1930 Cadillac V16 Sedan Project Coachwork by Fleetwood Registration no. GN 68 Chassis no. 700375 Engine no. 700375
'For both its visual and technical attributes the V16 itself is a thing of beauty, delivering 175bhp. Even more impressive was its all important low speed torque: 320 pound-feet at 1,500rpm, which assured velvet-like low speed operation. Thanks to a hydraulic valve-silencing device created by General Motors Research Division, the V16's overhead valves were well mannered and quite as they went about performing their tasks.
'The sum total of the V16's features was so impressive that even the Europeans found it impossible to describe its super silent operation without using terms such as "magnificent" and "outstanding".' - Robert C Ackerson, Standard Catalog of Cadillac.
Cadillac's bold attempt to 'out-cylinder' the opposition commenced in January 1930 with the introduction of its magnificent 452ci (7.4-litre) V16, of which engine it has been said: 'There is no power plant in any motor car so smooth, so quiet, so flexible.' Astonishingly, before the end of the year a V12 had been added to the range! The Cadillac V16 was the world's first production sixteen-cylinder passenger car, beating the rival Marmon to the marketplace by ten months. Conceived in the Roaring Twenties, these Leviathans made little sense in the post-Wall Street Crash, Depression years of the early 1930s, despite which Cadillac had managed to sell in excess of 15,000 of them before the decade's end. Harley Earl had been directing GM's Art & Color Department since 1928, and the master stylist and his team used the opportunity afforded by the new V16 chassis to create some of the most sublimely beautiful automobile bodies of the period. More than 50 body styles were offered, the vast majority being 'catalogue customs' by Fleetwood, though most were variations on a handful of basic designs.
This example was owned by renowned collector Keith Schellenberg for some 30 years and was in need of extensive restoration when it was purchased from him by the current vendor circa 20 years ago. Originally bodied as a sedan but a rolling chassis when acquired, the Cadillac has been rebuilt over the course of the last 20 years, a suitable Fleetwood sedan body being brought over from the USA. Some £300,000 has been spent on its renovation, with most of the relevant bills in the history file together with a V5C registration document. The chassis, engine, transmission and electrics have all been rebuilt, leaving the purchaser to have the body painted and the interior trimmed. Once this work has been completed, the fortunate new owner will have a truly fabulous car.