The Cadillac V16

1931 Cadillac Sixteen
Fleetwood body style number 4376
In the enthusiasm of the late 1920s, Cadillac developed its landmark sixteen cylinder engine (452 cu in developing 175hp) setting off a "cylinder war" among luxury car makers in America. Introduced at the New York auto show in January, 1930, Cadillac would sell roughly 2000 of these cars by mid-year. However, the depression would change everything and sales dropped off quickly. Amazingly, Cadillac continued production through 1937 (first series V16), even though they were only selling roughly 50 cars a year after 1932. The majority of sixteen cylinder cars were bodied by Fisher/Fleetwood. Fleetwood was a custom body maker out of Fleetwood, PA. Founded in 1909, they were purchased by Fisher in 1925 and moved to Detroit in 1931 when Fisher/Fleetwood was absorbed by General Motors.

The car pictured here looks to be a 1931 Cadillac 452A. This car wears the "entry-level" Fleetwood catalog body - style number 4376 and was likely bodied in Fleetwood, PA prior to the move to Detroit. Priced at $5950.00, it was certainly an expensive car in the day, but this one seem to be as basic as one could get at the time. Notice that it wears wood artillery style wheels (in place of wire wheels) and was sold without the side-mount dual spare tires. It's said that Lawrence Fisher and Harley Earl were responsible for the initial catalog of bodies offered - estimated at over 50 different styles. Only 98 units of style number 4376 were produced, and at least one is know to have survived. The owner seems to be enjoying his new Cadillac down at the shore (the New Jersey shore). If anyone has access to a 1932 New Jersey license plate directory, I'd love to know the name of the original owners.

2 comments:

  1. Cadillac certainly comes a long way in terms of producing notable, top-of-the-line autos. It is the second oldest American automobile manufacturer, next to the Buick. Many loved the Caddy for its classy style and workmanship, and the V16 engine series was one of the most notable releases of their line. From then on, Cadillac provides their clients high-end automobiles and lives up to the expectation of car aficionados.

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  2. Thank you for those sweet facts, Steve and Tyra! And yes, I do agree that the Cadillac line is one of the most notable cars in auto history. Up to now, many are still captivated by this vehicle. Whether it is an old model or a new release, it creates buzz in the market. And most of their vehicles were remembered, not only for their looks, but for their performance.

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