St. John's

27 July 2013

From the Richard and Linda Kughn Collection

Previous Next

Lot 152

1930 Cadillac V-16 All-Weather Phaeton by Fleetwood

  • Engine no. 700543
  • Body no. 34

Sold for $159,500

Series 452. Style 4380. 185 bhp, 452 cu. in. overhead-valve V-16 engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 148 in.

  • From the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn
  • Sixteen cylinders of American power
  • One of only 250 built
  • Formerly the property of Richard Gold

On January 4, 1930, Cadillac stunned the fine car market at the New York Auto Show with the introduction of its breathtaking new V-16. With it, Cadillac instantly catapulted itself to the head of the luxury class in one brilliant stroke. Until then, only Bugatti had produced a 16-cylinder engine, which was accomplished by bolting two eight-cylinder inline engines together; an innovation that was originally intended for aircraft use.

Cadillac’s V-16 was the first, true 16-cylinder engine to be built from scratch, a project led by Owen Milton Nacker, under conditions of the utmost secrecy. In order to avoid knowledge of the project leaking from lower-level GM engineering departments and parts suppliers, a well-coordinated disinformation campaign that included cover stories and notes on various blueprints was created, indicating that the project was actually Cadillac’s contribution to a new GM bus project.

The 45-degree cylinder bank angle and overhead-valve design kept the V-16 narrow, while its external manifolds allowed easy access to the engine compartment. Furthermore, Cadillac’s V-16 was the first automotive engine ever to be “styled”; all the wiring was hidden, the engine compartment was dressed up with plenty of gleaming, polished aluminum and porcelain, and it had a pair of beautiful valve covers with brushed aluminum ridged surfaces that featured the Cadillac emblem.

Cadillac managed to survive the rapidly declining luxury-car market of the early 1930s, thanks to the financial resources of GM, its massive parent company. Without this support, Cadillac could never have produced such a limited-production, luxurious automobile. Although the V-16 was brilliantly designed, its shrinking Depression-era market meant that it was, of course, produced in tiny numbers, for those few who were capable of paying more than 10 times the cost of a contemporary Chevrolet convertible. Without doubt, the few examples remaining today offer a rare glimpse into one of the most exciting automotive eras of all time.

The car offered here was the 34th of 250 V-16s built from 1930–1931, and the coachwork on this four-door convertible all-weather phaeton was completed by Fleetwood. Importantly, this body is distinguished as one of the earliest surviving examples; it was built by Fleetwood’s original Pennsylvania factory and is distinguished by its speedboat-like vee’d windshield. A copy of the original build sheet, which accompanies the Cadillac, records it as having been delivered on March 19, 1930, to the Upperu Cadillac Corporation in New York City.

The Cadillac was eventually acquired by the late Richard Gold, of Minnesota. Mr. Gold was a charter member of the Classic Car Club of America, and for many years, he was one of the CCCA’s staunchest supporters and most active members, even serving as a national president. While his collection was large and varied, it was most famous for including some of the best examples of the Cadillac V-16 in the world; all of which were well-cared-for, long-term acquisitions. Reportedly, this very car was the first V-16 in the Gold Collection and was among those he kept for many years. It was pictured on the cover of the June 1975 issue of The Classic Car.

Prior to joining the prominent collection of Richard and Linda Kughn, the V-16 was fully serviced by the well-known shop of Al Prueitt & Sons in Pennsylvania, who rebuilt the engine, transmission, and clutch. It was finished in a subdued two-tone khaki and features an interior upholstered in biscuit tan broadcloth. While a cloth interior seems an unusual choice for an open car, apparently several all-weather phaetons were so-ordered, and it makes sense for a rather formal car that, in all likelihood, was almost always driven with the top raised. Additional accessories include dual side-mounted spares, fender lights, dual horns, an unrestored trunk, and the classic Goddess hood ornament. The car appears largely original in many respects, having apparently never been completely restored, and it shows just over 72,000 miles, which may well be the actual mileage from new.

This is a most stately and elegant Cadillac with legendary engineering, and it would be an ideal choice for freshening and reuniting with friends of years past in CCCA CARavans, or as the solid and complete basis for what will surely be an extremely impressive restoration.

Titled as 1931.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more