22 May 1997
1930 CADILLAC V16 ROADSTER
COACHWORK BY FLEETWOOD
Chassis No. 702104
Black with red leather interior.
Engine: Overhead valve V16, 7.4 litres 180bhp at 3,400rpm; Gearbox: three-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers front and rear; Brakes: four-wheel drum. Left-hand drive.
The Cadillac Automobile Company was founded in 1902 by Henry Leland who had a successful background in the manufacture of firearms and precision machine tools. His initial foray into the nascent motor industry was as the manufacturer of engines and gearbox parts for the successful Oldsmobile curved-dash runabout. When he decided to make motor cars in his own right he named his company - appropriately as it happened - after de la Mothe Cadillac, the Frenchman who founded the settlement which became Detroit.
Although General Motors took Cadillac over in 1909, Leland continued to control the firm until 1917 and his insistance upon engineering excellence survived.
In 1914 Cadillac became the American pioneer of the vee-eight motor car engine using a design by an Englishman, McCall White, whom Leland had recruited from Napier. Cadillac gave the industry one of its quantum leaps in technology in 1929 when constant mesh between top and second speeds was introduced. This device was based upon the work of E A Thompson who had patented his idea in 1922 and was marketed as Synchromesh. Another Cadillac first, in 1930, was the announcement of America's largest capacity motor car engine and the world's first production vee-sixteen. Cadillac survived the depression and emerged after the Second World War as America's most prestigeous car manufacturer, eclipsing Packard.
This excellent example of a vee-sixteen has two-seater roadster and dickey bodywork which is most likely original coachwork coming from another chassis. It is made of steel, has beautiful black paintwork and chromium plate and a beige fabric top. The interior has red leather seats and red carpets and is in excellent order throughout. It is a truly beautiful motor car combining engineering of extraordinary innovation and quality for its time with considerable period elegance. The car is also said to be in excellent mechanical condition.
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