Only 296 model 452B Cadillac V-16s were sold in 1932 - a result of both the deepening Depression and probably a bit of market saturation following the remarkable success of the 1930-1931 models. This phaeton, with special coachwork by the GM-owned Fisher Custom Body Division, has rear seat instrumentation and other unique features.
Sold for $77,000 at 2009 Gooding & Company. In 1932, Cadillac produced just 296 examples of the V-16. An amazingly low number considering there were 41 bodystyles to select from with coachwork handled by Fisher of Fleetwood. There were three wheelbase sizes as well - 143, 149, and 165 inches [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Sold for $231,000 at 2009 Gooding & Company. Sold for $291,500 at 2013 RM Sothebys. It is believed that only 13 chassis were ever produced with the All-Weather Phaeton body designed by Fisher. Only three are known to have survived the test of time. This example is chassis number 1400208 and is finished in deep burgundy with black [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
This spectacular car was built for R.S. McLaughlin, the President of General Motors of Canada. For 1932 the V-16 had minor exterior styling changes and was designated the model 452B, indicating it was the second iteration of the 452-cubic-inch V-16 [Read More...]
Sold for $75,000 at 2007 Bonhams. Owen Nacker, who had worked for Marmon, was the individual who designed the Cadillac V16 engine. It was given overhead-valves, a 45-degree vee, alloy crankcase supporting five main bearings, cast-iron cylinder heads, and nickel-iron cylinders extend [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
This one-of-a-kind car was manufactured especially for delivery to the Montreal Auto Show and was specifically painted wîth a light colored chassis and dark body. Other special features were the blackwall tires and painted full wheel discs.Source - Canton Classic Museum
This All Weather Phaeton is one of just 13 example to have been bodied by Fisher in this design. When new, the car was listed at a high price point of $5,195. [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
Fleetwood Madame X Sedan Coachwork: Fleetwood Engine Num: 1400110
Sold for $264,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company. The Cadillac V-16 was available in more than 70 different body styles and became a symbol of status and prestige. The engine was specifically designed and calibrated to produce minimal vibration and noise. It was set at a 45-degree angle between its [Read More...]
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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