It’s a Cadillac from back when the automaker really was the standard of the world. When the cylinder count was almost as big as the volume of those cylinders. A 1930 Cadillac V-16 Fleetwood. With a Canadian Connection.
Cadillac had launched its first V8 in 1915. But luxury buyers wanted even more power and refinement. And Packard’s 12-cylinder was eating Cadillac’s lunch when it came to prestige. At the time, the best way to get more power was displacement. And the best way to get more refinement was more cylinders. Because fuel efficiency didn’t matter and more cylinders means more balanced combustion, and a smoother running machine.
In very early 1930, they announced that they were launching their most extravagant – and expensive – car to date. The V-16. With excellent timing. Just weeks after the 1929 stock market crash amid the beginnings of the Great Depression.
The engine was a 7.4L overhead valve V16. Making an impressive, for the time if not by modern standards, 165 hp. With a three-speed manual gearbox.
Luxury cars of this era were largely coachbuilt, but Cadillac had purchased Fleetwood and Fisher to keep most of the builds in-house. The V-16 was offered by both in dozens of different body styles.
This one, #4276, is one of the more sporting designs. A two-door coupe with a raked windshield.
The seller says that this one has never been restored. It was repainted in the original blue sometime in the past, but hasn’t been disassembled. It still has all of the original body wood. Yes, much of this car is still real wood.
Despite the age, the car even has the original build sheet from the Fleetwood factory. It’s said to have the original engine, vacuum tanks, and even carburetters.
This car was kept for years inside the Wheels Through Time Museum in North Carolina but was later sold. The museum was transitioning to focus solely on motorcycles, and this is about as far from a motorcycle as a vehicle can get.
So what about that Canadian connection? Before entering the Museum’s collection, that car was said to have been owned by folk-rocker Neil Young. So to that, we say long may you run, V16 Cadillac. Long may you run.
Images Courtesy of classiccars.com view listing at For Sale: 1930 Cadillac V16 in Ann Arbor, Michigan