1930-1940 Cadillac V-16


Since the day it first claimed to be laboring under the "penalty of Leadership," Cadillac pressured itself to live up to the lofty status the statement implied. Then came the 1930-1940 Cadillac V-16, a lasting monument to that struggle.

Looking back today, there seems to have been no sensible reason for building a 16-cylinder Cadillac. By 1930, the luxury car industry had settled on and refined both the inline- and vee-eights. Builders of some of the finest cars in the world saw no reason for more than eight cylinders.

Cadillac's Sixteen also arrived precisely in time for the Great Depression, when the few people who could afford cars tended to think in terms of four or six cylinders and the handful who could still afford Cadillacs often preferred to keep a low profile in a Chevy or Ford. But from a purely practical view, there's no reason that the world needed Ferraris or Corvettes either.

Classic Cars Image Gallery

cadillac v-16
Cadillac offered a broad choice of V-16 body styles
for 1930 and 1931, including this roadster. See more classic car pictures.

The Cadillac V-16 was built -- and lasted for 11 years, a longer production run than any other car with more than eight cylinders -- because of the passion of great engineers and their management's drive to produce the best. It was a masterpiece, which is why so many examples are still around.

As Theodore MacManus put it in that most famous of Cadillac ads, "The Penalty of Leadership," a great achievement "makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live, lives."

The economic justification for building such a car was that the decision had been made and the development money spent long before the stock market crashed in October 1929, and nobody knew, even in 1930, how long the economic doldrums would last.

In fact, it was production lead times that caused all the so-called "multi-cylinder" classics to appear when they did. Cadillac took its Sixteen decision in 1927, part of a planned assault on Packard for luxury car supremacy, but development had required three years.

A year before, in 1926, the small Marmon company had made a similar decision, but by virtue of its size and efficiency, Cadillac was able to bring out its Sixteen a year before Marmon.

Simultaneously, many other quality car makers were planning twelve-cylinder cars. Twelves from Packard, Franklin, Lincoln, Auburn, and Pierce-Arrow appeared in 1932; Cadillac's own Twelve in 1931. Too much was invested for any of these projects to be canceled, even if the result appeared at the very bottom of a depression nobody had expected in the heady days of the 1920s.

cadillac v-16
Cadillac's V-16 engine was considered
an aesthetic triumph.

Learn about the development of the Cadillac V-16 on to the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

Developing the Cadillac V-16

The advent of cars with more than eight cylinders has sometimes been ascribed to simple multiplication. Cadillac had progressed from single to four, to eight; Packard from single to four, to six, to eight, to 12 (with the 1916 Twin Six).

cadillac v-16
An early "Madam X" seven-passenger
Imperial Cadillac V-16.

Sooner or later, somebody would go for 16. But there was more to it than that, as Cadillac's William Strickland noted in a paper for the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1930:

"With the continual development in smoothness and power of the Cadillac V-8 went the research work into greater and finer attainments for the future. Improvements called for a survey of the possibilities of advancement in engineering design . . . preceded or paralleled by a survey of the demands of the more enlightened engineers and car owners."

Custom bodies, comprehensive equipment, increased passenger and cargo space, and the demand for performance all combined to influence luxury car manufacturers to add cylinders. Cadillac had considered and rejected other methods of increasing power and performance: a supercharger (not reliable enough for everyday use), a four-speed transmission (insufficient, probably a blind alley), and higher-displacement eights (which implied problems with thermal efficiency).

Continued Strickland: "We did not believe it possible to obtain the increase of power by any known design of combustion chamber, either L-head or overhead valve, although we have followed with research work all the celebrated suggestions. Higher mean effective pressure can be of value only if smoothness, especially at low speeds, is not interfered with."

cadillac v-16
Owen Milton Nacker is credited with engineering the V-16.

The person most directly responsible for engineering the Sixteen was Owen Milton Nacker, who had been brought to Cadillac by Lawrence Fisher especially for the assignment, accompanied by secrecy that would do justice to a modern CIA plot. Cadillac historian Roy Schneider has noted that the Cadillac Twelve, which Nacker was ostensibly there to build, did not appear until six months after the Sixteen, and was actually a "decoy" to deflect attention from the latter:

"Nacker actually did perfect the Cadillac V-12 and V-16 concurrently, using wide interchangeability -- but whenever drawings or quotation requests left his office for the outside world, they indicated the twelve-cylinder configuration."

