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 CoupesArrow PictureManufacturersArrow PictureCadillacArrow PictureSeries 452A V16 (1930 - 1937)Arrow Picture1930 Cadillac Series 452A V16 
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1930 Cadillac Series 452A V16 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
The 1930 Cadillac Sixteen was the first year for the overhead-valve, 452-cubic-inch engine producing 165 horsepower and 320 foot-pounds of torque. The Sixteen was theoretically available in 33 different models, sub-models, or trim variations ranging from a $5,350 two-passenger roadster to an $8,750 town cabriolet. The typical example could return about 8 miles to a 15-cent gallon of gas and 150 miles to a quart of oil, plus cruise at 70 to a top-speed of 90 mph.

This example has coachwork by Fleetwood and is mounted on a 148-inch wheelbase and a total of 3,250 Sixteen's were built in 1930 and 1931. The Sixteen continued to be produced until 1940.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
Mr. Floyd E. Becker, of Roseland, NJ, placed the original order for this car on January 27, 1930. The order specified a V-16 engine (452 cubic-inch displacement, 175 HP and 320 ft-lbs torque), 20 inch wood spoke wheels painted the same color as the body, two rear-mounted spares, 3.92:1 rear axle ratio, special door pockets, windshield wings and special seats. The total price was $5,896.40, and included two spare coils, condensers and points. A complete restoration was completed in June 2001, with 3,392.5 man-hours of labor.
Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Fisher
Chassis Num: 701341
 
Sold for $143,000 at 2005 RM Auctions.
Sold for $132,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
This 1930 Cadillac Model 452-A V16 Sport Coupe is powered by a 452-cubic-inch sixteen-cylinder engine capable of producing 175 horsepower. It sits atop a 148 inch wheelbase and has four-wheel power assisted brakes, three-speed synchromesh transmission, and leaf spring front axle and torque tube rear axle.

There were a wide variety of bodystyles offered during the 10 years of production of the V16 Cadillac. Most were bodied by Fleetwood and a few special offerings by Fisher. This example has coachwork by Fisher, finished in a two-door, three-window coupe design. It has chassis number 701341.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
Madame X Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
This vehicle is a 1930 Cadillac 452 Madame X Coupe with coachwork by Fleetwood.

The Cadillac 452D was designed by the legendary Harley Earl and was first debuted at the 1933 Chicago World Fair. It was powered by a V-16 engine placed in the front and powering the rear wheels. Large 15 inch mechanical drum brakes were placed on all four corners and the transmission was selective synchromesh transmission with three gears.
Madame X Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
Of all the luxury automobiles produced during the Depression, few if any, could surpass this 16-cylinder, 6000 pound Cadillac. Of the approximately 72 examples produced, only four are known to exist. The 'Madame X' designation was attached to the car after the heroine of a contemporary motion picture was pictured driving one.
Transformable Town Cabriolet
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
A Supremely Elegant Town Car
This town car has a standard Fleetwood body, style number 4312, of which only 24 were produced. Designated as a chauffer-driven five-passenger car, it has a pair of folding opera seats in the forward tonneau. The elegant lines are set off by the rare slanted, split 'V' windshield. Typically, cars of this period had vertical windshields, which looked much more slaid. The original price was $7,0000.

As in other Fleetwood cars, the V-16's open chauffeur's compartment is upholstered in finely grained leather. All doors on this Fleetwood body open from the front. The fine car market was stunned by Cadillac's introduction of the V-16. The competition scrambled to keep up in the cylinder race, often to their economic detriment, at the height of the Depression.

The V-16 was an engineering tour-de-force. The 45-degree cylinder angle and overhead valves kept the engine very narrow. This was the first 'styled' engine compartment, reputed to be the result of a Harley Earl mandate to match the exterior of the car. It featured hidden wiring and linkages, porcelain-coated manifolds, and brushed, ribbed aluminum valve covers.

First restored in 1992, this elegant car is considered one of the finest examples of a Cadillac V-16 extant. It was recently acquired by the present owner.
All-Weather Phaeton by Murphy
Coachwork: Murphy
Designer: Harley Earl
 
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.'
Madame X Sedan
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 41613
 
'Madame X' is a spectacular and very stylish 1930 Cadillac Limousine. The 'Madame X' cars were some of the first designs by Harley Earl, head of styling at General Motors. Earl named these 'Madame X' Cadillac's after a play he had recently seen. They featured a light, lowered look, with incredibly thin pillars and a raked windshield. These cars were very dramatic and well received, but few were built because of the Depression. They are highly prized by collectors today.

It is a Harley Earl styled seven-seater body and is powered by the industries first V16 engine. A 452 CID overhead valve engine designed in the late 20's to deliver the last word in luxury motoring.

To showcase the 452 engine with 165 HP, the engine bay was painted, polished and enameled.

