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Cadillac was the first manufacturer to introduce a V-16 engine in 1930, the most ambitious luxury offering in their history. The true aim was not sales, as the limited production numbers and negative profit margins bear out, but the elimination of Packard as its main competitor. The V-16 was meant to propel Cadillac to the pinnacle of American luxury-car production; with the V8 Cadillac’s and LaSalle’s covering the V-16s financial loses. The V-16 was only produced for eleven years, from its introduction in 1930 until the last one left the factory floor in 1940.
The engine was radically changed in 1938, replacing the overhead-valve V-16 with a L-head design with a nearly horizontal piston layout at a 135-degree angle between cylinder banks. The cast iron heads and hidden valves made for extremely silent running, and the power output nearly matched the old V-16. For 1940 the horse power was increased from 175 hp to match the 1930-1937’s output of 140 hp.
1940 marked the end of production for the V-16, and the LaSalle as well, with only 61 built. The car featured here is a four door convertible, one of only two built in 1940. The base price of this 5,265 pound, 141 inch wheelbase automobile was $6,000.
- Cadillac was the first to introduce the V16 in 1930
- V16 only produced for 11 years, 1930 through 1940
- This is one of only two 4 door convertible Cadillac V16s produced in 1940
- V16 engine was radically changed for model years 1938 through 1940