Sixteen collector Norm Uhlir told Cadillac chronicler Maurice Hendry: "Many of the people on the lower levels of engineering and particularly outside suppliers, thought Cadillac was doing some design work for one of the other GM divisions because many of the design requests and blueprints referred to the vehicle as 'Bus' or 'Coach.' "

The theory was that everybody was working on Twelves, but a surprise Sixteen would trump the field -- and it did. To read about the evolution of the Cadillac V-16, continue on to the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

Building the Cadillac V-16

To create the new engine, more cubic inches were needed, but why not get them from a narrow-angle V-16, which would permit a smaller bore and stroke and improve thermal efficiency, combined with the power benefits of high compression and the accessibility of overhead valves?

Thus the spec: a narrow-angle (45 degrees) V-16 with a three-inch bore and four-inch stroke, displacing 452 cubic inches; a 5.5:1 compression ratio (lower ratios were available via different head gaskets); 175 horses (although dynamometer tests suggested horsepower was closer to 200).

Torque was an unprecedented 320 pound-feet (the 1930 Cadillac V-8 had only 208) and peaked at just 1,200-1,500 rpm -- which gave impressive pickup, even for the longest, heaviest custom bodies.

The 130-pound, five-main-bearing crankshaft, carefully weighted to minimize vibration, was made of forged carbon steel, bored to allow lubrication of the lower control rod bearings, and each rod in turn was bored to lube the piston pins.

The huge cast silicon aluminum alloy crankcase was mounted to the frame at five rubber-cushioned points. Cylinder heads contained pushrod-operated rocker arms and valves; pistons carried triple rings and were carefully designed for silent operation without scuffing.

cadillac v-16
The Cadillac V-16 featured torque that
was an unprecedented 320 pound-feet.

The distributor served both banks of the V-16 with two sets of contact points, connected to separate coils. The vacuum fuel system also included a separate vacuum tank and carburetor for each cylinder block, with an automatic fuel pump. Starting in 1932, a mechanical fuel pump and Detroit-Lubricator carburetors were used; modern neoprene now allows these to be rebuilt to operate with the original fuel system.

The Sixteen engine was physically beautiful, finished in glossy enamel, porcelain, polished aluminum, and chrome. The wiring was hidden, accessories attached sparingly; the ribbed cylinder head covers were polished and detailed.

Cadillac liked this look so much that it adopted similar covers to hide the wiring on the concurrent L-head V-8 (and possibly to imply that the V-8 also had overhead valves). Indeed the V-16 was so eminently gorgeous that Cadillac took to promoting the car with photographs of the engine alone, captioned, "works of the modern masters."

cadillac v-16
The Cadillac V-16 engine was called
the 'works of the modern masters.'

Of what they had achieved, William Strickland concluded: "The smoothness of operation gives the term a new significance; silkiness would be a more appropriate world. The pick-up, the running on the road, and the overrunning are all smooth and quiet."

Maurice Hendry, author of Cadillac: Standard of the World, wrote that if anything, Strickland was understating the case: The Sixteen "gave all the performance desired, and the level of silence and smoothness set the world's highest standard of luxury car refinement -- criteria, in fact, equaled in their time by only Marmon, and probably never surpassed to this day."

Learn about the design of the first Sixteens on the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

Designing the Early Cadillac V-16s

The revolutionary V-16 engine was bolted to a fairly conventional chassis not significantly different from that of the Cadillac V-8, although naturally heavier and longer, with dual exhausts, a larger radiator, and heavier springs. There even was some parts commonality with the V-8 chassis.

Mechanically, the engine was the story -- but there was more to the story than the engine. The other salient aspect of the Sixteen was its lush array of bodies, which for the first time put Cadillac on an equal footing not only with Packard, but with the grand marques of Europe.

cadillac v-16
Though he owed his General Motors ties to Buick,
R. Samuel McLaughlin -- the longtime head of
GM Canada -- owned this special
1932 Cadillac Madam X sedan.

Body design was directed by Fleetwood's Ernest Schebera, who combined an understanding of the needs of Fleetwood's moneyed clientele with an eye for style like that of Harley Earl, founder of GM's Art & Colour Section and pioneer automotive stylist.