Just 3,251 of these models were built in the 1930 and 1931 model years.
Madame X Sedan
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 702103
 
This 1930 Cadillac V16 Madame X Five-Passenger Sedan was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $125,000 and offered without reserve. Bidding surpassed the estimates with the final bid settling at $93,500 including buyer's premium.

In 1930 Cadillac introduced its new sixteen cylinder masterpiece which carried a sticker price of $6,900. Up to this point in history, Cadillac had mostly been a mid-priced vehicle, but with the introduction of this new model, Cadillac graduated to the head of the luxury car segment. It shared an honor with only one other marque, Bugatti, who had produced a 'U' shaped sixteen cylinder engine, with Cadillac's being the first true 16 cylinder created from scratch. It was designed by Owen Nacker and featured a 45-degree cylinder bank angle and overhead valve design which kept the engine very narrow. To complement the ingenuity and genius of the V16 powerplant, the engine bay became one of the first to be given proper 'styling.' All of the wiring was hidden and there were a generous use of polished aluminum, shining porcelain, and a pair of valve covers with brushed aluminum rigged surfaces featuring the Cadillac emblem.

What was even more impressive is the era in which it was introduced - the Great Depression. This new technology in one of the largest and most complex packages ever created up to this point, kept the competition struggling to keep up. In their efforts to develop, experiment and test, many over-extended themselves and were forced out of business.

Even though the luxury market was declining, Cadillac was able to survive, thanks in-part to the financial support from General Motors.

It is believed that only 49 examples of the model 4130-S were ever produced. They are commonly known as the 'Madam-X' Cadillac's, and wore series 4100 Fleetwood bodies. Their most unusual and possibly attractive feature was the raked, one-piece flat windshield which had very thin side pillars and fine chrome molding around all side windows.

This particular example was built on July 7th of 1930 and shipped to the Akron Branch of Cadillac. During its trip it was diverted on October 10th to Canton, Ohio where it was sold to its first owner. It has been well cared for throughout its life. It retains many of its original equipment including the correct 13-inch headlights, an eight-inch articulated lower driving lights that turn in sync with the front wheels, chrome pilot fender lights, painted spoke wire wheels, dual hard cover side mounted 19-inch spoke wheels, and painted in a two-tone blue exterior. It is body no 26, bodied by Fleetwood, and one of the few remaining in modern times.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Madame X Sedan
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 700979
Engine Num: 700979
 
Sold for $462,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $438,624 (307,500) at 2011 RM Auctions.
This 1930 Cadillac 452 V16 has coachwork by Saoutchik and was originally built as a promotional tour of major European cities in June of 1930. After its tour was over, it lay abandoned in a Paris garage for a number of years. It was later purchased by French automobile dealer Johnny Thuysbaert and repair work was carried out in 1964 by the Francis Workshops near Paris. It was later purchased by Serge Pozzoli, former editor of France's Fanatique de l'Automobile, who put the car into storage. The car was later purchased by Hubert LeGallais who showed it at various meets in and around Paris in the late 1960s and 1970s.

In the 1980s the car returned to the United States where a restoration was performed by Fran Roxas for Fred Weber in St. Louis, Missouri. During the restoration, the body was removed from the European tour-car chassis and put on chassis 700979.

During the 1990s the car was owned by Bernie Glieberman and shown at various events. Highlights include a Class Award at pebble Beach in 1991 and at Meadowbrook in 1995 where it won Best in Class and the Engineering in Excellence Trophy. The current owner purchased the car in January of 2001.

This car has won awards at the Pebble Beach Concours, Amelia Island Concours, Palos Verdes, and Newport Beach Concours.

This car is finished in silver and blue paintwork, has classic limousine-style seating, a custom sliding sunroof that opens to the entire passenger compartment, rear-seat cabinetry, rear speedometer and running lights.

In 2007 this Jacques Saoutchik V16 Cadillac was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA where it was estimated to sell for $300,000-$400,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, this former Pebble Beach winner had been sold for the sum of $462,000 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 700809
Engine Num: 700809
 
Sold for $230,000 at 2001 Kruse International.
Sold for $495,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $440,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
Sold for $577,500 at 2011 RM Auctions.
The Cadillac 452 V16 was the biggest, quietest, most sophisticated, and most luxurious automobile during hte Classic Era. The development of the V16 engine was done in utomost secrecy. General Motors did all they could to keep it a clandestine affair, even went to great lengths to mask its activites. When placing orders and giving suppliers drawings they marked 'bus' and 'coach' to douce suspision.

