1937 Cadillac Series 90 V16 / 5130313 Chassis Information

Imperial Sedan
Chassis Num: 5130313
Sold for $192,500 at 2008 RM Sothebys.
High bid of $130,000 at 2011 RM Sothebys. (did not sell)
The Cadillac V16 was a magnificent automobile, but it was not immune to the worsening of the Great Depression. As the 1930s progressed, the V16 Cadillac's became more and more difficult to sell. Ownership of these exclusive and pricy vehicles were generally reserved for the elite and wealthy. Nevertheless, Cadillac experienced enough sales to sustain the company through the lean years and eventually even outshine its rival Packard.

In 1936, Cadillac began offering the Series 90 as a built-to-order purposes. All body styles had the Vee windshields and offered in sedan, limo, convertible, Aero, and stationary coupe form. The engine was a powerful 45 degree V-16 with cast iron block on aluminum crankcase.

There were fewer than 50 examples of the Cadillac V16 built for 1937, and this example is one of just two Series 90 Fleetwood Custom Imperial Cabriolets built with a modified 'V' windows. 1937 was the first year for hydraulic brakes and the last year for the powerful 452 cubic-inch V16 overhead-valve engine and the 154-inch wheelbase, the longest ever for an American car.

In storage for 22 years, this is an original car that has received some cosmetic refurbishment and mechanical enhancements since new. VIN #5130313 has been a recipient of the prestigious CCCA National First Prize, and is still in outstanding condition today. Beautifully finished in black, the car is fitted with a black leather driver's seta with tan broadcloth passenger compartment and custom ordered black leather roof. The car is fitted with many options including Trippe driving lights, dual sidemounts with metal covers and mirrors, as well as the standard divider window. The car has outstanding mechanicals, as the V-16 is whisper quiet and the car runs and drives great.
Imperial Sedan
Chassis Num: 5130313
Sold for $192,500 at 2008 RM Sothebys.
High bid of $130,000 at 2011 RM Sothebys. (did not sell)
General Motors introduced several important items during the early 1930s which made them a leader in the luxury car segment. Those include the introduction of the V12 and V16 engine, and the creation of the 'Art and Color' department headed by the legendary Harley Earl. This new department was the first of its kind and was formed from the realization that car sales could no longer be solely relied on engineering.

The V16 engine featured an advanced overhead valve design that incorporated automatic hydraulic valve lash compensators, ensuring that the engine would run as quietly as engine side valve engine. It was given a narrow 45-degree cylinder bank angle which allowed it to be very compact while having good balance. The styling was performed by Owen Nacker, and it was the first engine bay to receive design consideration. The wiring was hidden under covers and accented by cloisonné knobs. The fuel lines were plated, and a false firewall hid the necessary wiring and plumbing from sight.

Most of the bodies that adorned the V16 Cadillac's were done by Fleetwood. A few were special Fisher bodies. Though beautiful and mechanically superior to most other cars on the road, they Cadillac V16 was hard to sell, partly due to the Great Depression.

This Cadillac V16 was purchased new and delivered to the Beverly Hills home of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Vice President and General Manager Edgar 'Eddie' Mannix. The car was used by movie stars for decades during the 'Golden Age of Hollywood.' It is believed that Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh used the car during the filming of the multiple Academy Award winning, Gone with Wind.

Mannix kept the car during his entire life. It was sold from Mannix's estate after his passing and would pass through several prominent car collectors through the years. It was stored for 22 years in a St. Louis area garage. It was later sold to an enthusiast in Colorado. In present form, the car has been driven 34,000 original miles. Much of the paint, trim, and interior are still original to the car. This car features such amenities as a blind rear quarter, padded leather roof, roll-up window, rear clock, heaters, and a hidden rear-seat radio. It is also the only known Cadillac to have been delivered with a sterling silver Goddess hood ornament.

Fewer than 50 Cadillac V16s were produced in 1937. This is one of just two Series 90 Fleetwood Custom Imperial Cabriolets and is a very rare car with a history to match.

In 2008 this 1937 Cadillac V16 Custom Imperial Cabriolet with coachwork by Fleetwood was brought to RM Auctions 'Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook' where it was estimated to sell for $200,000-$250,000. The expectations were nearly met as a high bid of $192,500 including buyer's premium was enough to satisfy the car's reserve. The lot was sold.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008

Chassis# 5130313

2011 RM Auctions - Concours d'Elegance at St. Johns
Pre-Auction Estimates :$150,000-$200,000 
High Bid (Lot was not sold)$130,000
2008 Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook
Pre-Auction Estimates :$200,000-$250,000 
Sale Price : $192,500


Chassis number 5130313 Auction Sales History
2011Pre-Sale Estimates: $150,000 - $200,000

2015 1
2014 1
2012 1
2008 1

YearAvg. SaleHigh Sale# of Sales

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1937 sales)
1937 Cadillac V-16 Seven-Passenger Limousine by Fleetwood
Chassis#: 5130347
Sold for $110,000
  2015 RM Sotheby's Hershey Auction
1937 Cadillac V-16 Custom Imperial Cabriolet
Sold for $206,250
  2014 Auctions America - BidAnywhere
1937 Cadillac Sixteen Custom Phaeton
Chassis#: 5130311
Sold for $962,500
  2012 RM - Milhous Collection, Fla
1937 Cadillac Series 90
Sold for $192,500
  2008 Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook

No Sale

1937 Cadillac Series 90 V16's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1937 Cadillac V-16 Custom Imperial Cabriolet by Fleetwood51303132011 RM Auctions Concours d'Elegance at St. Johns$130,000$150,000$200,000


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