Cadillac V-16 Phaeton by Fisher
The year was 1932. As the Great Depression raged into its worst year and Franklin Roosevelt entered the White House, Cadillac’s top-of-the-line V-16 greeted renewed optimism with renewed styling. The massive motorcar boasted the same 452-cubic inch engine as in 1930 and 1931, with relatively few mechanical changes. Outside, however, the car looked fresh and sporty, thanks to a lengthened hood, lowered rooflines, curvaceous fenders, and more streamlined headlamp shells. The result was a car that carried the visual impact of a locomotive and looked every bit its performance and its price—respectively, 165 horsepower and about the cost of a new house.
Understandably, few remained willing or able to afford the sumptuous V-16, and only 300 are believed to have been produced in 1932. Then, as now, they were elite and scarce, a rolling status symbol announcing not only the owner’s fine tastes, but also his or her ability to indulge them.
Part of the RM Auctions event in Arizona, January 2013.
165 bhp, 452 cu. in. displacement V-16 engine with dual two-barrel carburetors, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and vacuum-assisted four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 149 in.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Neil Fraser