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Image Left 1930 Series 452A V161932 452B V16 Image Right
 

Image credits: © Cadillac. GM Corp.

1931 Cadillac 452A V-16 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Drophead Victoria by Lancefield
Coachwork: Lancefield
 
Built to each customer's individual taste, the V16 became an American icon of prestige and helped the company out-perform Packard and their V12. The introductory brochure proudly claimed 'Sixteen-cylinder powering, complete individuality in style that, in brief, is the story of the Cadillac V16.' It was named after its 452 cubic-inch displacement and produced 185 bhp which was good for 100 mph. The selling price was $6,650 with only 50 units made per year. The customer could choose between 70 or so in detail.

This car was specially built for the 1931 London Auto Show at Earls Court. It remained in England for more than 60 years in the hands of the original family before it was brought to the United States in the late 1990s. It is one of about a dozen right-hand drive V16s sent to Europe in 1931 to be custom bodied. Some stayed in Europe and some were sent to India. This one-of-a-kind V16 was custom built by Lancefield of London.
Sport Phaeton Style
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Cadillac had largely failed to make headway against Packard, while Lincoln - bolstered by Edsel Ford's attractive new bodies - were gaining ground. Cadillacs were relatively boring, with old technology and stodgy styling.

Cadillac introduced new styling for 1928, but it took the might V-16, introduced in 1930, to realize the potential of the new design. Longer wheelbase allowed long, graceful hoods, while the chrome and cloisonné 'V-16' jewelry on the tie bar and hubcaps ensured that everyone knew this car was something special.

Under the hood, the new V-16 engine was an engineering masterpiece, featuring an advanced overhead valve design that incorporated automatic hydraulic valve lash compensators which ensured the engine ran as quietly as any side valve design. The narrow 45-degree cylinder bank angle produced a compact engine with good inherent balance.

Despite the undeniable magnificence of the V-16, the cars proved difficult to sell - in part because of the Depression sweeping across America, but also, in the case of this lovely Sport Phaeton, because its open style made it less practical for year-round motoring. Consequently, most were sold to wealthy families who could afford to own such an expensive car intended only for fair weather use.
Sport Phaeton Style
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 702797
 
Sold for $495,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
There has always been pressure and competition to continue to improve the automotive product. During the 1920s and 1930s, this was no different. In many respects, the General Motors division was doing an exceptional job outdoing, or keeping up with, the competition. Their top-of-the-line offering was Cadillac, which was feeling pressure from marques such as Pierce Arrow, Packard, and Lincolns, to name a few. Body styles and coachwork continued to improve and become more refined. With each new product produced, the durability, quality, performance, and handling was redefined and expectations were set higher.

GM responded by creating the LaSalle Company which was positioned below Cadillac. This allowed GM to take the Cadillac model to the next level which could be described as exclusive or ultra luxury. GM created the Art and Color department to help with styling.

In 1927 GM introduced a new design on the LaSalle model line that incorporated styling influences from both the European and American markets. The styling carried over in 1928 to the Cadillac's. One of the largest differences between the LaSalle and Cadillac at this point were the engines. The Cadillac's were offered with a new 45-degree V16 engine with an advanced overhead valve design and automatic hydraulic valve lash compensators. This meant that the engine would run quietly and with minimal vibrations.

Appearance was as important as performance and Cadillac's definitely redefined style. Most of the Sixteen-cylinder cars received coachwork by Fleetwood, however a select few were offered with coachwork by various artist such as Fisher. The engine had also received consideration, with Owen Nacker creating the exterior design. This made it the first vehicle to ever receive this level of detail under the hood. The valve covers were finished in a brushed aluminum raised pattern with a black enamel. All wires were hidden under covers and a false firewall.

Chassis # 702797

This Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton left the factory with bodystyle number 4260 and chassis 702797, making it only one of eighteen Sport Phaetons in existence. It was bodied by Fleedwood.

It comes equipped with a Jaeger eight-day trip clock and speedometer. The tires are whitewall and sit on stainless spokes wheels. Spare wheels can be found mounted on both sides of the vehicle. There is a radiator stone guard, twin mounted windshield spot lights, and Pilot Ray driving lights.