As the 1920s came to a close, GM introduced their V16 engine on an unsuspecting world. Their goal had been ascertained; to construct a smooth and quiet engine that had adequate power and torque to carry the ever-increasing weight of the luxuriously trimmed coachwork. The engine was unveiled to the public at the New York Auto Salon in January of 1930. By early April, Cadillac had already shipped more than a thousand V16s. Over the next seven years a total of 3,878 examples were produced.

Production figures would have been higher had not the Great Depression dwindled the pool of potential buyers. Nevertheless, the V16 was still a triumph for General Motors, Fleetwood and the Art and Color Department. The styling had firmly established Harley Earl as the prominent GM designer. Over the next quarter century, Earl would ride on its success and became a dominant figure in the design of the American automobile.

This 1930 Cadillac 452A V16 Roadster has coachwork by Fleetwood. It has chassis number 700809 and matching engine number. It is a very original car with every numbered component, including the engine, chassis, steering box, front axle, bell housing, and generator, bear the numbers cataloged when it left the factory in March of 1930.

Since new, it was treated to a three-year professional body-off restoration that was completed in 1995. It has received its Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Primary, Senior and Premier awards. It scored a perfect 100 points on three separate occasions.

The vehicle's first owner was a Virginia resident and little documentation exists from its early days. It was found in a barn in upstate New York in the late 1980s and wore New Jersey registration tags from 1950. Jim Bradley purchased the car and commissioned the restoration.

When the car left the factory it had been fitted with dual side-mounted spares with body color metal covers, stainless spoke wire wheels, wind wings, chrome-plated vents, Cadillac script spotlights, Pilot Ray auxiliary driving lights, and an original Cadillac accessory trunk with a full set of fitted luggage. The color it wears today is original to its build sheet. The interior and chassis is red with the body painted in black.

In 2007 it was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction where it was estimated to sell for $550,000 - $650,000. Those estimates were proven nearly accurate as the lot was sold for $495,000 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
Convertible Coupe Style 4335 by Fleetwood
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 700898
 
Sold for $324,500 at 2008 RM Auctions.
High bid of $210,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $253,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
Henry Leland was 47 years old when he moved his family to Detroit. He had enjoyed a prosperous career having invented mechanical hair clippers and more success was on the horizon for this precision machinery expert. Teaming up with Robert C. Falconer, the duo began producing precision gears and later moved into the production of steam engines for Detroit street cars and small gasoline engines.

Oldsmobile contracted the precision company in 1901 to build a single cylinder internal combustion engine for their Curved Dash vehicle. The engine that Leland & Falconer created was 23-percent more powerful than existing Oldsmobile engines. It was rightfully dubbed the 'Little Hercules.' Sadly, the engine was rejected after a fire at the Oldsmobile factory delayed production and the retooling further delayed the release of the car.

Leland played a part in forming the company named after the French explorer who founded Detroit in the eighteenth century - Le Sieur Antoine de la Moth Cadillac - the Cadillac Automobile Company. Three decades later, the world was introduced to the sixteen-cylinder Cadillac. It was the first true 16 cylinder engine built from scratch. It was designed by Owen Nacker and given a 45-degree cylinder bank angle and overhead valve design allowing for a very narrow design. The external manifold provided good access to the engine compartment. It went a step beyond just a mechanical tour-de force, it was a thing of beauty and style. All of the wiring was hidden and there was plenty of gleaming polished aluminum, and a pair of valve covers with brushed aluminum ridged surfaces with the Cadillac emblem.

The least expensive of the V16 Cadillac bodystyles was the Roadster style 4302 which sold for $5,350. The other end of the scale was the convertible coupe style 4235 which sold for $6,900. This example is a Fleetwood Convertible Coupe with style 4335 and sold new for $5,900. It is a unique design with a 'V' swing-out windshield with a seven-degree rake. There are suicide doors hinged at the rear and a 'LeBaron'-style curved hood.

Only 100 examples of the style 4335 were known to be produced. Only 12 are known to exist and even fewer are matching number cars, such as this example. It wears body number 47, is painted in two-tone red, and rides on 19-inch wire wheels. There are eight-inch lower Pilot-Ray driving lights that turn with the front wheels, chrome fender lights and dual side mounted 19-inch wire wheels.

In 2008 this 1930 Cadillac V16 Convertible Coupe was brought to RM Auctions 'Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook' where it was estimated to sell for $280,000-$350,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for $324,500 including buyer's premium.

