- Chassis/Body # 32-16-213
- Engine # 1400071
- GM's Montreal Show Stand Car
- Excellent Older Restoration Featuring An Untouched Original Interior
- Offered In Original Colors Per Build Sheet
- A Capable & Important Event Eligible Automobile For The Serious Collector
As cars of the late 1920’s grew larger and more ornate, it was necessary for auto manufacturers to also increase the size and output of their engines in order to be able to propel these large and luxurious vehicles down the roads of early America. Cadillac’s main rival at the time, Packard, had already released a V12 engine (known as the twin 6) all the way back in 1915, and although sales had fallen off and they had ceased production of the Twin 6, It had helped to push the Packard brand into a very favorable light with American households. Cadillac knew they needed to up the ante and as early as 1926 began development of a V16 engine, although they told the public they were working on a 12 cylinder in order to keep the real project hidden. In 1930 Cadillac sent a shock through the automotive world with the release of their series 452 V16 engine at the New York Auto Show on January 4, 1930. At this time in automotive engineering, the only real way to get more horsepower out of an engine was to either make it bigger or add more cylinders and Cadillac certainly did both. With an overall displacement of 452 cubic inches (hence the series 452) and a gross weight of close to 1300 pounds, the new V16 would put out a conservatively stated 165 horsepower (although most likely closer to 200) and an impressive 320 pound feet of torque. A new longer and wider chassis design was required to house this monstrous engine, although the engineering behind it was kept fairly simple. Cataloged body styles included 10 Fischer-built styles and 72 Fleetwood body styles, however if a perspective buyer had the money, they were more than welcome to mix and match to create their own unique combination not in the catalog. For the truly adventurous, a bare chassis could be ordered and sent to any coach-builder for finishing, although very few were actually finished in this manner. The V16 Cadillacs sold well throughout 1930 but sales began to slump in the following two years due in part to both the impeding recession but also because of the release of Cadillacs own V12 engine. Production of the series 452 would continue through 1934 when it was replaced by the stop gap Series 60 for 1935 and the Series 90 which would remain in production until 1937. In total, 3878 series 452 V16 Cadillacs were produced. The series 452 engine helped to spark innovation and competition in the automotive world, but its most important legacy was helping to solidify Cadillac as the top tier luxury car brand that many people know it as today.
The example on offer here, Chassis/Engine #1400071 is a 1932 Cadillac V16 Fleetwood Imperial series 452B. The engine number indicates that it was the 70th V16 Cadillac built for the 1932 model year. The exterior of the car was refinished in 2000 in the correct Aiken Green, Kalida Green trim, and color matched painted disc wheel covers which is the same as when it left the Fleetwood body factory in 1932. The car retains an untouched original interior and is finished in Black Leather in the front drivers area and tan (called Wiese on the build sheet) suede cloth in the rear limousine portion. The original engine, transmission, and drivetrain are all still in place and the car and the stampings located on them match with the provided build sheet. To see a list of significant parts and their correct stampings, please see the “view documents” button above. The history behind this car is very unique in that it was originally delivered to GM of Canada to be used as their show car for 1932. It was ordered with some very unique options such as white wall tire delete, full wheel discs which were a rarely chosen option, as well as using a lighter color on the chassis and darker color on the body. Most of these options were fitted in order to provide the car with a more European look, in hopes of swaying Canadian buyers to the American brand. On the included build sheet it shows that this car was shipped on January 10, 1932 to Montreal Auto Show where it was first displayed. The car was equipped with special hooks in the interior to be able to show off different interior fabric samples as it travelled to different auto shows in Canada. Given the original nature of the interior the hooks are still in place and the fabric samples are included in the sale. The history after 1932 is a bit unknown but the car remained in Canada until around the year 2000 when the current owner, a partner in the Canton Classic Car Museum acquired the car. Upon acquisition, the car was in an entirely original state but it was determined that the paint on the exterior was too far gone so a full exterior cosmetic restoration was undertaken. The car was expertly repainted in the proper colors, some of the chrome was replated, and new tires were put on, among many other things, but the interior was left in excellent original condition. Some minor mechanical work was done but nothing major was needed as the car was in good running order upon acquisition. After its thorough exterior cosmetic restoration, the car was put on display at the Canton Classic Car Museum where it was enjoyed by guests until the owner decided to find a new home for it earlier this year. As it sits now, the car has no obvious needs. The interior retains its excellent original condition, the professionally completed exterior restoration is still in excellent condition, and the car runs and drives exactly as it should. Given the interesting history of this car it would make for a wonderful addition to any collection focusing on important American built cars. This 1932 Cadillac V16 Fleetwood Limousine represents a very unique opportunity to enter the collecting world of V16 Cadillacs at much more reachable price point than many of its counterparts.
