Cadillac V 16 – Origin
The development of this vehicle was a long one as the Cadillac company launched the creation of a new, “multi-cylinder” car in 1926. It wasn’t going to be an easy task and over the next few years, development continued behind closed doors as a range of concept cars were designed and tested while the new engine was developed. Meanwhile, Cadillac chief Larry Fisher and GM stylist Harley Earl explored Europe in search of ideas from the best coachbuilders at the same time.
The Cadillac V-16 series was announced by the Cadillac company as the most expensive Cadillac in the world. This new vehicle was first shown at the New York City Motor Show on January 4,1930. Despite the bad timing, and the high retail price, and although sales would fall considerably later, the launch exceeded Cadillac’s greatest expectations.
Cadillac V 16 – Overview
The V16 powered car was the first of its kind in the United States. It was very pricey and unique, with every chassis custom-made to order. The Cadillac V-16 can be split into two generations spanning from 1930 to 1940.
Generation 1 (Series 452 and 90)
This generation was from 1930 to 1937. This period was highly characterized by improvements on the vehicle. The Cadillac V-16 was a class above the rest due to its groundbreaking V-16 engine, and the narrow 45° V angle OHV Series 452. January’s production averaged a few cars a day, which then soared to twenty-two. By April 1,000 units had been built, which then increased to 2,000 cars in June.
In what we could describe as a publicity tour, five new Cadillac V-16s participated in a promotional tour of major European cities in June 1930. Tour included stops in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Cologne and Dresden. The production of the original V-16 continued under different model names until 1937. This classic vehicle also featured a few Innovations which included the no draft individually controlled ventilation (I.C.V.) by Fisher.
In 1934, the body was modified and renamed 452D and 452E in 1935. The same basic design would remain largely unchanged until 1937. The Cadillac V-16 had a wheelbase of 154 inches (3,912 mm), a curb weight of up to 6,600 pounds making it one of the largest standard production cars ever manufactured in the United States. The combined production for the model years 1934 and 1935 was 150. The Series 90 was redesigned in 1936, when Cadillac restructured their model names and there was an introduction of hydraulic brakes in its final year of production, 1937.
Generation 2 (Series 90)
This model enjoyed a 2-year period from 1938 to 1940. The V-16 “Series 90” and the V-12 “Series 80 and 85” were effectively combined in 1938 with the launch of the new L-head V-16. The model had a 431 cu in (7.1 L) engine which was a flat-head design and featured a wider 135° V-angle, dual carburetors, two fuel pumps, twin water pumps, and nine main bearing crankshafts (compared to the 5-bearing crankshaft of the OHV V-16) and developed the same 185 hp (138 kW) as the later models of the original V-16 with even greater flair and it provided the ’38–’40 Sixteens with the fastest speed of any car in the world at the time, despite its weight.
There was a reduction in the wheelbase to 141 in (3,581 mm) while the body remained 222 in (5,639 mm) length. The “Sixteen” (as Cadillac called them) were essentially series 75 with the new V-16 engine, though they differed from the V-8 in a few qualities. The instrument panels were similar to and updated from 1938 to 1940 on an annual basis with the V-8 vehicles.
315 units were sold in the first year, 138 in the second. The manufacture of the 1940 models stopped in December 1939. The Cadillac V-16 is today regarded by many experts as one of the finest vehicles of the pre-war era. The Classic Car Club of America ranked all V-16s as CCCA Complete Classics, a classification reserved for the finest cars of the period 1925-1948
Cadillac V 16 – Production
The Cadillac V-16 endured tough times in its production period as its sales was affected by the Great Depression and the beginning of World War II with only 4076 units manufactured in its 10-year production period.
Cadillac V 16 – Price Range
Did I mention how classic of a vehicle the Cadillac V-16 is, well, I’m telling you again because they don’t come cheap anywhere. Today, the Cadillac V-16 can be obtained from prices as low as $74,000 to as high as a whopping 1.3 Million dollars, depending on what model and generation. If that alone isn’t classic in itself, then i honestly do not know what is.
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