Since Cadillac was the first to produce a production V8 motorcar, why not double it and be the king of the road? It certainly was a great feat for Cadillac to debut a V16 in 1930 just when the U.S. was embarking on the Great Depression, but the new motor was already ready for production right at the dawn of the economic downturn so why turn back? Packard may have been America’s luxury sales leader, but Cadillac’s V16 set out to steal some of the thunder and establish Cadillac among the world’s elite.
The new 452ci OHV put out 165 horsepower, which was enough to get the huge (143- or 149-inch wheelbase) cars up to 80-100 mph − impressive when you consider the heavier bodies weighed as much as 6000 pounds. Despite the poorly-timed introduction, over 2,000 were built in 1930, but that quickly tapered off. By 1933, only 125 Cadillac V16s were built for the model year.
One of those cars was this Convertible Victoria, of which Fleetwood only built two with the V16 motor. Its list price was $7,500, which was about $5,000+ more than your basic V8 Cadillac and more than 10 times as much as a Chevrolet sedan. According to CadillacDatabase.com, this car was shipped to a Chicago dealership on March 18, 1933 but it did not find a buyer, so it was returned to Cadillac for credit. Subsequently, actor Robert Montgomery became the first owner.
We caught this very special Caddy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the American Classic Open Early class.