Schebera worked to create a family resemblance among all Cadillacs; compared to a V-8 or Twelve, the Sixteen was similar, but longer and more luxurious.

Initially there were 20 Fleetwood bodies, including a roadster, phaetons, cabriolets, coupes, sedans, Imperial sedans, and limousines, priced from around $5,500 to $7,500. But these were soon joined by more, and in 1930 and 1931 (which was mainly an extension of the 1930 model), more than 70 different Fleetwood and Fisher body styles were offered -- some produced in quantities as small as one.

The variety seemed infinite, including, for example, better than a dozen variations of cabriolet. There were sedans, Imperials, landaus, and transformables, many configured for five or seven passengers -- or just two. A Fleetwood two-passenger coupe (production 11) on the standard 148-inch wheelbase must have been a sight to behold.

cadillac v-16
Details of this special 1932 Cadillac Madam X sedan
included a floral needlepoint design on the seats.

The most interesting of the closed Sixteens were those with "Madam X" coachwork, recognizable by their very slender door and windshield pillars, chrome window-edge moldings, and rakishly sloped one-piece or vee'd windshields. The name "Madam X" had been suggested by Harley Earl, after the mysterious female character in a popular 1929 play.

Some Madam X Cadillacs were distinguished by stainless-steel striping instead of the usual paint striping; some even had gold-faced instruments and stainless-steel spoke wire wheels.

The largest array of Madam Xs was offered in 1930-1931: a dozen styles including sedan, cabriolet, Imperial sedan, town car, and coupe bodies. For 1933, the Madam Xs comprised an Imperial cabriolet and Imperial sedan. (There was also one Madam X Twelve, the five-passenger Imperial cabriolet.)

cadillac v-16
Gauges of the Cadillac Madam X sedan
were newly centered in front of the driver.

Hitherto shrouded in secrecy, the 1930 Model 452 Cadillac Sixteen was announced in a series of spot radio ads in December 1929, less than two months after the devastating stock-market crash. Lawrence P. Fisher telegraphed invitations to friends, colleagues, and customers, inviting them to the official showings, first at the Detroit factory on December 27, then at the New York Automobile Show in January.

Read on for more about the early Cadillac V-16s, specifically the 1930-1933 models.

For more information on cars, see:

1930-1933 Cadillac V-16

Too much emphasis is placed on the Cadillac Sixteen's arrival after the Wall Street crash and not enough on the success it enjoyed despite the crash. In fact, the response to it was instantaneous and impressive.

Although dealers were told to expect their first cars in April, by the eighth of that month, Cadillac had shipped 1,000, including 576 in April alone. The 1930 model year total was 2,219, and by June, sales had exceeded $13 million, "far in excess of our expectations," according to Lawrence Fisher.

The 1931 model 452A was unchanged, and production for 1930-1931 combined was 3,250. This success was augmented by the Cadillac Twelve, almost entirely derived from the Sixteen. Its higher-revving, 368-cid engine was not as powerful as the Sixteen's, but it did give Cadillac a slightly lower-priced supercar, and it always outsold its senior counterpart.

Counting 5,725 Twelves, Cadillac built more than 9,000 multi-cylinder cars in 1930-1931, a heady figure for objects that sold for the price of an upper middle-class house. No contemporary or future multicylinder rival ever equaled them. For example, the Packard Twelve, in its introductory year of 1932, accounted for only 311 copies.

cadillac v-16
The 1933 Cadillac V-16's lone Imperial cabriolet sedan
was originally sold to rail magnate Frederick Vanderbilt.

Unfortunately, by 1932 nobody in this market sector was doing well, for the Depression had rapidly deepened. The Model 452B Sixteen for 1932 had many changes to encourage sales: two different wheelbases (143 and 149 inches), "Triple-silent" synchromesh transmission, ride control, free wheeling, vacuum clutch, svelte new body styling with a sloping windshield, inside sun visor, and watch-crystal instruments.

The cheapest 1932 cost nearly $1,000 less than the corresponding 1931. But Sixteen production for model-year 1932 was only 296. It fell to 125 in 1933, and ran about 50 annually in later years.

These were the depths of the Threadbare '30s, a time when GM hastily abandoned peripheral makes like Oakland and for a time even considered that perhaps it would be better off without Cadillac. The division that had profitably sold nearly 20,000 of its 1930 cars bottomed in 1933, when Cadillac's tally was exactly 3,173 for the model year.

cadillac v-16
The dash of the 1933 V-16 bore artful detailing.

