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1936 Cadillac Series 90 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Aero-Dynamic Coupe Style 5899
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Cadillac was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company when Henry Ford departed. Henry M. Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company persuaded the remaining partners to continue the automobile business using Leland's proven 1-cylinder engine. On August 22, 1903, the company was renamed the Cadillac Automobile Company.

The Cadillac's biggest selling point was precision manufacturing and reliability based on winning the British Dewar trophy for the most important advancement of the year in the automobile industry. General Motors acquired the company in 1909. Cadillac's introduction of V-12 and V-16 powered cars in 1930 kicked off the 'cylinder wars' among the American luxury marques leading Packard to introduce their line of twelves. The V-16 powered 90 Series was Cadillac's top-of-the-line cars until production ceased in 1940. The 90 Series rode on a 154-inch wheelbase with the 452 cubic-inch V-16 engine delivering 185 horsepower. The bodies featured GM's all-steel Turret Top with Vee windshields. Only 52 were produced in 1936, all built to order.

The Aerodynamic Coupe body style was the production version of the show car built for Chicago's 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair and represents a unique shape and size for Classic Era cars.

The interior of this example features gold finished hardware with windows edged in walnut. Cloth sun visors, shaped like abstract leaves, feature screw heads that imitate pearls.

This 36-90 Aero-Dynamic Coupe is one of only four produced in 1936. The $8,150 price tag made it one of the most expensive Cadillac's in 1936. The Series 90 models were fitted with Fleetwood coachwork and only 52 were produced on the 154-inch wheelbase. 24 of those were 7-passenger limousines. This Aero 5-passenger coupe is one of only 4 produced in 1936.

The Coupe was powered by the overhead-valve, 452-cubic-inch, V-16 engine producing 165 horsepower and 320 foot/pounds of torque.
Town Sedan
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 5110221
 
Sold for $247,500 at 2012 RM Auctions.
When the Henry Ford Company failed, Henry M. Leland of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company persuaded Henry Ford's remaining partners to continue the automobile business. On August 22nd of 1902, this new enterprise was renamed the Cadillac Automobile Company in honor of Leland's distant ancestor and founder of Detroit, explorer, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. The early Cadillac's used Leland's proven 1-cylinder engine.

One of Cadillac's biggest selling point was precision manufacturing and reliability based on winning the British Dewar Trophy for the most important advancement of the year in the automobile industry. General Motors acquired the company in 1909. Cadillac's introduction of V12 and V16 powered cars in 1930 kicked off the 'cylinder wars' among the American luxury makers leading Packard to introduce their line of Twelves.

The V16 Series 90 was Cadillac's top-of-the-line car until production ceased in 1940. They rode on a 154-inch wheelbase and powered by a 452 cubic-inch engine offering 185 horsepower. The bodies featured GM's all-steel Turrent Top with Vee windshields. Only 52 were produced in 1936, all built to order.

The current owner acquired the car in 1995 in good original condition. A full restoration was completed over the next three years. It is finished in its original tunis blue color with taupe interior in leather, Bedford cord and broadcloth. This town car, initially priced at $7,250, is the only remaining of eleven built in this body style over the four year production life of the 90 series.
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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Image Left 1935 Model 452-D Series 601937 Series 90 V16 Image Right
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