Little is know of its early history prior to it being apart of the Rick Carroll collection. The next owner started a restoration but sold it before it was finished. It was then passed to a Florida collector named Mr. Lassiter, Jr. who had Henry Sykes complete the restoration. It was competed in 1987 and awarded its AACA National First Price award.

It was sold at auction in 1999 and purchased by the vendor.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Leading the way in the 'cylinder wars' was Cadillac, which introduced its V-16 in January of 1930. That was followed in September with a V-12 to complement the existing V-8. The V-16 displaced 452 cubic-inches (hence the 452 designation) and developed 175 to 185 horsepower.

More than 70 body styles were available on the V-16 chassis in 1930 (total model year production was 3,251) at prices ranging from $5,800 to $7,150 - or more.

One of the most elegant body styles was this all-weather phaeton designed and built by Fleetwood Body Co. of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. It can be identified by its split v-shaped windscreen. This car is both an AACA Grand National First as well as a CCCA Premier winner. It was one of the last bodies built at the Pennsylvania plant before operations were moved to Detroit following the sale of the company to General Motors.

The Fleetwood Metal Body Company was founded in 1909, in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. General Motors purchased the company in 1925, and operations were moved to Detroit by the end of 1931.

The car rides on a 148-inch wheelbase and weighs in at 5,960 pounds. Additional features include twin vacuum tank fuel system, twin carburetors, pushrod rocker arms with hydraulic rotary eccentric silencers, a vertical 'V' windshield and a rare Heron hood ornament.

The car was purchased as a basket case in the early 1980's. It received a full frame off restoration by Al Prueitt & Sons. Shortly after that was completed, it was purchased by the current owner in 1986. The car has been shown extensively and has become the cornerstone of his collection. It is driven a few hundred miles each year.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
When introduced at the January 1930 New York Auto Salon the Cadillac Sixteen raised the bar for American luxury automobile manufacturers. This car had it all - smooth ride, marvelous engine, luxurious appointments and a striking design (inspired by GM's new design chief, Harley Earl.)

The overhead valve Cadillac Sixteen motor displaces 452 cubic-inches and develops 175 horsepower. It employs dual updraft Cadillac single-throat carburetors.

This Cadillac Sixteen roadster was purchased new by the Schaeffer family of the famous Schaeffer Pen Company. This automobile was a fitting choice for such a family. The Cadillac Sixteen roadster was the ultimate 'Gentleman's Car.'
All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
The 16-cylinder Cadillac engine was the product of the mind of Owen Milton Nacker. Lawrence Fisher recruited Nacker, from outside of GM, to design this engine. The logic, at the time, was that GM was busily preparing a V-12 engine, which they were, Nacker captained both projects. The glorious 452 cubic-inch, 175 horsepower, V1-6, was first introduced in 1930. It was smooth and powerful, but it was also 'styled.' It was a study in porcelain, chrome, polished aluminum and enamel, featuring concealed wiring and discretely hidden accessories.

There were 20 different body styles available using this engine.

The unrestored car was shown at the 1952 New York Auto Show, promoting a newly formed automobile club. It introduced the Classic Car Club of America. A table was up next to the car to sign up members. The car's presence at the show marks an important time in the development and introduction of the 'Classic Car' as collectors' items in America.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Among the most significant announcements made in the American automobile industry late in 1929 was the letter that Cadillac President Lawrence Fisher dispatched to his dealers and the motoring press on December 10th. A new sixteen-cylinder Cadillac was to be displayed at the New York International Automobile Show on January 4th, 1930. In addition, the car would appear at the General Motors Salon in the Hotel Astor and on 57th Street, just off posh Fifth Avenue at the Cadillac Salon of Uppercu Cadillac, the dealership of one Inglis M. Uppercu. The cylinder wars were in full swing and Cadillac had officially delivered the knockout punch!

Cadillac delivered a total of 2,887 V-16 models in 1930; about 2,500 of them actually sold. That number fell dramatically to just 750 in 1931; half of those left-over from 1930 production as the effects of the Wall Street crash were felt. By 1932, the number sold dwindled even further to just 300 units, each built to-order as would become the official policy in 1933 when just 126 were ordered. Realistically, Cadillac never envisioned selling record numbers. The V-16 did exactly as it was supposed to do elevating Cadillac to the top-most echelon of the American automobile industry; a position where it remains to this day.
Sport Phaeton Style
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 452A703249
 
The Cadillac Sixteen carried an overhead-valve, 452-cubic-inch engine, which produced 165 horsepower and 320 pounds/feet of torque. One of the undoubted greats in an era of great cars, the Sixteen was theoretically available in 33 different models, ranging from a $5,350 two-passenger roadster to an $8,750 cabriolet.

The Sixteen was intended to establish Cadillac in the rarified realm of Packard, Peerless, and Pierce-Arrow. That it did, offering superb luxury and smooth, effortless power with minimal shifting. There was little to set them apart - until Cadillac unveiled its astounding ohv V16 Dual Windshield Sport Phaeton in 1931. It was a one-off body, never to be repeated.

The mutli-cylinder Cadillac's failed to sell well in the devastated Depression market. The peak was 1930-1931, when exactly 3,250 Sixteens and 5,725 Twelves were built. This car was manufactured in 1931 but was not sold until 1932. It was enjoyed for many years by several owners until 1985 when it was restored in Hollywood, CA, by a noted V16 Cadillac restorer.

This 1931 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton with coachwork by Fleetwood was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. It was estimated to sell between $550,000 - $650,000. It is powered by a 452 cubic-inch V16 engine mounted at a 45-degree angle and estimated to produce 185 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel vacuum assisted mechanical brakes.

The vehicle's restoration was finished in 1985. It is finished in dark blue with a blue leather interior. It was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours where it won its class. A year later, it was shown at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance where it won its class and the Best in Show award. It has earned an AACA National First Senior Award and scored a perfect 100 points in CCCA judging. It has earned top awards at the 2005 Greenwich Concours d'Elegance and the Concours d'Elegance of the Eastern United States.

Throughout the years, its restoration has been continuously re-touched.

At auction, the car did find a new owner. The selling price was inline with the estimated value, with a sale price of $561,000.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 702368
 
This 1931 Cadillac V-16 Roadster was offered for sale at the 2007 Christie's auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It is finished in maroon with black canvas top and gray leather interior. Power is from the overhead valve V16 engine that measures 452 cubic-inches and produces an impressive 175 horsepower. Four-wheel mechanical brakes can be found on all four wheels.

As the cylinder wars of the early 1930s were in full force, along with the Great Depression, Cadillac lead the pack with their powerful nearly introduced V12 and V16 engines. Marmon followed with their 16-cylinder engine, but it never achieved the volume success of Cadillac's.

Cadillac's V16's were produced in limited numbers with less than 4,100 examples being created from 1930 through 1940. Most were created in the vehicles introductory year. The factory bodies were designed by Harley Earl who drew inspiration from the greatest marque's of the era with emphasis on those from Europe. The bodies were created in-house at GM-owned Fleetwood and Fisher facilities. It is believed that Cadillac offered a very wide range of optional body configurations to their clients, reaching 60 different designs.

The Cadillac were catered to the social elite and wealthy individuals. They carried a very expensive sticker price, yet even at those prices it is reported that Cadillac lost money on each one produced. The Fleetwood bodied roadster was the least expensive in the V16 catalog. A total of 105 examples were produced and each carried a sticker price of $5,000.

This vehicle has been treated to a total restoration that took four years to complete. Over $300,000 went into making this example one of the best and most original in existence. This car has Pilot Ray spot lights, and Tilt Ray headlamps and tail lamps. It is an AACA National First Prize winner in 2004.

At auction the car was estimated to sell for $250,000 - $350,000. Those estimates proved to be accurate as a new owner was found at the selling price of $275,000, including buyers premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Cadillac's break through V-16 engine marked a continuation of engine leadership that began with Cadillac's introduction of the first mass produced V-8 in 1914. This magnificent engine delivered its considerable power with smoothness unmatched in the industry, making Cadillac V16s the vehicle of choice among sports and entertainment stars like Babe Ruth and Marlena Dietrich.

