain on the seat of the Cadillac in McGee’s shop.
(Kathleen Smith /Goderich Signal Star - November 4th, 2018)