Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupe

With a young Bill Mitchell now heading the Cadillac styling studio, the new 1938 Cadillac models solidified GM’s position at the forefront of automotive design. The all-new V16 was now more like a twin eight in its basic design, and along with greater power output, it was more reliable and easier to service.

The response was rewarding, with Cadillac selling more V16 models than it had since 1931, even though overall sales fell to 24,843 cars or half the 1937 total. While the V16 now shared the shorter chassis of the V8 line, its bodies were as large as or larger than before. This was accomplished in part by mounting the engine low in the frame and partially inside the firewall. The V16 remained very unique in its appearance with a special egg-crate radiator grille, fender lamps, streamlined hood vents and fender skirts. The interior could be custom-ordered to suit individual buyer preferences, including a wide variety of leathers, fabrics and inlaid woods.

In 1938, Cadillac was one of the few luxury cars remaining in production in America. Despite the disappearance of many of Cadillac’s competitors, the marque survived while its longstanding competitors, including Pierce-Arrow, Duesenberg, Marmon, Stutz and Franklin, slowly disappeared. The Series 38-90 V16 was the proud company’s pinnacle of engineering and design achievement. This Fleetwood Convertible Coupe epitomizes the triumphant Cadillac V16 of the era with its beautifully flowing lines and contours, while the smooth 16-cylinder engine provides an abundance of power and torque. It is very rare as one of just 311 V16 models built for 1938.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2010 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan.

185 hp, 431 cu. in. L-head V16 engine, dual Carter carburetors, three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, semi-floating rear axle, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 141"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel