1938 Cadillac Town Sedan V-16, Complete body-off frame restoration
Price: - Item location: Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
- Condition: Used
- Make: Cadillac
- Model: Town Sedan
- SubModel: Town Sedan
- Type: V16
- Trim: Town Sedan
- Year: 1938
- Mileage: 4,022
- VIN: 5270283
- Color: Blue
- Engine size: V16
- Power options: --
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Manual
- Drive type: V16
- Interior color: Tan
- Options: --
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1938 Cadillac Town Sedan Town Sedan1938 Cadillac Town Sedan V-16
One of 302 Cadillac V-16 models made in 1938 and one of 20 Town Sedans made that year
Long term Texas Cadillac and believed to be owned by a previous Texas governor
Rated by Classic Car Club of America as CCCA Full Classic, a designation reserved for only the finest vehicles from 1925-1948
Complete body-off frame restoration; only driven 4,000 miles since restoration
Undercarriage is extremely tidy, especially for a large car of this vintage
Permanently mounted battery tender for long-term storage
Dark blue exterior with tan interior and Fleetwood Coachwork
Rebuilt, numbers matching 431 CID L-head 135º V-16 engine
Rebuilt original three-speed synchromesh manual transmission with 4.31 gearing
Independent front suspension and Bendix hydraulic brakes
In an attempt to out-cylinder and out-smooth the competition, particularly Packard, Cadillac created something rare in the 1930s, an engine with 16 cylinders. Here at MotoeXotica Classic Cars, it is wrapped within the form of a 1938 Town Sedan coach worked by Fleetwood, rated by the Classic Car Club of America as a CCCA Full Classic, a designation reserved for only the finest vehicles from 1925-1948. After being treated a complete body-off frame restoration, the car has been driven approximately 4,000 miles since restoration. Cadillac only produced 20 of these V16 town sedans and only a very few still exist today.
The meticulous comprehensive nut and bolt professional restoration included all aspects of this rarely seen big V16 time machine. Everything was restored from the tidy powder coated frame and underbody to exhaust, brakes, and brake lines. The exterior has a show winning paint job and fresh chrome, the rebuilt V16 motor and components run very smooth. The newly correct reupholstered interior is very handsome and luxurious and the dash is laid out as you should find in a 30's big Cadillac sedan. Cruising in this V16 flagship makes you feel like real royalty!
Cadillac believed customers demanded a car powered by an engine simultaneously more powerful and smoother than any other available. Development proceeded in great secrecy over the next few years while Cadillac chief Larry Fisher and GM's stylist Harley Earl toured Europe in search of inspiration from Europe's finest coach-builders. Unlike many luxury car builders, who sold bare chassis to be clothed by outside coach-building firms, General Motors had purchased Fleetwood Metal Body and Fisher Body to keep all the business in-house.
In 2008 or 2009, the then-current owner brought the car, which was still in good overall condition, to Black Knight Restoration in Houston, Texas for rehabilitation as a executive driver. Professional technicians disassembled the vehicle, fixed what did not work then put everything back together in a correct manner.
Finished in a dark blue, the car’s paint and trim, including the elegant “goddess” hood ornament, are in excellent overall condition. The windows are clear and crack-free and the car’s lights, including the foglights perched over the front bumper, are in very good order. The car rides on 7.50-16 wide whitewalls, surrounding factory wheel covers and look great. The car’s bumpers shine brilliantly, the engine bay is very tidy and there is a permanently mounted battery tender for long-term storage. Extras include a spotlight on the driver’s side and a pair of side-mounted spare tires with body-matching covers.
Under that hood ornament is a rebuilt, numbers-matching 431 CID L-head 135º V-16 engine with twin carburetors, twin fuel pumps, twin distributors, twin water pumps, and a nine main bearing crankshaft (compared to the OHV V-16's five bearing crank) and produced the same power as earlier versions of the original V-16 with even greater smoothness and gave the '38–'40 Sixteens the swiftest acceleration of any factory production car in the world at the time, regardless of weight, as well as slightly improved fuel economy over the OHV V-16 cars. This engine was nearly silent at idle and turbine-smooth in operation.
The car has a positive-ground starting system with two batteries; a six-volt unit under the front passenger seat with another 12-volt unit under the hood for the starter only. It is easier to get the engine to crank with 12 volts, especially after periods of non-use.
The 1938-1940 431 CID Cadillac V-16 was one of the last new American auto engine designs prior to World War Two. Luxury car drivers of the time valued smoothness and silence more than high-speed power. Hydraulic valve lifters promoted silent running and an absence of periodic adjustment. Unlike most cars of the era, an external oil filter safeguarded the precision valve lifters. Despite the use of side valves, the engine produced as much power as the prior 45-degree V-16, and with much less complexity. The earliest engines produced featured an innovative friction wheel drive to the generator. This was soon replaced by a conventional V belt drive. Cadillac claimed that the 1938, 1939 and 1940 Series 90 Sixteen had the best performance of any production car in the world at the time and would accelerate 10-60 in high gear in only 16 seconds, rapid for the time. Mated to the engine is a rebuilt three-speed synchromesh manual transmission and backed by a 4.31 rear end.
Inside, the car’s Fleetwood Coachwork tan interior is in overall gorgeous condition. The seats, which look more like divans or davenports, are in excellent shape, as is the matching fitted carpet. In the rear are a center-mounted armrest divider, armrest-mounted ashtrays, footrests and a wide fold-down tray to dash off a postcard or have a quick nosh. There are also hooks and rods on which to hang coats, scarves and other outerwear. The headliner is in likewise shape. The metal instrument panel, painted a dark salmon shade, is quite eye-catching and contrasts brilliantly with the tan surroundings. The car’s brown metal dash offers full instrumentation and the original, three-spoke steering wheel is present and looks fantastic. The inner door panels, with their beautiful wooden windowsills, present quite well and the mirror glass is in good order, as is the shift lever.
Competition to this Cadillac in 1938 included V-12 models from Lincoln, Packard, Pierce-Arrow and Rolls-Royce. The only other American manufacturers to field V-16 engines in the 1930s were Marmon and Peerless.
This car is currently located at our facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Current mileage on the odometer shows 4,022 miles. It is sold as is, where is, on a clean and clear, mileage exempt title. GET OUT AND DRIVE!!!
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