Year of manufacture1930
- One of 17 known survivors in the breathtaking Sport Phaeton body style
- Distinguished ownership history, including Joe Runyan, Otis Chandler, and Keith Crain
- Carefully maintained older restoration in Bottle Green
- Benefits from mechanical service and installation of new top and tires performed under the care of its current owner, a noted V-16 enthusiast
- A CCCA Full Classic suitable for exhibition and touring
Please note that this lot is titled as a 1931.
The phaeton is undoubtedly one of the most dashing body styles of the Classic Era, and Cadillac’s V-16 Sport Phaeton, style 4260, is among the finest examples of the genre. While typical “dual cowl” phaetons included a separate cowl and windscreen for rear-seat passengers, the Sport Phaeton featured a windshield mounted directly behind the front seat and raised and lowered via hand crank. The result was an uncluttered body of grand but elegant proportions—one that looked spectacular with the top either up or down.
Only 85 Sport Phaetons were built for the V-16 chassis in 1930 and 1931 combined. Cadillac historians record the existence of 17 authentic survivors, one of which is preserved in General Motors’ corporate Heritage Collection—high praise, indeed.
This Sport Phaeton, engine number 702515, was originally delivered by the Towell Cadillac Company of Cleveland with the notation “Tag P.W. Harvey.” Perry Williams Harvey was a multimillionaire leader in Cleveland business and political circles; married into the politically prominent Hanna family, he was also an avid sportsman and collector of rare books. He died in 1932; thus, his ownership was unfortunately brief.
Its next known owner was Bennett Hammond of Brandy Flip Farm in Nicasio, California, from whom Joseph Runyan of Pasadena purchased it in 1952. Mr. Runyan would recall later, with no small amount of bemusement, that he paid $25 for the car. Having been abandoned on the Hammond property, the seller was simply thrilled to have it out of his way. The new owner set about restoring it. Reportedly he spent $2,500 on the job, a figure that at the time seemed outrageous for “fixing up” an old car. The result, complete with a hand-rubbed paint job literally applied under the Runyans’ backyard shade tree, won numerous prizes in West Coast competition.
This was among the first V-16 Cadillacs to be treated as something unique, different, and special; as the great Classics began to achieve collectability, the finest examples were the first to be noticed, and Mr. Runyan had the best V-16 Sport Phaeton around. Accordingly, it appeared in the pages of Roy Schneider’s Sixteen Cylinder Motorcars and in Maurice Hendry’s Cadillac, Standard of the World: A Complete History. It was also the subject of a feature article in the October 1967 issue of Car Classics.
THE TREASURED V-16
Mr. Runyan held on to the V-16 for the rest of his life. He began a fresh restoration in the early 1990s, completed shortly before his passing in 1995, with the color changed to the wonderfully subtle shade of Bottle Green. When the Runyan family decided to part with the Cadillac, legendary sportsman and Classic collector Otis Chandler was the first to express his interest. Mr. Chandler completed a careful refreshing of the restoration, resulting in a 95.25 score and 2nd in Class at the Classic Car Club of America Grand Classic in July 1997. It was later invited to be shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, appearing in 1998 and receiving 3rd in Class. (Note that, as its last Pebble Beach appearance was in 2009, it is now eligible to be displayed once again by a new caretaker.)
The car would become one of the treasured favorites in the Chandler collection, remaining even as other V-16s came and went. Only after his passing was it acquired, in 2006, by Keith Crain; he would retain the car until it was purchased by the present owner—himself a Cadillac V-16 connoisseur—in 2020.
Since its acquisition by the consignor, the Cadillac has benefitted from a mechanical service, a new top, and six new tires in 2020, with work performed by the consignor’s in-house craftsmen. This was followed by a professional engine and exterior detailing ahead of its 2021 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance appearance. Most recently, its ignition switch was rebuilt. It is accompanied by a color-matched trunk, ready to be placed on the rear luggage rack for lengthier tours.
Any Cadillac V-16 is an automobile of distinction; this cherished Sport Phaeton is further elevated by its enthusiast ownership, history of exhibition and publication, and, of course, its superb design. A Classic Car Club of America Full Classic, it is worthy of continued appreciation and exhibition by its next caretaker, who will have an unparalleled opportunity to discover exactly what the “Standard of the World” truly means.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/az22.