The car returned just one year later to the same auction and again was put onto the block. The car was estimated to sell for $250,000 - $350,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had failed to sell after achieving a high bid of $210,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2009
Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Rollston & Company
Designer: Harley Earl
 
This one-off convertible coupe is considered by many to be the most beautiful V-16 Cadillac ever built. The short raked windshield and flowing lines mated perfectly with the massive 148-inch wheelbase V-16 chassis. Rollston and Company of New York did the coachwork. The V-16 delivered 8.5 miles per gallon with the standard 4.39 rear end ratio and could attain an honest 90+ miles per hour.
Fleetwood Imperial Landaulet
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
Cadillac offered an amazing array of catalogued custom bodies for the V-16 series. This Fleetwood body offered the ultimate combination of a formal closed design with sport sedan style. The dramatic V windshield, contoured hood, and bright window reveals were just a few of the special styling cues incorporated into this design.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 7-2218
Engine Num: 702338
 
Sold for $693,000 at 2008 Gooding & Company.
The first owners of this car was the Schaeffer family of Schaeffer Pen Company fame. It was later purchased by Bob Bahre. In the mid-1990s, the car was sold to its present owner. Under the new owner's care, the car was treated to a professional restoration, bringing this Fleetwood bodied Roadster back to its original glory. It was shown at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was given a Class Award for both its correctness and superior condition.

The car is finished in blue-over-blue combination, with a tan top, and correct Tilt Ray headlamps with desirable dual side mounts.

In 2008, this 452 V16 Cadillac was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. It was estimated to sell for $650,000-$850,000. The lot was sold for $693,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
Limousine
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 700280
 
Sold for $126,500 at 2009 RM Auctions.
This vehicle was originally produced at Detroit's Fort Street plant as a Seven-Passenger Sedan with Style 4375-S bodywork. It was retrofitted by the dealer to Style 4375, Seven-Passenger Imperial Sedan specifications with the addition of a sliding glass division window and a pair of forward-facing, foldable auxiliary seats.

The original owner of the car was Templeton Crocker, a well-known adventurer, yachtsman and heir to a West Coast banking and railroad fortune. It was sold a year later to Lillian Remillard, the heir to her father's San Francisco brick company fortune. She was married to Italian inventor Count Alessandro Dandini for only a brief period of time. Though her marriage was brief, she retained the title 'Countess Lillian Remillard Dandini,' until her death in 1973.

The car would pass through several owners, yet it was fondly known as the 'Countess Dandini' car. It was found in a barn in San Jose, California during the 1960s. It was covered in the June 1965 edition of The Self Starter, the magazine of the Cadillac & LaSalle Club, and is believed to have passed through two more owners prior to acquisition by the current owner in 2007.

In 2009, this example was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $125,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot was sold for the sum of $126,500, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2009
All Weather Phaeton Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
Cadillac was first to market a multi-cylinder car at the height of the 'classic era' with the 1930 introduction of its 452 cubic-inch V-16 series. The car was a huge success despite perilous economic times, with over 3,200 V-16s sold in the first production run. This Special Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood is one of the more elegant open examples.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
Only two American motor car manufacturers, Cadillac and Marmon, produced automobiles equipped with V-16 engines. The much heralded Cadillac V-16 automobile made its debut on December 10, 1929, less than two months after the stock market crash and the start of The Great Depression. Nonetheless, the 1930 Cadillac V-16 became an instant status symbol, propelling Cadillac's sales beyond exception. Marmon did not come to market with a V-16 until 1931 and, by that time, Cadillac had taken a commanding market share for their prestigious automobiles.

The 452 cubic-inch, V-16, overhead valve engine developed 165 horsepower and had a top speed of 95 mph. It could achieve 60 mph in 20 seconds. The engine was coupled to a three-speed gearbox.

Cadillac's total V-16 production for 1930-1931 was 3,251 units. Production of roadsters consisted of 105 units or a meager 3.3% of production. List price on the Roadster was $5,530.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
Cadillac produced 4,076 V-16 cars over an eleven year span. Most were built in a single year (1930), before the Great Depression really took hold. The V16s rode on a long 149-inch wheelbase and had massive 'four-bar' bumpers and a larger 'Goddess' hood ornament. The hood was four-inches longer than the V12 and five inches longer than the V8. The instrument panels were similar, but the headlights were one inch larger in diameter and the dual rear lights were unique on the V-16 models.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Convertible Coupe Style 4335 by Fleetwood
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
Less than 10 cars remain of this body style and fewer matching numbers as this example. This car appears in its original interior and exterior colors. It is a convertible coupe with coachwork by Fleetwood and originally priced at $6,900 - it was the most expensive open two-seater model offered by Cadillac.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 700809
Engine Num: 700809
 
Sold for $230,000 at 2001 Kruse International.
Sold for $495,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $440,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
Sold for $577,500 at 2011 RM Auctions.
This Style 4302 Roadster was priced from $5,350 when new. It was sold new in Virginia and by the late 1980s, it was discovered in a barn in upstate New York, still wearing circa-1950 New Jersey tags. It was purchased by Jim Bradley, a noted collector from Oklahoma, who undertook the painstaking restoration process.

