1933 Cadillac V-16

by | Dec 18, 2019

Photo Credit: John Lamm

1933 Cadillac V-16

by | Dec 18, 2019

Photo Credit: John Lamm










Gooding & Company


January 17 - 18, 2020

It’s not unusual to find a grand automobile with a history worth telling. Then, every so often, we find one with a story that seems worthy of a dramatic theatre production. The Cadillac V-16 is both beautiful and majestic, and the first V-16 engine vehicle created in the US. 

There is a 45-degree V between those long, black cylinder banks topped with the ribbed valve covers. Its displacement fits its size, 7.4 liters with 165 horsepower.

Cadillac’s timing wasn’t ideal, because its V-16 models debuted alongside the Great Depression. That alone makes this a rare vehicle. When it was first sold in San Francisco, the chassis had a Fleetwood sedan body. By the 1950s, it was bought by a well-known auto enthusiast, Jack Passey. After he enjoyed this vehicle for several years, the Cadillac was sold to Fred Weber in St. Louis, where it became part of a sizeable V-16 collection.

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From there, it went to Connecticut and the McGowan brothers. They had recently bought a 1932 Cadillac V-16 with a 1933 Fleetwood All-Weather Phaeton body. As was not unusual in the world of special-bodied automobiles of the era, they moved the Fleetwood body over to the 1933 chassis, which is now on auction. The car was awarded Senior Honors in AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) and Cadillac & LaSalle Club, earning a 100-point score.

Is that the end of the road for this car? Not if you include the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where this Cadillac V-16 racked up Concours honors with scores of 100 and 99.5 points. It also went on to chauffeur the Grand Marshall of the 2012 Rose Parade.

The 1933 V-16 All-Weather Phaeton is incredibly rare, and it’s estimated only four original examples have survived.

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