Hedy Lamarr bought this Cadillac in 1958 from Clarence Dixon Cadillac in Beverly Hills. Many Hollywood elite frequented this dealership at Sunset and Vine; in fact, Clark Gable purchased a Cadillac the same day as Ms. Lamarr.
In the mid-1960s, the actress gave the car to her gardener as a retirement gift. That gentleman moved to southern Arizona to live with his son where they kept the car running and clean until his death. Years later, the son retired and sold the car to Harley Hilgeman.
In 1993 Tim McGinty, an Ohio judge and car collector, was in Arizona on business, saw a local newspaper ad for the Cadillac, purchased it from Hilgeman and had it transported to Ohio. Judge McGinty had the engine and numerous other mechanical and suspension systems on the car refreshed. The interior is still original. This show room quality car won awards at the prestigious Portland Roadster Show, Blackie's Fresno Autorama and the Mild to Wild show before it was acquired by the Museum of American Speed in 2003.
This Cadillac is a “Sixty Special” Fleetwood four-door pillarless hardtop. 119,861 Cadillacs were built in 1958. 12,900 were “Sixty Special” Fleetwoods; this car is #11,265 and was built on May 23, 1958.
Hedy Lamarr was often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films,” and her beauty and screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day. Born Hedwig Eva Marie Kiesler, she grew up in Vienna, Austria and in 1933 married millionaire Friz Mandl, a Nazi sympathizer who dealt arms to Hitler. During their four-year marriage, she listened and learned about advanced weaponry when Mandl took her to all his business meetings as his showpiece wife.
She grew to hate the Nazis as well as her husband and escaped to London in 1937. There she met Louis B. Mayer who hired her and changed her name to Hedy Lamarr. She had already appeared in several European films. The new Hedy Lamarr became on of the most successful actresses of the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. In Hollywood, she appeared in many films, usually cast as glamorous and seductive. Her biggest success came in 1949 with Samson and Delilah, her favorite and first color film. In a career that lasted into the late ‘50s, Lamarr acted in more than 25 films with the likes of Clark Gable, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy and Judy Garland.
Lamarr’s Frequency-hopped Spread Spectrum Invention
Hedy Lamarr was also an extremely intelligent person. In 1942, she and composer George Antheil invented a torpedo guidance system that was controversial and ahead of its time and technology. Lamarr’s idea later served as the basis for modern spread-spectrum communications technologies used in devices ranging from cordless telephones to WiFi internet connections. She also helped the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds. She once raised $7,000,000 at just one event.
Her impressive technological achievement, acting talent and star quality combined to make “the most beautiful woman in film” one of the most interesting and intelligent women in the movie industry.