Only detail engineering changes were made through 1937, though styling was always on the cutting edge. The 1933 Series 452C, mechanically a repeat of 1932, had a striking facelift, "no-draft ventilation" (windwings), multi-tubular bumpers, a redesigned Cadillac "goddess" hood ornament, and fewer body styles.

Its low sales were certainly owed to the abandonment of price discipline: the cheapest 452C was priced at $6,250. Notable this year was the "Aero-Dynamic Coupe," the Chicago World's Fair show car, a slick fastback displayed with Packard's famous "Car of the Dome" and Pierce's "Silver Arrow" at the famous exhibition.

cadillac v-16
Output of V-16 Cadillacs dropped off sharply in 1933.
Only two examples of the $7,500 convertible were issued.

To learn about the 1934 Cadillac Aero-Dynamic Coupe, continue on to the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

1934-1936 Cadillac V-16s and the Aero-Dynamic

The Aero-Dynamic was an early example of how GM used show cars to presage and test future styling ideas. Among its features that later went into production were an all-steel roof, elegant flowing fenders without sidemounts, and GM's first trunk containing a built-in spare tire compartment.

It also featured a recessed, illuminated rear license plate housing; a gas filler built into the top of the taillight (adopted in production in 1941); chrome window edges; and a chrome beltline molding to emphasize its unified lines.

cadillac v-16
A stylish newcomer to the 1934 lineup was
the Fleetwood-bodied Aero-Dynamic coupe.

Of the Aero-Dynamic, designer Dave Holls has written: "Cadillacs were much later than 1933 in form. . . . It was fine styling -- if you hold your hand over the front end and look at the car from there back, you begin to see a fair resemblance to the Cord Beverly. . . . This was a time when Cadillac began to make bold, yet careful steps toward change, while Packard hung tenaciously onto its long heritage, making only limited changes. A lot of people went along with them at the time, but the practice established a position, and they were stuck with it, later on with disastrous results."

cadillac v-16
The Aero-Dynamic coupe was an early
example of dream-car design as a preview
to production cars; the first Aero-Dynamic
appeared at the world's fair in Chicago in 1933.

In 1934, horsepower was raised to 185 and wheelbases lengthened to 154 inches. Production versions of the Aero-Dynamic Coupe were offered on all chassis; of the mere handful made just three were Sixteens. The division announced that it would build 400 Sixteens for the model year, only to fall embarrassingly short at 56.

All 1934 Cadillacs were distinguished by rather odd biplane bumpers separated by twin bullets, while Sixteens carried the first assembled eggcrate grille. The grille was retained, but a more conventional solid bumper substituted on the 1935 model, which was otherwise so identical to its predecessor that it retained 452D model designation.

cadillac v-16
The Aero-Dynamic coupe's 'banjo' steering wheel
would be copied by other automakers.

All-steel "turret top" bodies were introduced on smaller Cadillacs in 1936, and eventually on the Twelves and Sixteens as well, but multicylinder sales remained minuscule.

Although 1936 Twelves received hydraulic brakes, they weren't fitted to Sixteens until 1937, the year production bottomed at 49 and the year after the model received a new designation, Series 90. Now formidably priced (more than $9,000 for a Fleetwood town cabriolet), the Sixteen had become a prestige item: too famous to drop, too costly to be profitable.

Those early owner-drivers who had delighted in examples of unbridled flamboyance like two-passenger Fleetwood convertibles had mostly disappeared. The majority of Sixteens were seven-passenger limousines (24 of the 49 made for 1937, for example). Nevertheless, a broad assortment of body styles was still offered, all of them now Fleetwoods.

Production included five beautiful convertible sedans and a lone Aero coupe, the last descendant of the 1933 Aero-Dynamic.

To read about the Cadillac L-Head V-16, continue on to the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

Cadillac L-Head V-16

For 1938, the original ohv V-16 engine was replaced by an L-head version that took much of its technical inspiration from Cadillac's L-head V-8s. Chief engineer Ernest W. Seaholm wrote a booklet on the new Sixteen, which described the reasons for the change:

"Since the total sales volume in this field is necessarily limited, a simplification was indicated. Also, development of the Cadillac V-8 engine had progressed to the point where its power development was almost equal to that of the Twelve [which Cadillac dropped in 1938], and in power-to-weight ratio and general efficiency, the Eight was superior to both the Twelve and Sixteen.

cadillac v-16
As production of the Sixteen waned, as few as one of
a given model was produced in some years.

