There were only 50 examples of the Cadillac V16 sold in 1937. They were the same as the 1938 models except for a few detail changes. Spears on the hood and fender skirts were fully chromed. The year prior, in 1938, the engine added 90-degrees to the cylinders' included angle, going from the earlier narrow angle V16 with 45-degree between the cylinders to a nearly flat 135-degree vee. The result was a better balanced engine and a lower design giving stylists the opportunity for modern styling trends and better aerodynamics. While Cadillac's abandonment of overhead valves for an L-head configuration seemed a little unusual, the 135-degree V-16 shared many parts with Cadillac's V8 and was more economical to produce than its predecessor. The removal of the overhead valve gear and a short 3.75-inch stroke made up for some of the 135-degree V16's greater width and allowed the rear of the engine to extend under the firewall so it fitted in the same wheelbase chassis as the shorter V8.
The 38-90 sat on the same chassis as the Series 75 V8, a full 13-inch shorter than earlier Cadillac V-16s. This meant that the 1938 V16s had nearly a ton less mass to move than their predecessors and performance was markedly improved. The new V16 made 185 horsepower from its smaller 431 cubic-inch displacement, the same as the earlier narrow angle 452 cubic-inch V16.
The exterior designs owed much to a newer talent, Bill Mitchell, and reflected aerodynamic trends and elegant packaging. Cadillac offered the same twelve semi-custom body styles in the V16 that were available on the Series 75 V8. Most were practical closed and formal designs.
From 1938 through 1940, Cadillac produced just 514 V16 cars. Only 19 convertible coupes and the same number of convertible sedans (of which 11 had rollup glass divider windows) were built. This particular example is a 1939 Cadillac 39-90 V16 Convertible Touring Sedan. It has a large chrome plated die cast eggcrate grille flanked by headlights flared into the front fender catwalks. The hood sides had three longer tapered horizontal louvers with similar moldings on the front and rear fenders. There is a raked vee windshield with large wind wings.
This example is painted in dark green with saddle tan leather upholstery, tan carpets and kick panels, and a tan cloth top. There are dual side-mounted spares carried under hinged covers. The body color wheels have large hubcaps and wide whitewall tires.
In 2009, this 39-90 V16 Convertible Touring Sedan was offered for sale at the Houston Classic Auction in Seabrook, Texas, presented by Worldwide Auctioneers. The lot was estimated to sell for $125,000 - $175,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the lot had sold to a phone bidder for the sum of $155,000, plus buyer's premium.Also photographed at :