WWI Vet 'Liberty' Cadillac on display at Buick Automotive Galler - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

WWI Vet 'Liberty' Cadillac on display at Buick Automotive Gallery

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FLINT (WJRT) - (07/31/14) - You have the opportunity to see something really special at the Buick Automotive Gallery in Flint.

A very rare cadillac with an impressive history is making an appearance, but it won't be here for long.

It's not Flint made, but this set of wheels is rare enough to end up here.

"100 years later, it looks pretty much the way it would have," said Jeremy Demick, curator of collections at Buick Automotive Gallery.

A World War I Vet 'Liberty' Cadillac is on display at the Buick Automotive Gallery.

"It's a 1917 Cadillac, built here in the states, and then almost immediately after it was delivered, it went over to France and really enlisted in World War I," Demick said.

Here's what makes it so rare - out of 2,000 Cadillacs made for Army use, it's the only one that made it back to the states. Marc Lassen of Chicago has owned it since 2005.

Its rarity and classic appearance have just earned it a spot on the National Historic Vehicle Register and it was inducted last week at the GM Heritage center - only the fourth automobile historically significant enough to be added.

The public will get its first look at this display this weekend, and one of the first things that they'll notice is just how old this vehicle really is. It hasn't been restored in almost 100 years. One of the tell-tale signs is the seats.

"The wear patterns on the seats are really interesting because you can see there is wear on the drivers seat and there's wear on the back of the passenger seat so you can tell most of the time it was used, there was people sitting in those two positions, they were driving around VIPs or generals to various places," Demick said.

Perhaps most notable of passengers during those two years overseas was Theodore Roosevelt's daughter in law.

After arriving in France, the Cadillac was registered as 12-57-X and given the standard military paint job. The "12-57-X" has been painted over, but still today, the driver's side sports a bullet hole earned in conflict during the Second Battle of Marne.

"The cadillac wasn't built in Flint, but its historically significant enough and it has a great story and we want to share that with people," Demick said.

You have until Aug. 17 to catch a glimpse of the rare Cadillac.

The Buick Automotive Gallery is open Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and weekends from 12-5 p.m

For ticket prices and more information, click HERE.
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