When Mr. Bradley had found the car, it was evident that the chassis was original and parts of the body were missing. Other parts had deteriorated over time. Bradley searched extensively until he located another correct, original Fleetwood-built Style 4302 roadster body, and he used original components from it to restore the car. The three-year body-off-frame restoration was completed in 1995, follow by the achievement of CCCA Primary, Senior and Premier awards, scoring a perfect 100 points all three times.

This car is very well equipped, including dual side-mounted spares with correct metal covers, stainless-spoke wire wheels, wind wings, Cadillac-scripted spotlights and Pilot Ray driving lights, as well as a correct and original Cadillac 'lo-boy' accessory trunk, complete with fitted luggage.

In 2007, just after receiving a complete service, the car entered a private collection. Since then it has been well cared for and received proper attention.

In 2010, this V16 Roadster was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook event presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $375,000 - $475,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $440,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011
Fleetwood Sedan Cabriolet
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
The present owner purchased this Sport Phaeton model while he was still in high school. He later drove it to his prom. Many years later, it was put on display at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Despite being the most expensive Cadillac ever and despite being introduced during the clouded times of the Great Depression, 3,250 examples were sold in the 1930-31 series, catapulting the Cadillac marque toward almost total ownership of the U.S. luxury market.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2010
All Weather Phaeton Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 702514
 
Sold for $302,500 at 2008 RM Auctions.
Sold for $297,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
The current owner of this Sport Phaeton acquired it in early 2008. The prior California-based owner purchased it directly from Mr. Fred Weber during the mid-1980s. This V-16 is understood to have been assembled using an original chassis and engine, with new coachwork painstakingly built to exacting standards of authenticity. It is believed that this vehicle was originally bodied as a Sport Phaeton, just like it is in modern times.

This vehicle is fitted with all the correct and desirable period accessories, including chrome wire wheels with stainless-steel spokes and wide whitewall tires, Pilot Ray driving lights, a radiator stone guard, dual spotlights, dual side-mounted spare wheels and tires with matching covers, accessory mirrors, a rear-mounted metal luggage trunk and a correct Cadillac radiator mascot. It is painted in two-tone black and silver paint which is complemented with a maroon leather interior.

In 2010, this V-16 Cadlliac was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $300,000 - $350,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $297,000 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
Chassis Num: 700809
Engine Num: 700809
 
Sold for $230,000 at 2001 Kruse International.
Sold for $495,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $440,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
Sold for $577,500 at 2011 RM Auctions.
Perhaps nothing can convey the nostalgic feelings of America's golden age more so than the custom-ordered, custom-built cars of those days. Cadillac vaulted itself into a very special place amongst those nostalgic memories with its 1930 V16 Roadster.

Upon its debut in 1930 at the New York Auto Show, the V16 wowed the public and became Cadillac's top-of-the-line car until production ceased in 1940. Until Cadillac introduced its own V16, only Bugatti had a sixteen-cylinder luxury car. By introducing a sixteen cylinder car of its own, Cadillac entered a very special class.

Cadillac's V-16 was the first-ever production sixteen-cylinder engine in the United States. It was also the first engine that was ever styled in and of itself. The development of the large-cylinder engine was performed under a great deal of secrecy. GM even conjured up a campaign of disinformation in order to keep information of the engine from leaking to the public and competitors.

All too often, car manufacturers concentrate on styling the chassis and merely finding an engine to fit the design, or, the engine is the focus and less consideration is given to the chassis design. On Cadillac's V16 Roadster, all aspects of the car came under the critical eye of the design team. What the design team managed to create was a work of art inside and out.

Over a short period of time, construction of the V16 models was in full-swing with 2,000 models having been produced by June of 1930. Initially, the new car was offered in ten different body styles.

In June of 1930, Cadillac toured its V16 throughout Europe. In many cities, like Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt and Vienna, the car was honored. Despite its rave beginnings, sales of the car dropped off incredibly. Cadillac was about the only luxury car manufacturer to be able to make it through the depression era. This was because of its relationship with GM. The larger parent company helped to keep the smaller, luxury car division alive. However, because of the tough economic times, Cadillac figured it actually lost money on every V16 they ever built.

The car offered at the RM Auction was a Fleetwood body-styled Cadillac Roadster model and it was built from scratch that way by Cadillac during the V16's first year of production. As with the hard-top models, the company's roadster was a beautifully styled chassis.

The body shape of the chassis is an intriguing wedge-shape. The large sixteen-cylinder engine was designed at a forty-five degree cylinder bank angle. This meant the engine was rather narrow in its construction. This fit neatly in the long, narrow nose of the V16 Roadster. The nose of the car is dominated by the large, round headlights; chrome, bent bumper and the large rectangular-shaped grille that had been rounded at the bottom and designed at the top to blend into the lines of the engine cowling.

