The Cadillac V-16 (sometimes known as the Cadillac Sixteen) was Cadillac’s top-of-the-line car from its January 1930 launch until production ceased in 1940 as the war in Europe killed sales. All were finished to custom order, and the car was built in very small numbers; only 4076 cars were constructed in the eleven years the model was offered. The majority of these were built in the single year of 1930, before the Great Depression really took hold. This was the first V16 powered car to reach production status in the United States.
In 1926, Cadillac began the development of a new, "multi-cylinder" car. A customer requirement was seen for a car powered by an engine simultaneously more powerful and smoother than any hitherto available. Development proceeded in great secrecy over the next few years; a number of prototype cars were built and tested as the new engine was developed, while at the same time Cadillac chief Larry Fisher and GM’s stylist Harley Earl toured Europe in search of inspiration from Europe’s finest coachbuilders. Unlike many builders of luxury cars, who sold bare chassis to be clothed by outside coachbuilding firms, General Motors had purchased the coachbuilders Fleetwood Metal Body and Fisher Body to keep all the business in-house. Bare Cadillac chassis could be purchased if a buyer insisted, but the intention was that few would need to do so. One Cadillac dealer in England, namely Lendrum & Hartman, ordered at least two such chassis in even rarer right hand drive (RHD) configuration and had Van den Plas (Belgium) build first an elegant limousine-landaulet (engine #702297), then a sports sedan with unusual cycle fenders and retractable step plates in lieu of running boards (engine #702298, which was successfully shown in various Concours d’Elegance events in Europe before being bought by the young Nawab of Bahawalpur); both these cars have survived. A third RHD chassis was ordered by the Indian Maharaja of Orccha (Bhopal) and sent to Farina in Italy, in July 1931, for a boat tail body (engine between #703136 and #703152).
It was not until after the stock market crash of 1929 that Cadillac announced to the world the availability of the costliest Cadillac yet, the new V-16. The new vehicle was first displayed at New York’s automobile show on January 4, 1930.
Generation 1 (Series 452 and 90)
Model years 1930–1937
Body and chassis
Platform Series 90: D-body
Related Cadillac Series 370/85
Cadillac Series 355
Cadillac Series 75
Engine 452 cu in (7.4 L) Cadillac V16
Wheelbase 1930–31: 148.0 in (3,759 mm)
1932–33: 143.0 in (3,632 mm) and 149.0 in (3,785 mm)
1934–37: 154.0 in (3,912 mm)
Length 1930–31: 222.5 in (5,652 mm)
1932–33: 216.0 in (5,486 mm) and 222.0 in (5,639 mm)
1934–35: 240.0 in (6,096 mm)
1936–37: 238.0 in (6,045 mm)
Width 1931: 73.6 in (1,869 mm)
1932–35: 77.0 in (1,956 mm)
1936–37: 74.4 in (1,890 mm)
Height 1931: 72.5 in (1,842 mm)
1932–33: 71.5 in (1,816 mm)
1934–37: 69.5 in (1,765 mm)
Curb weight 5,300–6,600 lb (2,400–3,000 kg)
The new car attracted rave reviews from the press and huge public attention. Cadillac started production of the new car immediately. January production averaged a couple of cars per day, but was then ramped up to twenty-two cars per day. By April, 1,000 units had been built, and by June, 2,000 cars. These could be ordered with a wide variety of bodywork. The Fleetwood catalog for the 1930 V-16 included 10 basic body styles; there was also an envelope containing some 30 additional designer’s drawings. Research by the Cadillac-La Salle Club, Inc. puts at 70 the number of different job/style numbers built by Fisher and Fleetwood on the sixteen chassis.
Beginning in June 1930, five new V-16s participated in a promotional tour of major European cities including Paris, Antwerp, Brussels, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Vienna (where they won prizes), Berne, Geneva, Lausanne, Zürich, Madrid, San Sebastian, La Baule and Angers. On the return journey from Spain, the V16 caravan stopped also in the town of Cadillac, in south-western France, although that city bears no relationship to the marque, other than its name.
After the peak in V-16 orders in mid-1930, production fell precipitously. During October 1930, only 54 cars were built. The lowest figures for the 452/452A cars of 1930–31 were August 1931 (seven units) and November 1931 (six units). Minimum production continued throughout the rest of the decade with a mere 50 units being built both in 1935 and in 1937. 1940 was only marginally better with a total of 51 units. Not surprisingly, Cadillac later estimated that they lost money on every single V-16 they sold.
Production of the original V-16 continued under various model names through 1937. The body was redesigned in 1933 as the model 452C. Innovations included Fisher no draft individually controlled ventilation (I.C.V. or vent windows).
