1930 Cadillac Series 452 Fleetwood
425 cid, V-16, 185 bhp

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“Performance such as the world has never witnessed.” That’s how an advertisement described the 1930 Cadillac V -16.

This was Cadillac’s’ answer to the V -12s of the Packard and the other prestige marques of the day, an effort to establish itself as the undisputed leader in the American luxury car market.

The new power plant, a 425cu-in, 165-bhp, V -16, was excellent with hydraulically silenced overhead valves and quad exhausts. The engine was essentially two straight eight engines mounted together in a “V” configuration at a narrow angle of 45 degrees on a single crankshaft.

As much attention was paid to the coach work as their advanced mechanical specifications. An attractive array of 15 closed and open body styles were available, many produced by Fisher or Fleetwood, which resulted in some of the finest coachwork ever to grace an automobile. Their synchromesh transmission, vacuum-assisted brakes and flexible engine power, made these behemoths quite pleasurable to drive when compared to the other large cars of the era.

The timing of its debut was terrible, coinciding as it did with the onset of worldwide economic depression. Arguably the greatest Cadillac of them all, consequently suffered disappointing sales of only 3250 cars.


  • Hydraulically silenced overhead valves
  • Bodied by Fleetwood
  • The engine was essentially two straight eight engines mounted at 45 degrees to a single crankshaft