In 2003, Cadillac debuted a V16-powered concept car named, not surprisingly, the Cadillac Sixteen. The idea was to pay homage to the glorious Cadillac V16 luxury cars of the 1930s, when the top US brands were competing to produce the most powerful and exotic engines possible.
For Cadillac, it was the ultra-smooth V16, a sophisticated overhead-valve design that put the GM luxury division not only ahead of the domestic competition but in the company of the greatest automakers of Europe.
The Pick of the Day is a 1930 Cadillac 4330 Imperial Sedan V16 in remarkably well-preserved condition for a 91 year old, especially one with such a muscular powerplant under its hood.
The Orange, Connecticut, dealer advertising the big sedan on ClassicCars.com goes into detail about the model history and the car’s amazingly original condition. (Note that the seller spells V-16 with a hyphen, while it’s the Journal’s style to refer to V-configuration engines without hyphens, as in V8 or V16.)
“The Cadillac V-16 has gone down in history as one of the greatest cars of all time,” the seller says in the ad. “Despite the onset of the Great Depression, American car manufacturers were still in a race to see who could create the biggest and most outrageous car with the most exotic engine.
“Duesenberg created their big double-overhead-cam straight eight, Stutz created their double- and single-overhead-cam eight cylinder, and Cadillac answered with its overhead-valve V-16. With sixteen cylinders, 452 cubic inches and 185 horsepower, the V-16 competed not only with its U.S. competitors, but with the ultra-refined European cars such as Mercedes and Isotta Fraschini.”
This Cadillac is No.9 of 50 Imperial sedans produced, and one of the few still extant, the seller says. The car’s seemingly time-warp condition is mainly the result of long-term single ownership and being carefully looked after during its entire nine decades.
“Its largely well-preserved original condition is due not only to it being from California, but it was kept in its original owner’s possession well into the 1950s,” the seller says in the ad. “The interior is remarkable with no tears or moth damage to the original wool broadcloth. The ornate woodwork is in wonderful condition and the rugs all appear to be well-preserved and original.
“The headliner is equally well-preserved including its original hat holders, as is the original lamb’s wool over rug. The dash features all its correct instrumentation and includes a very nice addition of a 1950s-era radio showing proof of its long original service and well-looked-after existence. The paint shows well and does show patina, but is very fitting for such a nice original car.”
The V16 engine runs well, the transmission shifts properly and the Cadillac is both drivable and presentable, the seller adds.
“Being such a good original car, all of its numbers and components on this car are correct and original to this car,” the ad concludes.
The Depression was in full swing by 1930, so it was doubly audacious of Cadillac to produce such exclusive and expensive machines. For collectors of “full classic” pre-war luxury cars, it’s hard to beat such a splendid and original showpiece. It could be a shoe-in for the preservation class at the Pebble Beach concours d’Elegance.
The asking price is $150,000 for what seems to be a very special Cadillac powered by an iconic engine.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.