1931 Cadillac V16


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Car type 
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US title
EU customs cleared
Chassis n ° 702873

- A unique car: the only Cadillac V16 bodied by Lancefield
- In superb condition
- The prestige of the 1930s, in all its splendor
- Participant in the Amelia Island 2012 concours d'elegance

Founded in 1902, Cadillac was bought in 1909 by the young company General Motors, which began regrouping its brands and set up a division for luxury cars. Cadillac demonstrated great innovation and made an impact through the standard of its equipment and the power of its engines: V8, then V12 and a V16 in 1930. This increase in engine size was in part due to technical issues, specifically to reduce vibrations, but also for the prestige it bestowed. The Cadillac V16 Type "452" (in reference to the unit cylinder size in cubic inches, 7.4-litre) was a luxury car with an engine that was a triumph of engineering. The maximum power of 185bhp allowed these big, heavy cars to break the symbolic barrier of 100mph (over 160 km/h).
Although most of them were bodied by Fleetwood or Fisher (under the direct control of Cadillac), 32 bare chassis were delivered too, including a dozen right-hand drive examples that were exported to the UK. Some stayed in the US and others went to India. This car is one of only five to have survived, and is the only one to be bodied by coachbuilder Lancefield of London, on a Cadillac V16 chassis. The design of this body can be distinguished by its overhang in relation to the chassis, and by a moulding running down the side of the car. It has a rear axle with lower final drive, and a three-position sunroof. There is a distinctive European feel to the design, with its bumpers known as "French safety bumpers", and its Marchal headlamps.
Delivered new in Britain in 1931, where the car would have been exhibited at the Earl's Court Motor Show in London, the car remained in the same family for around sixty years, before being bought by the American dealer, Manny Dragone, during the 1990s. He sold it to a Connecticut collector who had the car restored to a high standard. It comes in an elegant two-tone livery, black and green, highlighted with fine red stripes and a black top. The car was later acquired by an important Austrian collector from Vienna, at the beginning of 2010. He took part in several major events, including the prestigious concours d'elegance at Greenwich in 2011, and Amelia Island in 2012. It is now on display at the American car museum belonging to the present owner. An icon of the 1930s, this grand Cadillac V16 stands out for its graceful bodywork, designed by Lancefield, and its sophisticated engineering, enhanced by the wonderful condition that it is presented in.