CHASSIS NO: 702297
• Ex - Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
• Featured at the 1930 London Motor Show
• First owner, the Honorable Arthur Ernest Guinness of the famous brewing company
• 16-cylinder masterpiece of engineering
• Delivered new in England
• Full Classic® recognized by the Classic Car Club of America
452 cid OHV V-16 engine, dual updraft Cadillac single-throat carburetors, 175 HP at 3,400 RPM, three-speed manual transmission, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes with vacuum booster, live-axle suspension with semi-elliptic leaf springs; wheelbase: 148”
At the opening of the 1930 National Automobile Show at the Grand Central Palace in New York, Cadillac unveiled the world’s first production V-16 automobile engine. The late historian Griffith Borgeson explained it most elegantly: “It really made history and it made Cadillac, beyond all discussion, the absolute world leader in motoring magnificence . . . It was the super engine that set the whole exercise apart.” Owen Nacker, an industry veteran who had worked on Marmon’s V-16 engine was the creative genius behind this engineering marvel. His first project for Cadillac was the LaSalle V-8 in 1927 before working on Cadillac’s own V-16. The new engine was designed with overhead valves, allowing the exhaust manifolds to be located to the outside, important because the narrow 45-degree vee left little room for manifold clutter. The large aluminum crankcase held five main bearings, the crankshaft counterweighted and fitted with a vibration dampener. The timing chain also drove the generator. The two cylinder blocks had cast nickel-iron liners extending down into the crankcase. The heads were of cast iron. The central camshaft, with roller-type followers, actuated tubular pushrods, which in turn worked short rocker arms. With the new zero-lash hydraulic lifters the engine was whisper quiet. The V-16 was, in effect, two engines in one, sharing a crankcase and crankshaft. Each block had a complete fuel system, including carburetor and vacuum tank and its own exhaust. There was one distributor but two coils, which were recessed into the radiator’s header tank. The engine’s power pulses overlapped to produce smoothness, since they occurred every 45 degrees of rotation. Developed brake horsepower was initially 160; eventually it rose to 185, and torque it had aplenty: 300 foot-pounds at idle. Aesthetically it was a work of art; said to be the first powerplant that was truly styled. All wiring and hoses were concealed to the extent possible, hidden behind covers or in raceways. Viewed from outside the engine compartment, there was no clutter whatsoever.
This elegant Cadillac, chassis number 702297, was completed in 1930 with ‘Saloon Landaulette De Luxe’ coachwork by Vanden Plas and sold new at Messrs Lendrum & Hartman of Albemarle Street in London’s West End, the UK’s official importer for General Motors’ brands Buick, Cadillac, LaSalle and Marquette. It was originally shown at the Olympia Motor Show in 1930 and ordered by her majesty the Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. She later decided. out of sensitivity to the Great Depression and her subjects’ own plight. that the car was too grandiose and declined the delivery of it. It went to the stand at Earl’s Court the following year in 1931 and was sold to its first owner the Hon Arthur Earnest Guinness of the eponymous brewing dynasty. Noteworthy features on this car include slender window uprights, ‘suicide’ rear doors and trafficator-type turn signals, internal division glass and an intercom. The luxurious interior also features extensive inlaid walnut woodwork, rear-compartment speedometer and the rare, split instrument panel found in the ‘Madame X’ Cadillacs bodied by Fleetwood. The Cadillac’s immediate post-Guinness history is not known but in 1959 it was advertised for sale in the Cadillac & LaSalle Club’s magazine ‘The Self Starter’ by Mr. Jeffrey Watts of Levittown, Pennsylvania. 702297 next appeared at a ‘Movieland – Cars of the Stars’ auction in 1974, by which time it was in need of restoration. Later the car passed to ‘Cadillac Jim’ Pearson of Kansas City, who sold it on to a noted collector in Oklahoma in the mid/late-1970s. The V-16 was restored while in his ownership, the odometer reading at that time being 56,000 miles. It later made the journey back across the Atlantic, finding a new home in a European private collection, and today is handsomely presented and running exceptionally well. This impressive Landaulette boasts one-off coachwork, features opulent interior design and is powered by Cadillacs most sought-after 16-cylinder engine. In short, it has all the hallmarks that set it apart from others in the era.