Coachwork by Fleetwood
Estimate: $175,000 - $225,000
- 452-cid, 180-hp V-16 engine
- Three-speed synchromesh manual transmission
- 13th of 31 Fleetwood bodies on this platform
- Award winning example includes AACA Best in Class 2015
- Presented in colors as delivered to Don Lee Cadillac San Francisco
- Innovative and respected engineering and build quality
- Many desirable accessory features
- Full CCCA Classic; welcomed at most motoring events
- Epitome of the 'Classic Era'
“Sixteen Cylinders: Performance such as the world has never witnessed….The most highly individualized of all motor cars” This is but one of the stylish advertising refrains forwarded by the Cadillac Motor Car Company to promote their new-for-1930 V-16 engine. The new 16-cylinder Cadillac was shown for the first time at the 30th National Automobile Show in New York City and would be followed up by a showing at Chicago’s Annual Automobile Show included in the General Motors exhibit in the posh Stevens Hotel on Michigan Avenue (now known as the Chicago Hilton) from January 25th to February 1st, 1930.
The Chicago Tribune shared a letter from Cadillac President Lawrence P. Fisher on January 23, 1930 in which he ebulliently exclaimed that there was “nothing in America or the fashion centers abroad to compare with the Cadillac V-16.” There was no doubt that this magnificent example of automotive engineering was the star of this show.
The Cadillac V-16 was introduced after three years of process development by Cadillac engineers and designers. The platform was subjected to actual tests for hundreds of thousands of miles under all available road and climatic conditions. When introduced, there was not the slightest doubt as to its extraordinary capacities; “its almost magical ease and efficiency.”
Mr. Fisher expounded that “The Cadillac V-16 will be custom-built – the very ultimate in luxury, comfort and security. Each car will be built in the matter of power and speed to meet the wishes of the owner. We believe that it will take its place in every home enjoying the utmost which can be attained in exclusiveness and desirability.”
Four of the new Cadillacs would be sent abroad on a tour of 19 European cities. Fisher would later exult that many European celebrities had bought one and that the European interest was due to “no car of its exact type has ever been displayed there.” Even the respected W.O. Bentley was suitably impressed, commenting that the V-16 “was the only car in which a rear seat ride could be taken in perfect comfort at high speeds around Brooklands.”
All the mechanical mastery was hugely complemented by the exclusive nature represented by the most advanced accomplishments of coachbuilder Fleetwood’s craftsmanship. Prices began at just over $5,000 and culminated at just under $10,000. In the tough economic times that were on the immediate horizon the interest in and sales of the Cadillac V-16 far exceeded expectations. America and Cadillac succeeded in turning out a really high-class car selling for a price that “stamps them automatically as such.”
Running on the 148-inch wheelbase chassis, this Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac V-16 is reported as being body style number 4361-5, known as the Club Sedan. The associated build sheet registers this as being one of only 31 with this chassis, engine, body combination. The build sheet shows this Cadillac was delivered to the esteemed Don Lee Cadillac in San Francisco, California and remains in its original presentation colors of Mulberry Maroon and Black. Records are reported to document that this was the 13th example of this body style built. The styling is accented by the “unique LeBaron hood treatment” that has a curved vee design starting at the radiator and flowing down to the cowl accents; this swept motif being used by a few of the exclusive car manufacturers of the era.
This design exemplifies a sporty four-door sedan that, without the roll-up divider window and traditional jump seats, was laid out for use by the owner/operator and family without the need for the popular chauffeur of the era. Designated as the 452 Series by Cadillac; inspired by the cubic inches of the V-16 engine, this highly regarded powerplant was promoted as delivering around 180-hp from its 45-degree, overhead valve layout. A three-speed synchromesh manual was the standard transmission. Fuel consumption was conveyed as being in the range from 4.5 to 6.0 miles per gallon and although these cars carried this massive sixteen cylinder unit, the car is stated to have not been able to move the massive weight past the 100-mph mark.
In that there is no shame; as the January 18, 1930 Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey) stated in its Saturday edition, “From the mechanical standpoint most all cars are capable of traveling at fairly high rates of speed with safety. However, speed with safety is also dependent upon highway facilities.” The Cadillac V-16 was still going to get you down the road at a very respectable pace with clocklike smoothness.
Presented with an award winning pedigree, (Ault Park Class Award 2014; Lake Mirror Classic; Amelia Island Concours Display 2014; AACA St. Augustine Fall Meet Best in Class 2015) this inspiring example of Cadillac V-16 Club Sedan has such desirable features as ‘Goddess of Speed’ radiator ornament, grille stoneguard, driving lights, dual sidemounts with pedestal mirrors, trunk, windshield sunshade , plus the intricate brightwork and design details exemplified by the distinctive hood louvers, impressive headlights, horns and tasteful pinstriped elegance. Wide whitewall tires are fitted to wire wheels that have red rims and hubs with chromed spokes, center caps and lock rings.
A product from the Depression Era; these cars commanded respect for their innovative engineering and quality of construction from the renowned Fleetwood Body Company providing elaborate finishes. Incomparable beauty and contentment with prestige have been with this model from day one.