1930 Cadillac V-16

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1930 Cadillac V-16

The Cadillac V-16 story….

In the early 20th century elegant and powerful automobiles were beginning to roam the roads and some of the most luxurious included Packard, Duesenberg, and Cadillac. In 1915, Packard introduced their massive twin-six 12 cylinder engine which set a new standard in automotive engineering. Cadillac, who had become known as the “Standard of the World” was not about to let Packard hold this prestige for long.

By the mid-1920s, Marmon Motor Car Co. engineer Owen Nacked was developing a V-16 for the Marmon. Nacked was hired away by Cadillac in 1927 and along with Nacked came his knowledge of V-16 engineering. The development of the V-16 was kept quiet by Cadillac who was also working on a V-12. Cadillac did not mind stories of their V-12 leaking out to the public as it helped cover up the actual development of the V-16. In January of 1930, Cadillac launched the first Cadillac V-16 Series 452 at the New York Auto Show. Even though Marmon was the first to develop a V-16 engine, Cadillac was the first to introduce it in a car, with Marmon rolling theirs out in 1931.

The luxurious and expensive Cadillac V-16 Series 452 was equipped with a 452 cu in 16-cylinder engine that could crank out an impressive 185 horsepower. This made Cadillac one of the most powerful cars in the world, even competing against some of finest European automobiles. The engine and engine bay itself was a work of art, with all fluid hoses and wiring concealed. The adjoining intake manifolds and carburetor bodies were painted in a glossy black enamel and the exhaust manifolds received a black porcelain finish.

Even though the Cadillac V-16 was revealed to an enthusiastic crowd, its debut was hampered by the 1929 stock market crash resulting in the Great Depression and one of the worst economic crises of the century. Just 4,076 Cadillac V-16s would be built during its eleven-year run. To date it is one the most highly regarded and sought-after American automobiles ever produced.

This pristine award-winning Cadillac V-16 was purchased new in 1930 by S. Atwater Kent. Atwater Kent was a wealthy entrepreneur who designed, built, and marketed Atwater Kent radios throughout the 1920s and 30s. He also patented the modern form of the automobile ignition coil. These Unisparker ignition systems became the automobile industry standard for nearly 50 years.  The museums 1930 Cadillac Series 452 V-16 maintains it’s rare original tool roll, jack, hub cap removal wrench, lube gun, tire pressure gauge and engine crank. The massive front-end treatment showcases a beautiful grille centered between two large headlights and twin horns, all dripping with chrome.  At the peak of the radiator grille is the elegant “Cadillac Goddess” flying lady hood ornament which also made its debut on the new V-16.  The car is finished in a striking silver and black tuxedo finish with numerous touches of elegance including the large  trunk containing a beautiful set of Cadillac fitted luggage, lighted running boards, dual adjustable flood lights, and chrome spoked wheels.

Hagerty.com, HotCars.com, Wikipedia

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