A Full Custom V-16 Built for C.S. Howard This car left the factory as a standard Fleetwood bodied roadster, shipped to Charles S. Howard, the San Francisco-based California distributor for Buick (and eventual owner of Seabiscuit, the legendary triple-crown winning race horse). Howard's aim was to have a custom-built V-16. As was standard practice at the time, Cadillac did not sell a V-16 chassis to a coachbuilder. If a client wanted custom coachwork, they usually purchased the most inexpensive model, removed the body to be sold off, and installed the new custom body. Howard had previously used Murphy, the respected coachbuilder from Pasadena, and commissioned them to build his special V-16.
A young and very talented Murphy designer, Franklin Hershey, gave the car a 'California' look, with very thin pillars and a light appearance. The most striking feature was a 22-degree, racked-back windshield, used instead of the typical, almost vertical, style. The finished car had a dual-purpose character. Fully enclosed as a convertible sedan, it was designed so that the windows could be lowered and concealed by flush chrome covers. With the center posts removed, and the rear windscreen raised, the car had the look and feel of a true open car.
First restored around 1984, the restoration was thoroughly upgraded with new paint and other details to bring it back to concours quality in 1995. The present owner acquired this superb and rare custom V-16 Cadillac very recently.
Cadillac scooped the luxury market with the mid-1930 introduction of their series 452 sixteen-cylinder super luxury car. This individual custom creation from the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, was built for Charles Howard, owner of the famed racehorse Seabiscuit. Murphy is best known for building Duesenberg bodies, but Howard obviously preferred the new Cadillac chassis for his car. The silky smooth V-16 employed hydraulic valve silencers, and period press reported that the loudest noise heard at idle was 'the spark of the contact points.'Also photographed at :