"To realize the twofold purpose of simplification and improved engine design," Seaholm wrote, "the production of an entirely new model to supersede both the Twelve- and Sixteen-cylinder lines was decided upon."

The design goals for the L-head Sixteen were power output at least equal to that of the previous V-16, shorter length, lighter weight, lower production costs and easier maintenance, and high standards of performance and serviceability.

The most visible difference in the new V-16, aside from its compact dimensions, was its wider, 135-degree angle between cylinder banks, permitting the less complicated sidevalve configuration. Engine dimensions were square at 3.25 inches bore and stroke, giving 431 cubic inches; the crankshaft ran in nine main bearings. The new engine was rated at 185 horsepower, the same as the power plant it replaced.

cadillac v-16
A new engine and new styling injected
new life into the V-16 in 1938.

Although the L-head Sixteen was much criticized by collectors over the years, its main fault seems to be its more practical, less exotic physical appearance. There is no doubt that it achieved all the goals Seaholm had set.

It gave genuine 100 mph capability in more body types, yet its gas mileage was at least as good as that of the earlier engine and its acceleration improved: Cadillac's own figures showed 10-60 mph in 16 seconds, better, they said, than any other American car of the time.

To read about Cadillac V-16s from 1937 to 1940, continue on to the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

1937-1940 Cadillac V-16

Cadillac seemed to be serious about retaining the big car and going for sales: While the 1937 Series 90 had started at a towering $7,450, the 1938 version started at $5,200, and no body style cost more than $7,500.

A broad range of Fleetwood bodies was offered, including standard, Imperial, convertible, formal, and town sedans; coupes; convertibles; a town car; and even a special 161-inch-wheelbase "Presidential" model. The Sixteen enjoyed a modest renaissance, selling 311 copies in 1938. But production quickly fell again to 136 in 1939, and only 61 in the final year of 1940. The most popular models were the Imperial and Town sedans.

cadillac v-16
Taller fenders, a broader eggcrate grille design,
and a more compact 141.3-inch wheelbase
defined the look of the V-16 models
that arrived for 1938.

Cadillac had hoped that the revised, lower-priced Sixteen would appeal more to the owner-driver, but sales remained firmly rooted in the "professional car" market. A goodly number of the model offerings were produced annually in single-digit quantities; of the 11 body types made for 1940, nine had outputs of fewer than five units.

cadillac v-16
From 1938 through 1940, only very minor trim
changes differentiated each year's cars.

It was low production that, in the end, condemned the Sixteen to history. General Manager Nicholas Dreystadt, never a man to let enthusiasm get in the way of cost analysis, was responsible for the decision. The Sixteen had been a loss-leader in all but its earliest years, and with prospects of new, modern, overhead-valve V-8s in the wings, it made no practical sense to continue it.

cadillac v-16
Although somber sedans made up the majority
of the V-16s ordered, sportier and more colorful
bodystyles were still available.

What the Sixteen proved was more important than the money it earned. This is the car that truly established Cadillac as the "Standard of the World." It made it clear, as had no other model, that Cadillac had moved from the ranks of near-luxury to a genuine luxury nameplate -- and it represented the first time that Cadillac had fielded a car clearly superior to Packard.

Without a doubt, it was an engineering masterpiece. And as Cadillac's old ad man, Theodore MacManus, had said many years earlier in "The Penalty of Leadership," the Sixteen had "set a million tongues a-wagging."

cadillac v-16
The V-16 established Cadillac
as the "Standard of the World."

For models, prices, and production numbers for the 1930-1931 Cadillac V-16, check out the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

1930-1931 Cadillac V-16 Specifications

Cadillac thought itself to be under the "Penalty of Leadership" when it created the V-16 engine. The engine was realized with beautiful results. Below are the specifications for the 1930-1931 Cadillac V-16.

cadillac v-16
The Cadillac V-16 is considered
a thing of beauty by many collectors.