This Fleetwood-bodied, dual windshield V-16 Phaeton was ordered by a young lady, Augusta Little, in 1931. One of 86 built, the unique dual windshield styling of this car serves as a striking complement to its remarkable engine.

While Ms. Little's fleet of vehicles grew to include Ferraris, BMWs and Jaguars, this 1931 V-16 Cadillac remained her favorite, driving it regularly before presenting it to the Cadillac Division in 1976, asking only that they take good car of here 'baby.' Adjusted for current economics, the original purchase price would grow to nearly $100,00 in today's dollars.
All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
At the dawn of the 1930's the cylinder race was on, and Cadillac produced arguably the greatest with its massive 452 cubic-inch V16. Not only was this a powerful engine, but it was also elegantly styled with polished enamel paint, plated accents, hidden wires, and an uncluttered engine bay. These vehicles look as good with the hood up as with it closed. Mechanically the '16's' foundation was a silicon/aluminum crankcase with iron cylinders; while up top, overhead valves, hydraulic valve silencers, and dual carburetors were used.

Sporting a sixteen cylinder engine alone would be special, however, the car featured his is a rare Fleetwood Sport Phaeton model. These cars are identifiable by their unique retractable dual windshields and rear passenger instrumentation. The majority of the V-16 engines were fitted to closed bodied cars, while only 20% were allocated to open motoring vehicles. Only 86 Sport Phaetons were built, at a base price of $6,500. Just 18 remain.

The exclusive Cadillac V-16s ran between 1930 and 1940, and were produced for only the most discriminating buyers. Until the 1990's, only Cadillac and Marmon had ever made a production passenger car V16. A few notables such as Bugatti and Peerless made prototype V-16s. However, it is Cadillac that will always be linked to the 'sixteen.'
Sport Phaeton Style
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 702401
Engine Num: 702401
 
Sold for $363,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
High bid of $475,000 at 2008 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $410,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
This 1931 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton is one of only 18 Sport Phaeton V16's in existence. It is fitted with body number 42 and style 4260. It was sent to Cadillac's Philadelphia branch on July 19th of 1930. The Depression made it difficult to sell the car, so in June of 1931; it was sent to the New York City branch and to a new client. Ownership history is not fully known.

A complete nut-and-bolt restoration was completed in 1990. It has earned National First Place awards in both AACA and CCCA judging. In CCCA Grand Classic judging, the car scored a perfect 100 points.

In 2008 the car was brought to the 2008 Automobiles of Amelia presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $400,000 - $500,000. The estimates were nearly accurate, as the car was sold for $522,500 including buyer's premium.

In 2010, this Cadillac was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company Auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The lot was estimated to sell for $425,000 - $525,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $410,000, inclusive of buyer's reserve.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2010
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
The vehicle of choice for the country club playboy set of 1931, the Roadster was the lightest body offered on the Cadillac V-16 chassis and hence the most spirited in performance. This style could be ordered with an optional high-speed rear-end ratio of 3.47, which allowed a top speed of over 100 mph.
Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Cadillac introduced its V-16 powered automobile in November 1930 and took the automotive world by storm. The engine was a 45-degree, overhead valve design, displacing 452 cubic-inches and developing 175-185 horsepower.

Built on a 148-inch wheelbase chassis, more than 50 different body styles were available - a staggering selection.

Among these body styles was this attractive and sporty convertible coupe built by the Fleetwood Body Company, which had been purchased by General Motors and was being relocated from Fleetwood, Pennsylvania to Detroit. This Fleetwood convertible coupe cost its first owner nearly $7,000.

By 1931 the fully enclosable all weather open convertible body type was gaining in popularity over the true roadster. This handsome style 4335 convertible coupe by Fleetwood is distinguished by its V windshield and special hood contours. The 452 first series of the Cadillac V-16 was built in both 1930 and 1931, with the bulk of cars being constructed during the early months of 1930. This example is one of just 750 cars sold in 1931, still an impressive number in those dark days.
All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
There were a total of 3,251 1930/31 V16s built in approximately 70 different body styles. There were 250 of this body style (Style 4380) all weather phaetons built and it was the fifth most popular style. This car's body number is 175. This body style was built in Pennsylvania by Fleetwood. The price when new was $6,650.

