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Friday, August 27, 2010

1938 Cadillac V16


Registration no: TBA Chassis no: TBA Price: Refer Department Since the day it first claimed to be laboring under the “penalty of Leadership,” Cadillac pressured itself to live up to the lofty status the statement implied. Then came the 1930-1940 Cadillac V-16, a lasting monument to that struggle. Looking back today, there seems to have been no sensible reason for building a 16-cylinder Cadillac. By 1930, the luxury car industry had settled on and refined both the inline- and vee-eights. Builders of some of the finest cars in the world saw no reason for more than eight cylinders. Cadillac’s Sixteen also arrived precisely in time for the Great Depression, when the few people who could afford cars tended to think in terms of four or six cylinders and the handful who could still afford Cadillacs often preferred to keep a low profile in a Chevy or Ford. But from a purely practical view, there’s no reason that the world needed Ferraris or Corvettes either. The Cadillac V-16 was built -- and lasted for 11 years, a longer production run than any other car with more than eight cylinders -- because of the passion of great engineers and their management’s drive to produce the best. It was a masterpiece, which is why so many examples are still around. As Theodore MacManus put it in that most famous of Cadillac ads, “The Penalty of Leadership,” a great achievement “makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live, lives.” While the 1937 Series 90 had started at a towering $7,450, the 1938 version started at $5,200, and no body style cost more than $7,500. What the Sixteen proved was more important than the money it earned. This is the car that truly established Cadillac as the “Standard of the World.” It made it clear, as had no other model, that Cadillac had moved from the ranks of near-luxury to a genuine luxury nameplate -- and it represented the first time that Cadillac had fielded a car clearly superior to Packard. The example on offer here is a 1938 model, finished in burgundy. It was purchased by the current owner from a sheriff in the United States, where it was lying unused in his barn in an unrestored condition. The car was then subsequently shipped to Spain, where it was comprehensively restored to an exacting standard by a team of European experts. The car retains its originality, however, and the only difference between the car now and the specification in which left the factory is that it has been fitted with a Mercedes power-assisted steering system, making it much more manoeuvrable and easier to drive, especially in modern road conditions. Described as being in good condition throughout, this car retains its original Fleetwood of Detroit bodywork (Style No 38-9067). An excellent chance to revisit a bygone age of truly great American engineering.


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  1. 1938 Cadillac V16 is looking very owesome.Please is this Car for sale .Please give me reply.

  2. Interesting post. I'm new-ish to this blog, but have like what I've read!