On the sides of the V16 were a series of small panels. Many, including the one at the auction this year, sport those small panel vents with a chrome-finish. These vents could be opened to further aid in engine cooling.

One of the V16's other memorable design features, was the placement of the spare tires along the side of the engine compartment, recessed into the fenders flowing down from over the front wheels into the running boards along either side of the doors. Attached to the top of those spare tires were the car's rear-view mirrors. Chassis number 700809 even has the wheel covers correct with that year's production.

The passenger compartment of Cadillac's Roadster was tailored beautifully, including two smaller, round lights on either side of the low, squared-off windscreen. The interior, itself, was simple, but plush. The model up for auction this year was finished in charcoal-colored leather. The passenger compartment of the V16 is dominated by the large, four-spoke steering wheel and central dashboard instrument display. 700809 featured finished metal work on either side of the instrument cluster. Just to the right of the large steering wheel is the long-arm gear lever for the three-speed selective manual synchromesh transmission.

The rear bodywork of the Roadster was designed to extend forward further until it reached the back of the two seats. Therefore, the bodywork flows back toward the rear of the car horizontal to the ground, and, then, falls off dramatically in a wonderful contoured arc. At the base of the bodywork is the platform-supported luggage trunk.

Discovered in a barn in upstate New York in the 1980s, chassis number 700809 was purchased by noted collector Jim Bradley of Oklahoma. When inspected by Bradley it was noted that it seemed the chassis had never before been taken apart.

Ever since being purchased by Bradley, the car has undergone restoration work of some kind. The chassis seemed in decent shape, but, the bodywork was badly deteriorated. Bradley searched and found another Fleetwood-built roadster body and used its components to replace and restore chassis 700809. This off-body restoration took three years and was completed in 1995. The car received a perfect score of 100 points in each the CCCA Primary, Senior and Premier awards.

After trading hands a couple of times, the car was purchased by John O'Quinn in 2007 and took its place among his collection of fine automobiles. In 2010, RM Auto Restoration went through the car's V16 engine and freshened it up. The rest of the car was detailed. The car was cleaned and polished. The chrome, as well as the brightwork and upholstery were cleaned and detailed.

The Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac V16 Roadster offered this year was a Model 452-A chassis and included the 175 bhp, 452 cubic inch, overhead-valve V-16 engine. The car had a solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers for suspension. The rear axle was a ¾-floating axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Each of the car's brakes consisted of vacuum-assisted mechanical drums.

The Cadillac V16 Roadster remains one of the most memorable classic-era cars. Its V16 engine makes the car greatly desirable. The car's lines evokes memories of the golden era of car design and production. It seemed as though this car could lift the spirits of all to forget the reality of the happenings of those days and to be transported to a more wonderful and nostalgic time and place.

Sources:
'Buy: Featured Lots (Lot 271: 1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster)', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r226#). RM Auctions Arizona. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r226#. Retrieved 6 January 2011.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Cadillac V-16', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 November 2010, 18:28 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cadillac_V-16&oldid=397718769 accessed 6 January 2011

By Jeremy McMullen
Fleetwood Sedan Cabriolet
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
This 1930 Cadillac is one of 105, which sold new for $5,530. It was initially purchased by a dentist from Virginia at a dealership in New York City. Its 16-cylinder engine displaces 452 cubic-inches and produces 165 horsepower. The colors have been duplicated from the original factory Cadillac colors of 1930.

The current owners purchased the car from a gentleman who had owned it for 19 years. It received a complete body-off restoration, bringing it back to show condition in time for the 2001 Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach, where it won a class award.

It has subsequently won a First Place Award at the 2002 CCCA Show in San Jose, California; a First Place Class Award at the 2002 AACA Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania; received a National Award from the AACA in 2002 and a Senior Award from the CCA in July of 2003. In 2006, this was the poster car for the Burn Foundation event.
Limousine
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Cadillac was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company when Henry Ford departed. Henry M. Leland of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company persuaded the remaining partners to continue the automobile business using Leland's proven 1-cylinder engine. On August 22, 1902, 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 was Cadillac's top-of-the-line car until production ceased in 1940. Only 4,076 cars were built in the eleven years the model was offered, most built in the single year of 1930 before the Great Depression really took hold. The V-16s featured a longer 149-inch wheelbase, unique grille, a larger 'Goddess' hood ornament and massive 'four-bar' bumpers. The V-16 hood was four inches longer than the V-12 and five inches longer than the V-8. The instrument panel was similar, but the headlights were one inch larger in diameter and the dual rear lights were unique.

There were an incredible 70 body styles available on the V-16 chassis in 1930 at prices ranging from $5,800 to $7,150 - or more. Total model year production was 3,251.