The car is powered by the 452 cubic-inch, overhead valve, V16 engine developing 165 horsepower and had a top speed of 95 mph.
Imperial
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 702879
 
Sold for $104,500 at 2008 RM Auctions.
This 1931 Cadillac Series 452 4100 V16 Seven-Passenger Imperial Sedan has coachwork by Fleetwood. It has the 'Madame X' raked windshield configuration and includes dual Pilot Ray driving lamps, a radiator stone guard, dual side-mounted spare tires, a green-tined glass sun visor, wooden running boards, and a rear-mounted luggage rack and trunk. There are wide whitewall tires, painted wire wheels, and chrome-plated hubcaps and trim rings.

The interior features a radio, bud vase, a smoker's kit and vanity in the rear compartment. There are forward-facing jump seats, a footrest, a mesh hat net on the headliner, a roll-up divider, and a roll-up rear window shade.

In 2008 this car was brought to the 2nd Annual Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $125,000 - $175,000. There was a reserve, but that was lifted shortly after bidding began. A high bid of $104,500 including buyer's premium, though not within the estimated value of the vehicle, was enough to secure new ownership. The lot was sold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2008
Sport Phaeton Style
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 702406
Engine Num: 7-2246
 
Sold for $484,000 at 2004 RM Auctions.
Sold for $632,500 at 2009 Gooding & Company.
This Sport Phaeton was sent to its first owner in Brookline, Massachusetts, through the local distributor, Boston Cadillac, LaSalle and Oldsmobile. By the late 1940's, the car had been sold and was in the care of its next owner. It was sold in 1950 to a prominent collector, Harry King of Worcester, Massachusetts for the sum of $125. During later ownership, it was given a 1932 V-16 motor. When it was sold in 1955 to Homer Fitterling, the original engine went with the car. Fitterling kept the car until he passed away in the mid-1980s. It was sold at auction and purchased by George Lucetti of Springfield, Massachusetts. Over the next four or five years, the car was given a complete restoration. The original engine was rebuilt and re-installed. Upon completion of the restoration, the car was sold to Bob Bahre where it would remain for a number of years. It was sold in the mid-1990s to Bug Lyon who would keep it for nearly a decade. The next owner was Dave Kane. From that point, it has had only two owners before coming to auction in 2009.

It is fitted with a number of desirable accessories such as a pair of Pilot Ray auxiliary driving lights, dual side-mounted spares, radiator stone guard, chrome wire wheels, wind wings and a Jaeger Eight-Day trip clock and speedometer in the rear compartment. The interior features a machine-turned dashboard, uncluttered gauges and plenty of legroom for its occupants.

In 2009, this Sport Phaeton with coachwork by Fleetwood was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The car was estimated to sell for $500,000 - $600,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $632,500 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
All-Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 703110
 
Sold for $231,000 at 2009 Worldwide Auctioneers.
The Cadillac V16 engine had a small 3-inch bore, allowing Cadillac to place the cylinders close together, minimizing the engine's length and the length of the crankshaft. The crank ran in five main bearings and the combination of the short crankshaft and many bearings eliminated annoying harmonics. With the small 3-inch bore and 4-inch stoke, Cadillac was able to use its existing transmission and driveline. The engine had a 45-degree angle which minimized the engine's width, allowing it to fit under the hood. It used overhead valves which aided in access to the valve train for service. It employed the first application of hydraulic valve adjustment, which also aided in quiet operation of the valve train and minimizing maintenance. The spark plug wires traveled from the distributor to the plugs under covers. The valve covers, manifolds, and carburetors were monochromatic with carefully selected details and highlights.

The coachwork was designed by the Art and Colour department under the direction of Harley Earl. The car was so successful, that Cadillac continued production virtually unchanged into 1931. For 1930, Cadillac had produced 2,887 cars of which about 2,500 were sold to retail buyers. A further 750 or so were sold in 1931, and Cadillac's management responded by slowing production drastically while working off existing inventory, building only 364 V16s in 1931.

