1930 Cadillac V16 452

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“Doomed to lead” – this is the slogan voiced by Cadillac marketers. And how it suits this iconic American car. In 1909, the Model 30 was the first mass-produced car to use an electric starter. I think everyone would agree that starting the engine turning the key in the ignition switch is noticeably easier than twisting crooked starter. In 1914 Cadillac had Type 51, the first production car with a V8 engine. The latter was five horsepower more than the 1932 Ford Model 18. The Cadillac had 1.5 liters more displacement than the Ford, but the Ford Model 18 was 18 years too late.

The Cadillac V16 series 452 was the first ever production car with a V16. Have you ever seen an inline, eight-cylinder engine? And under the hood of this car, it’s basically two in-line eights. The engine alone here weighs 400 pounds.
The engine for this car was designed by engineer Ouren Nacker, who was brought in by Cadillac president Lawrence Fisher. Nacker perfectly proved himself in the work on the Marmon engines. And perhaps largely thanks to this specialist, Cadillac has released its, a sixteen-cylinder car ten months earlier than they did in Marmon.

Development of the new model began back in 1926. Work on the car was conducted in strict secrecy. What was happening was known only to the upper management of the company. The stakes were high. Cadillac was preparing a car, which had to eclipse Pierce-Arrow, Peerless and most importantly Packard. The latter in the 20s was considered the standard of luxury, reliability and comfort. To surpass the status could not only appear in 1928 Duesenberg Model J. But it was significantly more expensive car than Cadillac. The Duesenberg chassis alone cost as much as a Cadillac with maximum equipment. In addition, the Duesenberg was equipped with an inline eight-cylinder engine, albeit a magnificent one. The Cadillac’s engine consisted of two in-line eight-cylinder engines, which could run autonomously.
Speaking of Cadillacs, it is the number of cylinders that is important. When two engines of the same displacement, but with a different number of cylinders, the engine with the larger number of cylinders would create less vibration. Of course, provided there are no balancer shafts. In Cadillac’s niche, excellent engine balance and excellent low-end traction are more important than high, maximum power. That’s why Cadillac rejected the compressor engine options. At the time, a mechanical compressor reduced engine life and was noisy. RPM engines weren’t made back then, either. Maximum power on almost all, production cars was reached by 3,500 rpm. Therefore, to get more power it was necessary to increase the volume. But for the engine to run smoothly, there should be many cylinders, and each of them should not be too big, so as not to create large vibrations.

The Cadillac V16 engine runs so smoothly that you can find videos with a coin on the running engine. The quietness of this V16 is also legendary. At the time of its debut, Cadillac offered customers something that no other car manufacturer could offer. Because of this, 2,887 such cars were sold in the 30th year. But by 1935, 3,700 V16s had been sold. Customers liked the new car, but the trouble was that many of those who wanted to buy such a Cadillac went bankrupt during the Great Depression. This incident was what affected the fate of the Cadillac V16, Marmon Sixteen, Franklin 173 V12, and other, posh cars. They all came out in front of a huge upheaval. But by the beginning of the Great Depression, the V16 was selling great. It accounted for 20% of all Cadillac sales. And yet it was the flagship, the brand’s most expensive car.

How much can you buy a 1930 series Cadillac V16 452 for.

A new V16 cost between $5,000 and $9,700. At the time, you could buy a not bad house, or a 10 Ford Model 18, for a minimally completed series 452. $5,350 in ’30 is the equivalent of $91,000 today. These days, such Cadillacs sell for $500,000. Some examples are worth more than $1 million.
Perhaps the most famous owner of a V16 was Al Capone. His armored car cost $20,000. Which was an incredible amount of money in the 1930s.

Let’s take a look at a photo of a Cadillac V16 1930 series 452.

Like other, expensive cars of that time, the V16 was produced in different bodies. Cadillac bought out two, body companies, Fleetwood Metal Body and Fisher Body, to produce the bodies. The customer could choose for themselves; – a two-door roadster, a four-door limousine, a coupe, a two-door and a four-door convertible.
When I look at pictures of this Cadillac, the huge headlights catch my eye. It seems that the diameter of the circumference of the lights is not much smaller at all than the huge steering wheel. Additional headlights located above the front bumper turn with the steering wheel. Of course, there are V16 symbols. They are applied on the grille and wheel covers. This symbolism underlines the exclusivity of the series 452. The wheel rims could be metallic, or have metal or even wooden spokes. In the latter version, the discs are called artillery discs. The diameter of wheels is 19 inches. A special lock is provided to remove the spare wheels. This is done to protect them from theft. Above the footrests, under the doors there are lockable boxes, one of which contains a battery.
Curb weight of the vehicle with a wheelbase of 148 inches (3,759 mm) – 3,100 kg.


The Imperial Sedan was equipped with a seven-seat saloon. Two seats in the rear passenger compartment were intended for security guards. The glass partition between the driver and passenger compartment was raised with a special lever.
In ’32, on some body modifications, such as the Phaeton, it was possible to change the angle of the windshield. This adjustment ranged from 7 to 22 degrees. The Phaeton was also equipped with a windshield for rear seating. In the same year, the speedometer was increased from 90 to 100 miles.

Engine and Specifications Cadillac V16 1930 series 452.

I think everyone knows that the V16 engine is 452 cubic inches, or 7.4L (it’s clear from the name of the car). And it is a big volume, but on some inline eights the engines were bigger. But as we said above, the feature of this, the power unit is not the volume, but the number of cylinders. The cylinders are smaller than in the V8s of younger Cadillac models of those years. The volume itself is 452 cubic inches, which comes from a cylinder diameter of 3 inches and a piston stroke of 4 inches. The crankshaft stands on five supports. There are two camshafts in this engine. Each block is fed from a separate, single-chamber carburetor. Here it is quite possible to disconnect one block and the car will run on the second block. The camber of the blocks here is not big – 45 degrees. The engine crankcase is made of aluminum. The engine is equipped with hydro-compensators, which are as much as possible to reduce the noise of the engine. The presence of hydro-compensators eliminates the need to adjust the valves.
I would like to draw your attention to how many high voltage wires come from the trambler. Of course this is related to the number of cylinders.

The engine displacement is 452 cubic inches (7.4L).
The compression ratio is 5.3:1.
Maximum power is 165 horsepower / 3,400 rpm.
Maximum torque – 431 N.M. / 1,400 rpm.
Acceleration to 60 miles (up to 100km) – 24 seconds.
Top speed is 140 kilometers per hour.
Fuel consumption – 40 liters per 100 kilometers.

Look how beautiful this engine. This is without exaggeration – a work of art. Not only engineers worked on this power unit, but also designers. That’s why the engine compartment is decorated with aluminum and porcelain.
Suspension on both axles is a leaf spring. The brakes are mechanical drum brakes with vacuum booster. The transmission is manual, three-speed. And when this Cadillac was new, company representatives demonstrated to customers the ability to confidently start off from the highest, third gear. There is a lot of torque already at low revs, so this V16 carries a three-ton car without problems. This is important, because in those years, the time of automatic transmissions had not yet come.

It is not the most powerful, not the fastest, and not the most expensive car of its time. For each of these indicators, there are cars that will surpass the Cadillac. But this car is full of charm, mainly, of course, thanks to its beautiful, sixteen-cylinder engine. A little later, the Marmon surpassed the Cadillac in some respects, because its engine block was made of aluminum, and the engine itself was more powerful. But the series 452 was the first, and that’s important, because everyone remembers the first, not the second.

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