This 1930 Cadillac V-16 452 is a seven-passenger limousine. It was designed and built by Fleetwood Body Co. of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, which was acquired by General Motors in 1930 and eventually relocated to Detroit. This car sold new in New York City and had 40,000 miles on the odometer when acquired by the current owner in 1996. It has the original paint and interior. A frame-off restoration was completed in 2003.
All Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
In 1926 work began on a new Cadillac engine which was intended to give General Motors Cadillac division the leadership in the American fine car field from Packard. This engine was of course the V16, introduced by Cadillac in December, 1929.

The car's original owner, Jay Gilbert Maurer, an orchestra leader, stated the way the car is bodied was because he had a 1928 or 1929 Dual Cowl Phaeton V8, and he wished to buy a V-16. However, he found the standard V-16 Phaeton unacceptable with roll-up windows. Mr. Maurer, because of some contacts at GM, was able to get them to put a special Fisher Sport Phaeton body on the V-16 chassis. The he purchased the car.

The V-16 had a displacement of 452 cubic-inches producing 175 horsepower. This type of car was used extensively by gangsters and bootleggers of the Prohibition era.

In 1954, Max Obie, purchased the Phaeton from the original owner, that had languished in a barn since World War 2.

Gaylord R. 'Jim' Pearson, the car's 3rd owner, was a founding member of the Cadillac-LaSalle Club, the Classic Car Club Museum and a member of the Antique Automobile club of America. The car was restored by Jim Pearson, Kansas City in 1978-1979.

In 2005, the Phaeton was purchased by the present owners.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
The Cadillac 452 V16 set the standard in American luxury automobiles of the Classic Era. The V16 was the biggest, quietest, most luxurious, most sophisticated and to many people, the most beautiful car of its times. It was sprung on an unsuspecting market in late 1929 and unveiled to the public in January 1930 at the New York Auto Salon. It was named after its 452-inch cubic displacement and produced 185 BHP which was good for 100 mph.

This car was originally purchased by the Schaeffer family of Schaeffer Pen Company fame. The family owned the car for quite some time before it was sold to prominent collector Bob Bahre. In the mid-1990s, Bahre sold the car to its present owner who commissioned the highly regarded V16 authority Steve Babinsky to restore it. The car was in excellent condition having covered a mere 33,000 miles from new and requiring absolutely no rust or accident repair during the exacting restoration.
Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
This 452A Roadster has all matching component numbers including steering box, front axle, bell housing and generator according to the build sheet when it left the factory in 1930. Previous owners include Ronald Benach and Otis Chandler. Fran Roxas of Vintage Motor Group completed a full restoration.

The Cadillac V-16 was the industry's first production car to offer a 16-cylinder engine. Cadillac, focused on overtaking Packard's luxury car leadership, began development of the V-16 in absolute secrecy. It immediately stunned the luxury car competition and set a new standard for power, performance, and luxury at its January New York Auto Salon launch, becoming Cadillac's top-of-the-line vehicle until production ceased in 19400.

The V-16's 452 cubic-inch engine produced 165 horsepower and 320 ft-lbs of torque, with overhead valves and the forerunner of modern hydraulic valve lifters. Prices ranged from $5,350 for a two-passenger roadster to $8,750 for a town cabriolet. With a top speed of 90 mph and cruise of 70 mph, the typical example returned approximately 8 miles-per-gallon. Well over 1,000 sold by early April, most of the V-16s built over the 11 years were 1930 models. The Great Depression dwindled potential buyers and Cadillac later estimated they lost money on every V-16.
Imperial Cabriolet
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
This V-16 Cadillac was a 'catalog custom' with coachwork by Fleetwood. It is an Imperial Cabriolet bodystyle powered by Cadillac's overhead valve, V-Type engine displacing 452 cubic-inches and offering 175 horsepower.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2013
All Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Chassis Num: 700543
Engine Num: 34
 
Sold for $159,500 at 2013 RM Auctions.
This Cadillac All Weather Phaeton was the 34th of 250 V16s built from 1930-1931. The coachwork was completed by Fleetwood. This body is one of the earliest surviving examples; it was built by Fleetwood's original Pennsylvania factory and is distinguished by its vee'd windshield. The original build sheet states the car was delivered on March 19th of 1930 to the Upperu Cadillac Corporation in New York City. The car was eventually acquired by the late Richard Gold of Minnesota. It is believed that this was the first (of many) V-16 Cadillacs in the Gold Collection and was among those he kept for many years.