This 1931 Cadillac 452A V16 is an All-Weather Phaeton with coachwork by Fleetwood in Style number 4380. It is more conservatively known as the convertible sedan, and has a body beltline which drops at the rear seats which create a recess into which the top nearly completely folded, making a horizontal line from the radiator through the hood, cowl, and window sills. The front and rear doors are hinged on the body center post, allowing for easier entry to both the front and rear compartments.

This V16 Cadillac was in the Sterling McCall Cadillac Museum for many years. It is painted in blue with matching leather upholstery, beige carpets and kick panels, with carved wood cappings and trim. There are sidemounted spares with rear view mirrors, wide white wall tires on chrome centerlock wire wheels, a pair of Pilot-Ray driving lights, dual chrome bell horns, fender top marker lights, vee windshield, and a radiator protected by a stone-guard and egret radiator cap mascot. The interior features a crank-operated divider window, and Jaeger clock. The car wears an older restoration with only little signs of its age.

In 2009, this V16 All-Weather Phaeton was offered for sale at the Houston Classic Auction in Seabrook, Texas, presented by Worldwide Auctioneers. The car was estimated to sell for $225,000 - $275,000 and offered without reserve. It was sold for the sum of $210,000, plus buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 703118
 
Sold for $418,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
This Fleetwood bodied V-16 Roadster was given a restoration in the mid-1990s. It is finished in two-tone brown with light brown wire wheels, a tan canvas top, and dark tan leather inetioer. The odometer indicates 38 miles, which appears consistent with mileage since restoration. The car is equipped with dual side-mounted spares with correct metal covers, stainless spoke wire wheels, wind wings, Cadillac script spotlights, Pilot Ray driving lights, a chrome stone guard and a rear mounted lo-boy trunk.

The car resided in the Craven Collection in Toronto for many years. Upon the disposition of the Craven collection, the car was purchased by well known CCCA member Ray Bowersox, who commissioned a full professional quality restoration in 1995/6. Later, in March of 1997, Bowersox sold the car to a St. Louis collector named John Berra. The car was purchased on November 11th of 2004 by George Westmoreland via dealer Mark Hyman. In June of 2005, at the Leake auction in Tulsa, the car was purchased by John O'Quinn.

In 2010, this car was offered for sale at RM Auctions 'Automobiles of Amelia Island' event, where it was estimated to sell for $350,000 - $450,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $418,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2010
Boattail Convertible
Coachwork: Pininfarina
 
Battista Farina was born in 1893, the tenth of eleven children, and he was consequently called 'Pinin' Farina, meaning 'baby of the family.' He worked as an apprentice with the family coachbuilding firm of Farina before founding his own company in 1930, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. His first client in 1930 was Vincenzo Lancia and his fame soon spread. A year later the Maharaja of Orcha commissioned a unique roadster on a Cadillac V-16 chassis. Fewer than six Cadillacs were exported to India. This example is considered to be the oldest Pinin Farina-bodied car in existence, and is one of just 21 V16 chassis bodied by European coachbuilders. In 1993, this car was chosen as the Concours Poster Car for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The painting was performed by Nicola Wood, a member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society and a four-time recipient of the Athena Award of Excellence. The post of the V-16 Cadillac earned her the industry's prestigious Peter Helck Award.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2010
Sport Phaeton Style
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 702677
Engine Num: 702677
 
Sold for $465,000 at 2012 RM Auctions.
There were 85 examples of Fleetwood's Style 4260 Sport Phaeton built on the Cadillac V-16 chassis, and three examples were built to order with folding rear cowls. They are chassis number 702682 with body number 8, 702691 with body no. 7, and this example, chassis 702677 with body number 25. Mounted on the rear cowl, instead of the typical crank-down secondary windshield, is a folding windshield, which has delicate profiles cut out of the bottom of its wind wings, which allows for it to be folded at quite a rakish angle. Another interesting feature on the 4200 Series cars were the elegant curved bottom coach sill doors, a styling cue not seen on other less expensive series V-16 bodies.

