EX-RICK CARROLL COLLECTION
1931 CADILLAC MODEL 452-B SPORT PHAETON
COACHWORK BY FLEETWOOD
Chassis No. 702797
Engine No. 7-2998
Silver and blue with red leather interior
Engine: V16, 456.6ci., 165bhp 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.
As the 1920s drew to a close, General Motors, under Alfred P. Sloan, had only one field left to conquer - the luxury end of the market. The roaring twenties were times of opulence and excess for many, and America's rich and famous were looking toward Packard and Duesenberg to fulfill their needs.
Cadillac's dilemma was how to overcome their rivals. A V8 would not do. Cadillac had pioneered the V8 and it already lived up to the firm's slogan 'Standard of the World' by being the smoothest, most refined V8 in production anywhere. Likewise, Cadillac would not introduce a V12 that would merely flatter Packard by imitation. Therefore, chief engineer, Ernest Seaholm, and a designer, Owen Nacker, were left with little choice but to go for a V16.
A sixteen cylinder engine, for all its perfect balance and smooth power that would propel a car weighing 6,000 pounds swiftly to 100mph, was an extravagent gesture to say the least. The V16 set a standard of refinement unequalled by any manufacturer in the world. Its silence in operation has never been matched and its synchromesh transmission, vacuum-assisted servo brakes and the powerful engine gave it performance that could be equalled only by the noisy, comparatively rough and more expensive Duesenberg.
By 1931 Cadillac had reached the pinnacle of automotive styling. The 1931 model line offered four separate passenger car choices powered by eight, twelve or sixteen cylinder engines. Despite the overall lower automotive sales brought on by the pandemic mood set by the Depression, Cadillac managed to run its competitors into the ground, staking outright claim on the bulk of luxury car sales in America. There were a total of twelve body styles available and they included customer specified designs carried out by the prestigious American coachbuilders, Fleetwood and Fisher. General Motors employed an Art and Color styling department led by one of the most famous automotive designers, Harley J. Earl. An automotive engineer, Earl was hired in 1926 to make the most of DuPont's newly developed synthetic paints, and made such a success of the LaSalle in 1929 that he was put in charge of the newest and grandest Cadillac. Earl worked his magic on the V16 and it was one of the most ravishing classics ever. Even the engine compartment was highly stylized. Owen Nacker's engine had been designed to have almost no visible extraneous components, accordingly all wiring was almost completely hidden from view and its overall appearance was finished in true elegant fashion with a polished aluminum block.
Mr. Lassiter's stunning V16 Cadillac is without argument one of the most impressive automobiles from his collection. There are 18 original Sport Phaetons in existence and, as a result of their limited number, impressive engineering and sleek bodies, they are one of the most desirable models available. The car was purchased by a Michigan Cadillac enthusiast from the late Rick Carroll collection in original, unrestored condition. The new owner embarked upon a total restoration shortly thereafter. However, the process was stalled due to its high cost until the car was sold to the Lassiter Collection and restoration was completed by specialist, Henry Sykes. Mr. Sykes executed the final stages of the restoration, including the rechroming of all the car's extensive brightwork. Records indicate that the car's original color was a pea green. However, it was decided to finish the V16 in the attractive two-tone silver and blue it wears today.
This Cadillac is completed with all the luxury amenities the discerning buyer would expect: Pilot Ray steering operated turning lamps, dual side mounted spots bearing Cadillac insignia tabs and wonderful chrome multi-spoke wire wheels finished off by full size whitewall tires and spares. All brightwork on the car appears to be in fine condition, having received a thorough restoration. The black top is beautifully fitted and is finished with a distinctive red leather edging to match the car's interior. It is also equipped with a top boot and side curtains, allowing for attractive and sensible touring in any weather condition.
The V16's interior is detailed and charming, with an attention to detail that defines the Cadillac slogan 'the standard of the world'. The rear compartment, finished in red leather, is highlighted by the detailed oval instrument panel that includes twin rear compartment speedometers and a rear tonneau Jaeger chronometer. The driver's compartment is also finished to the same standards with Jaeger gauges, including an eight day trip clock and temperature, fuel, water and oil gauges. Mr. Lassiter's Cadillac appears to be in very presentable condition overall and has been well maintained during his ownership over the last thirteen years. The underbody and engine compartment show almost no visible sign of road usage and are quite clean. In 1987 this V16 was distinguished with a National First Prize award by the Antique Automobile Club of America and was also featured on page 132 in The Classic Car by Beverly Rae Kimes, published in 1990 by the Classic Car Club of America. It is recognized as a full classic and is eligible for all CCCA events. This is an original bodied V16 with a superb restoration that has won numerous awards and is viewed as one of the ultimate classics of its era.