For 1934, the body was redesigned again and denoted as 452D, and as 452E in 1935. The V-16 now featured the Fisher Turret Top all-steel roof, though the cars were still built by Fleetwood. This same basic design would remain virtually unchanged through 1937. With a wheelbase of 154.0 inches (3,912 mm) and a curb weight of up to 6,600 pounds (3,000 kg) these are perhaps the largest standard production cars ever produced in the United States. Combined production for the 1934 and 1935 model years was 150. It was redesignated the Series 90 in 1936 as Cadillac reorganized their model names. Fifty-two units were sold that year, with nearly half ordered as limousines. Hydraulic brakes were added for 1937, the last year of production. Fifty vehicles were produced.
[Text taken from Wikipedia]
1930 452A V16 Rollston Convertible-Coupe
Even today a vehicle is regularly judged by the number of pistons propelling it, but this was even more so in the formative years. A major restriction in those years was the strength of the crankshaft in long multi-cylinder engines. The V-engine with two banks of cylinders was a major step forward and by the mid 1920s several companies had a V12 in their line-up. Towards the end of the decade three American companies (Cadillac, Marmon and Peerless) were busy developing an even more glamorous V16 engine, but it proved more difficult than first imagined and one of them never even materialized.
Cadillac’s engineers were the first to get the V16 engine ready and in January 1930 the wraps were taken off the Cadillac 452 V16. With the help of a former Marmon designer, the sixteen cylinder engine was constructed using two blocks of the new Buick eight cylinder engine. The two blocks were mounted on a common crankcase at a 45 degree angle. A single camshaft mounted inside the V operated the valves by pushrods. As the type indication suggests, the engine displaced 452 cubic inches or just over 7.4 litres and produced 175 bhp and had torque in abundance.
The huge engine was installed in a simple ladder frame, almost identical to the one used in the V8 engined Model 51. Suspension was equally conventional and by live axles and semi-elliptic leaf springs on both ends. Stopping power for the heavy machine was provided by servo assisted drum brakes on all four wheels. Unlike many of the competitors in the high-end market, Cadillac predominantly offered complete cars rather than rolling chassis to be bodied by custom coachbuilders. Many of the ‘standard’ bodies were constructed by Fleetwood and Fischer, which had just become part of General Motors.
Despite being the most expensive Cadillac ever, the V16 proved a hit in the first months of 1930. Over 2000 cars were ordered in the first seven months of that year, but then sales dropped dramatically and it would take another ten years to double that number. This was most likely caused by the looming depression and the introduction of a V12-engined Cadillac in the second half of 1930. Marmon’s more advanced answer was ready in 1931, but it proved to be too late. Cadillac continued to develop the V16 with a completely new engine introduced in 1938 as the biggest change.
In its various forms the Cadillac V16 remained in production until 1941, but apart from the first seven months it was a failure; a very glorious one. Today it’s considered as one of the finest American cars of its era and a welcome guest at concours d’elegance all over the world. All of them were constructed to custom order and it is estimated that over 70 different body variants were constructed by Fleetwood and Fischer alone. The V16’s prominent position in Cadillac’s history was underlined by the aptly named ‘Sixteen Concept’ built to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary in 2003.
Fleetwood Limousine (Chassis 700280)
This vehicle was originally produced at Detroit’s Fort Street plant as a Seven-Passenger Sedan with Style 4375-S bodywork. It was retrofitted by the dealer to Style 4375, Seven-Passenger Imperial Sedan specifications with the addition of a sliding glass division window and a pair of forward-facing, foldable auxiliary seats.
The original owner of the car was Templeton Crocker, a well-known adventurer, yachtsman and heir to a West Coast banking and railroad fortune. It was sold a year later to Lillian Remillard, the heir to her father’s San Francisco brick company fortune. She was married to Italian inventor Count Alessandro Dandini for only a brief period of time. Though her marriage was brief, she retained the title ‘Countess Lillian Remillard Dandini,’ until her death in 1973.
The car would pass through several owners, yet it was fondly known as the ‘Countess Dandini’ car. It was found in a barn in San Jose, California during the 1960s. It was covered in the June 1965 edition of The Self Starter, the magazine of the Cadillac & LaSalle Club, and is believed to have passed through two more owners prior to acquisition by the current owner in 2007.
[Text taken from ‘Conceptcarz.com’]
This Lego miniland-scale 1930 Cadillac 452A V16 Fleetwood Limousine has been created for Flickr LUGNuts’ 88th Build Challenge, – "Let’s go Break Some records", – for vehicles that set the bar (high or low) for any number of vehicles statistics or records. Or as the very first.
The 1930 Cadillac 452 V16 Chassis was home to many custom bodies by renown design houses, along with standard bodies from Fleetwood (laterly part of General Motors). Key though, was the 452 CID V16 engine – the first production V16 in the world, beating luxury rival Marmon by over a year.
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