This example was ordered on April 30th of 1930 through Don Lee Inc. distributorship of San Francisco, California. The car was ordered with fender-mounted spare tires and wire wheels. The new owner took delivery of the completed car on August 30th of 1930.

In the mid-1950s, the car next surfaced as advertised for sale in a national automotive magazine. It was being offered by an engine rebuilder who was stuck with an unpaid bill. The next owner was a pea farmer from Opportunity, Washington, who intended to use the car for Shriner's parades. He had the rear cowl removed, although he retained it, along with all the corresponding hardware. The next owner was Ray and Dorothy Radford, also from Portland. The Radfords acquired the car in 1962. Early on in their ownership, the Radfords properly reinstalled the second cowl. The car would remain with the Radfords for the next two decades. It was used extensively on tours through the United States and Canada.

In 1979, the car was purchased by auto show promoter and SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Robert Larivee Sr. of Pontiac, Michigan. Mr. Jim Brucker was also a partner in its purchase. It was displayed at Brucker's Movie World Cars of the Stars Museum, still mostly original and never having been fully restored.

It was shown 'as is' at the 1981 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, as a preservation example. After that, it was treated to a restoration. The total cost for the work was $115,000.

After the work was completed, it returned to Pebble Beach in 1983. The car scored 97 points, because the restoration was not fully complete, and the car lacked side curtains, but still managed to earn Third in Class. After the concours, it returned to the restoration show for final completion and detailing, ultimate earning 99.5 points and Best of Show at the Grand Classic at Hudson, Ohio in 1985.

The car was later sold to John Mozart, followed by a Mr. Paul Quinn, of Boston Massachusetts. The current owner acquired the car in 1988.

This Sixteen is equipped with Pilot-Ray steering headlights, a radiator stone guard, dual Klaxon horns, a trunk rack, dual taillights, fanned tips on the dual exhaust, and full metal covers with pedestal mirrors on the side-mounts. The current restoration work is around a quarter-of-a-century old.

Of the Style 4260 phaetons built, fifty-two were constructed in 1930 and thirty-three in 1931.

In 2012, this car was offered for sale by RM Auctions at their Monterey, CA sale. The car was estimated to sell for $650,000 - $850,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $465,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
Coupe
Coachwork: Fisher
 
The Cadillac V16 debuted right after the stock market crash at the New York Auto Show in January, 1930. It became the first production road car to use the V16, which both Marmon and Peerless were also trying to launch.

The engine produced 185 horsepower and propelled the huge automobile to a top speed of 100 mph. Most V16s were bodied by Fleetwood, though Cadillac would also provide a bare chassis for other coachbuilders.

This Cadillac 452 from Fleetwood was built in their new factory in Detroit. Cadillacs at this time were styled by the great Harley Earl, and this gracefully proportioned coupe incorporated features known as the Madam X style that was inspired by the Broadway play of the time. The Madame X cars had slanted windshields, suicide doors and chrome reveals surrounding the windows. These rare details make the Madame X cars the most desirable of the formal V-16s. This is one of only 11 Series 452 coupes. It is also one of the last of the 3,251 Cadillac V-16 models built from 1930 up to February 1932.

This V16 Coupe is one of only eleven built and is the only known survivor today. The car was delivered new to Davenport, Iowa, according to the GM Build Sheet. Over the years it passed through several hands. Richard Ganos of Hoio owned the car from 1977 through 1982. During this time, his son Dave Ganos restored the car as a university project and was paid an hourly rate by his father. This project financed his way through engineering school. This was the first and only restoration and the car has remained untouched. Dave showed the car at the 1982 CCCA annual meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where it won First in Class and 100 points.

The car passed through several other owners until the current owner obtained the car in 2012.
Henry Martin Leland and his son Wilfred were partly responsible with making Cadillac one of the finest of all American Automobiles. Henry was renowned for his precision engineering and for standardizing manufacturing. He helped make Cadillac into one of the finest of all American Automobiles. Later, he founded Lincoln. Even after the Leland's departed from Cadillac, the marque remained a top-of-the-line figure.