1930-1931 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

452/452A Madam X 4100 series (wb 148.0) Weight (pounds)

Price

Production

4d Imperial landaulette 5,925
4
4d Imperial sedan 5,905 $7,300 17
4d sedan 5,835$6,950 49
4d Imperial cabriolet sedan 5,925$ 7,35010
4d cabriolet sedan5,885 $ 7,1257
4d Imperial landau cabriolet sedan 5,925
5
4d landau cabriolet sedan 5,885
2
4d Imperial club sdn 5,725
1
4d club sedan
5,655
$ 6,950
43
4d Imperial sedan, 7P
6,005
$7,525
110
4d sedan, 7P
5,965
$ 7,225
47
Total


295

452/452A 4200 series (wb 148.0)Weight (pounds) PriceProduction
4d stationary sedan cabriolet, 7P

1
stationary coupe cabriolet, 2P1

1
stationary coupe cabriolet, 2P2

3
Imperial cabriolet5,885
7
transformable town cabriolet6,005 $8,7506
transformable town cabriolet landaulette6,005
1
transformable town cabriolet, 6W, 7P36,005$8,750 9
transformable town cabriolet, 6W, 7P46,005
1
transformable town cabriolet, 4W, 7P6,005$8,750 6
transformable town cab landaulette, 7P6,005
1
convertible coupe, 2P5,655 $6,900 94
touring

1
touring, 7P

1
phaeton5
$6,500 85
phaeton6


1
Imperial cabriolet, 7P

1
transformable town brougham7
6,005 $9,200
4
transformable town brougham86,005 $9,700 6
4d Imperial sedan, 7P6,005
$6,525 1
4d Imperial landau sedan, 7P6,005
$7,525 2
coupe, 2P5,750 $6,850
70
All-Weather phtn, 4P5,675 $5,350 8
transformable limo brougham, 7P6,005
$8,750
14
Total


326

452/452A 4300 series (wb 148.0)Weight (pounds)
Price
Production
roadster, 2P5,310 $5,350
105
transformable town cabriolet
$6,525 24
transformable town cabriolet, 6W, 7P
$7,150 25
transformable town cabriolet, 4W, 7P
$7,150 35
transformable town cab landaulette, 7P

3
4d Imperial sedan 5,905 $6,300 50
4d sedan5,835
$5,950 394
convertible coupe, 2P 5,655 $5,900 100
4d Imperial cabriolet sedan5,925 $6,350 52
4d cabriolet sedan5,885
$6,125 81
4d Imperial landau cabriolet sedan

1
4d Imperial club sdn

2
4d club sedan 5,725 $5,950 258
4d Imperial sedan, 7P 6,005 $6,525 438
4d sedan, 7P 5,965 $6,225
501
4d Imperial landaulette, 7P

2
coupe, 2P 5,750 $6,850 98
All-Weather phaeton, 4P 5,675 $6,650
250
coupe, 5P5,740 $5,95098
transformable limo brougham, 7P6,005 $7,150 30
Total


2,547

452/452A misc. Fisher bodies (wb 148.0) Weight (pounds)
Price Production
4d town sedan9


3
coupe, 2P

3
4d sedan

5
convertible coupe, 2P

17
coupe, 5P10

2
4d sedan, 7P11

1
4d sedan, 7P12


1
4d sedan test car, 7P

1
4d town sedan13

1
coupe, 5P14

1
Total


35

­
452/452A misc. Fleetwood bodies (wb 148.0) Weight (pounds) Price Production
transformable town cabriolet, 7P

1
4d cabriolet sedan, 4P
$6,450 1
transformable limo brougham

1
transformable town cabriolet

1
coupe, 2P 5,750 $5,800 11
4d special sedan, 7P

1
chassis and unknown

37
Total


53
Total 1930-1931 Cadillac V-16s


3,256

1Style number 4206.
2Style number 4207.
3Style number 4220, with leather roof.
4Style number 4220B, with painted roof.
5Style number 4260.
6Style number 4260A.
7Style number 4264.
8Style number 4264B.
9Style number 30-152.
10Style number 30-172.
11Style number 2901LX.
12Style number 2951LX.
13Style number LX 2905.
14Style number LX 2913.

Sources: Encyclopedia of American Cars, by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide™, Publications International, Ltd., 1996; Cadillac, Standard of the World, 4th ed., by Maurice D. Hendry, Automobile Quarterly, 1990; annual Cadillac price lists.