Included with the sale of this vehicle are a copy of the original build sheet and the original interior fabric samples.
body and paint
This car had a thorough exterior cosmetic restoration performed when the current owner purchased the car in 2000. The work was performed to a high quality and the exterior of the car still remains in very nice condition. The paint has excellent color and a smooth and consistent finish throughout the entirety of the vehicle. Striping and detail work is clean and straight. The body itself is very straight with no signs of any issues or improper fixes. Body panel gaps and fitment are all straight and within tolerance which stands as a testament to the clean and original nature of the car when it was purchased by the current owner. Minor imperfections can be found upon inspection in the form of minor scratches and paint flaws.
glass and trim
The glass on V16’s cabin is all in good condition with very minimal scratching. The headlight lenses are clean and clear and the lights work as they should. The chrome throughout the car is in good condition, with nice shine and appearance but displaying signs of age and originality in many places such as soft scratching and minor pitting. It does appear that the radiator shroud and possibly the bumpers were re-chromed during the cosmetic restoration of the exterior as the condition is certainly a bit better than most of the other chrome on the car.
The painted disc wheels on this car are a somewhat rare option as most owners opted for wire wheels. The paint remains in great condition with the exception of a few minor chips here and there. The center chrome spin off caps do appear to be original and as such show some patina but retain good shine and color.
seats and surfaces
The interior of the car remains in original and as delivered condition. Due to its original nature it does display some patina and imperfections. The front drivers area is trimmed in Black Leather and the seats do show some minor cracking and wear around the bolster area as well as one significantly sized separation on passenger side seat. The wooden trim around the doors and the dash remains in excellent condition with rich color and a beautiful grain pattern to it. The leather trimmed door cards also show a bit of patina and there are a few splits in high wear areas on the driver side. The black painted dash retains nice color and smooth finish. The black leather floor mats in the front compartment show a bit of wear in high traffic areas but are beautiful original condition. Moving to the rear passenger compartment, the interior is again in very nicely preserved original condition. There is some staining, small imperfections, and moth damage in the light colored suede finish and carpets but everything is perfectly inline with the excellent original condition. There is some significant separation where the cloth meets the body of the car right on inside of the passenger side rear door. The wood trim throughout the rear of the cabin remains in great condition with a rich and smooth finish to it. The headliner throughout the car does display some staining. Perhaps the most unique portion of this car are the metal hooks which were originally installed in order to display the various cloth finishing options available on this car when new. This hook system still remains in place and the complementing fabric samples are included with the car.
functionality and accessories
In the front drivers area of the car, the windows move up and down with ease and the doors open and shut as they should. All the knobs and levers in the front interior section are in good cosmetic and mechanical condition. The gauges on the dash retain good clarity and color and appear too function as they should. The ribbed steering wheel appear in nice original condition with a bit of patina on the central horn button but a good solid ribbed rim and spokes. The shifter and emergency brake both operate as they should. The overhead dome light as well as the dash mounted gauge light work as they should. Moving to the rear of the car, the doors and windows again operate exactly as they should. The overhead dome light illuminates upon opening either of the rear passenger compartment doors. The ornate passenger light in the back of the cabin on the drivers side functions by use of a switch, although it appears the one on the passenger side is not currently operable. The rear passenger jump seats fold up and down with ease. There is a Fleetwood branded clock, in good working order. The pull down shades are all in place and appear to be cosmetically in order although we have not tested them given their delicate and original nature.
engine bay and trunk
The engine bay remains in clean and tidy condition with smooth and colorful painted surfaces and bright, issue free metal. All wiring, hoses, and cables appear well looked after and in good cosmetic and mechanical condition. Overall the engine bay looks well kept and shows no cosmetic signs of any mechanical issues.
It should be noted that the car has spent some time in a museum but has been run regularly. It is suggested that further sorting should be completed to make certain the car is 100% tour worthy and safe. While everything works we have noted some old dried coolant leaks and minor corrosion on a few clamps etc... indicating that it has been sitting more than it has been used. Minor, but should be disclosed.
This V16 Cadillac remains in excellent mechanical condition. The 452 cubic inch engine fires to life with surprising ease and emits a healthy and satisfying rumble as it settles into a smooth idle. Making good power, oil pressure, and holding steady temperature on the lower end of the range. There are no obvious issues noted beyond some rubber items that may need replacing if regular use is desired. There are no excessive leaks and further use should improve the running condition overall.
The transmission shifts smoothly between gears and holds power from the big V16 without issue. The clutch take-up is a bit on the high side but this could easily be rectified with adjustment. Though there is NO slipping of any kind and all synchro’s work correctly.
brakes and suspension
The brakes bring the extremely heavy car to a controlled stop. There is some occasional squealing from the brakes but no chatter or other odd noises or behavior. The suspension displays no odds noises or behaviors and seems to ride and handle as it should. When behind the wheel, the size and weight of this car becomes very apparent, and both the brakes and suspension perform adequately given the large nature of this vehicle.
The tires have a date code from 2000 and while they appear to be in fine condition with minimal wear to them, thorough inspection by a qualified professional should be done before any serious driving is undertaken.
The engineers at Cadillac did a thoroughly impressive job when designing the 452 V16. It runs remarkably smooth and makes excellent power and torque, even when mated to a body as big as this particular Fleetwood Limousine. The car starts very easily with a bit of choke, gaining oil pressure and temperature quickly then settling out into their normal ranges for operation. The car makes incredible power for something from 1932. It shifts flawlessly, and everything is in working order. While the steering is initially heavy as expected it get’s lighter and easier to use with more speed. The brakes work well and bite hard when needed and the car has no trouble providing power throughout the rev range. An impressive piece of engineering.