1930 Cadillac V16 Convertible Coupe

Offer Price: sold

history
 

Model 452A. 175hp, 452 cu. in. dual coil, 3” bore, 4” stroke overhead valve V16 engine, three-speed synchromesh manual transmission, leaf spring front axle and torque tube rear axle, four-wheel power assisted brakes, 5,600 lbs. Wheelbase: 148".

For the next several years, Cadillac’s competitors scrambled to keep up. Among others, Pierce Arrow introduced its V12 in 1932, Marmon a V16 in late 1931, and Auburn a V12 in 1932. For most of these companies, the enormous cost of this development effort would combine with a shrinking depression market for fine cars, creating financial pressures from which the companies would never recover.

Designed by Owen Nacker, Cadillac’s V16 was an engineering tour de force, incorporating several unique features. Its 45-degree cylinder bank angle and overhead valve design kept the engine narrow, while the external manifolding provided good access. Cadillac’s V16 was the first engine compartment ever to be “styled”, with all the wiring hidden and plenty of gleaming polished aluminum, shining porcelain, and a pair of beautiful valve covers with brushed aluminum ridged surfaces featuring the Cadillac emblem. The car also proudly sports 13-inch diameter main headlights that are in scale with this massive but elegant beauty. It also has eight-inch lower driving lights that turn with the front wheels (a first for the industry), chrome pilot fender lights and dual side mount 19-inch spoked wheels that set off the car dramatically.

In the face of a declining luxury market, Cadillac managed to survive, thanks in large part to the financial support of General Motors. Nevertheless, the cars were brilliantly designed, and while the failing market meant that the V16 was produced only in tiny numbers, the few that remain offer us a glimpse into one of the most exciting automotive eras of all time. According to the V16 Cadillac Database, there were only 94 model 4235s produced. Less than 18 are known to exist, and even fewer are matching number cars such as this rare and beautiful example. This stunning 1930 two-tone red piece of rolling art was number 46 in production. All accessible trim pieces and body stamping that should bear this number have the corresponding identification mark.

One of the rarest body styles available was the example offered here, Style no. 4335, the Fleetwood rumble seat convertible coupe. The car’s close-coupled lines are well complemented by the more formal straight sill, a feature that made the body appear even more impressive. Unlike the less expensive roadster, the convertible coupe provided the added benefit of full weather protection. What really sets this example apart from other cars of its era, including other Cadillac V16s, is the most highly prized and rare split “V” slanted windshield which gives this sport’s model a rake uncommon to the era. Nearly all cars of the period, including the most expensive models were fitted with the standard one piece vertical plate glass windshield.

The Fleetwood bodied example we have the pleasure of offering here has recently benefited from an extensive service and light restoration work including some of the following: rebuilt carburetors, oil system, new clutch, new correct interior, new convertible top, new Connolly carpets, rebuilt clock and refinishing some of the engine components. We understand that the Cadillac now runs flawlessly and as a fully restored and mechanically sorted example should. Attesting to its excellent overall condition, the Cadillac has only been shown once in the past two decades and was awarded with Best in Class honors at the 2005 Serrano Concours d’Elegance.

There is little doubt that the V16 Cadillac is one of the ultimate cars of the era. Unlike many, the originality of the example offered here is undisputed and confirmed by the original factory build sheet. The exceptionally high standard of the restoration, combined with the rarity of the convertible coupe body style makes this one of the most attractive sixteen cylinder Cadillacs in existence today.