1938 CADILLAC V16 TOWN CAR (series 3890)
COACHWORK BY FLEETWOOD
Chassis No. 5270174
Black with black leather front and beige cloth rear interior
Engine: V16 at 135 degrees, 431ci giving 185bhp at 3,600rpm; Gearbox: 3-speed manual; Suspension: independent front, semi-elliptic rear leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
Cadillac's first V16 engine was a secret three year project that the public was not aware of until its introduction in 1930. The engine was designed to be silent and smooth, suiting the '30s luxury car buyer. Soon, however, other V8 engines became more efficient and powerful than the overhead valve V16, making it outdated.
Again in 1937, Cadillac wanted to come out with a new super engine that would outshine the roughness of the popular V8s. They wanted an engine that had more than eight cylinders and was shorter in length and lighter than the older V12 and V16. They decided on a flathead 16 cylinder engine because of the greater smoothness and durability which resulted from the extra cylinders.
The engine was given a 135 degree angle between the banks to give room for the manifolds and carburettors inside the vee. It had 9 main bearings compared to the older version's 5, yet it was 6 inches shorter. Two eight cylinder distributors and carburettors were used, which simplified the servicing. The engine was much lighter than either the first V12 or V16 and required half the number of parts, yet at 431ci and 185 horsepower it developed more power. Its top speed was 100mph and it had better acceleration than the V8. Only 514 of these V16 engines were produced with a very few fitted into the limousine chassis.
The series 38-90 was essentially a series 75 with a V16 engine. Although the 141in. wheelbase was actually thirteen inches shorter, the bodies were equal or larger in dimension. The V16s were recognizably different from their predecessor V8s because of the slanted eggcrate grille, fender lamps, louvers on the hood and full fender skirts. The L-head, short-stroke, V16 engine was cast-enbloc - essentially a twin-eight with dual accessories including carburettors, air cleaners, manifolds, distributors, coils, fuel pumps and water pumps.
With twelve styles offered in this series, and only 315 automobiles produced in 1938, this towncar is reputedly one of only eleven produced. This rare and stylish Cadillac Towncar was purchased by a California film studio and was supposedly used by Hollywood luminary/producer, Darryl Fzanuck. The vehicle is in unrestored original condition , the recorded mileage is 47,000 believed to be original. It is naturally highly elligible for Classic Car Club caravan events.