Find specifications for 1932-1935 Sixteen models on the next page.

For more information on cars, see:

1932-1935 Cadillac V-16 Specifications

Despite the financial hardships facing the automotive industry in the 1930s, the Cadillac V-16 didn't do as poorly as others. Below are specifications for the 1932-1935 Cadillac V-16.

cadillac v-16
Open-top bodies were among the
most popular Cadillac V-16s.

1932 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

452B (wb 143.0

Weight (pounds)

Price
Production
roadster, 2P
5,065
$4,595
3
coupe, 2P
5,530
$4,495

convertible coupe, 2P
5,505
$4,645

4d sedan
4,625
$4,945

452B (wb 149.0)



phaeton
5,400
$4,695
1
special phaeton
5,450
$4,795
3
sport phaeton
5,500
$4,945
2
All-Weather phaeton
5,525
$5,195
13
town coupe, 5P
5,605
$5,095
24
4d sedan
5,735
$5,095

4d sedan, 7P
5,865
$5,245
47
4d limousine, 7P
5,935
$5,445

4d Imperial cabriolet sedan


4
4d Imperial landaulette


1
town cabriolet
5,775
$5,795
4
limo brougham, 7P
5,935
$5,945
7
convertible coupe, 5P
5,505
$4,645
1
Total 1932 Cadillac V-16s


296

1933 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

452C (wb 149.0)Weight (pounds)
PriceProduction
All-Weather phaeton6,110$8,000

convertible coupe, 5P 5,910 $7,500 2
town coupe, 5P 6,000
$6,250
4
4d Imperial cabriolet sedan 6,100 $5,540
1
4d sedan 6,070
$6,250
4d sedan, 7P6,200 $6,400
4d limousine, 7P 6,270
$6,600
town cabriolet 6,110 $6,850
town cabriolet, 7P 6,270 $6,850
limo brougham, 7P 6,300 $6,850
sport phaeton

1
4d Imperial town sdn

1
Total 1933 Cadillac V-16s


125

1934 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

452D (wb 154.0)Weight (pounds)
PriceProduction
coupe, 2P 5,840
$7,750
5
convertible coupe, 2P5,900 $7,900 2
convertible coupe, 5P
$8,150 1
Aero-Dynamic coupe, 5P
$8,150 3
Imperial convertible sedan 6,100
$8,150
5
convertible sedan
$7,950
1
4d Imperial town sedan


1
4d town sedan
6,085 $7,350
2
4d Imperial sedan, 7P16
6,210
$7,300 10
4d sedan, 7P16
6,190 $7,100 5
4d Imperial cabriolet sedan, 7P

$8,150 1
4d special sedan, 7P 6,190
$7,750
5
4d special Imperial sedan, 7P 6,210
$7,950
9
town cabriolet, 7P
6,390
$9,250
4
4d Imperial sedan


1
chassis


1
Total 1934 Cadillac V-16s


56

1935 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

­
452D (wb 154.0) Weight (pounds)
Price
Production
4d town sedan166,085 $6,800 5
4d Imperial sedan, 7P16
6,210 $7,100 6
4d sedan, 7P166,190 $6,900 3
4d Imperial cabriolet sedan, 7P16

2
4d Imperial brougham sedan, 7P16


1
town cabriolet, 7P
6,390 $9,050
2
4d sedan 6,240
$7,400
1
4d Imperial town sedan
$8,000 2
4d town sedan 6,085
$7,450 4
4d Imperial sedan, 7P 6,210
$7,750
15
4d sedan, 7P 6,190
$7,550 2
coupe, 2P 5,840
$7,550 2
Imperial convertible sedan 6,100
$7,950
4
convertible coupe, 5P
$8,150 2
limo brougham, 7P
$8,950
1
chassis

1
Total 1935 Cadillac V-16s


50

16Flat-windshield models; all others with two-piece vee'd windshield.

Sources: Encyclopedia of American Cars, by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, Publications International, Ltd., 1996; Cadillac, Standard of the World, 4th ed., by Maurice D. Hendry, Automobile Quarterly, 1990; annual Cadillac price lists.

Find specifications for the 1936-1940 model years in our final section.