Recently, the car was part of the Richard and Linda Kughn collection. It is finished in two-tone Khaki and features an interior upholstered in biscuit tan broadcloth. The cloth interior makes for an unusual choice for an open car, but it is reported that several all-weather phaetons were outfitted in this fashion. Accessories found on this car include dual side-mounted spares, fender lights, dual horns, an unrestored trunk, and the classic Goddess hood ornament. The car has never been completely restored and shows just over 72,000 miles on the odometer.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2013
Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
Cadillac offered no less than 50 different body styles by Fleetwood and Fisher in 1930 for its new 452 V-16 model. This coupe was built by Fleetwood in its Pennsylvania factory before moving to Detroit in December 1930. The car sports a rare split V-style swing-out windshield and is known as a 'Pennsylvania Windshield' Cadillac. It has Cadillac's famous V-16 engine, which was the first true 16-cylidner engine built from scratch. While the horsepower output of the V-16 engine was publicized by Cadillac at 175 horsepower, it actually produced around 200 horsepower.
All Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Engine Num: 701834
 
This Cadillac V-16 wears a Fleetwood All-Weather Phaeton body style. The All Weather Phaeton also allowed for a retractable division so the car could be both chauffeur- and owner-driven.

This example has been fully restored in the 1990s. It has recently been a multiple winner at the Newport Concours D'Elegance. It was also part of a long term exhibition on American styling at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2013
All Weather Phaeton
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Engine Num: 702723
 
This Cadillac All Weather Phaeton wears coachwork by Fleetwood. The early history remains unknown, it is known to have been in Kerry Galder's New Hampshire-based collection up in the 1960s, during which time Charles Harper of Holliston, Massachusetts purchased it. At the time, the car was in largely original and unrestored condition. Later in life, the car was treated to a restoration and would remain in Harper's collection until 2012, when it came into the care of its present owner.

The car was restored over 2 decades ago, but still shows well in modern time. The car is finished in two-tone blue color scheme and trimmed in broadcloth materials.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
Imperial Club Sedan
Coachwork: Fleetwood
 
This Fleetwood body, style 4361 S, is one of 31 offered by Cadillac on their V-16 148-inch chassis. According to the 'Build Sheet' this was originally delivered to Don Lee Cadillac, San Francisco, CA. It remains in the correct colors of Mulberry Maroon and Black. Records documented that this was the 13th of this body style built. The unique LeBaron hood treatment with curved Vee design starting at the radiator and flowing down to the cowl accents the swept motif used by a few exclusive car manufacturers.

Designated the 452 series by Cadillac, because of the engine displacement, this particular vehicle lacks the traditional jump seats in the rear compartment and also the glass division window between driver and passengers. Clearly a 'close coupled' sedan for owner/operator use without the customary chauffeur inclusion. Fuel consumption remained in the 4.5 to 6 miles per gallon range as these cars carried massive weight and were capable of 100 miles per hour. Even in the Depression Era, these cars commanded respect for their innovative engineering and quality of construction by the custom coachbuilder, Fleetwood Body Company.
All Weather Phaeton Coupe
Coachwork: Fleetwood
Designer: Harley Earl
 
This was the first year for Cadillac's 452 cubic-inch, overhead valve, 175 horsepower V16 engine capable of powering this large, 148-inch wheelbase car to a top speed of 90 mph. The engine was an engineering marvel and the first to include hidden wiring, polished aluminum, shiny porcelain details, brushed aluminum, and ridged valve covers decorated with the Cadillac emblem. This innovative car also featured power-assisted, four-wheel brakes and three-speed synchromesh transmission.

Introduced at the New York Auto Show in January of 1930, it was thought of as a supercar for its time. Only Cadillac's association with General Motors prevented the brand's extinction and fostered its ability to produce these special, low-production cars.

Cadillac continued making the V16 engine until 1940, although the majority of Sixteens were built in 1930 before the Great Depression deepened. A multitude of body styles were available as well, mostly by Fleetwood with some by Fisher. Even fewer were sold for to coach builders to finish.

This example is by Fleetwood and is officially described as 'body style #4380, 4-door All-Weather Phaeton, 5-passenger.'
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
For more information and related vehicles, click here

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Arrow Right 1930 Cadillac models
Cadillac Series 353

Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
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Similarly Sized Vehicles from 1930
Minerva AL

Similarly Priced Vehicles from 1930
Oldsmobile Model F-30 ($900-$9,709)
Stutz SV16 ($3,745-$6,985)
Stutz Model MB ($7,495-$7,495)
Packard 745 Deluxe Eight ($4,585-$5,355)
Lincoln Model L ($4,505-$7,005)
Packard 734 ($5,203-$6,020)
Pierce Arrow Model A ($4,000-$6,300)
Cadillac Series 353 ($3,295-$5,945)

Average Auction Sale: $306,480

 
Cadillac: 1920-1930
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Cadillac
Monthly Sales FiguresVolume
July 201415,241 
June 201413,941 
May 201414,688 
April 201413,900 
March 201414,765 
February 201413,437 
January 201411,386 
December 201318,165 
November 201316,172 
October 201314,792 
September 201313,828 
August 201320,255 
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1931 452A V-16 Image Right
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