Cadillac did not rely on four- or six-cylinder power. Every one of the company's cars was fitted with a V engine of 8, 12 or 16 cylinders. They were smooth and powerful.

During the late 1920s, the cylinder race was in full force. Cadillac's engineer Owen Knacker was tasked with developing a V16 engine that would keep Cadillac at the fore-front of the race. Their hopes were to displace Packard at the top of the luxury car market.

From 1930 through 1940 Cadillac produced a monsterous sixteen-cylinder engine. It was first displayed to the automotive community at the Detroit Opera House prior to the Detroit Auto Show. This was the largest number of cylinders to power an automobile of all time. The hood that housed the engine was intimidating, larger and longer than any other vehicle. Up to this point, there were only a few manufacturers that produced a twelve-cylinder engine, mechanical achievements in their own right. The introduction of the sixteen-cylinder engine was historical and seen as revolutionary at the time.

Up to the 1990's there have only been three manufacturers of a sixteen cylinder engine. The Bugatti Type 47 never made series production while the Marmon Corporation offering was short lived. In comparison, the Marmon built V-16 was more powerful. By using aluminum, the 491 cubic-inch engine with its overhead values weighed just over 900 pounds. The engine was formed by merging twin-eight cylinder engines in a 45-degree angle, giving the engine an impressive look and an astonishing 200 horsepower. The use of steel cylinder sleeves added to the longevity and durability of the engine. The V-16 engine earned Howard Marmon the Society of Automotive Engineers annual design award.

The Cadillac V-16 was the first and remained in production for eleven years.

A new sixteen-cylinder engine was introduced by Cadillac in 1938. This was not their first V16 enigne; their first had been designed by engineer, Owen Nacker of Marmon fame. It had an overhead valve design and mounted at a 45-degree to one another. Each back of the sixteen cylinders had their own exhaust and fuel system. The engine featured hydraulic valve adjusters that helped with the silent valve train operation. The exterior of the engine was equally as impressive, with all the wiring and hoses concealed under cover and finished in chrome, polished aluminum, porcelain and baked enamel. The result was a 452 cubic-inch engine that was nearly unmatched in the industry at the time.

A V12 version followed shortly after the introduction of the V16; it displaced 368 cubic-inches and was basically three-quarters of a V16. Both of these engines remained in production through 1937. The V12 did not resume production for 1938. A new engine was introduced in 1938 and that very different than its predecessors. It was an L-head design, cast in a 135-degree vee, and featured a monobloc design. The was easier and more economical to manfacutre and it weighed 250 pounds less, had 21 fewer cubic-inches, but developed the same power.

The V12 engine was used to power the Series 85 for 1937. The Series 75 and Series 85 were the same vehicle, with the exception of the powerplant. The Series 75 used a V8 engine. In 1938 the V12 was discontinued, and the V16 took its place. The sixteen-cylinder cars were shortened to a length similar to the Series 75, and the chassis and bodies were interchangeable.

There were twelve bodystyles available, including coupes, convertible coupes, and sedans, as well as the larger seven-passenger sedans and limousines. These larger vehicles were called Formal Sedans or Imperial sedans depending on whether they had a division partition.

The Series 90 experienced its best year in 1938 with 315 examples built. The five-passenger Touring Sedan was the most popular, with 41 sold.

In 1939, the front of the V8 Cadillacs were midly updated. The grille was raked back and the headlights were now mounted to the nose and flush with the top of the grille. Chrome moldings were added to the running boards and the fender ornamentaion was now fully chromed. The rear license plate was moved from the left fender to the trunk lid.

There were a total of 138 V16 cars produced in 1939. Few changes or modifications to the car followed for 1940. A total of 61 V16 cars were built this would be the final year for their production. A total of 4,400 examples were built over an eleven year period.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
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Cadillac 370A V12

Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
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Average Auction Sale: $376,546

 
Cadillac: 1931-1940
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September 201413,829 
August 201416,650 
July 201415,241 
June 201413,941 
May 201414,688 
April 201413,900 
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December 201318,165 
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60 / Sixty
61
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