For more information on cars, see:

1936-1940 Cadillac V-16 Specifications

Despite the success of the Cadillac V-16, low production caused its end in 1940. Toward the end of production, sometimes only one model of a car was made. Below are the specifications for the 1936-1940 Cadillac V-16s.

cadillac v-16­
­The Cadillac V-16 came in many car models.

1936 ­­Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

Series 90 Fleetwood (wb 154.0)Weight (pounds)
Price Production
town cabriolet
6,390
$8,850 1
town cabriolet landaulette, 7P 6,450

1
4d sedan

$7,600 1
4d imperial cabriolet sedan ­
$8,000 3
4d town sedan
6,085
$7,250 3
convertible coupe, 2P

$7,900 2
4d Imperial sedan, 7P
6,190 $7,750
24
4d sedan, 7P
6,190
$7,550
2
4d Imperial cabriolet sedan, 7P
6,210$7,850
1
coupe, 2P

$7,750 1
Imperial convertible sedan
6,100
$7,850
6
Aero-Dynamic coupe, 5P

$8,150
4
chassis
$6,250
3
Total 1936 Cadillac V-16s


52

193­7 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

Series 90 (wb 154.0) Weight (pounds)
Price
Production
town cabriolet, 7P
6,390 $9,230
2
4d town sedan 6,085 $7,595
2
4d Imperial sedan, 7P 6,190 $7,900 24
4d sedan, 7P
6,190
$7,645
2
4d Imperial brougham sedan, 7P
6,200
1
4d Imperial cabriolet sedan, 7P 6,210 $8,155 3
coupe, 2P 5,840$7,745
4
Imperial convertible sedan
6,100 $8,205 5
convertible coupe, 5P

$8,150 2
limo brougham, 7P

$9,150 1
Aero-Dynamic coupe, 5P

$8,150
1
chassis

2
Total 1937 Cadillac V-16s


49

1938 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

Series 90 (wb 141.3)Weight (pounds)
Price
Production
4d sedan
5,105
$5,140
43
4d Imperial sedan
5,165 $5,215
5
4d sedan, 7P 5,185
$5,270
65
convertible sedan
5,350
$6,000
13
4d Imperial sedan, 7P
5,345
$5,420
95
4d formal sedan, 7P
5,435
$6,055
17
4d town sedan
5,140
$5,695
20
town car, 7P
5,415
$7,175
11
coupe, 2P
4,915
$5,340
11
coupe, 5P
5,015
$5,440 8
4d formal sedan
5,105
$6,055
8
convertible coupe, 2P
4,905
$5,440
10
Presidential convertible sedan*

2
chassis


3
Total 1938 Cadillac V-16


311

1939 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

Series 90 (wb 141.3)Weight (pounds)
Price
Production
4d sedan
5,190
$5,140
13
4d Imperial sedan 5,625
$5,215
2
4d sedan, 7P
5,215
$5,270
18
convertible sedan
5,220
$6,000
4
4d Imperial sedan, 7P
5,260
$5,420
60
4d formal sedan, 7P
5,260
$6,055 8
4d town sedan
5,230
$5,695
2
town car, 7P
5,330
$7,175
5
coupe, 2p
4,830
$5,340
6
coupe, 5P
4,930 $5,440
5
4d formal sedan
5,190
$6,055
4
convertible coupe, 2P
4,970
$5,440
7
chassis


2
Total 1939 Cadillac V-16s


136

1940 Cadillac V-16 Models, Prices, Production

Series 90 (wb 141.3)
Weight (pounds)
Price
Production
4d sedan
5,190
$4,950
4
4d sedan, 7P
5,215
$5,075
4
convertible sedan
5,265
$5,795
2
4d Imperial sedan, 7P
5,260
$5,225
20
4d formal sedan, 7P
5,260
$5,845
20
4d town sedan
5,220
$5,495
1
town car, 7P
5,330 $6,945
2
coupe, 2P
4,830$5,145
2
coupe, 5P
4,930
$5,245
1
4d formal sedan
5,190
$5,845
2
convertible coupe, 2P 4,970
$5,245 2
chassis
$3,700
1
Total 1940 Cadillac V-16


61

*161-inch wheelbase

Sources: Encyclopedia of American Cars, by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide™, Publications International, Ltd., 1996; Cadillac, Standard of the World, 4th ed., by Maurice D. Hendry, Automobile Quarterly, 1990; annual Cadillac price lists.

For more information on cars, see:

­­