Some of the most glorious Full Classics of the 1930s are V-16 Cadillacs, their massive engines testament to the exceptional engineering of the luxury cars marketed as “The Standard of the World.”
Catching a glimpse of any Cadillac V-16 model on a show field is a memorable experience, especially seeing the impressive and finely detailed engine under its hood.
In January, RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction will present seven of them, all terrific examples of V-16 Cadillacs from a single collection and each offered without a reserve price.
The cars come from noted collector John D. Groendyke of Enid, Oklahoma, who is well-known in the classic car hobby for owning some of the finest American and European cars from the classic era, including 17 significant examples of the top-rung Cadillacs powered by V16 engines.
“The Cadillac V-16 was an engineering tour de force as the first production automobile equipped with a V-16 engine, during a time when even V8s were exclusive to luxury manufacturers,” RM Sotheby’s says in a news release. “Cadillac’s V-16 engine was essentially two engines in one, sharing a crankcase and crankshaft, first developing 160bhp, eventually rising to 185bhp and with torque aplenty at 300 (pound-feet) at idle.
“Engineering prowess aside, the engine is also aesthetically a work of art, said to be the first production-car powerplant that was truly styled, with sleek design and minimal clutter.”
The seven cars going to auction from Groendyke’s stable are led by a fully restored 1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood with fully matching numbers and its original chassis, engine, axles, coachwork and other components. The car spent more than 20 years stored not only indoors but in the owner’s living room.
“The Sport Phaeton was formerly owned for three decades by CCCA member Walden J. Schmitz, who purchased it from the estate of its original owner in the early 1960s,” the news release says. “Schmitz restored the car and took it to CCCA meets through the early 1970s, after which he put it in his living room, until it was sold from his estate in 1998.”
The pre-auction estimated value is $900,000 to $1.2 million.
Another remarkable example is a 1935 Cadillac V-16 Imperial Convertible Sedan by Fleetwood, formerly of the Richard Gold, Dr. Barbara Atwood, and Andrews Collections, wearing a well-maintained restoration by Steve Babinsky. This beauty is valued at $600,000 to $750,000.
The other five Cadillacs from the Groendyke collection are:
• A 1933 Cadillac V-16 All-Weather Phaeton, restored with a correct Fleetwood body and formerly of the Fred Weber and Aaron Weiss collections, valued at $300,000 to $350,000.
• A 1936 Cadillac V-16 Town Sedan by Fleetwood, the sole survivor in this style, sporting a well-preserved restoration by Fran Roxas and formerly of the noted William Ruger Jr. Collection. Estimated value, $250,000 to $300,000.
• A 1939 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood, a rare second-generation V-16, one of just seven built and formerly in the long-term ownership of Bob Hannay. Estimated value, $225,000 to $275,000.
• A 1931 Cadillac V-16 Seven-Passenger Imperial Sedan by Fleetwood, among the finest original, unrestored V-16s, beautifully preserved and with known history from new. The Imperial Sedan was formerly owned by noted restorer “Cadillac Jim” Pearson. Estimated value, $100,000 to $150,000.
• A 1932 Cadillac V-16 Five-Passenger Sedan by Fleetwood, beautifully restored in the original color of Viceroy Maroon and an ideal CARavan and tour automobile. Estimated value, $175,000 $225,000.
RM Sotheby’s 2020 Arizona sale takes place January 16-17 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, one of the eight collector car auctions taking place during Arizona Auction Week. For more information, visit the auction website.