Eight-cylinder Cadillacs were the company's bread-and-butter since 1915, with the introduction of the Type 51 powered by its new L-head V8 engine, the first mass-produced V8, and the first left-hand drive Cadillac with bodies built by Fisher. Cadillac had raised the bar for the luxury car segment, and while many remained steadfast to inline sixes, Cadillac continued to push the envelope, introducing 'The New Ninety Degree Cadillac' Series 314 Eight in 1926, and the Twelve and Sixteen models in the late-1920s and early-1930s.
General Motors introduced the LaSalle brand in 1927 to fill the price gaps that existed between the Cadillac and Buick. (Other GM marques in descending order included Marquette, Viking, Oldsmobile, Oakland, and Pontiac). LaSalle automobiles were manufactured by Cadillac but were smaller and priced less than Cadillac. The eleven standard body styles were all built by Fisher and ranged from $2,495 to $2,975, plus four custom Fleetwood models. They introduced new styling by Harley Earl, inspired by the best of European and American styles. The LaSalle was so well received by the public that General Motors hired the 34-year-old stylist and created the Art and Colour Section around him. The elegant designs were soon applied to the Cadillac vehicles.
The Series 353 Eight, designed by Earl, was introduced for 1930 in 'Fisher Custom' and 'Fleetwood Special Custom' line in a range of three dozen distinct bodies. Discerning customers could also order a chassis to be clothed by the coachbuilder of their own choice, although less than one percent were so equipped in 1930. Design elements included larger headlights, a slightly sloped windshield, a wider radiator, and chassis devoid of the previous ball and socket spring shackles. The front track increased by three inches to 59 inches, and the rear grew slightly by 1.5-inches to 59.5-inches.
The 1931 Series 355-A Eight wore new bodies that were longer and lower resting on a 134-inch wheelbase with a length of 203-inches. They had metal floor boards, a single bar bumper, dual horns, ventilated doors that replaced hood louvers, a chrome-plated screen that covered the radiator, headlights with one-inch smaller diameter, and an oval instrumental panel. The 1932 Eight, called the 355-B used a 134- and 140-inch wheelbase, and its bodies were now even longer and lower than before, measuring 207- and 213-inches. The front assembly was restyled, and the roofline lowered by approximately one to three inches.
1933 Cadillac Series 355-C The 1933 Cadillac Series 355-C Eight were offered in Fisher bodies resting on 134- and 140-inch wheelbases, and the Fleetwood bodies resting on a 140-inch platform. The 353 cubic-inch, L-head, inline-8 engine delivered 115 horsepower at 3,000 RPM and was backed by a three-speed selective, synchromesh transmission with a twin-disc clutch. Stopping power was by mechanical 15-inch drum brakes on four wheels with vacuum assist. Controlled free wheeling was no longer offered. Prices ranged from $2,700 to $4,150.
Design cues included sectioned bumpers with plain ends and a three-bar center, a vee-shaped grille, and a painted radiator shell. A chrome-plated radiator shell was optional. The fender had valances, and the fender tie-bar was sectioned and the center section disappeared behind the grille. The previous vertical hood doors were replaced by six horizontal doors, and no-draft Individual Controlled Ventilation (I.C.V.) was introduced. The I.C.V. were pivoting vent windows in the front doors and rear door or rear quarter windows. In early production examples, the front door window needed to be lowered to disengage the channel at its front edge from the vent window, allowing the vent window to pivot. Later examples had the sealing channel attached to the door frame allowing the vent window to operate independently of the window glass.
The rear windows and windshield were stationary, and the lack of a windshield operating mechanism allowed room for the wiper motor behind the headboard.
Cadillac produced 2,100 examples of the Eight in 1933, accounting for approximately thirty-two percent of Cadillac's total production. 2,700 examples had been produced a year earlier, 10,717 in 1931, and 14,995 in 1930.
The eight-cylinder Cadillacs were given a completely new chassis (a new frame of X design) for 1934, with wheelbases of 128-, 136-, and 146-inches, along with all-new styling. Among the significant updates were the new independent 'knee action' front suspension with coil springs and the front shocks serving as an integral part of the suspension. Fleetwood-bodied cars used an inverted steering box, positioned on the outside of the frame. The torque tube was replaced by a Hotchkiss drive and the rear brakes were now operated by pull rods and cables.
Despite the many improvements, Cadillac Eight sales did not rebound until 1936, when 5,248 examples were sold.
Cadillac vehicles would use eight-, twelve, and sixteen-cylinder power through most of the 1930s, with the Twelve being dropped after 1937, and the Sixteen dropped after 1940. The 1941 Cadillac model lineup expanded in 1941 in the wake of the demise of the LaSalle marques with a much broader spectrum of prices. The eight-cylinder engine would continue to power Cadillac vehicles following World War II, with a new overhead valve V8 introduced in 1949.
An overhead-cam V-12 was slated for production in the late 1960s but never materialized. Reports circulated in the late 1980s of a new V-12, proven accurate with the Cadillac Solitaire concept of 1989, powered by a Lotus-designed 6.6-liter DOHC 48-valve V-21 with multiport fuel injection. The Cadillac Cien concept car of 2001 used a Northstar-based V-12 engine. The Cadillac Sixteen concept was equipped with an all-aluminum pushrod V-16 engine based on the same architecture as GM's then-current small-block V-8 developments. Although planned, Cadillac has remained true to its eight-cylinder power. by Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2021
Related Reading : Cadillac 355 History
The Cadillac 355A appeared in September of 1930 and shared some similarities to its predecessor of 1930, the Series 353. In the front the radiator had a screen. The raditor had been mounted lower. There was a single bumper bar and dual horns. The hood was longer with five hood ports on the side. Under the hood was a V8 engine that displaced 353 cubic-inches and produced just under 100 horsepower..... Continue Reading >>
Related Reading : Cadillac 355 History
The eight-cylinder Cadillac Series 355 was in production from 1931 through 1935. Just like the other Cadillac models at the time, they came in a variety of body styles including 2- and 4-door versions. The 1931 Series 355A was similar to the Series 353 except that it was lower and longer. It also had a longer hood with five hood ports. Power came from the 353 cubic-inch powerplant found in the 353..... Continue Reading >>
The Cadillac 355C featured pivotal styling from pure classic to streamline, V-shaped grille and driver-controlled 5-position ride control. The Great Depression caused a low point for Cadillac production with fewer than 4,000 units produced. 1933 was ....[continue reading]
This is one of three Cadillac's of this configuration by Fleetwood that are known to exist and the only one that has never been restored. Sumner Carson, grandson of the founder of the Pacific Lumber Company, originally ordered this car for his wife ....[continue reading]
The Cadillac 355C was available on two different wheelbases (134 inches and 140 inches) and in 10 regular catalogued body styles be General Motors' Fisher Body Division. Fleetwood, another General Motors Company, offered an additional 17 custom body ....[continue reading]
This 1933 Cadillac V8 Series 355 is the only 1933 Roadster of 3 built. It has genuine accessories including dual pilot rays, sidemount covers, sidemount mirrors, dual windshield mirrors, luggage rack, Sparton Chimes Bugle horn, rumble seat, two-tone....[continue reading]
This 1933 Cadillac 355C Five-Passenger Town sedan has 44,000 original miles. It is a well preserved, original car that is finished in original black with tan cord interior. There is a wood dashboard with inlaid ashtrays and their original cigarette l....[continue reading]
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1933 Cadillac Series 355-C Eight Production Figures
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6,655 total vehicles produced by Cadillac in 1933 The 1933 Cadillac Series 355-C Eight accounted for 31.6% of Cadillac's 6,655 production.